The Quiet American with Martin Gilmore
Fri. Apr. 5th: The Quiet American w/ Martin Gilmore 9:30pm – Modern Old-Time American Folk
The Quiet American is husband and wife duo, Aaron and Nicole Keim. A home-grown modern folk revival, their music incorporates ballads, banjo breakdowns, raggy choruses, gospel duets and other dusty Americana gems, all delivered on a wide variety of acoustic instruments, some of which Aaron built himself. Before forming The Quiet American, Aaron was known for his work with the well-loved Colorado roots band Boulder Acoustic Society. Over 8 years, the band built a passionately loyal following, but Aaron found that their diverse sound was keeping him from his passion for old time folk music. In a quest to get "back to basics," he turned inwards, moving to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon to work as A luthier for Mya-Moe Ukuleles. Nicole, who is a musician and artist, embraced the chance to sing and play with Aaron, as they re-dedicated themselves to roots music and to a new life together. This home-made, hand-crafted lifestyle created a new sound for their music, drawing them closer to the traditions that first inspired them.
With their new album, The Quiet American’s songwriting and songcatching focus is on the all-American bad boy, Wild Bill Jones. Over the course of 15 tunes and songs, Aaron and Nicole turn the myth of Wild Bill Jones around and around, bringing new light to the many facets of this classic anti-hero tale. Inspired by the ill-fated love triangle suggested in the song, they focus on each character: the original rounder Wild Bill Jones, the young girl he seduces, Posey, and the mysterious man who pulls the trigger on Jones. With each song, The Quiet American considers the deeper truths behind this age-old story: “Come Walking With Me” swaggers along with the arrogance of Jones’ youth, “Posey’s Song” muses over the female perspective (“Sometimes the right choice is the wrong one, but you make it just the same”), the eerie traditional song “Gallow’s Pole” depicts the condemned man about to be hanged, and “Free Little Bird” is a kind of swan song for Posey as she tries to move on with her life. The tunes and songs on Wild Bill Jones have been stripped back one by one, even slowed down in some cases, with new melodies built, new words created, and original songs crafted from snippets of inspiration. On the album, you can hear an old-time string band rubbing shoulders with a back-alley hokum jug band, or vintage country duets sounding off with bluegrass harmonies. Aaron works as a kind of curator for the project, drawing from his life-long musical passions to draw out new sounds and ideas. With Wild Bill Jones, The Quiet American has created a pastiche of the roots of American music, and a new way of looking at these old songs and stories.