Thus far, it's been quite a year for John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light. Since releasing their record Beautiful Empty in January, they've played most of the major summer events around town, held a second CD release show in Boulder, won the Westword Music Showcase in the "indie folk/acoustic" category, made a jaunt to Austin to play in front of industry folks, and most recently played the Cougar Stage at this year's Mile High Music Festival. Along the way, their fan base has been consistently growing and solidifying.
"We've had the best summer," said Common during a conversation with the band after their set at MHMF. "I think it's one of the best summers of my musical life."
The flurry of activity has even caused the "Blinding Flashes of Light" part of the band, the group of top-notch musicians Common assembled for this project, to begin gelling together as a band, settling into a groove of their own--to the point that they are playing more of a role in the arranging of new tunes.
"When you play with people who are this good, you start to rely on them," says Common. "I try to bring finished songs to the band, but more and more I'm not worrying about arrangements or orchestration, or even--and this is new for me--any groove, the pulse of the song...I'm more and more really wanting that to be figured out in the group space."
Keyboardist Adam Revell picks up the thread. "[John will] bring an idea to the band...sort of a rough road map, and then we take it from there...the end of the process is more of a group effort."
Bassist Casey Sidwell agrees. "The instrumentation and the arrangement and the feel of the song is kind of all up for conversation...the arrangements are kind of like a democratic process...there's a lot of freedom to make everything hit, or bend it to a point where you can identify with [the song], but it still has the initial integrity."
The end result is that JC&BFoL is sounding these days like more than just a group of skilled musicians; they sound more like a band, something more than the sum of its parts. This is also being reflected in the response of the crowds during performances. Cellist/saxophonist Wesley Michaels expressed gratitude for the fans."It's so awesome to be up on stage and look out, and it's like you can just tell they love what's going on."
In fact, the common thread (pun intended) during the conversation was that the entire band feels a great deal thankfulness toward the fans for the growing amount of support. Common summed it up this way: "This has been an amazing summer, and it has everything to do with people who are supporting us, so I would just throw all that love back and say thank you."
As to the band's plans? Besides starting work on a new record, Common says, "We're mainly still focused on Colorado, because were cooking up a deal we can't really talk about right now, so it's mostly focused on Colorado...I think this fall we're going to play some really special shows, and then after the first of the year, I think we're gonna get out of town for awhile." In the meantime, just for fun, being the start of football season, Common urged fans to visit the band website, johncommon.com, where Sidwell and Common will be posting a weekly video series on the Denver Broncos, going over game footage and talking football.
John Common--vocals, guitar, piano
Wesley Michaels--cello, saxophone (not simultaneously)
September 13th, 2010 8:57 pm
You guys rock them interviews.
John Common and Blinding Flashes of Light at Red Rocks.
CAN YOU HEAR ME
by John Common and Blinding Flashes of Light. Directed by David Dyster/Umbrella Brigade.