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Cultivating WinterWonderGrass: Fruition

02/01/2018 14:21 ● Published by Alesha Damerville

Images from Fruition

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – “We’re finally a rock band,” says Mimi Naja, Fruition vocalist, guitarist and mandolin player. “We started in a very folky, stringy sense because it traveled well. Now that we have a growing professional operation, we can have more gear and notch it up in the woods. We can make the sounds that we couldn’t make before because we couldn’t carry it on our back and bring it to the streets. Now we can rock out.”

Images from Fruition

Naja is joined by Jay Cobb Anderson on vocals, lead guitar and harmonica, Kellen Asebroek on vocals, rhythm guitar and piano, Jeff Leonard on bass and Tyler Thompson on drums and banjo. “Kellen, Jay and I were meeting up in Portland to take on the street and try to make some beer money,” Naja says. “We started harmonizing and laughing at how easily we fell into place. We sounded like one unit.”  

Fruition’s fifth album, Watching It All Fall Apart, is scheduled to be released in February. This new album represents change and growth for the band. “Songwriting and performing change when you change. They change according to the things you’re seeing and doing, interactions you’re having and the people you’re meeting,” Naja says. “A lot of our songs were love and breakup songs; the road took its toll on old relationships. The new album is about letting go of breakup stuff. There are new relationships forming in the band that are happening because we met people out on the road. Nature’s bounty definitely changes the music. We’re super stoked for this record; it’s totally a rock album. Hopefully it opens up some new ears.”

The musical influences leaving an imprint on the band Fruition are vast. “We began drooling over the songwriting of Gillian Welch together,” Naja says. “But we are also big rock and roll fans. You will hear a lot of Beatles love on the upcoming album. In the current scene, I lean toward Alabama Shakes – we love R&B and soul. Erykah Badu, Joni Mitchell and Ella Fitzgerald are all very influential women to me. Kellen is doing a lot more R&B kind of writing; D’Angelo is a big influence on him.

Watching It All Fall Apart is the first Fruition album created with an outside producer. “We’ve been self-produced this whole time,” Naja says. “We brought in Tucker Martine on this album. He’s worked with tons of bands. Having an outside source that is separate from the jam grass community has helped us find the sound we’ve always felt we’ve had and wanted. Which is rock. Tucker was the big change there.”

Fruition has played over 100 shows a year for the last several years. 

Images from Fruition

This Oregon-based band has left if its mark on countless music festivals since their humble beginnings. “When we first started playing gigs out of the state, that’s when we met Scotty (Stoughton) and Jen (Brazil),” Naja says. “They were some of the first people to catch wind of us from some fellow Colorado fans that had been out in Portland. They’ve been picking us up for event after event ever since. They’re lovely.”

Fruition joins an electric lineup of talented artists scheduled to play at the WinterWonderGrass Festival in Steamboat Springs this February. WWG organizers Scotty Stoughton and Jennifer Brazill are two of many people hard at work to ensure the three-day-long music and brew festival goes over without a hitch. WWG celebrates its second year of partnership with Steamboat Springs this year. “It’s a huge family party for the artists,” Naja says. “It’s a blast – Jenn and Scotty always have some tricks up their sleeves to keep things interesting. They’re full of fun, surprising ‘how is this going to work’ things. Somehow, it always does work, with flying colors. It’s always a bit of a thrill.”

The bands playing at WWG seem to be as excited about reuniting with other bands in their touring circuit as much as playing the shows. “WWG is the best stage greenroom area. So many homies,” Naja says. “The return bands are all relationships that we’ve developed over the years. Many ways in thanks to WWG in the first place.”

Fruition looks forward to its fifth time playing in Steamboat Springs via the WWG Festival. “Steamboat always has a great turn out,” Naja says. “We love a good Colorado rage, dance party, ski bum town.”

You can catch the expansive sounds at the WinterWonderGrass Festival this February.  For more information on the festival, lodging and ski passes, visit www.winterwondergrass.com


For more information on Fruition visit http://www.fruitionband.com

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