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

ASSOCIATED PRESS
November 25, 2014 | NPR · Protesters and community leaders question the decision to release the grand jury’s decision at night with little warning.
 

Abdul Sattar for NPR
November 25, 2014 | NPR · In a remote village, poor children are on the front line of an education battle. The village’s only educated person aims to teach them — and shame teachers who are paid but don’t show up for work.
 

Courtesy of Manna Inc.
November 25, 2014 | NPR · This problem exists nationwide, but in the nation’s capital, there are more requirements and restrictions. For example, D.C. limits the maximum resale price and makes homeowners wait before they sell.
 

Arts & Life

November 25, 2014 | NPR · Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion costume from the Wizard of Oz, the piano from Casablanca, and Radio Raheem’s boombox from Do the Right Thing are some of the pieces of Hollywood memorabilia that sold at auction Monday night in New York.
 

November 25, 2014 | NPR · The Celtic knot — a pattern of interlocking lines — is centuries old, carved into ancient stones all over Ireland. But that tattoo on your biceps? Like the fortune cookie, American born and bred.
 

November 25, 2014 | NPR · Phil Klay served in Iraq from January 2007 to February 2008. He recently won a National Book Award for his collection of short stories.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
November 25, 2014 | NPR · Jimmy Greene’s new album is dedicated to his daughter, one of the 20 children killed in the elementary school shooting. “She showed love,” he says, “to everybody she came in contact with.”
 

November 25, 2014 | NPR · It’s not too early to be releasing Christmas albums, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has been listening to a lot of them.
 

WireImage
November 25, 2014 | NPR · After decades of performing, the celebrated soprano’s enthusiasm for music is irresistible. She chooses some of her favorite recordings for an informal session of listening and conversation.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab