When live shows shut down last year it affected so many people. For local bluegrass group Tejon Street Corner Thieves it halted their lives, since shows were the band’s main way to make a living. They had to cancel over 100 shows in 2020 — but 2021 is a new year and vaccines are more readily available, so the Thieves are all vaxxed up and ready to go!
Now that the band members have been inoculated, they’re starting to do some shows around town and will be playing a few out-of-town sets to get a feel for how other venues are operating and what precautions are being put in place.
“The biggest pivot point for us was getting vaccinated ... and once everyone has the opportunity to be, that’s the best time to do things again,” says banjo bad boy Connor O’Neal. “Not everyone’s going to be able to come out at first, but hopefully by May everyone who wants a vaccine should be able to get one and we’ll be able to rock ’n’ roll!”
They have recently dipped their toes in the water and played a few socially distanced events, including two surprise live sets during their spotlight DJ set at The Black Sheep on April 3. In addition to those local shows, the Thieves are also playing outside the state this week.
“To push it a little further and to see what the rest of the country is doing, we set up two shows this coming weekend,” says Connor. “Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri, and Friday in Wichita, at some venues we’ve had a long-standing relationship with and trust a lot.”
“From what we’ve seen online, they’ve been really good about mask mandates, social distancing and limited capacity. With us being vaccinated, we’re finally comfortable to go do that and we’re trusting them to follow state guidelines,” he says. “We want to see how touring could be possible with those two shows.”
Shows aren’t the only thing these busy bluegrass babes have been up to. On April 9, the band will be releasing the single “Greasy Coat” from their upcoming full-length album Stolen Goods on Liars Club Records, due to drop May 7. “We’re putting out a traditional album, it’s all American traditional songs that we’ve been playing for the entirety of our band career,” explains vocalist/guitarist Shawn D’Amario. The album was recorded in one night by Bill Douglas at Royal Recording.
The vinyl version of this album is unique, fun and will most likely get you drunk. “How?” you may ask. The album cover transforms into a drinking board game!
“When you open it, it’s a full, playable board drinking game. You start on Tejon Street where we started, you end at The Big Time, which is Red Rocks, and you get really drunk along the way,” quips Connor. You can pre-order the album on the official Liar’s Club website and catch the band live or via livestream April 23 at Stargazers Theatre & Event Center.
Creating music is always great, but creating a collective community for others to share music can be even more satisfying! Anonymous Collective is a Colorado Springs DIY label that is 11 years and 66 releases strong. It’s powered by a dedicated rocker by the name of Glen Murel, or Greno as he is known in his musical endeavors.
The label was started in 2010 as a way to connect with musicians he met after moving here from California a few years prior.
“I started it to document local music and the music I was making with my friends. I wanted to get involved in the local music scene out here,” says Greno.
The label puts out CDs from a variety of projects, including Mobdividual, Menagerie, Prefab Soul and many more. This past year, they released two online concert films, one from (our beloved former Reverber) Collin Estes titled Prodigal Variations Live and another from Greno himself called Fireside Concert Series. These were done as a way to connect with an audience while staying safely at home. “We wanted to do those during COVID because we weren’t playing shows and wanted to give people something to watch,” says Greno.
On top of all that, Greno is also doing a weekly podcast with Vinnie G called Sunday Spin on — you guessed it — Sundays where discussions cater to musicians and creatives across the county. “We want to connect the dots with these different communities and get everyone together on the same page,” Greno says.
Upcoming Anonymous Collective releases include Greno and Vinnie G’s project Skinny Mulligans’ 1966, which drops June 6, and a video for their single “Endless Summer” that’s coming out on 4/20. Follow the Anonymous Collective Facebook page for more info.