Fox Street
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Fox Street

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Band Rock Funk

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The Fox Street All Stars traded gimmicks and covers for growth and diversity - Denver Westword


By Brian F. Johnson
Adaptation may be one of the most crucial survival skills necessary, and it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about Darwinian theory or life in the music industry. Either way, without the ability to morph and change to fit its circumstances, no creature, band or otherwise, can flourish.

It was with that unique perspective in mind that Denver’s Fox Street Allstars — named after Fox Street in the Baker neighborhood of Denver — formed late last year. On the surface, the group is a trio of two guitarists and a drummer — all accomplished musicians on their own who’ve known each other and made music with each other on and off since middle school. But under that cursory facade is a revolutionary adaptation which sets the Fox?Street Allstars apart from other forms of band species. See, the Fox Street Allstars were set up by their very design since their inception to be an ebbing and flowing creature that can adapt to anything from a small, intimate stage, to a huge blowout band replete with a horn section and enough musicians to qualify for group status on even the most stringent of insurance policies.

While many bands operate under a loose umbrella like this, the Fox Street Allstars are one of the very few acts to actually have gone into it with the mindset of utilizing the incestuous nature of the Colorado music scene not only to their advantage, but as the very foundation of the group.
“That was the original concept — to be able to switch it up and do different songs and with different people at different shows for different vibes,” said guitarist and founding member James Dumm in a recent interview with The Marquee. “As musicians, we’ve all sat in with different people and we started to realize that we have a lot of really good connections. And we thought we could use those relationships so that we could tailor our shows to suit the gigs that we booked.”

Dumm, who two years ago released his own solo album Leave My?Guitar Alone, where he played nearly every instrument, teamed up with childhood friend and drummer Eric Low, with whom he had started his musical “career” at the age of 12 in his basement. Through Low, they found guitarist and vocalist Jonathan “Skippy”?Huvard, and the core group was solidified.
“We wanted to get out gigging and our first one was at Herb’s Hideout in Denver, and that almost became like home for us,” Dumm said. “We started playing a bunch of covers that nobody plays, you know, from Motown and Staxx, and then we started to get different people to make that sound evolve.”

Any band trying to be all things to all people is in for a lesson in futility, and Dumm and his counterparts were aware of that from the outset as well. But that wasn’t really their intention. What they wanted was to be able to be a group that could just as easily play Herb’s as it could a large club, to be able to switch genres and lineups as the venue they were playing deemed necessary. “We try to incorporate a bunch of different genres from rock, jazz, blues and all of that good stuff and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a smaller show, let’s make it an intimate blues thing,’ or, ‘We have this massive party, let’s get 10 or more people onstage,’” Dumm said.
That concept has also lead to a seemingly endless repertoire that ranges from a whole host of originals which fit with covers of everything from Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin to The Black Crowes and The Flying Burrito Brothers. “We can do the guitar overkill show, or a big band, funk and dance thing,” Dumm said.

With fellow Allstars that include Bill McKay of Leftover Salmon, bassist Dave “Pump” Solzburg, singer Vanessa Simmons, members of Denver’s Kinetix, Denver musician and teacher Jonah Wisneski, and countless others at the ready, the band has reached deep into the Colorado scene and the nature of the band makes it that more connections will occur and more musicians will be given the nod to join for gigs. - The Marquee Magazine


Discography

Welcome To Mighty Pleasin' - 2010
Tough Talk - February 26, 2013

Photos

Bio

Denver Westword Rock Band of the Year 2013

Denver, CO – Make no mistake: Fox Street reeks of the roadhouses and West Texas honky-tonks of the deep-south that inspired their signature sound. The guys are a crushing band with tons of funk, rhythm, and soul. They're an all star outfit featuring up to 7 pieces with a pounding rhythm section, stellar lead guitar work and gritty vocals. No one really has any idea where front man Jonathan “Skippy” Huvard channels his soulful, whiskey soaked vocals and frenetic stage presence but the result is a blistering powerhouse of sound drawing comparisons to JJ Grey & Mofro, Galactic and The Revivalists.

The band kicked off 2013 with a show at the Pink Garter Theater in Jackson, WY which sold out in advance. It’s been full steam ahead this year including many high-profile festival slots in new markets like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Both the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune named the band a “must see” at MusikFest in Bethlehem, PA. Denver Westwoord named Fox Steet “Rock Band of the Year” in 2013, a huge honor in a state and city with such a rich music scene. The band is currently on tour behind their critically acclaimed sophomore release Tough Talk.

Tough Talk was recorded over the summer of 2012 at Scanhope Sound in Littleton, CO and engineered by Josh Fairman (New Mastersounds, Ivan Neville, Kinetix). The album features Joe Tatton of The New Mastersounds on organ, pedal steel by Grammy-award-winner John Macy and The Black Swans on backup vocals.

“It’s been an incredible last three years" Huvard said. "This second album has been a long time in the making, and we’re very proud of the results. We think it has a more mature and full sound and is a terrific reflection of where we are now as a band. Playing all over the country in the last two years has really helped us come together. We’ve added members and are exploring a richer sound than we’ve ever toured with before. We still bring a party every night but there’s also a fresh level of sophistication on stage that only comes from hundreds of shows on the road and thousands of hours on stage.”

If their opening slots on multiple lengthy national tours with funk legends The New Mastersounds and direct support for bands like Tedeschi Trucks Band and Trombone Shirty are any indication, Fox Street is a band that is poised to break through into the mainstream at any moment. There’s a reason why artists like Papa Mali, Robert Randolph, Brian Jordan, Nigel Hall, Stanton Moore, Tony Hall, Corey Henry, The Motet, George Porter Jr., and others have sat in extensively with the band: musicians realize these guys have serious chops and the sound is some serious fun.

For interview requests, photos or copies of the new album please contact David Regan at Regan Management Group, LLC :: 704.414.6555 :: reganmanagement@gmail.com.