Interview with an outlaw

Saruh Fenton

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Photos taken from The Longest Day of the Year’s Facebook Page.

Toting a heavy, custom-made, steel resonator guitar, Sean Lamborne, member of Boulder-based band The Longest Day of the Year, serenaded students at the Ramskeller Wednesday, April 6th  alongside drummer Daren Garber.

A librarian by trade, Lamborne shatters the mold by rocking hard with a gritty style that he conjures up from somewhere deep within, encompassing his passion as an artist. Despite it being an early gig on a Wednesday afternoon, both Lamborne and Garber played a fiery show that attendees won’t soon forget.

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The band, normally consisting of five members, specializes in what they like to call rowdy Colorado rock n’ roll, existing somewhere in the crosshairs between Americana and Rock. Their sound seems to represent Colorado culture in an almost holistic way, incorporating a unique blend of the blues, rock n’ roll, and what Denver based music manager, Eric Singer dubbed outlaw country.

Having toured regionally for the past five years, the group have no plans to slow down anytime soon. As musicians in the LSC Live series, The Collegian caught up with Lamborne to talk about the band’s presence in the Colorado music scene.

C: You guys have a very distinct sound; how did it evolve from the time TLDOTY started?

SL: Longest Day started with t.Mule, the hollering and shouting rhythm guitar player, playing solo shows for several years and then coming into contact with Darin, our drummer, who lived upstairs from me. My idea as a solo act was to play rowdy and loud. I was trying to write good songs, but also tried to be a spectacle, I jumped and stomped and tried to get attention through being loud, I wanted to play gritty, bouncy, “outlaw” country/Americana music that could stand on its own, but I also wanted to attract a band and show what the music could be. Over the years we found our band dynamic and evolved to extend beyond the country vibe.

C: What is your writing process like? How do your distinct personalities contribute to how you collaborate on stage?

SL: The writing process lately is based around bringing quiet solo folk songs to the band and using our strengths to build around the song. We usually jam on it, find where we fit into the structure and over time we each create our own part. Brian comes up with powerful guitar riffs to lay over top, and I usually try to inter-play between both to tie them together; trying to provide space and continuity where they are needed.

C: Given how much you have toured in the past, do you identify as a Colorado band?

SL: We are definitely a CO band. We are all from different places, most of us from Michigan actually. Brian and Dan grew up together, but we all didn’t meet until we were living in Boulder and had all played with other folks around the scene. We have mainly played small tours around CO and a few in Michigan. We like to say that we took the music we love from our friends in MI and injected some high altitude mountain rock into it. It is a good combination of our love for roots/folk/country/bluegrass with our love for what we grew up listening to, Grateful Dead, Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd, Alice In Chains.

C: What are the pros and cons of the CO music scene? What struggles have you faced as a band?

SL: The hard part for us in the CO music scene has been finding a good place to fit in. There is a lot of bluegrass, which a lot of venues think we are too “rock” for. There is a good rock scene, especially in Denver, but venues have said we are too “country” to play with them. We have worked hard for over 6 years, sold a lot of tickets to some key shows and some of the venues have started finding some fitting support slots for us like Lukas Nelson, Blind Boys of Alabama, Trout Steak Revival, Dragon Deer and Joshua Davis. Jam band fans love us, country music fans dig it, rockers love that we can tear it up.And even though we have a rowdy live show, we have great crossover potential.

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C: What goals do you have for TLDOTY? Have they changed?

SL: We just hope to keep playing music that we love. We want to play shows with our friends and make new friends along the way. Our biggest goal is to keep on making ourselves happy with our music and to keep evolving musically as well as individuals. We haven’t been putting too much pressure on ourselves because we all have a lot going on in our lives beyond the music. We aren’t trying to sell a million records, just to have a lot of fun and complete projects we believe in.

C: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from playing in TLDOTY?

SL: Be true to what I do. Experiment with music, lyrics, and sounds. Focus on having strong relationships with my family, my beautiful wife, my hilarious little boy and make my music come from that love. Don’t take anything, playing, booking… anything too seriously (which can be hard, don’t get me wrong). One time a guy told me TLDOTY was his least favorite band in Boulder, so I offered him a free band button. Always be kind. There is so much going on in the world, there are a million musicians asking for money and vying for attention. All I should focus on is trying to bring my personality, my growth and experimentation as a musician to the world. Some will accept it and others won’t. The music business is hard, life is hectic and everyone is busy. But if I keep working, loving friends, family and what I do, then a handful of people will usually dig it. And I am forever thankful for their support. I appreciate everyone who takes a moment to listen and throws a kind word my way. It keeps me going.