Daniel Rodriguez tells this story about the origin of his band’s name, Elephant Revival: “Our bass player busked outside the elephant cage at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago,” he says, where two elephants had been living together for more than 15 years. “It turns out the elephants were split up and shipped to different zoos. Each of them died.”
The Colorado-based band members are electric banjoist/guitarists Sage Cook and Daniel Rodriguez, bassist Dango Rose, fiddler/vocalist Bridget Law, and Bonnie Paine on vocals, washboard, and musical saw. “We have enough material to do about four albums,” says Rodriguez. “Last time we narrowed it down from 24 to 14 songs by putting the titles in a hat and drawing them.” They will record again in February. “The label wants us to go with a big-name producer.” He doesn’t know who yet, but so far the band likes Steve Berlin, the sax player from Los Lobos.
Elephant Revival’s bio states that their genre is hard to pin down. I ask him to pin it down. Rodriguez exhales and struggles for a minute to find the right words, then says the Elephant Revival is a mix of acoustic and electric with some kind of secret-sauce thing going on in the vocal harmonies. “The label calls us indie acoustic.” He then compares the band to an unplugged Dylan/Band jam. Meaning what? Revved-up folk for city hipsters? “Synergistic acoustic melodic awesomeness,” he finally says, relieved. “There you go.”
ELEPHANT REVIVAL: AMSDconcerts, Friday, January 20, 7:30 p.m. 619-303-8176. $20.