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

AP
November 20, 2014 | NPR · Nearly a third of us are overweight, and some of the worst rates of obesity are in the developing world. All this corpulence takes a huge economic toll — two trillion dollars a year.
 

November 20, 2014 | NPR · The city of Montgomery, Ala., was sued by a group of people who said they were jailed when they couldn’t pay court fines and fees. Now the city has agreed to take steps to help those too poor to pay.
 

Intelligence Squared U.S.
November 20, 2014 | NPR · Several states allow doctors, in certain circumstances, to help terminally ill people end their lives. The emotionally charged issue is at the center of the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
 

Arts & Life

November 20, 2014 | NPR · Robert Siegel remembers director and film icon Mike Nichols, who died Wednesday of a heart attack at 83.
 

November 20, 2014 | NPR · In his short story collection, former Marine Phil Klay takes his experience in Iraq and clarifies it. On Wednesday, he won the National Book Award for fiction.
 

Getty Images
November 20, 2014 | NPR · When journalist Alec MacGillis started looking into McConnell’s early politics, he says he was “startled” by how moderate the Republican used to be. The book traces McConnell’s shift to the right.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
November 20, 2014 | WXPN · KRVS’ Diego Martin makes the Cajun-Latin connection for World Cafe.
 

WXPN
November 20, 2014 | WXPN · The band plays a revved-up version of Cajun music, injected with punk energy and psychedelic fuzz.
 

KCRW
November 20, 2014 | KCRW · The former Rilo Kiley singer performs her new song “She’s Not Me” at Los Angeles’ Apogee Studios.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab