Chimney Choir skillfully interweaves genres resulting in a “folk meets world music sound, steeped in psychedelia” (Concerted Efforts). All multi-instrumentalists, writers and singers - Kevin Larkin, David Rynhart and Kris Drickey change instruments (sometimes within a song) and sing in three-part harmony all while balancing field recordings and computer synths with traditional acoustic instrumentation. Their critically acclaimed (feather) and (turtle) EPs were recorded in an architectural antique warehouse, which gives a hint at the unique character of their sound. The band tours extensively across the US and in Europe, and has shared the stage with The Lumineers, David Wax Museum, Lost in the the Trees, Paper Bird, Balmorhea, and many more.
The background of the members is a diverse as their sound: David Rynhart toured in Europe with music/poetry troupe the Voice and the Verse, founded the traditional Irish quartet Bohda, and has been called "Denver's best kept secret" (Colorado Music Buzz) after releasing 2 solo efforts in 2010. Kevin Larkin records neo-Spaghetti Western folk under the name Pineross and toured for years with the Mississippi's Mayhem String Band, sharing the stage with B.B. King, the Avett Brothers, and Grace Potter. Their music was featured on SIRIUS/XM and SPIN magazine called their live show "The Best Time You'll Have All Month".
In February of 2012, Chimney Choir released (ladder) - a full length live album recorded in an old pipe organ chapel. The recording features guest percussionist Carl Sorensen (Swayback, John Common) playing a junk yard kit comprised of glass bottles, beer can shakers, a bike wheel, nails and a trash can lid. The interludes between the songs are sound collages made entirely out of banter with the audience and any found sound from the evening of January 22nd, 2012. (ladder) is an artistic interpretation of an actual concert experience capturing the synergy of the band and the crowd on a studio quality recording. Chimney Choir is currently recording new material for release in the Spring of 2013.
- Nominated "Best Americana Band" in Denver's Westword entertainment magazine
- Interview and story on Colorado Public Radio's "Colorado Matters"
- Performed over 150 concerts across the United States
- June tour through Germany, Holland, and Belgium
- Music featured in Stept Productions film "The Eighty Six" (winner of best jib at iF3 Film Festival)
- Collaboration in the works with Denver Public Schools choir and drumline
Kevin Larkin - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion, Harmonica, mandolin, Accordion, samples
Kris Drickey - Banjo, Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
David Rynhart - Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Percussion, flute
(ladder) live LP
- released February 25, 2012
- released August 19, 2011
- released May 6, 2011
David Rynhart - "A Passing Comet" (2010)
David Rynhart - "By the Hollow Tree" (2010)
Pineross - "Detached" (2010)
Pineross - "Pineross" (2006)
Mayhem String Band - "Land Pirates" (2009)
All in their minds: The incurably eclectic Chimney Choir takes folk to its outer limits
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Much like the town in David Lynch's Blue Velvet, Denver seems like a really normal place until you s...Much like the town in David Lynch's Blue Velvet, Denver seems like a really normal place until you scratch the surface. But listen to the music that comes out of there — from 16 Horsepower to Laura Goldhamer & the Silvernail — and it becomes clear that something is a little, um ... off.
"Yeah, there's definitely a dark kind of folk thing happening here," says Kevin Larkin, who co-helms Colorado's no-less-quirky Chimney Choir with Kris Drickey and David Rynhart. "What's funny is that me and Kris lived in Boulder before moving to Denver, and there it's the exact opposite. Everything that comes out of Boulder is really sunny."
Where Chimney Choir falls on that spectrum is as tricky to pinpoint as the band's musical influences. Larkin, who spent some formative Denver years going to see gothic country bands like Slim Cessna's Auto Club, also played traditional Irish music with Rynhart in Boulder. He then went on to join a Mississippi string band for five years, before returning to Denver to form Chimney Choir in late 2010.
"We reconnected about a year and a half ago," says Larkin. "I'd played a lot of bluegrass, and David played tons of Irish music; he actually lived over there for a while, playing flute and guitar. And we all have diverse influences. He played classical piano and worked up a bunch of Jobim pieces, and I really love early '90s hip-hop and samba music. So we have this foundation where we can jump genres a little bit."
Apart from a lyrical nod to Jay-Z — "I got 99 problems / And three of them are girls / We argue and we yawn / At every wonder in the world" — there's nothing resembling hip-hop on (ladder), the art-folk trio's new debut album. And no, the track "Ace of Spades" is not a cover of the Motorhead classic.
Still, (ladder) is dynamically diverse, with band members trading instruments that include accordion and banjo, samples and synths, flute and piano. During live shows, a drum pedal and Samsonite suitcase take the place of the cajón hand drum that's used in the studio. They also serve up stunning three-part harmonies that should please any Haunted Windchimes fans in the crowd.
The seven-minute "All In Your Mind" epitomizes the band's eclecticism. Epic yet accessible, it starts off sounding like a jumpy silent film soundtrack, before venturing into Dan Hicks and Kurt Weill terrain, a vocal buildup suggesting Pink Floyd and the Incredible String Band, a mournful piano-and-Mellotron interlude, a swaggering "Hey Jude"-style coda, and maybe a little Railroad Earth and Phish thrown in along the way.
Recorded last month before a live audience in an old pipe organ chapel, (ladder) is a big sonic jump from the band's home-recorded EPs. It was financed by a $3,000 Kickstarter campaign that, Larkin notes, "covered the cost of recording, mastering and duplicating it — just barely. It's kind of hard to ask people for money. But, you know, a lot of people, even if they like you, they're not gonna pay to download your music. It doesn't even cross their minds."
So the electronic busking turned out to be worth it. After all, how long would it have taken to earn that much on the road?
"Oh, I don't know," says Larkin, "probably about 10 years."
(ladder) review (March 2012)
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The mixing of artistic oddity and bombastic folk melodies makes Chimney Choir’s debut full length, (...The mixing of artistic oddity and bombastic folk melodies makes Chimney Choir’s debut full length, (ladder), a snappy and unique listen. It’s really good is what I’m trying to say here and you should give it a whirl. Chimney Choir takes traditional instruments, guitar, mandolin, banjo, piano, and augments them with kitchen sink percussion, occasional computerized sampling, and freaky vocal interplays. If you checked out my reviews last year of The Low Anthem and The David Wax Museum then your grazing in the right pasture.
(ladder) was recorded live and in front of an audience in a pipe organ chapel outside of Denver and at times it sounds like the Holy Spirit could’ve been involved. On “Ace Of Spades” Kris Drickey takes the lead vocals and the result is a romp through a roaring 20’s spaceship ride. Other highlights include the sing-a-long ready “All The Time” and the album closing ruckus “Pie In The Sky.” Check, check, check their tourdates page because it looks like Chimney Choir will be spending the next couple of months on the road.
Steal This Track (Feb 2012)
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Ah, Presidents Day! Time to don your presidential finery, stuff yourself with presidential goodies a...Ah, Presidents Day! Time to don your presidential finery, stuff yourself with presidential goodies and roam the neighborhood, singing presidential carols. Yes, if there’s one thing that we associate with Presidents Day — other than this pounding headache from having an extra night out this weekend — it’s music. And so, without further ado, Steal This Track brings you your Presidents Day presents — free Colorado music from freaky indie folkies Chimney Choir and eclectic electronic artist Sonaris. Your forefathers insist that you steal.
We first introduced you to Chimney Choir with a stolen track back in July. Since that time, the trio of Kris Drickey, David Rynhart and Kevin Larkin has continued to refine its eccentric brand of Americana into something truly original. Borrowing from the musicians’ diverse backgrounds, and incorporating some experimental and progressive influences, Chimney Choir has become a band to watch in Denver.
In fact, the best way to experience the threesome’s unique blend of traditional and out-there music is live, when traditional instruments are combined with suitcases, trash cans and even a ladder to create a sonic and visual performance unlike most you’ll see. You can catch the band this Saturday, Feb 25, at the Hi-Dive, performing with Dan Craig and the Raven and the Writing Desk. Best of all, you’ll be able to take home a souvenir, in the form of the band’s new live album, “(ladder).” We’ve heard it and it’s delightful. Whether you’re able to make it to the show or not, steal “All in Your Mind” to get an idea of what this group can do. You won’t be disappointed.
Hi-dive show review - Jan 7th, 2012
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Next up was Chimney Choir, an immensely innovative and talented indie folk-inspired rock band from D...Next up was Chimney Choir, an immensely innovative and talented indie folk-inspired rock band from Denver. It's a little difficult to describe what goes on in a Chimney Choir show, but only because so much awesomeness happens in different ways it can be a bit overwhelming to catch it all at once. Chimney Choir is the trio of David Rynhart, Kevin Larkin and Kris Drickey. The three all share vocal duties, often resulting in beautifully strong three part harmonies. They also rotate through an impressive array of instruments; guitar, banjo, keyboard, percussion, and synthesizer. Kevin Larkin also added mandolin and harmonica to the mix at times, and as an added bonus, drummer Carl Sorensen added an extra layer of goodness to their sound with a seemingly junkyard inspired drum kit - glass bottles, a trash can lid, shakers made from tin cans, a large gear from an engine.
Seeing the crazy collection of instruments on stage before Chimney Choir played made me wonder how they'd turn that chaotic display into ordered sound, but once the music began it was absolutely clear this band had a method to their madness. They began their set with "Vacation" from their album Turtle, a modern folk song with such intricate harmonies and polyrhythms that simply calling it folk doesn't fully describe what the song encompasses.
With factory-like precision, the members of the band would then trade places and instruments between each subsequent song, showcasing each member's multi-instrumentalism. Their songs ranged from fun and energetic to more solemn, introspective and soulful but each and every one was a powerful display of creativity through performance and a testament to good songwriting - an incredible journey through sound from start to finish. Hearing their recorded music is one thing, but if you haven't seen this band live, you haven't seen the wizard behind the machine and aren't getting the whole picture - this is definitely a band to go see.
Hi-dive show preview - Jan 4th, 2012
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"Their harmonies fit together like Mayan stones. Their song structures keep you guessing. Even the ..."Their harmonies fit together like Mayan stones. Their song structures keep you guessing. Even the instrumentation is cool: Synths, samples, banjo, acoustic guitar... Kevin Larkin on mandolin bangs out rollercoaster cross pick solos. Kris Drickey’s vocals are somewhere between soul, folk and gospel, almost like Dusty Springfield. David Rynhart writes complex, stick to your ear type songs on guitar and piano... Chimney Choir is a spooky amusement park of sounds."
(feather) EP review
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In December last year three multi instrumentalists – Kevin Larkin, David Rynhardt and Kris Drickey -...In December last year three multi instrumentalists – Kevin Larkin, David Rynhardt and Kris Drickey - got together in Denver Colorado and less than six months later recorded their first EP over a weekend. I think they may be fibbing: I don’t think any one could sound so good, so together, and so effortless in such a short space of time.
Chimney Choir, with their use of banjo, mandolin, and guitars coupled with exquisite harmonies, manage to sound as old as the Rocky Mountains; yet with synths, samples and soundscapes blended in make the five tracks on ‘Feather’ sound fresh and vibrant.
Listening to ‘Feather’ is an eerie experience, especially on their take on R L Burnside’s ‘Going Down South’ and ‘The Rattlesnake Attack (Part II) where the samples make for a claustrophobic sound. I would normally now complain that this is only an EP and not an album and say how I hope that there is another release soon. Well, there is. Their second EP ‘Turtle’ has just been released, and I’ve just bought it.
(feather) EP review
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David Rynhart drew from a diverse pool of influences, including folk, blues and Eastern European mus...David Rynhart drew from a diverse pool of influences, including folk, blues and Eastern European music, on his excellent solo effort, By the Hollow Tree. He also founded the traditional Irish quartet Bodha. Kevin Larkin, one of Rynhart's bandmates in Chimney Choir, released music under the Pineross moniker, which fused Irish, Spanish and American Western music. So it's no surprise, given their affinity for all types of music, that these two multi-instrumentalists and vocalists (along with the equally talented Kris Drickey) would do something quite special. With impressive harmonies and acoustic instruments throughout the disc, Chimney Choir creates music that at times sounds like decades-old backwoods folk ("Goin' Down South") and conjures early Harry Nilsson ("Come What May") at others. There are just five songs on this debut EP, and they're all keepers.
(feather) EP review
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Chimney Choir is a Denver-based "experimental Electro-Acoustic trio," according to their PR, a descr...Chimney Choir is a Denver-based "experimental Electro-Acoustic trio," according to their PR, a description that doesn't nearly touch on how awesome they are. They have put out a five-song EP that is the most interesting debut I listened to this month, and I certainly don't mean interesting to mean anything close to boring, because this is as excited as I have gotten listening to anything in the last six months. They have a very retro feel – that's due mostly to the "primal percussion" – and the composition is excellent, as are the vocals. I would compare it to the Alan Lomax tribute to come out of Swallow Hill, in terms of overall atmosphere and pure quality. They are supposed to be a knockout, live, which I don't doubt since this is a collaboration of three seasoned artists. The musicians – multi-instrumentalists Kevin Larkin (mandolin, harmonica, synth, sampling), David Rynhart (guitar, flute, piano) and Kris Drickey (banjo, guitar, percussion) – said the songs on Feather were recorded over a weekend in a South Denver warehouse "whose unique character found its way into the mix."
The trio began collaborating in December last year after Rynhart had been touring Europe with a poetry/music troupe called "The Voice and the Verse" while Larkin had been performing under the name Pineross in Mississippi, which tells you a lot about the backcountry texture. According to the PR sheet, "an impromptu tour of the South formed an instant musical synergy leading Larkin to relocate to Denver soon after." That's a good thing for people who get their hands on this CD: Feather has a good karmic feel and is a pleasure to listen to. It happens to be my top recommendation this month, No. 1 out of the five CDs I reviewed.
Steal This Track: UMS Edition, Featuring Chimney Choir
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'Chimney Choir’s delicate, dusty indie pop is the result of three veteran Colorado multi-instrumenta...'Chimney Choir’s delicate, dusty indie pop is the result of three veteran Colorado multi-instrumentalists who just came together in late 2010. David Rynhart, who plays guitar, flute and piano, is best known by local followers of traditional Irish music for his years in Bodha. Kevin Larkin, on mandolin, harmonica, sampler(!) and accordion, has recorded ghost town bedroom folk under the name Pineross for the past five years. Rounding out the trio is secret weapon Kris Drickey, who accompanies her hauntingly soulful vocals with guitar, banjo, percussion and violin.
Together, the threesome released its debut EP, “(feather)”, back in May and then set off to introduce appreciative audiences across the country to its unique take on Americana. Carefully crafted vocal harmonies, sparse and organic instrumentation, and the occasional odd electronic blurp provide an ethereal setting for earnest lyrics and memorable melodies. If you’ve ever sat on the porch of a cabin in the mountains, looked up at the stars and wondered why people can’t be nicer to one another, then the music of Chimney Choir will feel like home.'
Ace of Spades
Meet Me in the Middle
Goin' Down South
Pie in the Sky
All the Time
The Rattlesnake Attack, Part 1
The Rattlesnake Attack, Part 2
Come What May
Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo
There are no upcoming dates at this time.