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New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Rock Pop


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"Bright Sides"

Album Review
Same Height Relation (Fun Machine)

Pittsfield, Mass.-based Hector on Stilts churn out impossibly bright, unnervingly melodic music. The opening track, “Taxi,” just might be the most polished three minutes of guitar pop ever to grace our region. (As a breed, we music critics are prone to momentary enthusiasms and hyperbole, but this is a statement that I’ve sat on for a good half-year—and will stand behind a year from now.) Same Height Relation is shot through with bolts of melodic sunshine; cousins Jeb and Clayton Colwell simply seem to release the string of their helium-infused popcraft and let it sail into the sunny upper reaches. One has to wonder if there’s even a market for this kind of music anymore: music that hails craft over catharsis; that finds strength in levity; that seems to nod a little bit toward everyone from XTC to Colin Hay to the Beach Boys. Here, harmonies swell and guitar accents spiral; “Winterland” is a tune continuously arriving, glassy guitars and lifting harmonies thrusting it beautifully and breathlessly upwards. As keenly intelligent as it is brightly melodic, Hector on Stilts’ Same Height Relation reeks of perfectionism and popsmithery.

-Erik Hage - Metroland (Albany, NY)

"Hector Reaches High - Local Band Gains Outside Attention"

Hector reaches high
Local band gains outside attention
By Benning W. De La Mater, Berkshire Eagle Staff

The limousine appears at random times during the day and night.

It's usually parked on North Street, in front of the Cooper Center.

It's old school: a 1990 Cadillac Brougham.

But this isn't your typical limousine.

It isn't carting millionaires to the theater or high school kids to the prom.

The limo is the calling card of Hector On Stilts, a Pittsfield-based indie rock band that is making waves up and down the East Coast.

The band travels to shows in the limo, with equipment on board. Maybe even with a few groupies, too.

When playing in an unfamiliar city, band members ask to sleep on audience members' couches.
Hector On Stilts know how to market themselves, and they have fun with it. This promotional hand-out spoofs Berkshire Living magazine.

They'll lie about how they got their name. And they have fans who work for them for free.

"They're fun and fearless, very creative," said manager Jeffrey Mirel. "But it's never forced."

The band is made up of keyboardists, guitarists and cousins Jeb Colwell, 34, and Clayton Colwell, 34, as well as drummer John Brodeur, 30, and bassist Jenn McCarron, 27.

They'll play the Dream Away Lodge in Becket tomorrow night at 9:30ish at the Halloween bash. In the coming weeks, the band that boasts more than 1,200 fans worldwide on its MySpace site will also do shows in Albany, N.Y., Burlington, Vt., Washington, D.C., New York City and Pittsfield.

Kudos and accomplishments also have come the band's way. Metroland, Albany's alternative weekly publication, dubbed Hec-tor On Stilts "The Best Pop Band" in the Albany media area in 2005. And ABC Family's now-defunct show "Three Moons Over Mi-lford" played the band's song "Heart In Your Hand" during a September episode.

Hector's sound is difficult to explain. Take Beach Boys harmony, Hall and Oates falsettos, mix in the funkiness of The Cars, throw in a little Wilco off-the-wallism, a splash of Latin spice, and you have only summed up half of their latest album, "Same Height Relation," released in June 2005.

Formed in Tucson

The band was formed in Tucson, Ariz., when Jeb and Clayton were 15. Their fathers, Paul and Ralph, respectively, were co-founding members of Up With People, the Super Bowl halftime show group which the duo describes as a "Pep-sodent-fresh glee club." And both grew up listening to a wide range of music, from The Beatles to Afrika Bambaataa to bluegrass.

During their college years, Hec-tor broke up, but the cousins sent each other cassette tapes with their latest ideas. After college — Clayton studied classical music, Jeb Spanish — the two reunited and started playing coffee shops in Tucson.

They added two members and started making a name for themselves on the West Coast, playing in Los Angeles, San Diego and Mexico.

After two years, they wanted to sample the other side of the country — New York City in particular.

"For me," Clayton said, "it was in my head that we should move even though we had a good thing going on the West Coast."

"We love Tucson; our hearts belong there," Jeb said, "but we wanted to give New York City a try."

The two plotted. They were working at the Canyon Ranch resort in Tucson at the time, Jeb a waiter, Clayton a physical trainer. And they knew they could score jobs at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, which was relatively close to New York City.

They said they knew nothing about the Berkshires, but discovering that Pittsfield had affordable rental opportunities made it seem all the better. Proximity to college areas such as Springfield and Albany also made sense for developing a fan base, so in June 2001, the duo left the other bandmates and traveled to Lenox.

They worked clubs like La Cocina in Pittsfield, The Larkin in Albany, and spots in Northampton and Boston. A lot of open-mic nights, too.

Then came Sept. 11, 2001.

"Creatively, after Sept. 11, we stopped. For about three months, nothing happened," Clayton said. "We were questioning if this was really the place we should be."

"Should we even be doing music?" Jeb said. "Does it really mean anything?"

Headed to New York

Eventually, they headed to New York City and played open mics in the winter that year. The clubs were filled with other groups that were waiting to hit the stage.

"So you ended up all playing for each other," Clayton said. "It was a good way for us to fine-tune our act."

They started forming relationships, creating a buzz, booking more gigs. Soon Albany and Pittsfield clubs became their home crowds. Frequent trips to New York and Boston showed them what they were reaching for.

Rumors, all started by the Col-wells, started to spread about the origins of the band's name. One centered on "Hector," a weird guy from their Tucson days who used to throw rocks at their dog.

Think of weirdest name

"It's all a bunch of (expletive)," Clayton said. "I like that, though. It goes along with our quirkiness. Really, we just picked it out of a hat. We were trying to think of the weirdest name possible."

Along the way, band members came and went. Ten months ago, Brodeur, a veteran drummer from the Albany music scene and frontman for The Suggestions, joined the band.

In June, the cousins put an ad on Craig's List looking for a bassist. McCarron, who is based in Albany and also plays with Evolution Revolution and Paddy Kilrain, said she was having a bad day — her head hanging low — when she spotted an ad on the ground.

"I picked it up and said, 'I want that job,' " McCarron said.

The cousins said the band is the strongest it's ever been, and all four are contributing to the creative process.

"We have four equally talented members now," Jeb said. "Each person brings something new."

Mirel, the band's manager, said that while he handles a lot of the promotional and marketing duties for Hector, he's impressed by some of the innovative ways the band sells itself during shows.

"Jeb blew me away last year during a show at Revolution Hall (in Troy, N.Y.)," Mirel said. "He had all these T-shirts made with the names of each song they played that night on the front. After each song, he'd rip off the shirt and pass it to the crowd."

Jeb wore 12 T-shirts that night — a virtual human setlist — and Mirel said he's seen every one of them worn at subsequent Hector shows by the fans who caught them.

Besides the limo, another icon of the band is the trademark white crash helmet Jeb dons, even when he's not playing shows.

He paid $3 for it at a Salvation Army and explained its use like this: "For so many years, I was uneasy with my height (6-foot-8). Now I embrace it. And the helmet is sort of a pronouncement of that. I'm a walking billboard for the band."

Man at the mixing board

While Jeb may be the marketing tool, Clayton is the man behind the mixing board. Clayton said the band already has eight new songs "in the hopper," and in an unconventional move, Hector might not make another album for a while.

"Same Height Relation" is the band's second release; the first was "Pretty Please" in 2000.

"We're toying with the idea of slowly releasing clusters of songs on the Web a little at a time. Feed fans' appetites that way for now," Clayton said. "The key is keeping people interested."

Both cousins have abandoned Canyon Ranch. Jeb now waits tables at Trattoria Rustica in Pitts-field and Zinc in Lenox. Clayton gives guitar and piano lessons out of his home.

Neither is ashamed of the "pop" label bestowed upon their music, a designation that sometimes elicits scoffs and notions of simplicity.

"That's what we are," Jeb said. "There will always be labels, and that's fine. They help people communicate."

The group still makes an annual trip to the West Coast. And Jeb recently returned from Europe, where he laid a foundation for a tour there.

Fans have also been recruited to help in the Hectern program.

Hecterns — Hector On Stilts interns — are fans who help promote the band by spreading CDs and fliers, scoring gigs at clubs for them, and creating a buzz in their area.

Miranda Miller, 19, is a Hectern from Lenox who is in her first year at Syracuse University.

She said she first saw the band a year ago and has been infatuated ever since.

Helps out at shows

"I sit at their merch table, help them set up at shows, carry stuff for them, help design posters and stuff," she said. "It's fun. I get to go to shows for free and listen to them rehearse."

Miller even accompanied the band to Boston on a recent trip. But first the members had to meet Mom to make sure everything was cool.

Miller said she has copied "Same Height Relation" and passed it on to each student on her dorm floor.

"It's so cool. When I come home from class, I hear it playing down the hall," she said.

For now, band members hope to ride this wave of guerrilla marketing for as long as possible.

They say the ultimate goal is not rock stardom, seven-figure record deals or even a new limousine.

No, their goal is sustenance.

"We never thought we'd be here in Pittsfield this long, but now, almost six years later, here we are," Clayton said. "And Pittsfield is still our strongest base of fans."

"The goal, the be-all, is to make it a self-sustaining business," Jeb said. "We like doing it. Playing music live is where we're at." - The Berkshire Eagle

"Fun Size EP Review"

12/23/07 - Centered in Albany, New York, the melodic-pop/softcore punk quartet Hector on Stilts have shown fans what they have been doing since releasing their debut album Same Height Relation in 2005 with a mini-record which they entitled Fun Size. After establishing a place for themselves as a crossbreed where The Kinks meet Camera Obscura, Hector on Stilts won over college fans statewide. At the core of the band are cousins Clayton and Jeb Colwell on guitar and vocals, with Jeb additionally playing keyboards. Rounding out the band are bassist/vocalist Jennifer McCarron and drummer/vocalist John Brodeur. The band’s honeycombed rhythms, subtle chord dynamics, lilting vocal harmonies, and beams of melodic swells have become a trademark for Hector on Stilts sharing these qualities with bands like The Magnetic Fields, Stars, and alternative-pop craftsmen Fastball and Spacehog. Hector on Stilts’ music pops with catchy melodic hooks and tapping beats that blur the line between wistful synth-pop balladry and bubbling movements that hone a soft-punk luster.

Though Fun Size only has four tracks, the tunes are very likable and give fans a taste of where Hector on Stilts want to take their music, particularly in increasing the volume and breadth of their vocal harmonies, which at times are reminiscent of some boy bands like The Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. This isn’t meant to knock down HOS’ record. Conversely, the correlation is really meant to show that all band members play an active role in the vocal melodies and that HOS work together as a solid unit. The jangly-pop confection of “Certain Surgeon” is deliriously jovial while the tranquilizing guitar drifts and mellow drum clatters of “He’s in Bed” have a refined acoustic folk bellowing. The bubbling keys and tapping beats of “4th Tunnel” have a soft-punk vibe while the melodic-pop bolts of “1880” display a tuneful ruffling liken to Camera Obscura. The record is candled by melodic-pop filaments which keep the listener’s feet thumping along to the tracks gleefully.

Hector on Stilts’ latest record Fun Size is a healthy dose of fun. They bridge together the world of boy bands with the world of indie-pop. Their vocal harmonies are perfectly aligned and their melodic swells are nicely arranged. Though the band offered much more of themselves on their debut album Same Height Relation, Fun Size offers samples of their gently ruffled synths and plump guitars dotted by lightly bobbing rhythms. No longer a rookie in the domain of melodic-pop, Hector on Stilts are forging a comfortable niche for themselves where having a likable sound does not mean that they have to be generic sounding. Their music shows the band members' own identities, and with all of them handling the vocal parts in their own way, each one is given an equal measure of expression and creativity so no one sounds lost in the shuffle.

"Editor's Picks"

By Jim Macnie

Some pop seems natural thundering along making grand statements - take U2's, for example. But some pop lives in its own, much smaller space in an equally convincing manner. There are several song by Hector On Stilts that fit in this latter scenario. Bopping through the new "Same Height Relation," it's impossible not to swoon to at least six or seven tunes. That's a damn good track record for an indie-pop disc." - Providence Phoenix


By Greg Haymes

Out of the wilds of Pittsfield, Mass. come alt-popsters Hector on Stilts. Led by the dead-on harmony singing of cousins Jeb and Clayton Colwell, HoS has churned up a perfect little pop disc with "Same Height Relation" on the indie Fun Machine label. It's chockfull of great vocals and melodies with a big ol' pile of ear-catching hooks. Oh yeah, some great playing, too. This is the kind of pop music that you'll be singing for weeks after you hear it. - Albany Times Union

"Best Pop Band - 2005"

Pittsfield, Mass.-based cousins Clayton and Jeb Colwell, better known as pop team Hector on Stilts, have charisma, talent, and smoldering good looks, all of which are well-known prerequisites for a fabulous pop band. They possess lovely buttery voices and rock tight harmonies, and their quirky onstage banter adds to the appeal of an already great live show. The duo’s brand-spanking-new disc, 'Same Height Relation," is highly recommended. - Metroland Newsweekly - Best of the Capital Region (New York)

"Good Old Boys"

By Erik Hage

It seems like there’s a trend in the area to secrete music away in nooks and backrooms, away from the bar—the upstairs at the Larkin, for example (after the little second-floor bar disappeared) or the backrooms of the Ale House or Lark Tavern. Whether separating the audience from the lumpen barroom proletariat is a good idea or not is debatable (and, of course, it’s often born of necessity). But in this case, it certainly doesn’t grant a band the opportunity to convert a crowd of unsuspecting new listeners.

And given a crack at all in attendance at the Lark Saturday night (and not just those sequestered at back tables) Berkshires residents Hector On Stilts would have won a lot of new fans. A few patrons from the busy barroom moved into the causeway for various spells, perking up their ears a bit, drawn in by the sound. But Hector On Stilts aren’t a forceful band and need a little space and time to sneak up on you with their smooth washes of sound, bright guitars and lifting harmonies. “Winterland,” which came late in the set, is demonstrative of the band’s appeal, offering a cryptic suggestion over easy, melodic heartswells (“I turned a grain of sand into a winterland. . . .”) then letting the words fall away and bursting wide open into a gorgeously pulsing landscape of sound (early Coldplay is too easy and not wholly accurate a reference, but there’s something to it).

Cousins Jeb (primary singer, really tall, darkhaired) and Clayton (average height, fairheaded) Colwell wove songs in a suggestive and nuanced manner, blending smoothly in vocal harmony and using guitars for color rather than bluster—whether it was Jeb’s ascending line on the clever “Same Height Relation” (a cheekily wistful reference to his towering height) or Clayton’s subtle and strong touches throughout the night. The group—in full-band mode, abetted by a dynamic performance from Suggestions drummer Jason Schultz—inhabited a world of smooth and atmospheric pop-rock hinged on strong, interesting arrangements. They occasionally pitched into something with more of a rock bite, skirting into brightly clever power-pop (a la XTC) or even fuzz-walled, blazing rock (the extended coda to the humorous “Furry Friends”). “Fields,” meanwhile, came off in a folk-poppy vein, like some of the Rembrandts’ work. They also dipped into some Latin-rock territory.

Jeb and Clayton grew up in Tucson, Ariz., and a few years back took up residence near Pittsfield, where they are the first rock group to be involved in that city’s compelling Storefront Artist’s Project (in which creative types rent out abandoned store spaces as studios, the glass front providing a glimpse into the workings of their process). Recently Hector On Stilts have also been at work on an album, and the tracks made available sound promising, particularly the aforementioned, heart-achingly pretty “Winterland.” They haven’t played in Albany recently, but you may have caught them a few years back at the Larkin (at MotherJudge’s late-lamented open mic and their own gigs). - Metroland (Albany, NY)

"Hector on Stilts: Catchy pop"

By Seth Rogovoy, Special to The Eagle

Who knows why they left Tucson, Ariz., for the Berkshires? Who knows why they decided to call themselves Hector on Stilts? What we do know is that the cousin duo of Jeb and Clayton Colwell, who do their band business as Hector on Stilts, write vaporous, ineffable, catchy pop songs that variously recall the Beatles, Steely Dan, U2, and the Police and a host of other easygoing, harmonious artists. Maybe it's their legacy -- their fathers were the co-founders and songwriters for that golly-gee pop outfit, Up With People, in the 1970s, and the six-foot-eight-inch Jeb claims the late Anthony Quinn as his maternal grandfather.

The group also claims the status of first storefront rock band to be part of the Storefront Artist Project in Pittsfield, and they have a terrific new four-song CD chock full of catchy new songs. Catch them on Saturday night at the Dream Away Lodge in Becket (623-8725), starting at 9. Brooklyn-based group The Minors will warm up the crowd.

- The Berkshire Eagle

"Happy Poignant Music"

An interview by Kari Amdahl

How to describe meeting two sincere, dedicated musicians who are cousins and musical collaborators since the 6th grade and don't have big egos getting in their way? Well, they're down to earth and sprightly like their so-called 'pop rock’ songs with beautiful harmonies, adding a folk music sensibility to them.

Jeb Colwell picks me up in the band's black stretch limousine (more fun than your standard van, but just as good for taking equipment to gigs) in appropriately disheveled black hair, black sunglasses, and red and black attire that's both sporty and zany at once. We arrive at Clayton Colwell's barn apartment where he’s brewing fresh coffee for us in equally disheveled blonde locks but in more Berkshiresque long, baggy shorts and a T-shirt. They are very serious about their music, but also laid-back and full of dry humor.

They seem to get along easily in the way relatives are only capable of if they respect each other. And they do. One senses an enormous unspoken understanding between the two, each allowing the other their opinion and time to converse with me. I was impressed by the silent communication that goes on between them. They've known each other all their lives, and it shows.

Jeb and Clayton Colwell are cousins via their fathers, fellow musicians, and are only nine months apart in age. Both grew up primarily in Tucson, Arizona, and though they didn't attend the same school, they saw each other a lot through family gatherings. It was in the sixth grade when they became true buddies, and in eighth grade they began playing music together as a duo.

Clayton plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar, and the drums, and also has received a Masters degree in composition at the University of Cincinnati’s Music Conservatory. In his younger years he played the trombone, but that hasn't carried over into their current music. Jeb started with piano, and didn't play guitar until his twenties, right around when he completed college. Most of the time he plays keyboards with Clayton. He also plays some percussion and the harmonica.

When asked to describe their music in a phrase, a sentence, or the infamous thirty second elevator ride pitch, the Colwells were stumped, but friends and fans have helpfully suggested a few: glam folk; escalator rock (because it lifts you up!); buoyant soul pop; and happy poignant music. Whatever you want to call it, their music is intelligent, gorgeous, compelling and melodic, and deserves to be heard by a wide audience.

Kari Amdahl: On your first album, Pretty Please, I heard songs with only guitar and your voices doing great harmony. It was very beautifully done. Is that typical of your music?
Clayton Colwell: It is and it isn't. It's what we have done, but now we're including more instruments. Those recordings came about when we met a guy named Chris Burroughs who heard us play and approached us about recording. We recorded fourteen songs using two microphones. Very simple. The songs were written for a band but at the time we didn't have one.

KA: The sound is wonderful. There's so much texture, and a lovely simplicity in those songs. [They modestly say thanks.] So, tell me, who's Hector on Stilts? It's just you two, right? And how long has that name been around?
CC: Hector On Stilts is a duo, but we record and perform with some incredible musicians like Adam Michael Rothberg, Conor Meehan and Jay Schultteis.
Jeb Colwell: The name came about because our family band was growing up and people were leaving it and it became our turn to take the reins, so to speak, so we changed the name. Before that we were 'Shocking Experience,' though we weren't shocking at all! So we decided to brainstorm on names. We wanted something that didn't mean anything at all, so we wouldn't have to live up to it.
CC: We've made up some stories over the years about the name because people ask, forgetting it wasn't meant to mean anything. Some people think it refers to Jeb, who is 6'8".
JC: It’s definitely a name that people remember. Last year we played a show in New York City at Arlene's Grocery that was listed in Time Out magazine. At the show some old high school friends were there who had seen our the Hector on Stilts listing in the magazine and wondered if it was the same band they used to see in high school ten years ago. That was cool.

KA: What happened after you became Hector on Stilts?
CC: After getting together musically in eighth grade, we continued to play throughout high school and became a well-known band in Tucson. We entered contests, we produced our own songs, we were young and competitive. We really wanted to do something with it all, but then we went to separate colleges, so we put the band on hold, but would send tapes of new songs back and forth across the country, and we would write together on holiday breaks and summers too.

KA: What was it like growing up in Tucson?
CC: It’s like growing up in outer space, on another planet. I only found this out after I left Tucson and then came back. The landscape and the sense of infinity found in the desert are powerful. I suppose you can sense it elsewhere but Tucson’s setting is pretty striking in its vastness. It’s in a valley, and if you climb up any of the four mountain ranges that surround the town, and look out beyond into the desert, it’s incredible. When I was in high school I played baseball, and we would sometime travel an hour and a half or more to small towns outside of Tucson to play games. The feeling of travelling on a bus in the late afternoon through the Sonora desert is still very vivid for me. I miss Tucson sometimes because it reminds me of a sense of wonderment that I don’t feel as much anymore.

KA: Do you try to convey that sense in your music?
CC: Yes, but it’s frustrating; it’s not an easy feeling to capture. There are other songs out there that do it. I guess our song “Swords” does a little.
JC: Swords is a song that you wrote in Tucson -- maybe that’s why. My current favorite song of all the ones we play is called “Winterland” which is a poignant, kinda down song, inspired by the winter weather here, as you might imagine. For me it represents the bottom rung of Dante’s hell, where nothing grows, but for my brother and sister, who still live in Tucson, they think “Winterland” means something fun, since snow is such a novelty to them.

They describe how they collaborate in writing their music. When they were younger they worked closely together from the start. More recently it comes about as working initially alone and then bringing what they have to each other and going from there. It sounds very easy for them, very natural. I m impressed by this as I am in how they show such basic respect for each other.

They also admit to writing silly songs that rarely make it to the stage, though the very silly song “Scary Larry” is a live favorite and popular request, perhaps because it’s their funkiest song. They also have a couple of beautiful songs in Spanish: they are both fluent and both lived in Spain for a time. They describe their fans as those who tend not to drink much (unless it is chocolate milk) and who prefer to really listen to the songs while dancing in their seats.

KA: How did you end up here in the Berkshires after growing up in Tucson?
CC: We felt we needed to expand to the East Coast, New York City and Boston primarily. Though we didn't intend to stay here in the Berkshires the three years we have, we've made an incredible amount of connections in Boston and New York, including a well-known manager who is our advisor and advocate. We did consider moving to Boston or New York, but they're both so close it seemed financially more viable to be situated here and commute when necessary. We don't want to play in the city more than once a month anyway.

KA: Where do you play around here?
JC: Dream Away Lodge in Becket, Club Helsinki in Great Barrington, Joga Café in North Adams, Kripalu in Stockbridge, Chocolate Springs in Lenox, and the Red Devil Lounge in Pittsfield, which is very spacious and sexy.

KA: What are your goals for the band?
CC: We want to expand our touring to more colleges and clubs, and also write and play for screenwriters, films, and radio. We're actually more established on the West Coast, especially in Los Angeles where we get pretty good crowds.
JC: We recently did a show in Pittsfield, opening for 1980s pop star Colin Hay, who was the lead singer of Men At Work. He invited us to LA to stay in his home and we ended up co-writing a song with him -- this is a childhood hero of ours! Then we did a show with him at Largo on Fairfax Avenue in LA where a lot of our favorite musicians got their start like Pete Yorn, Aimee Mann, Beck, and Jon Brion.

KA: Tell me more about the role of music in your families.
CC: Our fathers played music together and we grew up watching them perform.
JC: All four of our parents met when they were in Up with People, a large touring musical group that started out as a Christian thing. There was a rule against dating among members, it was actually known as Rule #9, so our dads had to get permission to ask our mothers to marry them. They never actually dated. Before Aerosmith, Brittany Spears, N'Sync, long before Janet was bearing her breast to the world, Up With People was the musical entertainment for Super Bowl halftimes. Remember them? The colorful costumes and perma-smiles? Our dads were the founding members and chief songwriters. That's their legacy. It's hard, but we try our best to incorporate a similar hokey quality in our show.

I ask them if there is anything more personal they are willing to share. Jeb admits to having a famous grandfather, namely Anthony Quinn, whom it turns out he looks incredibly similar to. He seems grieved that he didn't know get to know him better before he passed away three years ago, which was in fact on the day he was driving out to the Berkshires to live. He would have been much closer to his grandfather who was living in Rhode Island at the time.

Clayton reveals that he is missing his right hand little finger, which he lost when he was three in a washing machine. Fortunately he's left-handed in all ways except in playing the guitar, which is also fortunate since it means he doesn't need his pinky for pressing the strings down. Instead, the right hand is used for strumming.

I'm left thinking that these two young men are definitely musical finds and that it will be interesting to watch their progress and to someday hear their beautiful songs on the radio.

For more information on Hector on Stilts, including upcoming performances and music samples and CDs, visit
- The Artful Mind


2005 - Same Height Relation
2007 - Fun Size mini-record
2008 - Funner Size
2009 - Last Good Hot Pop Nite EP



Colwell are cousins Clayton and Jeb Colwell, the songwriting duo behind pop band Hector On Stilts
While no strangers to decadence (Hector On Stilts always tipped handsomely, tasted the wine first and arrived at shows in their very own limo), Colwell is fine with tap water and

If their ride is allegory for the band's suburban style and wholesome sound, the intensely melodic pop of their sophomore release, "Same Height Relation," is proof. Produced by Grammy-nominee, Andres Levin, of Afro-Cuban ensemble, Yerba Buena, "Same Height Relation" cruises through cinematic anti-epics ("Winterland," "Rhyme Like Me"); bittersweet alt-pop ("Heart In Your Hand," "Tongue-Tied") and salsa-spiced New Wave ("Annie," "Squares Into Circles"). Cousins Jeb and Clayton Colwell harmonize with the clarity and conviction of taller Everly Brothers and the band's enigmatic humor fuels a live show that's part rock, part discotheque, and just a hair 80's prom.

Jeb Colwell's theatrical instincts undoubtedly derive from his grandfather, the late actor Anthony Quinn, who once advised him that "Being an actor is a very hard life. I don't wish that upon you." But it was the Colwell cousins' fathers who passed on a legacy of people-pleasing music and an unending fondness for the sweeter, "poppier" side: the senior Colwells are the co-founders and songwriters for the Pepsodent-fresh glee club, Up With People, who were performing at Super Bowl halftimes before Janet Jackson was in a training bra. Jeb and Clayton embraced their family heritage of music for the masses.

The cousins began performing together at local coffee houses and brothels in Tucson, Arizona, mixing what one early review affectionately called "lullaby pop" with a genetic proclivity for zany performances. Expanding eastward, HOS settled in Albany, NY, drawn by a surplus of parking.

Soon after unpacking, HOS added a proper rock rhythm section in the form of Jenn McCarron (bass) and John Brodeur (drums). The choice was easy: John is a pop luminary in his own right, having fronted popular Albany, NY outfit, The Suggestions; Jenn is descended from a long line of competitive dancers. A super-group was born.

Hector On Stilts' vocal harmonies and onstage (and off) antics quickly earned the newly minted quartet a bicoastal fan base that included Men At Work front man, Colin Hay (a "childhood hero," Clayton confesses). After HOS shared a bill with Hay in Massachusetts, the 80's star invited the band back to Los Angeles to co-write and recorded an early version of "Same Height Relation" opening track, "Taxi."

HOS has also appeared with the Bloodhound Gang, Everclear, Yerba Buena, ZOX, ASIA, Jupiter Sunrise, Jonathan Richman, Sonya Kitchell, Mohair and Diamond Nights among others and in major music festivals like CMJ, Boston's NEMO and North By Northeast in Toronto.

In addition to 100+ college, public and commercial radio stations including alternative leaders WEQX (Manchester, VT) and WFNX (Boston, MA) as well as a feature on National Public Radio's "Open Mic.", Hector On Stilts can be heard on various television and film projects; most recently the new ABC series, "Brothers & Sisters" and compilations like myvradio's "Fresh Produce Volume 2." SHR track, "La Dee Da," was a darling of podcasters worldwide. The group has earned numerous accolades including a 2005 "Be Heard" Scholarship from BMI and Performing Songwriter Magazine (For Same Height Relation track, "Tongue-Tied") and a "Best Pop Band" nod in the Albany Metroland "Best of 2005" issue.

The quartet disbanded while working on a bunch of mini-records, ther first of which, "Fun Size"?, was released online on October 16, 2007.


"One of the top bands out with a huge buzz to boot." -Skope Magazine

"HoS has churned up a perfect little pop disc with "Same Height Relation." It's chockfull of great vocals and melodies with a big ol' pile of ear-catching hooks. Oh yeah, some great playing, too. This is the kind of pop music that you'll be singing for weeks after you hear it." -Albany Times Union

"Hector on Stilts have charisma, talent, and smoldering good looks, all of which are well-known prerequisites for a fabulous pop band. 'Same Height Relation,' is highly recommended." -Metroland Newsweekly "Best Pop Band" (Best of the Capital Region 2005)

"Bopping through 'Same Height Relation,' it's impossible not to swoon to at least six or seven tunes." -Providence Phoenix

"Their harmonies will make you swear that you are floating on air." -Tucson Weekly

"Take Beach Boys harmony, Hall and Oates falsettos, mix in the funkiness of The Cars, throw in a little Wilco off-the-wallism, a splash of Latin spice, and you have only summed up half of their latest album, "Same Height Relation." -Berkshire Eagle