Colorado’s Newcomers Home bring electric folk 

Five-piece band debuts second album In The Hour

Who: Newcomers Home

Where: Boot Pub

When: June 3

Boulder’s own Newcomers Home debuts in Whistler this week, on a West Coast tour that includes stops in Idaho, Montana and then Nelson, B.C. to promote their second album, In The Hour.

"You’ll find every song on this album has an experience behind it – for me, it’s easiest (to write) songs about angst and related subjects," says lead vocalist Katie Hertzig, who also plays guitar, djembe and spoons.

"This album is really about relationships. For some reason, it’s easier for me to write about struggle."

The title track In the Hour is "a song that came alive this year after the whole September 11 th crisis." And after reading Jon Krakauer’s harrowing account Into The Wild, Hertzig wrote Free For Awhile, a song she says "speaks to Chris McCandless."

Self-described as "acoustic folk rock with Latin influences," the band looks to a variety of sources for both their uptempo and slower ballads.

And they’ve got a good thing going.

Newcomers Home’s first collection of original songs, Miles From Saint Louise , sold 4,000 copies off the stage, through the Net, and in independent stores.

And this past year they appeared at the Nemo Festival, the annual Boston event that showcases up to 250 "hot new bands" in Boston’s top 20 music venues.

Their May, 2002 CD release party for In The Hour, held at the well known Fox Theatre venue, "was a good turnout" with some 500 fans in tow.

"We’re open to what comes up (in terms of shopping around for a record deal), but we wouldn’t pursue that without having built up the band independently," says Herzig, who adds she’s "become a bit of a wedding singer" of late as a soloist at weddings for friends, family, and more friends of the family.

Hertzig looks to influences like Shawn Colvin (Nothin’ On Me). Band co-founder Tim Thornton borrows from Celtic influences as strings player on mandolin, harmonica, and banjo.

Andrew Jed, the third co-founding member of the band, joins on acoustic and electric guitar.

Drummer Todd Lammers is replaced by Tom Germain, and bassist Matt Trinidad is replaced by Scott Bougher in the Newcomers Home lineup for the Whistler show.

Thornton, Herzig, and Jed are "friends who happened to form a band," who met while studying at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Celtic fiddler Tim O’Brien (of The Crossing CD), a long time hero of Thornton’s, is guest on the single Lowland, an instrumental piece he wrote, and the band frequents the Colorado Celtic Festivals.

The band next plays an Aspen festival at Snowmass on June 23, in addition to the resort’s venue Grottos.

"Our style is unique in that it’s quite a range – at the Celtic Festivals we sometimes feel like the black sheep, because a lot of the bands are strictly Irish. People say that’s refreshing," she adds.

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