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

Getty Images
May 26, 2015 | NPR · From Houston to Dallas and into Oklahoma torrential rains led to violent floods, which killed at least five and left 12 missing in Texas. The bad news? More rain is in the forecast.
 

Daniella Cheslow for NPR
May 26, 2015 | NPR · The young, roasted form of wheat has been eaten in the Middle East for millennia. But over time many Palestinians replaced it with rice. Now it’s becoming a nutritious, native food worthy of pride.
 

May 26, 2015 | NPR · The deal would make Charter Communications a significant rival to Comcast, which had also sought to buy Time Warner but it met regulatory objections.
 

Arts & Life

May 26, 2015 | NPR · Matt Pym’s funny, humane new novel follows a biracial man coming to terms with his identity — and the daughter he never knew about. Reviewer Michael Schaub calls it a “beautiful, triumphant miracle.”
 

Courtesy of David Jay/Unknown Soldier
May 25, 2015 | NPR · “I take these pictures so that we can look; we can see what we’re not supposed to see,” says photographer David Jay. “And we need to see them because we created them.”
 

Courtesy of Dutton
May 24, 2015 | NPR · “I’ve never accused myself of being manly,” Offerman says, noting his real-life persona is different from his Parks and Recreation character. His book is a set of essays about people who inspire him.
 

Music

May 26, 2015 | NPR · Each month for our series Heavy Rotation, public radio music stations name a favorite song. Carmel Holt of WFUV in New York talks about her choice: the song “Hard Time” by Swedish artist Seinabo Sey.
 

May 26, 2015 | NPR · Brandon Flowers is the frontman for the band the Killers, and he makes his own music in between albums his group puts out. David Greene talks to Flowers about his new solo album: “The Desired Effect.”
 

May 25, 2015 | NPR · A new anthology called In the Beginning chronicles the sound of Wes Montgomery, one of the most influential guitar players of all time, in his early years.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab