Born To Wander
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Born To Wander

Denver, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Jazz Americana




"PRESS QUOTES compiled"


Top 40, CMJ Jazz Chart
Top 30, RELIX album Chart
Top 50, Best P!nk cover songs,

“…perfect balance. Jazz? Americana? Old Timey? Forget the labels.”
-KUCI Radio, CA

“…encompasses a huge swath of the American Songbook in an incredibly organic and human way”
-The Mirror, CO

“…soulful and amazing”
-The Scene, CO

“…classic coffee shop scat”
-KAMP Radio, AZ

“KLCC loves Born To Wander”
-KLCC, Eugene OR

“no genre left unclaimed”
-WTJU, Charlottesville VA
@born2wanderband -

"Born To Wander Find Their Path"

Born to Wander find their path
By David Ochoa
On September 15, 2014

As the first track of Born To Wander’s new self-titled album begins, you’re introduced to the types of sounds that you’d probably expect from three musicians who spend their days teaching jazz: a swinging acoustic bass, Freddie Green style accompaniment, and smoky vocals over Irving Berlin’s “I Used To Be Color Blind.”

It should come as a surprise then that the next track begins with a choir of overdubbed vocals as it introduces “Follow,” a song more associated with Richie Havens then Red Garland.

“We spent a lot of time trying to identify material we thought that we could connect with, that were really great songs with a wide viewpoint of what the Great American Songbook is,” said Erik Applegate, bassist in Born To Wander.

The attention to programming is evident. While Born To Wander’s album features a helping of jazz standards, they also take on material written by Joni Mitchell, Hank Williams Sr., Brian May of the rock band Queen and Alecia Moore or, as she’s more commonly known, P!NK.

Born To Wander was first formed in the fall of 2009 as a collaborative effort between singer Kate Skinner, guitarist Steve Kovalcheck and Applegate.

At the time, Applegate was teaching in his current position as Associate Professor of Music, while Kovalcheck was a recent addition to the UNC school of music faculty and Skinner was in the midst of her graduate studies.

“Years ago, Steve and I were talking about trying to put something together and I was trying to think about what would be interesting, what would be­–maybe–a little bit of a different kind of thing that would be challenging, but still fun and listenable, and immediately we thought, ‘Lets ask Kate,’” Applegate said.

Although Skinner, who studied jazz piano and orchestral conducting during her time at UNC, is an accomplished jazz pianist, Born To Wander features her exclusively on vocals.

“She seemed really interested in that because she just thought it would be a fun environment where…she could do something different too,” explained Applegate.

While there’s no doubt that all the musicians involved are great improvisers well versed in the jazz tradition, the decision seems to be to allow that tradition to establish the foundation for the music instead of overwhelming it.

In essence, the nuance and language associated with traditional acoustic jazz gently percolates in the background, acting as a line of continuity as the group traverses a wide range of songs such as Frank Loesser’s “Never Will I Marry” and Stevie Wonder’s “I Can’t Help It.”

While the music has a relaxed and organic feeling to it, it involved a certain level of artistic decision-making. \
“It’s collaborative, so anything we bring in we’re thinking, ‘I think this would be good for us, this will be fun for us, and serves a certain purpose within the repertoire,’” he said.

“I watch really great artists and I listen to what they do and it’s easy to think that things are just happening. I don’t think that’s often the case. I think there’s a lot of consideration that goes into: what is the material going to be, how are we going to put it together, how is it going to suit me, how am I going to suit that material? And there’s a lot be said for leaving things out,” Applegate said.

While the creative intention is present in the music, it’s not the prevailing sentiment.

In their best moments, Born To Wander invites listeners in to connect with them through familiar-feeling music that encompasses a huge swath of the American Songbook in an incredibly organic and human way.

Born To Wander will release their album on October 1st.
An album release show will be held on September 18th at the Moxi Theater in Greeley.

Advance copies of the self-titled album will be available for purchase. Ticket’s are $8 advance/$10 day of. Doors open at 8 - Mirror (CO)

"Born To Wander: perfect balance"

Born To Wander, Born To Wander (indie)

Guitar female vocal bass in perfect balance. Jazz? Americana? Old Timey? Forget the labels. The picking is personable and precise and the singing expressive and gorgeous. The tunes stretch from Irving Berlin to Joni Mitchell, from Mose Allison to Hank Williams. It's all fine. My faves: "Follow", "Everybody's Crying Mercy", "Wonder Why" and "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair".

Hobart Taylor
Los Angeles, CA
November, 2014 - KUCI-FM, Los Angeles CA

"Born To Wander: soulful and amazing"

This is the debut album for Born to Wander and I have very high expectations for their future. The album is very soulful and amazing.

Kate Skinner’s vocals will serenade you to sleep and the combination of the bass and guitars with her voice are a match made in musical heaven. The album is the perfect soundtrack for walking along a leaf-filled path on a chilly fall day. While your walking on that path, you may want to bust out some dance moves too.

Each track jumps out and grabs you by the eardrums and wont let go, in the best way. The scatting that Skinner does while she is singing takes you back to the golden days of jazz. “Wonder Why” is the stand-out track on the album. The song reminds me of Frank Sinatra, if he was a woman. The album is so soothing, and captivates you from the beginning to the end.

By Scene Magazine • Posted on November 1, 2014 - The Scene, CO


Still working on that hot first release.



How do you describe Born To Wander, a band that can make the top of the jazz and the jam band charts?

“soulful and amazing” -The Scene, CO

“no genre left unclaimed” -WTJU Radio, Charlottesville VA

“perfect balance. Jazz? Americana? Old Timey? Forget the labels.” -KUCI Radio, Los Angeles CA


Whatever it is, the music of Born To Wander is definitely honest and stripped-down. Engaging. Soulful jazz-americana with an acoustic aesthetic. Comparisons to other bands are difficult at best. The unique sound comes from the instrumentation (vocals, guitar, bass), the songs themselves, and the well-traveled imaginations of the band mates, Kate Skinner (vocals), Steve Kovalcheck (guitar), and Erik Applegate (bass).


Steve calls it “jazz meets roots,” But Kate avoids the labels and says “we just want to play songs that groove and feel good, and we want to create an intimate setting…like we’re playing in your living room.” Erik adds, “One constant that runs through all of our material is a connection to the blues- the spirit that is at the core of all American popular music.” Even the band name was an attempt to describe their wide-ranging musical tastes and influences.


On their self-titled debut release, Born To Wander focused their imaginations on a truly diverse collection of songs from the widest view of Americana. Irving Berlin, Hank Williams, Richie Havens, Michael Jackson, even Queen.  “We were going for a nostalgic mood, but with a forward-thinking approach,” says Kate with a smile. “It’s stuff you can either dance to or hold hands to,” says Erik, “laugh at or cry to.”


The response has been strong- Born To Wander reached the CMJ Jazz top 40 and the RELIX Magazine/jam band top 30, and their version of “Glitter In The Air” made the NonHollywood list of 50 Best P!NK Cover songs.

The band has been performing and exploring music together since 2009. “Right away there was a strong musical and personal chemistry,” says Erik, “it was like despite our very different upbringings and backgrounds, that somehow a lot of the same kinds of bands impacted us.”  Their gigging home was a renovated old-time movie theater, and that setting inspired them to try out all sorts of originals and covers, from Joni Mitchell to Alison Krauss to Grover Washington, Jr. to Bonnie Raitt. It was always a democracy- each of the members having an equal say in what songs they did and how they were treated. “That was a great time for us,” says Erik. “We really got to spend a lot of time performing together and developing our sound.” They loved the vibe that playing without a drummer gave the music- with each person having more musical space to affect the overall texture of the sound.


The mix of the individuals adds to what Born To Wander is, too. Kate grew up in Utah singing bluegrass and studying classical piano, and went on to become an accomplished jazz pianist, and award-winning composer as well as a singer. Steve grew up around all sorts of great musicians in the guitar mecca of Nashville, then was a member of Columbia Records artist Robinella and the CC String Band, with whom he got to work with all-star producer Russ Titelman. Midwest-born Erik has played in everything from pit orchestras to heavy metal bands, and has been called a “top-notch acoustic bass performer” by So, as you can imagine, their combined sound is their own.


So what’s next for the band? Of course, they will be playing shows in support of the album, but they are already hard at work writing songs for their follow-up EP of originals, due out in Summer 2015.

Band Members