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The best kept secret in music


Slowly but surely, Ft. Collins is coming into its own as one of the premier music scenes in Colorado, as well as the West. Some bands may see this as competition, while others see it as a budding community. The members of WoolEye see it as the latter.
"The Front Range is perfect," said WoolEye bassist Glen Manna. "Everywhere you play, people embrace the music."
Having met roughly a year ago out of seemingly pure coincidence, the band began after run-ins with one another in local music stores as well as their wives telling one another about their "musician husbands". WoolEye began playing Ft. Collins as a trio in February with members Mike Rouse on guitar and lead vocals, Gary Howard banging drums and Manna on Bass.
Rouse had recorded an album in North Carolina's Collapseable Studios and brought it to Colorado looking for bandmates. After one listen to his tracks, Howard and Manna were sold on the guitarist. The two were particularly taken by the album's lyrics, excitedly describing them as "Incredible, by giving you a different idea, not by trying to preach but to just show."
Rouse, being from the South and speaking slowly with a hint of drawl, says he is simply trying to "share different viewpoints and textures." He says his message is worldly, philosophical, spiritual and sometimes political - but not often.
Though they begain in Ft. Collins, it only took until their second show to get up and running. The band's second live set brought them to Wavy Gravy's birthday party in San Francisco to open for the legendary Melvin Seals, who has played keyboard alongside greats such as Jerry Garcia and Merle Saunders. Inspired from the experience, WoolEye recently added a keyboardist of their own in Matt Goldberg, who has filled in the spot of empty sound in the group.
With help from local graphic design team Captive Light Studios and recently signing with promoters Phunkstylee Productions, the band's sound and style have taken off. Phunkstylee represents a number of other Ft. Collins bands, including Wasabi and Holy Moses and the High Rollers.
Picking out the band's musical influences in order to isolate their sound is like nailing Jell-O to a wall. When asked their current favorite tunes, Howard instantly responds with Billie Holiday, while Rouse said lately he's been listening to Blackalicious, Tabla Beat Science and old Jerry Garcia bootlegs. Manna and Goldberg have nothing but praise for the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. Eventually one member mentions The Band as a major influence, to which Howard jokingly replies, "We just want to be The Band."
Describing their own sound doesn't seem to be as difficult to agree on. WoolEye earmark their sound as Americana, with flavors of psychedelic, funk and rock and roll.
"Instead of trying to pick a style, you craft a song to what it needs," Rouse said. "There's no formula."
Though it is tempting to simply slap a "jam band" label on the group, Rouse said they consciously keep an eye on overplaying.
"If you can speak volumes in a short sentence, then why keep speaking," Howard said.
The band has over three albums of original material in their repertoire, and Mike Rouse's solo album will be available for purchase in local record stores sometime this month (November).
Aside from its imaginative musicians and genre bending sound, WoolEye seems to be one of the more captivating and intriguing concepts coming out of the Northern Colorado music scene.
"(it's about) having the wool pulled from over your eyes," Manna said. "Open your eyes and see what's going on around you."
The band is hoping to embark on a Biodiesel van on tour later this winter and into the spring, which will take them to parts of Arizona, into Southeastern U.S., as well as a potential stop in Jamaica still in the works. But before they get out of town, WoolEye's fall tour is staying around Ft. Collins and the Front Range, to show their appreciation for their first, hometown fan base.
"Colorado crowds are some of the nicest," Howard said. "We just want to give a shout out to Colorado bands, and all the kids that come out and dance."
For more on WoolEye, visit www.wooleye.com. - Scene Magazine

Things are up-and-coming on the local jam band and hippy-funk circuit. Bands like WoolEye are spreading the groove outside Fort Collins, and giving hope to local crunchies that one day they can roam arena parking lots and say, "I saw these guys when they were playing Conor's, Bra..." - The Bullhorn Weekly


Michael Rouse - Grand Align Time


Feeling a bit camera shy


An eclectic music group that does not stagnate in one genre or style of music, WoolEye moves through a plethra of sounds, including rock, funk, jazz, and psychedelic. The band does this while maintaining a familiar, yet unique groove. WoolEye has shared the stage with Garaj Mahal, Banyan, Kimock, Ozric Tentacles, Tea Leaf Green, New Monsoon, Melvin Seals, Kan'nal and many other great bands. --

"WoolEye's high energy shows are marked by solid songwriting, meaningful lyrics and powerful rhythms." The Durango Telegraph 2005 --

"Aside from it's imaginative musicians and genre bending sound, WoolEye seems to be one of the more intriguing concepts coming out of the Northern Colorado music scene."
Chris Kampfe Scene Magazine 2005 --

"WoolEye has a completely unique sound going on... I love the poetry in motion."
Carmen Allgood The Colorado Wave

"This jamming rock band mixes it up at the Moon with a bunch of different sounds. Based out of Colorado, WoolEye is made up of musicians from around the country who sought the right environment for their musical creativity, and found it."
Mark Steele The Telluride Watch