Steal This Track: Reed Foehl, Viretta and comedian Ben RoyBy Eryc Eyl | April 9th, 2012 | No Comments »
Bob Geldof doesn’t like Mondays, but we sure do. That’s because Mondays mean free Colorado music — and comedy — downloads from Steal This Track. This week, get ready to fill your MP3 player of choice with fresh acoustic music from Reed Foehl, some grungy rock from teen band Viretta (produced by Isaac Slade of the Fray) and our first-ever comedy download from the forthcoming album by Denver comic Ben Roy. Get ready to ransack!
Longtime followers of Colorado music will know the name Reed Foehl. Since he and his brother, Stewart Lewis, built the Boulder-based jam-folk outfit Acoustic Junction into a nationally touring powerhouse of the college circuit in the ’90s, Foehl has been a visible and prolific part of the community. Though his easygoing acoustic singer-songwriter fare occasionally veers into cliched territory, his honeyed voice and smooth melodies have a way of getting into your head and making you smile.
Later this year, Foehl will release his fifth solo album, “Color Me In,” produced in collaboration with former Coloradan guitarist Jefferson Hamer and drummer/producer John Rahman. Colorado fans will get an opportunity to hear the new songs when Foehl plays Swallow Hill on Friday, Apr 13, before taking off for an eight-date tour supporting Todd Snider. Tickets are $15 in advance. Get ready for the show by stealing the almost-spiritual title track from Foehl’s 2009 release, “Once an Ocean.”
If you need something to get your heart beating a little faster, try the underage rock of Viretta. Winners of 2011′s Spare Parts Battle of the Bands, the hard-edged, melodic rock band draws liberally and no apologies from the ’90s alt-rock well. In fact, the band shares its name with a Seattle park where Nirvana fans gather every year in honor of Kurt Cobain’s death. Fortunately, the quartet isn’t purely derivative, playing its heartfelt tunes with grit and a voice of its own. Viretta was good enough to catch the ear of the Fray’s Isaac Slade, who produced the band’s latest single, “Then There’s You (All I Have),” at his own Candyland Studio here in Colorado. Viretta is currently putting the finishing touches on its debut EP, “Sanctuary,” which it will release with a show at the Gothic Theatre on May 18. In the meantime, you can steal the single right here, right now.
And now, as the Monty Python boys were so fond of saying, for something completely different.
Ben Roy is a giant in the world of Denver comedy. Originally from Maine, Roy has made his home in Denver for many years, building up a loyal local following, playing crappy dive bars and headlining overpriced comedy clubs. He was a member of the now-defunct Wrist Deep Productions, and now produces a monthly multimedia show called the Grawlix with fellow Denver comics Adam Cayton-Holland and Andrew Orvedahl. He has also been lead singer of Denver punk outfits 29th Street Disciples and the Fire Drills. Outside of Denver, Roy has been selected for several festivals, including the Boston Comedy Festival, the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival, the MTV Comedy Showcase, and the Just for Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, and has also been a finalist in a number of comedy competitions.
But awards and festivals don’t really say much about Ben Roy’s comedy. His acerbic, highly literate and often rage-fueled sets find their roots in the comedy of greats like Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks. And like those comics, Roy also mines depths of political and social commentary with his diatribes. With seemingly boundless energy and a bottomless reservoir of disgust with the human race, he rails against all that he finds stupid, reprehensible and unjust, whether it’s “Jersey Shore,” junk food, modern medicine or unattractive strippers. His caustic delivery and heavily inked body make Roy an imposing figure, but his comedy also has heart, frequently paying tribute to the healing powers of marriage, family and love with unexpected sincerity and a complete lack of sentimentality.
Tomorrow night, Apr 10, Roy will release his debut album, “I Got Demons,” via local imprint Greater Than Collective, known for its work with Denver bands Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and the Photo Atlas. Recorded during a three-night stand at Comedy Works, the album will have you laughing, groaning and crying for a solid hour. It will probably offend you at least once, as all good comedy should. The 3 Kings Tavern release party — which starts at 7 p.m. and is free — is a jam-packed bill, including appearances by Cayton-Holland, Orvedahl and others. Get pumped for this tour-de-force of Colorado comedy by stealing the surprisingly sincere “I Hate Tattoos” from the new album. Then go pick up the album from Greater Than for a mere $9.99. For more about Ben Roy, don’t miss John Wenzel’s profile from July of last year.
Please note that downloads offered via Steal This Track are intended to whet your appetite, and are NOT CD-quality recordings. If you want those, please support the artists by buying their music and/or seeing them live.
If you’re a band or musician ready to expose your fresh sounds to the readers of Reverb, email your tracks — along with any interesting facts about them, as well as a photo or album art — to Eryc Eyl for consideration.
Eryc Eyl is a veteran music journalist, critic and Colorado native who has been neck-deep in local music for many years. Check out Steal This Track for local music you can HEAR, and the Mile High Makeout for stories about Denver musicians doing extraordinary things. Against his mother’s advice, Eryc has also been known to tweet. You can also follow Steal This Track on Twitter. Sorry, Mom.