World music rockers find a fit with jam-band crowd |

World music rockers find a fit with jam-band crowd

Leslie Brefeld
Special to the Daily

KEYSTONE ” California-based band New Monsoon recently spent a month touring with Michael Franti and Spearhead, the String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams and Umphrey’s McGee. What brings together such diverse musical sounds? It’s the audiences, according to guitar and banjo player for New Monsoon, Bo Carper.

“The music we do is very different than any of these bands,” he continued. “The common denominator is the crowds. There’s an amount of a certain type of people across the country. They’re music lovers, music freaks; people who anxiously consume live music and are critical listeners.”

Carper describes the band’s sound as world music rock finding its greatest influences in Santana and the Allman Brothers.

“A lot of music that we do kind of has an Americana or bluegrass flavor. But it doesn’t come from there.” Carper said. “Bluegrass is not particularly part of any of our spheres of influence.” He said the incorporation of other musical styles into their sound is what gives New Monsoon their bluegrass


The usually seven-piece band is currently missing two of its percussionists, Rajiv Parikh and Brian Carey, both with wives expecting a child. Jeff Miller on vocals, drummer Mary Ylitalo, bassist Ben Bernstein and Phil Ferlino on keyboard round out the lineup.

The band arrived in Colorado over the weekend for performances in Vail and Denver. After Keystone’s show on Thursday, New Monsoon will continue its tour in the state for a show in Snowmass Sept. 1 and at the Yarmony Grass Festival at State Bridge River Resort in Bond on Sept. 2. Honkeytonk Homeslice joins the band in Keystone and again in State Bridge. Carper said audiences can expect a lot when these two bands get


After Colorado, the band members head back to their hometown of San Francisco for the Power to the Peaceful festival put on by Michael Franti. Carper described the event as a “constructive peace rally” that draws tens of thousands of people.

“We (try to) take people on a journey that ultimately has a positive effect and a positive message,” Carper said. “We’re not trying to be didactic or preachy, but more just trying to convey something visceral on an emotional level.”

New Monsoon’s latest album, The Sound, came out last September and was produced by Santana’s original drummer, Michael Shrieve. Carper said their next album will be a compilation of various live shows and should be ready sometime in the fall.

Leslie Brefeld can be reached at 668-4626 or lbrefeld@

Vail, Colorado

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