For 2018, we wanted to bring artists who were engaged in their communities. The socially conscious alternative hip-hop group has been known for their thought provoking lyrics since they hit it big in 2008. Coming fresh off their 2017 release of their fourth album No Enemies, Flobots have brought their most ambitious project to date. Inspired by their involvement with grassroots community movements, No Enemies sees Flobots pushing themselves both lyrically and musically as a new era of social awareness emerges.
Influenced by stories shared by Flobots’ friend and longtime mentor and Southern Freedom Movement historian and professor - the late Dr. Vincent Harding, and inspired by the band’s recent grassroots community work hosting workshops, classes and keynote speeches about using collective song to build social movements, No Enemies is a body of songs that speak to the urgency of the current moment.
Each of the tracks on NOENEMIES serves as a powerful, poignant new anthem, many packed with surprises both subtle and grand. Taken as a whole, the album is enormous in breadth, enveloping and electrically charged, befitting of the finely crafted, carefully chosen words. NOENEMIES virtually begs the listener to delve and to contemplate, to share and revel.
For the recording of No Enemies, Flobots’ core trio - emcee’s Brer Rabbit (Stephen Brackett) and Jonny 5 (Jamie Laurie) and drummer Kenny Ortiz - enlisted the help of trusted musical friends to bring their vision of the album into reality. Musician/Producer Gabriel Otto worked intimately with the band to craft a distinct sonic landscape, recruiting a string section, horn players, and a gospel quintet to layer recurring motifs over the band’s signature grooves. They teamed up with founding Flobot Mackenzie Gault (viola) and longtime musical collaborator Serafin Sanchez (saxophone, keys) to co-write a number of songs. The band incorporated voices, melodies, and words from throughout their collaborations - both on and off stage - into the songs on No Enemies.
From the beginning, Flobots’ sound defied categorization. Weaving conscious hip-hop lyrics and classical viola solos over live instrumentation, their anthems captured attention from all directions. When Flobots first catapulted onto the global scene in 2008 with their platinum single ‘Handlebars’ from their first album release Fight With Tools, it was the fastest charting song debut by a new artist in 10 years. Released during the frenzy of that year’s election, the band’s call to envision “another America” resonated with a generation experiencing a sense of profound political and social awakening. In a span of months, Flobots went from playing at local clubs to selling out tours internationally, performing on late-night television, signing a major label record deal, and receiving constant rotation on alternative radio.
Now, a decade later and with three critically acclaimed albums under their belt, Flobots are still dedicated to creating and performing anthems for a better world. And in 2017, amidst a nation taking to the streets, for Flobots that means delivering a unique brand of protest songs. Enter No Enemies - bringing the songs back to the people. Through social engagement, Flobots have pushed for change and positivity with their creative wordplay. The Rocky Mountain Tree Festival is proud to feature the the Flobots as our headliners.
Jaden Carlson Band
Returning this year, with one foot in the funk world and the rest kicking through the retro, fusion and dance doors, the Jaden Carlson Band are a four-piece “funksion” ensemble from Boulder, Colorado. Led by female guitarist, vocalist, keyboardist and producer, Jaden Carlson the group is comprised of talent with varied backgrounds coming together from all over the country.
Jaden Carlson with her oft face-melting prowess on the guitar as well as thought-provoking lyricism, has led many to tag her as an “old soul” and “well beyond her years.” Jaden leads the music with the poise and character of a highly accomplished professional.
The band has been appearing at some of the nation’s most notable festivals: Summer Camp, The Friendly Gathering, The Vertex Festival, 80/35, Bumbershoot, LEAF Festival, The Werkout Music and Art Festival, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, ARISE Festival, Bohemian Nights, and many others.
Jaden is the youngest musician to play on the the Red Rocks stage at age 11. She has played with Michael Franti, Spearhead Blues Traveler. She has also played numerous sit-ins with Umphrey’s McGee, The Revivalists, Lettuce, Dumpstaphunk, The Main Squeeze, The Nth Power, Twiddle, The Werks, TAUK, Zoogma, The Motet, Dopapod, members of Snarky Puppy, Vulfpeck, Big Gigantic, The String Cheese Incident and many more.
It’s rare for a band to have a dramatic artistic impact and dedicated fan base for over two decades. However, the eight-member group 12 Cents for Marvin has done just that, all within the college town of Fort Collins, Colorado. Front man Tom Werge describes his gifted cohorts not just simply as a band, but more akin to a “close-knit family.” Individually, each of the “cylinders” in “12 Cents” brings their dynamic passions and personality into the group's compositions and performances. The result is a high-grade blend of ska-infused pop, rock, and reggae.
12 Cents for Marvin pulls influences from acts such as The Specials, Fishbone, Reel Big Fish, Magic!, No Doubt, and Sublime. Individually, each member is a creative catalyst, sparking their sound and style. Werge offers his ska groove, while Hilary brings her classic rock appeal. Nik delivers a glint of hip-hop and Soren brings his roots reggae influences. Greta contributes a splash of indie rock, John and Phuong add the funk with their horns, and last, but not least, Sean mixes in the spice of soul. The collision of these genres increases 12 Cents’ drive to push forward creatively.
Since their formation in 1996, 12 Cents for Marvin has released five full-length albums. They include; Yellow Raincoat (1998), King of the Ring (2000), Change (2005), and The B-Load (2007). 2016 marks their latest release, It’s Not Over, which stays true to their trademark energetic flair and blistering horn section. 12 Cents can be found on such compilations as "Still Standing" (2003, Megalith Records) and "Fort Collins Rocks, Vol. 3" (2005, Hapi-Skratch Records.) 12 Cents for Marvin has performed with A-List acts such as The Skatalites, The English Beat, The Sugar Hill Gang, The Specials, The Fray, Fishbone, and a multitude of others.
The band has earned first place in Colorado's Scene Magazine's “Battle of the Bands,” and were named “Best Band” in the region several years in the row. 12 Cents for Marvin strives to produce music that everyone, at almost any age, can appreciate. A product of a college town, the band now aspires to represent Colorado and spread their ska style to the world. This band is one well-oiled machine, they are an eight-cylinder ska engine, perfectly timed, working together. To feel the energy, the price of admission is only 12 Cents for Marvin.