You’d think a band yet to celebrate its first birthday would be bickering over whose basement is best for practice sessions. At least that’s the visual a stereotypical inauguration tends to suggest. But there’s nothing conventional about Rachel & The Kings, and the dynamo-style start the band boasts is no exception. Consider: with less than two months of official togetherdom, Rachel & The Kings won Ford’s national “Gimme the Gig II” competition, earning huge accolades from legendary producer (and head judge) Don Was. Not to mention becoming the de facto stars of “Gimme the Gig II,” set to air on KTLA in late July, 2012.
What explains such immediate and extraordinary success is a confluence of talent culled from piles of musical endowment accumulating around Denver these days. Rachel James, already an established singer / songwriter, initially teamed up with friend and producer Joey Barba (lead guitarist of former band Tickle Me Pink). As production on her first full-length album progressed, the need for formidable players to complement the music’s intense construction became clear, and Barba called upon Stefan Runstrom, also of Tickle Me Pink fame, to track drums. With the eventual addition of two other notable Colorado players – Ian Short, violin player and long-time collaborator alongside Rachel, with former status playing violin for Hello Kavita and Noah Matthews, former bass player on the Alan Baird Project – the proverbial circle was complete.
And as often occurs in these charmed circumstances, the group chemistry was simply something too potent for anyone to ignore. James, Barba, Runstrom, Short and Matthews all agreed that they had to take their talents outside the studio and due justice to the dynamic sound already found behind its walls. And thus began Rachel & The Kings, a young person’s super-group who proves worthy of that superlative moniker. Their live shows make fun feel justified, a sort of mature approach to having a rather rockin’ good time. Their songwriting finesse and musical artistry set the band on a playing field that’s really all their own. But what separates Rachel & The Kings the most from other bands is the real joy onstage they seem to experience themselves. It’s a relief to see the band is in on what you already know: that this is great stuff.