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Newcomers Home: Press

They sound as if they were signed three years ago–or should have been.
One of Colorado's most up and coming bands is going through some changes, but don't panic - yet.

Newcomers Home was poised to reach the national spotlight. The local band had spent time recording in Nashville, played opening slots for national acts, and had a die-hard following of loyal fans.

Unfortunately, the local band is calling it quits. Thursday the group will play its last show at the Boulder Theater. Newcomers Home started off playing intimate shows on the CU campus, so it's only fitting that the band plays its final show in Boulder.

“We all met as college students. I think our first show was at a coffee shop on the Hill. From there, we went on to opening shows for Seven Nations, the Spin Doctors and the Pat McGee Band. The best thing about all this was, we started off as friends. We never had this grand vision of what would happen to us,” said Newcomers Home front woman Katie Herzig.

Newcomers Home became known for Herzig's emotive vocals and the band's knack for fusing musical genres into one dance-filled party. Over time, the Boulder band changed its sound from Celtic folk-rock to a pure modern rock groove. The group always packed the Fox and Boulder theaters and became one of the town's signature acts.

“It was surprising that the band decided to end,” said Herzig. “It's still more surprising to our fans; a lot of people are responding and the e-mails are pouring in. We've had people tell us how our music helped define their lives. There's no pressure left, so we're going to look at the Boulder Theater show as a celebration.”
Breakup of the band painful yet liberating
By Katie Herzig
Special to The Denver Post

Newcomers Home frontwoman Katie Herzig copes with her band's imminent breakup.

Two nights ago I didn't sleep.

I was in bed all night trying not to think, a task virtually impossible for a girl asked to describe the end of an era. The era I speak of is that of Newcomers Home, my band, of which I was the lead singer. Weird to say "was," because we still have one show left. I've essentially been married to the band for the last eight years of my life. I am Mrs. Newcomers Home, and I am going through a divorce.

When a band breaks up, it's like a relationship breaking up. There are tons of reasons to stay together, just not enough. After telling our fans Newcomers Home would be ending, I was shocked at how many people responded with all the feelings I should have been feeling but wasn't. Sadness, grief, mourning. People did cry.

How did it happen? By surprise. For the last year, we had been working on The Album, the project that finally would launch us into the Superstar Galaxy, where all of our problems would disappear. The problem is, that world doesn't exist.

Tim (mandolin) and Laurie (fiddle and vocals) Thornton asked me to meet up for dinner. We met in Lyons for a meal that ended with them telling me they didn't think they could do the band anymore. This was a few weeks after the release of our fourth album, which we borrowed $15,000 to make. I knew eventually it would happen, I was just surprised at how relieved I felt, with the exception of the list I was instantly building in my head of all the people who believed in us.
I am one voice of four in NH. Andrew Jed (guitar) and I decided to spend the rest of the summer touring with our bassist and drummer, without Tim and Laurie. We noticed it is much easier to make decisions when half the band is gone. Costs went down and profit up. But not as many people came.

The first big show after Tim and Laurie's departure was in Nashville, a place where we'd played many showcases for "industry cats." The show was amazing. I couldn't help but remember the lightness I felt when I first heard Tim and Laurie tell me they were done, when I felt that maybe I, too, was ready to move on, ready for less compromise and the ability to go and do whatever I please.

I expect to mourn this divorce later in my life in those times I feel particularly lost. But right now I'm just celebrating the time we had. I'll never forget how special this band was, that our music has left an imprint in people's lives. It's more than any of us imagined for ourselves, on that warm night in 1997 on the lawn of CU-Boulder's campus, when we decided to become a band.

Newcomers Home plays its final show Thursday at the Boulder Theater. Tickets: $10-$13 via
Herzig's captivating vocals pouring out in absolute clarity, reminiscent of Sarah McLaughlan's pitch perfection. ... and the jaws drop. The pure passion of the band is infectious. They aren't "working a gig" up there - they are having fun. Newcomers Home does stand out. It's obvious they aren't from here - from their musical style to their personal expression, even from their clothes to their down-to-earth dialogue with the audience, this is a band that clearly comes from a less image-ridden environment and is more propelled by individuality. And (sorry LA), it's a breath of fresh air...
...Herzig's mastery of the djembe is matched by her vocals, and she is somehow simultaneously able to deliver them both flawlessly...
The volume of the audience's cheers at the end of the band's set is a testament to the charm and purity that they possesses. As they continue to play to an ever-increasing national audience, Newcomers Home can only expect to get bigger and - well, it's hard to image they could get any better than this.
There’s magic in great musical interplay, and Colorado-based Newcomers Home has it. Where other young acts might stitch styles together like a patchwork or get sidetracked on noodling odysseys, Herzig, Thornton, and Jed have managed to blend their wide-ranging musical ingredients into a unified voice. Like Nickel Creek and many other young, emerging talents, Newcomers has helped to revitalize traditional strains of acoustic music like bluegrass and folk by coloring them with the contemporary pop-rock influences. Banjos and drum loops? Bring it on!

Front and center are Herzig’s dulcet-toned vocals -- a mixture of raw emotion and poetic grace -- that animate her lyrics with passion and vulnerability, packing the songs with emotional power. Her voice transforms each song into a complete event, a nuanced emotional journey that can rise like an ethereal mist and evolve from fragile tension to soaring denouement.
(Jed's) graceful figures, licks, and arpeggios add filligree, softly cascade, and sweetly tinge the musical space, painting tunes like “Sante Fe” with bittersweet melancholy, and adding a rich, delicate warmth to the ballad “Can’t Look Away”.

Of her 510ce, Herzig says: “I’ve dropped her, scratched her, sweat on her, pounded her strings and frame, and yet she can still sound so soft and delicate. I’ve grown with her, and every sound she makes has become part of my musical journey.”

Wherever their musical journeys takes them, there’s a good chance these 20-somethings will make themselves right at home.

—Jim Kirlin
Soothing sounds. This Colorado band is tight acoustic new-folk.
- Missoulian (Missoula, MT)
As a quintet, the crew dons a hard-hitting folk facade...Jed's sailing guitar solos and the eerily cosmic vocals of Herzig.
- Jackson Hole News
They are a multitalented collaboration from Boulder with a modest and audience-friendly demeanor and sky-high ambition...
Eric Melvin - Riff Music Magazine
Stands out in a sea of acoustic combos!
Vince Darkangelo - Boulder Weekly