Eminence Ensemble Takes Over Cervantes This Friday In The Wake Of Their Brand New Album, 'Real News' - Get The Scoop Here
The sextet known as Eminence Ensemble has had a lot to be excited about lately, but they’ve given us even more to look forward to in the ways of a brand new full-length album [Real News] and a headline show this Friday at Denver’s one and only Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom. We were very proud to catch up with these guys before their show, to give you a complete scoop on all things Eminence, plus a very special photo gallery from our day spent with the band!
Four of the six members of this squad have been together since elementary school, while the other two came to be during the band's time at CU Boulder. They’ve been making waves ever since. Colorado has always been home to these guys and even more so for their collective brand, Eminence Ensemble. Talking with front-man Tanner Bardin, it’s clear just what role the legendary venue, Cervantes, has had with the band. “We travel nationwide, coast-to-coast playing gigs, and there’s just no other venue [at that size] that does what they do for the scene, for their bands, and for their fans.” Tanner told us. “Cervantes has kind of been our home since day one. It taught us a lot about the industry, and they’ve been very supportive of our ideas and really whatever we wanted to do. They’ve been supportive and even offered some guidance along the way.” The venue will play a perfect home for this Friday, the 27th and tickets are still available here.
One thing Eminence prides itself on is the live navigation of their songs between the main chorus and lyrics. Specifically, they try to deliver a different experience to their fans from show to show. The term “Jam Band” doesn’t quite sum it up, though they don’t mind the term as a band. It goes deeper than that really. Yes they are a band, and yes they jam, but the trust and experience really come to play here, as Tanner described to me. He took it back to the roots of jazz theory and even that “Grateful Dead school of music back in the day.” Basically, if one of the band members starts “exploring uncharted territory” during a live song, they know how to back each other up and potentially take the audience to somewhere special, rather than musically fighting each other out of fear of doing something they’ve never done before.
The new album is only their second full-length LP, and according to the band, it’s been a long time coming! The name, “Real News” obviously takes a stab at the current political climate we’ve found ourselves living in. As the band said, “there’s just so much weird and terrible dialect going on over the internet. Whether it’s all true, or right, or wrong, we didn't care ‘cause we knew what we were about to put out was 100% real! Given the political tension in the country is at an all-time high, we wanted people to know this is purely authentic, real news! Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, people are going to such extremes to bash the other side. People are willing to put out all this fake news or say whatever just to win or prove the other side wrong.” The album is available on most streaming platforms!
I wanted to push them a little deeper on the matter and asked how we can use music and these platforms to not only spread good tunes but address some of these issues that have begun to plague society. “I think the experience you can get from going to a live concert is unmatchable. When you’re there, it doesn’t really matter what their race is, or what their views are. Everyone can all be under the same roof and put all that tension aside and all enjoy the music.”
The name of the album isn’t the only title with an underlying message. Take the last song on the album, for instance, “Here’s Your Sine.” The song was written by Justin Neely, one of the two guitar players, who intended the word “sine” as in sine-wave from a synthesizer. The title is open to interpretation, but according to the band the sonic sine wave from that song is very large and can be taken as “here’s your sound” or “here’s some sound for you.”
Other songs like, “The Road” carry a much more literal translation as it’s about actually being out on the road, or on tour. It’s about the challenges of being out there, sleeping on floors, being dragged around by promoters, etc and how they wouldn’t change it for anything. One line even refers to an experience many musicians might be able to relate to. “Venue lied and we never got paid but you should have seen their faces when we got on the stage.” These are the experiences the guys look back on and credit to the quality of their music.
The last time Eminence played Cervantes was an experience worth looking back on. It was slated as a “pop-up show” with a “secret guest headliner.” A phone call came in two weeks before, asking how the band would feel if Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals brought their afterparty from Red Rocks and played directly after Eminence. “As a drummer, that meant Anderson .Paak himself would be playing on my drum kit so it was a no-brainer for me,” said Tanner. It was absolutely Paaked (see what I did there?), obviously and the night carried on until well after closing at Cervantes.
Eminence Ensemble has had a pretty stellar career so far, so naturally, I wanted to know what they have their eyes set on for the future. The answer, you can probably guess, was Red Rocks! “I don’t think it’s an outrageous goal, especially since we are all still pretty young but have been at it for a while. We’d love to join any of the big names like Cheese or Tribe. I can’t imagine hearing my kick drum over those speakers.”
One of the songs on the new album that really struck me was the track, “My Own Hell” written by Taylor Frederick. Mental health is a leading problem in today’s world, and I was curious about the background behind the title and what advice they might have to those out there that may be trapped in their own hell, or dealing with problems in their own world… or head. “It’s a heavy thing and I don’t mind talking about it at all,” Taylor said. “People need to talk about it more, I think that’s one of the biggest problems.” Taylor wrote the song, reflecting on a “very transitional, dark period in his life.” He was bouncing around from couch to couch and living out of his car. “Us as musicians, music is sort of a drug within itself. When we are on tour and playing in different cities, it’s a party every night, people constantly telling you how much they love and appreciate your art, but then you come home and it’s like everything just is turned off. It’s like coming down from a massive high.” He continued about how we, as a people, need to be more conscious about our headspace. “One big thing to remember, and it’s a lyric in the song, is we are our own devil and we are our own hell. The more we talk about it and the more we feel comfortable talking about it, the better the situation will become.”
I wanted to know how Taylor dealt with some of these issues, like substance use, visibility within the industry, and just pure temptation that likely weighs on most successful musicians. “When you’re in an atmosphere like that, it’s important to take care of your mind and your body, because you’re going to hit a wall. It doesn’t matter if that wall comes sooner or later, you gotta have the willpower to say ‘no’ and make the right choices for yourself. When you’re on tour or whatever, it’s a lot more fun when you’re not feeling like shit.” He left the subject matter with a well known quote from Kenny Rogers, “You gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.”
All six members of the band carry a certain sense of realness with them. It’s not just in their music but shows in every fiber of their being. It’s great to see the comradery between them as a band, and what’s more, is their understanding of what’s important in the world (not just music). They use their music and their performances as an opportunity to bring people together, to open people's minds, and to push us forward as individuals. It’s very inspiring, really.
We hope you’ll catch this inspirational band this Friday at Cervantes. It’s a show that we have been looking forward to since the announcement and it’s a show you won’t want to miss. You can catch the psychedelic funk-rock group, Dog City Disco and Jack Cloonan Band’s disco-infused bluegrass starting the night off for the anticipated Eminence Ensemble. The official Facebook page is located here and you can still snag your tickets here.