When it comes to alt-country in our hometown of Portland, OR, U.S.A., it doesn’t get much better than the band Denver. That’s why we were thrilled to have Mike Elias and Birger Olsen from Denver in The Helm for Episode #41.
Known as two of Denver’s “three amigos,” Mike and Birger are carrying the torch locally for the band while the other amigo, singer/songwriter Tom Bevitori, has taken up residence in California. The group continues to forge ahead, with the great friends hooking up with the rest of their band for select shows throughout the year.
In our interview, the fellas talk about how the band formed, their tours with alt-country darlings Shovels & Rope, what brought them to Portland from their growing-up points far and wide, and the Denver side project, Maryanne. Also, the guys share a song from each of Denver’s two stellar albums: Mike’s “Rowdy Love,” the title cut from last year’s follow up to the self-titled debut; and Birger’s great “Keep Your Eye Out,” a Denver classic.
After wrapping up the interview, Mike and Birger hung around The Helm to enjoy the rest of the episode. Then Mike got a wild hair to do another song later in the show, one that’s brand new and untitled. Great stuff!
Meanwhile, our hosts Mike Lee, Phil Favorite and Eric Kotila each share a set of songs to round out the podcast. Mike’s set includes a tribute to Hank Williams to honor the recent anniversary of his death; Phil shared a song by one of his heroes, Walter Salas-Humara, who he recently caught up with at a local happy hour show; and Eric’s set features bands “I’d like to see play with Denver,” including The Swearengens, The Ganges River Band and the James Low Western Front.
We also have songs by Denver’s Mama Bird Recording Co. labelmate Hip Hatchet as well as The Easy Leaves, Drunken Prayer and a song from the new record by Ryan Bingham. So dial it in and kick back, y’all. It’s Episode #41 of That Much Further West Podcast.
Here’s the playlist:
Rowdy Love, Denver
Prison Song (Live in The Helm), Denver
Keep Your Eye Out (Live in The Helm), Denver
Hot Denver #1, Denver
White Trash Romance, Karen Jonas
Ramblin’ Man, Hank Williams
Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Scott H. Biram
Small Demons, Hip Hatchet
Quarter In The Couch, Damnations, TX
Ford Econoline, Chuck Prophet
Broken Heart Tattoos, Ryan Bingham
Penny, The Honeycutters
Crack Another Bottle, The Easy Leaves
What We Can Bring, Walter Salas-Humara
Waiting On The Sunrise, The Swearengens
Eyes of Fire, The Ganges River Band
Untitled (Live in The Helm), Denver
Words, The James Low Western Front
Bridle On A Bull, Chris Knight
Evangeline, Drunken Prayer