COLONIAL BLUE – SATURDAY, 6/18 @ 5:00PM
It only takes one listen of Colonial Blue’s music to realize that their story runs deep. From a soft whisper to a primal scream that is brandished with precision, Stephanie Rice’s vocals weave their way around Jonathan Ward’s intricate guitar, driven along by Corey Chierighino’s dynamic drumming, and there’s an immediate pull on your soul. The alt-folk band from Houston underpin the emotional resonance of Damien Rice with the melodic tendencies of fellow Texans Eisley, but bring it to life with a beating heart of their own which stems from the personal nature of Rice’s songwriting.
Rice was raised as a preacher’s kid in the small town of Redwater, Texas. Music had always been a huge part of her life, but suddenly at age 18 after coming out to her parents, her life took a drastic turn, and music became an all engulfing passion and form of survival. Finding herself on her own and left with only shattered remains of what her life once was, Rice decided to move with her Yamaha guitar to the ‘big city.’ Upon immediate arrival she began playing any open mics that would have her, singing her lungs out and channeling all of her pain and confusion into her songs. It was during this time that she worked out much of the initial roster found on the debut album.
Colonial Blue’s music speaks for itself, but knowing how much Rice has already gone through, and how much Chierighino and Ward have dedicated themselves to this project, makes it that much more special. We all like to think that everything happens for a reason and that reason is what you will hear on Dear Misery. With emotional lyrics and a hauntingly assured voice, Rice is the face of anyone who has ever loved, lost, wondered, questioned, searched, answered, explored, ran away, or faced life head on.
Inspiration for the band’s debut album Dear Misery comes from Rice’s struggle with making it on her own in the city and the uncertainty of life. It is the sound of her addressing a hugely painful period and bidding it farewell. As she says herself, “I had found myself on the broken side of life, and I struggled to transition into better times. Eventually, I was able to look back and say, ‘Dear Misery, you’re not welcome here.’” These struggles permeate the album and each of its ten tracks explode with passion, heart and soul.
The band’s name is inspired by Rice’s research into ant colonies during her time studying biology at the University of Houston. As she watched the insects work together in order to create something much larger than themselves, it struck her that her band worked in exactly the same way, and Colonial Blue was born.
In 2013, it almost seems impossibly serendipitous that Rice would meet Houston-based musicians Chierighino and Ward. Having a distinct, rhythmic style of drumming, punk-rocker Chierighino was able to pull from an excitable musical history and match the spirit of Rice’s compositions as if they had always been destined to meet. When Jonathan Ward joined the duo, his eclectic style and remarkable talent added depth, structure and focus to the poetic melodies and confessional lyrics. Together they have culminated in a blend of sounds including, indie, folk, classic rock, punk rock, and a hint of blue grass twang.