Futurebirds with Special Guest Oliver Hazard
Tickets: Adult: $40-$50; Children (12 and under): $5-$10; VIP Pergola Seating (up to 8 ppl): $750
Join us Thursday, July 27th for Futurebirds with Special Guest Oliver Hazard for the Spruce Peak Summer Concert Series, featuring amazing music by celebrated artists in a magical green mountain setting.
Village Green Opens at 5pm | Music at 6pm | Futurebirds at 7pm
Rock juggernaut Futurebirds’ newest EP, Bloomin’ Too, is a benchmark that not only celebrates 13 years together, it’s also a testament to the sheer iron will of a group of musicians hungry for the fruits of its labor.
“Futurebirds is the best it’s been right now, far and away,” says singer/guitarist Carter King. “We’ve been unintentionally carving out our own space since the beginning, since we never exactly fit in anywhere else musically. We were always too indie rock for the jam festival, too country for the indie scene, a little too psych-rock to feel like we were Americana. The music over the years just kind of created its own weird little ecosystem — it’s thriving and it feels great.”
The Athens, Georgia-based group once again tapped storied My Morning Jacket guitarist/producer Carl Broemel in the latest chapter of this seamless, bountiful partnership that initially came to fruition with the 2021 EP, Bloomin’.
“Carl is extremely perceptive and an all-around smart dude. He’s really in tune with what the band is and what it strives to be. He’s engaged and understands our vision,” King says. “He’s a longtime hero of ours, and now is a friend and collaborator. It’s wild. And it’s great to be able to defer to someone you respect so much with creative decisions in the studio — we don’t just give that trust to just anybody.”
Captured this past spring at the legendary Ronnie’s Place in Nashville, Tennessee, the seven-song Bloomin’ Too is a vortex of sonic textures. The album ricochets from cosmic space, rock to rough around the edges, alt-country dreamscapes, sandy beach bum odes to kick in your step pop ballads — all signature tones and musical avenues at the core of the Birds’ wide musical palette.
“This is probably the quickest turnaround we’ve ever had for a record — we felt confident right when we got into the studio and just cranked it out,” says singer/guitarist Daniel Womack. “All of our frequencies are aligned as a band, where we’ve got this free-flow of ideas happening. We’re all on the same page right now and we have a lot of momentum going.”
For Broemel, he finds a sincere kinship and solidarity with Futurebirds. Witnessing first-hand the band’s blue-collar work ethic in the studio, Broemel was impressed and inspired by the ‘Birds’ democratic ways and means in how music is created and cultivated in the studio.
“Futurebirds have this unique vibe with three singer-songwriters in the band, where everyone is constantly shifting their function depending on the song,” Broemel says. “Everyone just kind of falls into place and finds something to contribute. Someone will lead the charge on one song, then fall back and let another take charge on the next — it’s something rare to see and behold in rock music, where normally there’s just one songwriter and one leader.”
That camaraderie between founding members King, Womack, singer/guitarist Thomas Johnson and bassist Brannen Miles began when they were college students at the University of Georgia. In recent years, the quartet has added pedal steel player Kiffy Myers, keyboardist Spencer Thomas and drummer Tom Myers.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to be up there onstage, to look across and see these other super talented dudes all stoked to be there,” King says. “We’re brothers and family and all that, but what’s truly most impressive is that we’ve remained good friends on top of that. At the end of the day, for us, it’s always been about having a good time. That’s what keeps this thing moving.”
From there, it’s been endless miles on that old lost highway. It’s this rollercoaster of emotions, thoughts and actions — gig after gig, year after year — where now the band will be making its debut at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for a highly-anticipated two-night run (Oct. 3-4) alongside indie-rock darlings Caamp.
“It was pure elation when we were offered Red Rocks,” Womack says. “Everything we’ve been working towards has always included being able to play Red Rocks someday — it’s a big win for us and such a gratifying feeling.”
And though Futurebirds have offered up another instant classic release with Bloomin’ Too, the foundation of the group’s ethos, attitude, and rabid fan base remains its live shows — these undulating waves of sound, energy and passion spilling out onto the audience in this two-way street of respect and admiration.
“The line between the stage and the audience has always been blurred, and we’ve definitely carried ourselves that way since the beginning,” Womack says. “The early days of rock-n-roll were about the mysticism surrounding musicians and bands. That’s never been us. We want to embrace our fans, to actually hang out and get to know them — they’re all part of the BirdFam.’”
Reflecting on the last 13 years, King can only shake his head in awe of what has transpired over that time period for Futurebirds, personally and professionally. From playing empty dive bars to selling out theaters coast to coast, from college kids to now husbands and fathers — the sacred flame of music, creativity and performance continually cradling and nurturing deeply-held dreams.
“You start out doing this solely because it’s fun and you have no preconceived notion of what’s going to happen or what it should be. And then, you get a taste of this possibly being your actual life,” King says. “Maybe you get too serious about it, or too wrapped up in how you are being received, or the industry watermarks of success. But, life’s just a perception game. It’s about having fun and aligning
About Oliver Hazard
Few people have heard of Waterville, Ohio. A rust-belt city of a few thousand comfortably settled against the Maumee River, it’s the kind of Americana often romanticized as a place of unvarnished love, bitter outcomes, and hometown grit. The entire place feels like a dream—a sense found in the music of Waterville’s ascendant indie-folk trio, Oliver Hazard.
The story of Oliver Hazard – Michael Belazis (vocals, guitar) and Devin East (vocals, guitar) and joined by Nate Miner (keys, vocals) – is the digital age’s version of classic band mythmaking. One member of the band returned home to Ohio after leading camping trips in California and decided to make an album with two of his childhood friends, a door-to-door salesman and a construction worker. They won a Facebook raffle to record a single song at a recording studio. Instead, they pitched playing their whole album straight through once, and so came their debut album 34 N River in 2018. They sent it to a friend who sent it to a friend, who sent it to The Fader, who called it a “folk-pop masterpiece.” The band was booked at Bonnaroo and Mountain Jam shortly thereafter.
A year later, in 2019, the band released their 6 track EP The Flood, in which Billboard called it a “souvenir.” A souvenir from the band’s self-launched “Living Room Tour,” where they toured the country, performing in over 60 of their fans’ living rooms, all in the same year. “We wanted to figure out a way a band our size could really put ourselves in the right context and be heard and create these magical, intimate moments.”
This brings the band to their December 2022 EP, Northern Lights, and sophomore self-titled album, out July 2023, which includes music from the Northern Lights EP. “Not only is this our sophomore record, but also our self-titled album. This album continues to define our identity as a band but also individual songwriters existing symbiotically as Oliver Hazard. It is the story of shared experiences, a shared sense of place, and a shared sense of community,” the band explains.
The sound of their upcoming LP, produced by Jacquire King (Modest Mouse, Of Monsters and Men, Kings of Leon), blends delicate arrangements with sturdy melodies — whether it’s the buoyant build of “Two x Four,” the pensive foreboding of “Use Me Up,” the sweet ring of “Saratoga,” the smooth sophistication of “Summertime Whiskey” or the austere ambience of “Northern Lights.” The band clearly knows that less can be more, but its impact is the product of careful consideration.
Like its predecessors, this 10-track set is the work of three individual singers, songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, who share an organic connection in the craft — sensibilities that, when fused together, yield music that’s harmonic, haunting and at once ambitious and surprising. The charm is that the songs never sound mannered or constructed; they simply are as natural as something played on a front porch or the side of a river, around a campfire after a strenuous canoe trip.
The band’s growth as songwriters is apparent in the opening guitar melodies of “Ballerina,” a simple and uplifting chorus that sends us back to the early 1970’s. During the recording process of “Ballerina,” they started playing with a little Yamaha PSS-30 synthesizer from the 1980s. “We recorded our voices onto the synthesizer and played it back into the recording microphones. This bridge section of this song feels like the most experimental moment Oliver Hazard has recorded to date,” states Dev.
The raw effortless energy of the band’s melody making shines in their folk-pop anthem “Saratoga.” “The melody in this song was written when the band first started, we always knew there was something there,” says Mike. “It is a song about being disarmed by someone else. There is a mystical quality to the music and lyrics. Yet, like many of Oliver Hazard’s songs, the melody makes you want to drive into the sunset with the windows down.”
Much of the album, written individually and collectively by each band member, covers the subject of love, loss and growing apart. One of the more dynamic builds of the record, “Natalie,” is a lonely tale about growing apart. “There’s pain in leaving and being left behind, but there’s also a levity,” says the band. The timeless and unlocking instrumental at the end of the song makes you feel like not giving up.
Recorded in 2020, the shared experience of isolation is found in tracks like “Northern Lights.” “It is a song about longing for better days, but appreciating the tough ones,” says Mike. It was written during the winter months in Ohio, a time that often feels dark, cold, and isolating. Nevertheless, there is a beauty to an Ohio winter and the pause it gives you to reevaluate your life. “Northern Lights” is about coming to terms with your past and embracing the present. It is a rejection of regret.
The songs on this record feel like they belong together. If love, loss, and hope from each member could morph into an indie-folk concept album, this is it. Hear it in the love letter to a hometown girlfriend found in “Fly Right,” and also the desire to receive more letters in “Oh Mama Won’t You Write Me.” These songs are meant to be played side-by-side. Even the dusty instrumentation of “Let Down” and “Summertime Whiskey” sends the listener on a journey into a simpler time.
“This album feels different than anything we’ve done in the past. We’re very simple people, all three of us. I think the album reflects that, and I hope it captures something you probably can’t describe yourself, but that speaks to you.” Dev says. “And as far as the message, it’s just shared experiences,” says the band.
Oliver Hazard is the result of some conscientious kismet, and a unique creative kinship between its three band members. At their essence, they are indie-folk seemingly meant to be accidentally discovered—at a bar somewhere in the Midwest–sung by three earnest, harmonizing musicians, who make you turn your head and feel like not giving up just yet.
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All shows are rain or shine. In case of heavy rain or inclement weather, alternative location will be at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center. Change of location will be made and announced no later than 10:00am the day of the show.
A portion of ticket sales goes to Spruce Peak Cares’ partner charities: Vermont Foodbank, Meals on Wheels, Clarina Howard Nichols Center, United Way of Lamoille County, The Current, and the North Country Animal League. Learn more at https://www.sprucepeak.com/sprucepeak-cares.