Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience: The Record Company
IF YOU GO …
Who: The Record Company
Where: Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience, Snowmass Town Park
When: Sunday, Sept. 2, 3 p.m.
Tickets: Sold out
More info: The Record Company’s opening performance will be followed by Gary Clark Jr. (5 p.m.) and Zac Brown Band (7:30 p.m.) on the main stage. The Outside Music Lounge will feature two sets by Brent Cowles (4:15 and 6:30 p.m.); jazzaspensnowmass.org.
A power trio built on classic American blues, fuzzy guitars and punk simplicity, The Record Company is making a bid to be rock’s next big thing.
The band released its second full-length album, “All Of This Life,” in June, a follow-up to the 2016 breakthrough “Give it Back to You.” This summer saw the band making its way onto the Billboard’s New Artists, Americana/Folk and Rock charts with the single “Life to Fix,” nailing a fearsome performance of the song on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and garnering raves from NPR Music and Rolling Stone.
The band opens today’s main-stage concerts at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience, sharing the bill with Gary Clark, Jr. and Zac Brown Band. The Labor Day show precedes a club-headlining fall tour of North America that runs into November.
The new record showcases the band’s hard-charging blues rock on songs like “Life to Fix” but also shows the trio’s expanding range. Among the album standouts is “The Movie Song,” a ballad in the acoustic classic rock mold of mellower Rolling Stones tracks.
The band’s big summer comes on the heels of a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues album for “Give It Back To You.”
“After that first album, everything just got amplified,” the band’s singer and guitarist Chris Vos said in an announcement for the new record. “Our lives got crazier and bigger and more complicated in the best possible ways, and our sound and our songwriting just naturally grew alongside that.”
Before these recent big breaks, The Record Company spent five years earning a West Coast cult following on the strength of its tempestuous live shows and a handful of independently released EPs (while paying the bills placing songs in a handful of beer commercials and TV shows). “Give It Back to You” sent the band on its first national tour, including supporting gigs for Denver’s Nathaniel Rateliff at the Breckenridge Brewery and a headlining slot at Belly Up Aspen.
“We’re a rock-and-roll band that cares a lot about the roll,” Vos said before the Aspen show.
He’s been a blues-head since childhood, after getting his mind blown by Muddy Waters at age 12 or 13.
“When my buddies were listening to indie rock and alt-rock, I was at home listening to Ray Charles and Jimmy Reed and Howlin’ Wolf and the Stones and the Stooges,” he recalled. “It just spoke to me. I loved the voices and the stories.”
Vos was raised on a dairy farm outside of Kenosha, Wisconsin — certainly no hot bed of blues. But, he recalled, all that time working alone outside ended up enabling an immersion in the blues masters.
“When I’d go chop or bail hay or work a manure spreader all day long, I’d have headphones on and be listening to music, just imagining these crazy musicians,” he said. “It seemed very far away, but I loved it so much.”
He played lap and pedal steel in blues bands around the Midwest before moving to Los Angeles. He posted a Craigslist ad for musicians in Los Angeles that led him to Record Company bass player Alex Stiff and drummer Marc Cazorla.
The first night the trio met in 2011, Vos recalled, they listened to blues records and talked music on Vos’s porch in Los Feliz. They decided to record some songs in the living room the next day, which produced their first demo and the formation of The Record Company.
“We shook hands on the back porch and said, ‘This is the band,’” Vos recalled.
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