The Color Forty Nine features Phil Beaumont (Little White Teeth, Mr. Tube & the Flying Objects, Maquiladora), Jason Hooper (Goodbye Blue Monday, Hot Moon, Mr. Tube & the Flying Objects, Systems Officer), John Meeks (Lost Pets), and Matt Resovich (Black Heart Procession, Album Leaf, Mr. Tube & the Flying Objects, Little White Teeth).
They released their debut self-titled EP in June 2018. Their first video, "I Will," was followed by a video for the song "Storyteller," directed by Grant Reinero and filmed on location at Bread & Salt, with backgrounds courtesy of artists Lael Corbin and Thomas DeMello. Another video was released for "Hours Made."
A new single and video dropped in May 2021 for "String Ladder." According to Phil Beaumont, "The video is a collaboration with Chris Wassell and Lianne Mueller [Ship in the Woods]. I went down a number months ago to Chris' house in Tijuana and asked him to make a painting for the various lines of the song. We discussed the lyrics in general and then, with a glass of mezcal by our sides, he would paint a panel while I sang the song acoustically to him. In the four minutes or so of the song, he would be done with the painting and it was on to the next. By 3 am we had 15 paintings. We then passed these along to Lianne who set about plucking elements from each drawing and animating them, creating an abstract narrative that threads the viewer through each painting. It is wonderfully quirky."
Another track appeared in July 2021, "What Would I Know? Yo que sé?," featuring Rubén Albarrán, which had been in progress for over a year. "The song has border themes and about the greater idea that we all have similar desires of love and acceptance. The song seemed to want to have a mariachi sound to it and so I began to look for the right musicians to help bring it this life. At the same time, we had begun working with Marla Gamez who manages some bands and artists in Mexico. I told her the story of the song and mentioned that I should do a Spanish version. She mentioned that we should send it to Rubén Albarrán, the singer of Cafe Tacvba, as he likes our music. I thought it was a stretch, and said let's finish up the music first. She tricked me and sent him the demo. The next morning I woke up to a text that said 'Ruben loves the song and he wants to do it'...within a month, I was down in Mexico City at the Cafe Tacvba studio working with Rubén and a fantastic horn player, Moises Garcia, from the Perez Prado Orquestra."
"The song came out better than I could imagine and we decided to make it bilingual, trading Rubén's Spanish verses with mine in English. Once the song was mixed, I knew I had to do something special for the video. I am a huge fan of Hugo Crosthwaite's work and was struck by his animated 'Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Ortiz' for which he won the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery prize in 2019. Without knowing him personally I reached out and presented the song in hopes of collaboration. By the end of one weekend we had spoken and he came up with a plan for the video. He spent the next three months drawing and animating a fantastic piece of work."
Their album String Ladders, released July 23 2021, was preceded by lead single “Another World” and another for “String Ladder” (singular, rather than the album title's plural).
The bi-lingual single “What Would I Know? - Yo que sé?” features Rubén Albarr. The band sings English lyrics such as “Look at the lines in a face/All eyes can bring tears/All eyes can break fears/We are one and all,” while Albarrán replies in Spanish ”Wipe out the lines that we made/How can I cross a border when you can’t come north?/This is not a fair game.” In a press release, the band explains “This whole process of writing this song seemed to fulfill its own prophecy. We have these obstacles that have been created such as borders and discrimination, and if you can simply break those down then wonderful things can occur. Simply putting out the idea of collaboration to the right folks led us to working with an icon of music in Latin America, Rubén Albarrán, from Cafe Tacvba, and Hugo Crosthwaite, artist, and winner of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Prize. The song seemed to speak to them enough to dedicate, in Hugo’s case, 3 months to hand drawing an incredible animated video. What better reward can you have for reaching out and crossing borders?”