Changing Colors Covers

The Changing Colors, aka Conor Bourgal (often joined by his brother, Ian, their friend Ayla and other guests), came to our attention through a chain of serendipity that began with the Juliet & the Spirits album by Joe Kuzma that we posted for free download last month. It’s not that The Changing Colors was some big secret. They’ve played and toured around quite a bit, opening for acts like Great Lake Swimmers and Martha Scanlan. It was that Conor had been moved to contact us because of similarities between Joe Kuzma’s production ofJuliet and his own process: they’d both used ambient recordings of their home locales as the audio framework on which to hang entire albums. In Joe’s case, it was the Pleasant Valley neighborhood on the west side of Colorado Springs. For Bourgal, originally from Long Island, it was Manitou and the story of Emma Crawford, who is now best known as the namesake of the annual Halloween coffin races that celebrate her brief tragic life. Using samples of audio from Emma’s wake at Miramont Castle, the coffin races and sounds from his own walk up Red Mountain—where Emma was originally buried before her remains washed down the hill several years later—The Changing Colors create a folk that invokes everyone from The Carter Family to Neil Young and Will Oldham along the way. Writes Bourgal of his inspiration:

The Changing Colors came to be when I had just come out of about 5 years of playing instrumental dance music with Pale Room. I wanted to do something completely different. I’d messed around with lyrical songs for a while, but not too seriously. I had the idea for a record about Emma Crawford a few years ago while watching the coffin races in Manitou. Though the event is a lot of fun, it struck me as a strange way to celebrate a woman who was obviously very deep and spiritual.

The songs are an effort to imagine moments of happiness, love, doubt and faith in Emma’s life.

There are little bits of me in there too, at times the songs stray back to my reality…kind of like in “The NeverEnding Story”… I finished writing at the beginning of this year, but the recording wasn’t done until April. Some of the songs are from Emma’s point of view, other times it could be her mother and sister (read about Alice here) or her fiance.

Some versions of the story say Emma had a “vision” of an Indian Spirit Guide, who led her to the top of Red Mountain.


Judging by how beautiful the record is, we’re pretty sure that Bourgal had a spirit guide as well (perhaps chanelling Emma herself). One of the definitions of genius is, after all, “the spirit of the place.” It’s fitting, we think, that both of these locally produced records owe so much to the location from which they draw their sound. Judge for yourself with these three free downloads that Conor generously made available to Big Something readers. And after you do (we think you’ll like it), be sure to go check out his show tonight at Kinfolks in Manitou, 950 Manitou Aveue, at 8 p.m. and buy the whole “Ghost of Red Mountain” album.

(You can either stream the songs with the embedded player or right-click on the links to download the tracks.)

“On Red Mountain” by The Changing Colors, Ghost Of Red Mountain

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Thats What My Love Is For” by The Changing Colors, Ghost Of Red Mountain

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“No Wedding” by The Changing Colors, Ghost Of Red Mountain

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

For more information and tour dates, you can go to The Changing Colors myspace page.

(Thanks for your feedback below, or to thebigsomething@krcc.org!)

 

One Response to The Spirits of the Place

  1. […] these songs come from posts such as our Penny Aracade Song Contest, or our feature on local bands The Changing Colors, Edith Makes a Paper Chain, and Juliet & th’ Spirits. Of course, there’s a live […]

News

AFP/Getty Images
June 28, 2017 | NPR · Cardinal George Pell, a key adviser to Pope Francis, has been ordered to appear in a Melbourne court next month. The Archdiocese of Sydney says he will return from Rome to fight the charges.
 

AP
June 28, 2017 | NPR · The charges against the agent were brought amid lingering animosity over the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest restrictions on use of federal lands.
 

Getty Images
June 28, 2017 | NPR · The curiously named submersible wrapped up its inaugural voyage last week. And, as the British Antarctic Survey noted Wednesday, Boaty acquitted itself well on the seven-week expedition.
 

Arts & Life

June 28, 2017 | NPR · Michael Bond, creator of the beloved Paddington Bear books, died Tuesday at 91. The classic children’s book character is a scruffy little bear prone to accidents, but he means well.
 

June 28, 2017 | FA · Director Edgar Wright rejects computer-generated unreality and instead focuses on breathtaking driving in his new heist thriller. Critic David Edelstein says the result is terrifically entertaining.
 

AP
June 28, 2017 | NPR · “Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington on a railway platform” — and readers first met Paddington with those words in 1958. Bond, who died Tuesday, turned that bear into an unforgettable friend.
 

Music

WXPN
June 28, 2017 | WXPN-FM · While making City Music, Morby looked to Lou Reed’s legacy for the confidence to experiment. He tells World Cafe about the album and the role New York has played in his story.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 28, 2017 | NPR · There’s more to this roots-music business than high-energy dance tunes. Kick back with some soothing voices and some free-spirited instrumentals.
 

Mountain Stage
June 28, 2017 | NPR · Hear the blues-folk musician’s soulful, gravelly thunder return to Mountain Stage at the Culture Center Theater in West Virginia.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab