North Carolina band Mipso will delight audiences this weekend
The North Carolina band Mipso will return to the Strings outdoor stage this Sunday for a captivating performance that combines their own vocal harmonies with a unique style of old-time string band music, pop and indie rock. The foursome released its latest self-titled album — their sixth — last October and Explore Steamboat caught up with vocalist and fiddler Libby Rodenbough ahead of this weekend’s performance.
Explore Steamboat: To start with, tell us a little bit about your newest album.
Libby Rodenbough: Well, it came out during the pandemic. … Now that we’re playing shows again, it feels like a release. I’m re-experiencing that feeling of release in a way that we didn’t get the first time around. It was recorded mostly in Asheville, North Carolina, during the heat and humidity of the summer.
ES: As a group, how would you define your musical style?
LR: It’s tough to define something that feels like it’s constantly in the process of changing. I would say that we all have some connection to string band music — that’s kind of what brought us together initially. We are all children of the late ‘90s and early 2000s, so we all also have that indie rock and pop music of our youth in our musical blood, as well. At the end of the day, all of us are really concerned with the strength of a song.
ES: With four different people in one band, how did that style come about?
LR: It could only have come together over time. It helped that we all met when we were only 19 because we weren’t fully formed as humans. … We still aren’t fully formed. It’s been a process of trying to allow for each other’s differences but also finding ways that we could lean toward each other musically. For example, Wood (bass and vocals) has a jazz background. I wouldn’t say that our music is particularly jazz-influenced, but he does have a different ear for harmony when he’s writing the bass line. That influence is in there. It’s a melting pot effect; it’s hard to single out the individual influences, but it’s a unique alchemy that happened between the four of us.
When: 7 p.m. Sunday,
Where: Strings outdoor stage, 900 Strings Road
Tickets: Prices start at $160 per concert pod (four people); StringsMusicFestival.com.
ES: How do you think you’ve grown together over the years?
LR: At first it was the three guys (Jacob Sharp, Wood Robinson and Joseph Terrell) who started playing music when they were sophomores together at University of North Carolina. I was a year behind them, and at first, I was the guest fiddle player. A few years later, they were gracious enough to want me to contribute in a more equal way. I was hesitant, but when we got closer to graduation, and I thought about the onslaught of adult life, I realized that it would be really foolish to not take this opportunity. We used to get in more fights because we had more youthful pride, and every creative decision felt like it was a hill to die on. At some point, as we’ve grown up through the years, we realized that we were lucky to have each other and to have a band dynamic that works most of the time. We’ve learned to pick our battles and fight them in more loving ways that leaves space for each other.
ES: You came to Steamboat in 2019; are you looking forward to coming back?
LR: Oh yeah. Steamboat and this whole part of the country is so beautiful in such a different way from North Carolina beauty. These kinds of landscapes have been inspiring to basically every human who has been here in the history of the world, and I’m no exception to that. I think people right now are especially grateful to music; there’s a gentleness I feel between the audience and the performer, and I hope that means we’ve kind of re-shuffled our priorities a little.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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Explore a mix of events happening this weekend in Routt County.