Second Story Garage: Head for the Hills

Head for the Hills perform “Never Does” at Second Story Garage.

We thought cool Colorado bluegrass bands that hadn’t given into the urge to add drums might all have been run out of town.

Then we found Head for the Hills.

The Fort Collins quartet makes it work with guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass and, well, that’s all they need. They also sing, of course, and the overall package is a reaffirmation of how rhythm depends on feel, not the instruments you play.

But, remember, we said the band is cool. They might stick to traditional instrumentation, but they’re not tradition-bound. Colorado is a hotbed for experimentation in bluegrass, and Head for the Hills counts itself among the bands that are not afraid to explore the genre’s uncharted territory.

The band — Adam Kinghorn on guitar, Michael Chappell on mandolin, Joe Lessard on fiddle and Matt Loewen on bass — is preparing to release its latest album, “Blue Ruin,” on July 9.

The album art depicts a dystopian scene of a city by the sea with a bedraggled figure walking toward what appears to be a pirate ship. It was created by Tim Doyle, who has also done work with The Black Keys, Lucasfilm, Mattel and Hasbro. “Blue Ruin” includes appearances by Colorado music luminaries Andy Hall, Gabe Mervine and others.

Have a listen to their other Garage performances of “Never Does,” “Blue Ruin” and “Take Me Back.” The band’s next local show is July 13 at Breckenridge Brewery, 471 Kalamath St. in Denver.

What they brought us: A Head for the Hills pint glass and air freshener. (Does our studio smell?)

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