Editor’s note: This article first appeared in 2014.
Kyle Hollingsworth is cognizant of his priorities. The problem is he has so many of them: The String Cheese Incident is touring and recording again, the children are young, bands covet a talented producer, beer is brewing and, oh yeah, his solo project must tour to promote a brand new album.
“It was a great accomplishment for me to finish the CD because sometimes I can’t even finish my own laundry,” Hollingsworth told Tahoe Onstage, multitasking a telephone interview and a cardio workout outside on his bicycle in his hometown Boulder, Colo. “I have a 2 ½ and a 7 year old, so it’s pretty much a madhouse at all times and the days go by very quickly because you are so busy with life, every single part of it.”
Hollingsworth’s hectic pace inspired his third solo album, “Speed of Life,” a funky, upbeat collection of tracks which explore numerous musical avenues. A keyboardist, Hollingworth enthusiastically acknowledges his nods to Herbie Hancock and early Billy Preston.
As with 2009’s “Then There’s Now,” Hollingsworth’s usual touring group is the core of the band, Dan Schwindt, guitar, Dave Watts, drums, and Garrett Sayers, bass. (Watts and Sayers also are the rhythm section for the Motet.) But also there are contributions from Michael Kang and Jason Hann from String Cheese, Big Gigantic saxophonist Dominic Lalli, Motet horn players Matt Pitts and Gabriel Marvine and singers Bonnie Paine (Elephant Revival), Kim Dawson (Motet) and LaDamion Massey.
“I’ve been calling it the celebration of collaboration because in my mind all these musicians, especially Dave Watts, have been in the scene for so many years that it’s a blessing to play music with them again and for me it brings the community back together.”
A couple the tunes were inspired from another project, Incidental Animals, which paired Hollingsworth and others with members of ALO, the Animal Liberation Organization.
Hollingsworth said he had several song ideas that were not used for String Cheese’s first studio album in five years, “Song In My Head.” Afterward, he produced an album for the Colorado band Eufórquestra.
“Being in the studio with String Cheese and being in the studio with Eufórquestrain a different way both contributed to how my album came out. (Eufórqustra) has dub delays and reggae elements. It made me more concise. A lot of albums have been more long-winded. That’s where pop sensiblity comes through.”
Hollingsworth used the term “pop sensibility” a few times during his Rocky Mountain bike ride. He defined the expression as a catchy but not overly repetitive musical phrase.
“For me, all the songs on a full pop album would start sounding the same and Kyle as a musician wouldn’t come through as much,” he said. “So the sensibilities in my mind are that I am exploring that character but I am not completely diving in.”
Before Hollingsworth finished up his ride, we had time to ask him about cheese and beer.
Be it a instrument solo or a hop profile, making good beer and good music both require a proper balance he said. “You don’t want any element to stand out too far. You could have the best Warren Haynes (guitar) solo in the entire world but if you are out in the audience and that’s all you can hear, that’s not a good balance.”
The new String Cheese Incident album, like Hollingworth’s solo CD, offers a variety of flavors and styles, he said.
“The future of String Cheese is bright,” he said. “When I’m not out with my project, String Cheese is full bore. There is talk of a new album again and we’d love to do that. I think by next fall we’re going to record again. There is always new music to be written.”
Now, about that laundry …