Band’s ‘Bridge’ as long-awaited as its namesake

Two years ago, local country-rock band Farmington Hill started recording its debut album.

“Real” jobs, responsibilities and hobbies otherwise known as “life” often get in the way of one’s artistic endeavors, so the trail of song idea to songwriting to recording and releasing the collection of those songs can take time.

Farmington Hill’s “Bridge to Nowhere” has been worth the wait. It’s a collection of country rock hooks with just enough twang to appease longtime fans of alternative country as well as the Pabst Blue Ribbon-drinking newbies who are starting to outgrow the punk of their youth and beginning to embrace country-rock.

The five-piece band – Paul Iudice on guitar and vocals, Erik Nordstrom on guitar and vocals, Kati Iudice on bass, Kelly Rogers on lap-steel and Mike Mantineo on drums – will celebrate the release of “Bridge to Nowhere” with a show tonight at The Summit. Opening will be local rock trio The Crags.

The short history is this: Paul Iudice, lead singer for The Freeman Social, enlisted Nordstrom’s help on arranging some of his own songs in 2007. (Nordstrom was and remains the frontman for The Lawn Chair Kings.) They played a show together at a street festival one summer day in 2008 and eventually collaborated on a few new songs. A rhythm section was added, followed by Nordstrom’s recommendation to bring in Rogers on lap steel. Shows were played, songs were written and an album was recorded in the Iudice home studio in north La Plata County in 2010. The release was a mostly do-it-yourself project with some help from musician friend Eric Mischker and Dan Szabo, whose work as engineer, producer and mixer proved to be essential.

“He has a great ear and he’s got good suggestions. He helped out the whole thing with his knowledge and the equipment he had,” Paul Iudice said. “He was able to get a good sound for a live recording.”

The live approach to the recording is favored over hours spent in a studio.

“I liked that we had a focused period of time where we were hanging out. We got it taken care of in one weekend,” Nordstrom said. “I thought it was a lot of fun, and I think some of the fun of that weekend comes out in the recording. There are definitely some imperfections in the recording, but I thought the spirit came through. There’s an energy we wouldn’t have gotten if we did a click track. If we took that approach, it might have turned out more perfect, but I don’t think it would have the same energy.”

Like many records, certain bands and their sounds are tied to their location. Uncle Tupelo sang of the doldrums of a Midwest small town and West Coast country-rock reeks of Southern California. On “Bridge to Nowhere,” Farmington Hill has captured life in Southwest Colorado – a growing rural community filled with friends, one too many late nights with one too many drinks and celebrating local radio.

“We’re trying to capture the essence of La Plata County,” Nordstrom said. “I think we succeeded.”

Liggett_b@fortlewis.edu. Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager.

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