There has undoubtedly been some big, dirty, electric Texas blues bubbling out of the Two Faces West wheelhouse since the band started gigging while attending Western State in Gunnison.
Heavy guitar riffs and Billy Gibbons vocals from front man Kurt Ashmore ignite some friction – more than enough to earn him his beard Drummer Mick Knudsen anchors the trio with a not-too-hurried groove, and that is how this band began Knudsen and Ashmore found the name from a ’60s television show that starred Charles Bateman portraying each of two very different gun-slinging twins The show was set in historic Wild West Gunnison. One twin was quick tempered and harsh, the other peaceful and gentle, but both were quick on the draw. Knudsen liked the imagery of the show and the connection to western Colorado; the place that gave them their start added some grit to the stories they tell.
Two Faces West are no strangers to Salida. Victoria Tavern music lover Molly Simonson was an early supporter of the band and has brought them out on several occasions, most notably during the Gentlemen of the Road stopover in 2015. At the time, they were firmly rooted in late night blues jams evident on their 2015 debut EP, Gunny Town Blues.
Around the same time, however, the duo moved to Denver, picked up new bassist Kaden Cramer and became much more engrossed in making and writing music. Knudson explains a gradual evolution to a more groove- and funk-flavored sound now that they’re playing more often and to much larger crowds – crowds that like to dance. They have gained a following in Denver and across Colorado in a short time. In Denver, they’ve become part of the tribe of bands that push each other and that play with – and off – each other as they collaborate and compete for spots at Denver venues. Two Faces West will hit Salida early in their summer tour to kick off FIBArk. The tour will culminate with the release of a new EP called By The Book at Denver’s Globe Hall.
The new work from Two Faces West reflects the move from fun-but-derivative jams like “Fast Lovin’ Woman” to what can be characterized as folk-funk storytelling. Knutson gives us an introduction with a tune inspired by a farm town legend. The song tells the tale of a farmer in Hugo, Okla., who shot his neighbor dead for woking his fields on a Sunday. These days, Knutson and Ashmore find examples of human contradiction and pride, among other observations, to be rich fodder for imaginative songs that are more thought-provoking and meaningful for them than their older material.
It’s an exciting time to be a member of Two Faces West. The band members saved enough money working day jobs and playing shows to record “the best 5 of the new material” at The Spot Studio in Lakewood. The Spot is a producer-owned cavern of a studio that allowed the band to pay by the song and stay the night to really work out their demons. New work is flowing quickly and will be featured on this tour. They’ll play June 15 and Aug. 5 at The Victoria Tavern and they’ll return to the Ark Valley later in August to play a show at The Scarlet in Leadville.