Higher Ground Music Festival Artist Preview: King Cardinal

| July 1, 2015


by Tim Wenger

King Cardinal dropped a new record at Deerpile on July 3, and will be sharing the tunes with fans at Higher Ground Music Festival in August. Brennan Mackey, the exuberant man that formed the group, , seems like the type of guy that can provide some nice fodder about his musical career. His act is up to five people now, quite the jump from the man-and-acoustic guitar beginnings of the project. To get more, we hit him with the following questions.

CMB: First things first. Give us the story of the band.

BM: When I left the band I played with in Chicago, I had a bunch of tunes that didn’t really have a home. One of my friends has a studio and invited me to come by and record some of them before I left for Denver. I basically just sat down and recorded all the songs I had been playing at open mics for the past couple months. That ended up being the KingCardinal EP which helped me put together the band.

CMB: How has the experience been running a one-man band and bringing on additional musicians? Was it hard to find the right guys?

BM: It can be pretty tough running a band all by yourself. Writing and performing seems to be only about 10% of the work that needs to be done. I was lucky to have Jamie Mitchell lend so much support while recording this new album. Unfortunately we lost him to Nashville. 

In terms of finding the right guys, we had a great lineup for the recording of this album, but it seems that the nature of any great musician is being in a lot of projects. So the lineup is still in flux at the moment.

CMB: Have you found the scene here supportive, or have you guys felt that you’ve had to claw your way up?

BM: Yes! The scene is very supportive. Coming from Chicago, I’ve been able to see the character of both cities. It seems like Denver is small enough for people to get to know each other but big enough to still have huge talent. Bands really want to help each other out and you’re likely to see the same faces out at shows. Denver really loves live music. 

CMB: What direction do you see folk-rock heading this year?

BM: I think that mainstream folk-rock is going to start losing favor, but it will never go out of style. The tradition of the guy (or girl) with a guitar will always be around. There are so many great local folk-rock groups in Denver. Clouds and Mountains and Anthony Ruptak have both released great albums this year and I expect we have more great music to come in 2015

CMB: Other than HGMF, what is the group up to this year?

BM: We’ve got some big things coming this summer. I’ve been selected as a finalist for the Telluride Troubadour Competition at the bluegrass festival, we’ll be playing at UMS, and filming a video for Gasoline. There’s also one more surprise but I’ll have to wait to announce that.

CMB: What is the best place to check out your tunes?

BM: The best place to check out our music is at our band camp page: http://kingcardinal.bandcamp.com. You can also find us on iTunes and Spotify.

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