Colorado funk group The Motet is returned to Crystal Bay on Feb. 3, a year after revamping its lineup with a new vocalist and saxophone player. It threw a dance party for a near-capacity crowd in the Crown Room.
“I think we’re kind of over feeling things out,” frontman Lyle Divinsky said. “We’re a band that’s excited to explore all of the opportunities that we have as musicians and just as a family. It’s super exciting … to repeat these places to see familiar faces and hopefully reach a lot of new faces as well.”
The Motet is Divinsky, Dave Watts (drums), Ryan Jalbert (guitar), Joey Porter (keyboards), Garrett Sayers (bass), Gabe Mervine (trumpet) and Drew Sayers (saxophone).
Hailing from Portland, Maine, Divinsky, “The Sasquatch of Soul,” was a solo musician in New York City when he was hired by the band, a few years removed from busking in the subway.
“I basically met an incredible number of musicians in New York, put a record out, and that was always kind of the trajectory for me until I got the call from these guys, and that was an undeniable opportunity,” he said.
The band sent Divinsky two instrumental tracks; he wrote and added vocals to what would become “The Truth” and “Fool No More” and sent them back.
“They dug what was going on, so they flew me out for rehearsal, and I was on the road with them a week later,” he said. “Honestly it’s just been kind of a dream since.”
With Divinsky and Sayers on board, the Motet completed a pair of tours to the West Coast and through the Southeast. Over the course of these trips, the group recorded “Totem,” its first studio album with the new players, which the Motet released at a Red Rocks performance in July, in what was a dizzying six-month anniversary for Divinsky.
“This year has been a whirlwind and a half,” he said with a chuckle.
Now, fresh off of the boat from JamCruise, The Motet is once again headed west, with shows in Chico and San Francisco before this latest Crown Room performance. For Divinsky, who made his debut Crystal Bay appearance toward the end of his first tour with the band, this run shows that the new lineup is no longer, well, new.
“It’s really exciting for me to be able to go back to these places,” he said. “Now I’m getting to the point where I’m not necessarily having to prove to myself that I’m the new singer of The Motet. Now I’m part of the band and there’s an expectation.”
The Motet will be on the road throughout the winter and spring, and is particularly looking forward to a June return to Red Rocks, headlining a bill that includes Jurassic 5 and the California Honeydrops.
The group also has an eye on its next album. Divinsky recently relocated to Denver, and The Motet is meeting regularly to write new material.
“The thing is, this band works quickly with this lineup,” the frontman said. “We’ve gotten together two times and have one done and a few that are close.”
Divinsky is soaking up this new world, enjoying the present and looking forward to the future.
“I look up to these guys as musicians so much that I know what they’re gonna bring to the table is going to be really amazing already, so my thought is that I just want to be able to react to that and bring my voice into it,” he said. “Honor where the band has been and what the band has done and then put my stamp on it and continue the evolution.”
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