And what puts a cherry on top is when a group has already established itself onstage, only to translate seamlessly in the studio. It may sound like a no-brainer, but being able to hold your own — in front of the crowd, in the recording booth — can be the trickiest skill of all to master as a musician. How do you harness the energy of a live show without over-polishing the final product? When is enough, enough? What is the current direction of the band as it tries to accurately represent itself on a record?
Based out of Cullowhee, Mangas Colorado blends together Southern Appalachian front porch string music with the sharp edge of cosmopolitan folk and Americana swagger. Their new self-titled sophomore album is the watermark of a trio at a crossroads, one which puts their fate square in their hands as they push ahead, ultimately living up to the hype of their live performances that have made this word-of-mouth ensemble a beloved act in the eyes and ears of Western North Carolina music lovers.
Holding steady at the helm is Colby Deitz (vocals/guitar/mandolin/kick-drum). Alongside Jarrod Couch (banjo/guitar) and Seamus Moose (bass/guitar), Deitz is ready to bring Mangas Colorado further into the regional spotlight with the record, which will have an official release party on March 27 at Tuck’s Tap & Grille in Cullowhee.
Smoky Mountain News: What’s the philosophy behind the band?
Colby Deitz: Our catchphrase is “Good. Carolina. Music.” Our live sound goes between stompin’ party tunes and acoustic tunes with harmonies. For a three-piece band, we have a very full sound and take a lot of pride in our sound checks and overall tone. People have very busy and stressful lives and we want them to be able to come and experience a great show with reflective songs and just leave in a great mood. We want to provide people with the music that we want to make and hope that it has as big of an impact on their lives as it does on ours.
SMN: What’s your song process like? Lyrics then melody? Vice versa?
CD: We feel that writing a song should be a very real and personal process. Songwriting is how we express ourselves as well as trying to understand the hardships and the blessings of life. As far as the process itself, we all have different styles whereas I like to do collaboration, Jarrod and Seamus like to write songs individually and bring them to the table.
SMN: Why string music?
CD: We chose string music because we’ve all grown up with different string driven artists. We draw inspiration from bands like The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, John Prine, NeedToBreathe and Waylon Jennings. We all love rock music, we just like taking acoustic instruments and filling out our sound and playing the instruments we know how to play. We love being different. We’ve jammed with some drummers and other guitar players, and yet we always end up landing back on hammering on acoustic instruments, stompin’ our feet, and making raw, natural “Good. Carolina. Music.” for people.
Want to go?
The Mangas Colorado album release party will be at 9 p.m. Friday, March 27, at Tuck’s Tap & Grille in Cullowhee. The show is free and open to the public. The band will also be performing on March 14 at The Ugly Dog Pub in Highlands, March 17 at Tipping Point Brewing in Waynesville and April 4 at The Lost Hiker in Highlands. www.mangascolorado.us.