I SEE YOU: Cole and the Thornes Live in the Moment

by Kathleen Melee   |  Wednesday Feb. 1st, 2017

“I could use a friend to walk with me and sing . . .”
    - Sean Hayes (“Honeybees Falling”)

Cupid’s turbulent month offers sweet respite from the quest when Cole and the Thornes give you love in their eclectic reggae-meets-soul style.  A generous performing artist with a gorgeous smile and mellifluous voice, Cole welcomes her audience to “come forward, get up here close to the stage, I like to see who I am singing to and get to know you!”  Warmth from the Thornes spreads out over a cool jam that soon breaks into a sweat on the dance floor as bandmates Jordan Cole Rodenbiker (bass), Daniel Wood (pocket trumpet), Aaron Banfield (guitar), and Jelani Mahiri (percussion) reveal the complexity in the union set of disciplined musicianship and wild improvisation.  Considering Dan’s day job is with a local symphony and Jordan Rodenbiker is part of the Cure for the Common phenom when not backing Cole, Aaron is the second coming of your favorite guitarist to the 10th power, and Jelani could prep a jet for take off, this group has the musical hand in spades. Add sister Annette Thorne’s visiting circus tricks and life partner’s Sean Gannon’s real-time photojournalism to the mix, and there is magic. They’ve got it, and are sharing it all with you. Lucky. Experience a Cole and the Thornes show and get that exclusive, deja-vu feeling of “I knew them when; I heard HER before they broke out, going viral in the clubs of Rio, Reykjavik, Montreal, or Kingston.”

A creative wonderkid from Gillette, WY, Cole has a knack for the piano, her first love, calling it “a mysterious puzzle that you want to solve.” She admits to begging her family to play only piano music on long road trips or before bedtime. Best friend and cattle rancher, Grandma Rita, paid for the lessons, and allowed Cole to dream big on the baby grand in her majestic sitting room. While paternal grandparents ran a honky-tonk, it was Cole’s maternal side that encouraged the arts. Cole started ballet at the age of 6, and to this day she says, “music is a language that I want to learn, understand, and speak fluently.” Cole speaks through music to create culture with her audience, “People can get disconnected, but the culture of music and dancing brings them back to each other. When you dance and let go, you get connected and more in tune with your body and your soul.” Cole moved to Bozeman, when she was 18 and that’s when she picked up the guitar and ukulele. “I See You” is the first song she wrote for Uke and is an anthem to true friendship. “It is a song about seeing someone for who they truly are. Getting past anything that is bad to respect the good. Let the people I care about know that I’ll be there for them. I will always appreciate them. Listening to your friends and your loved ones without judgment. That’s what that song represents to me.”

Cole grew as an artist, lead singer, and polymath musician, in the fourth quarter of 2016 with a challenging lyrical curriculum and fierceness on stage. Before opening for Eric D. Johnson of the Fruitbats at the Filling Station, and shining at the Pine Creek Music Festival, she kept a cool head through a breathless sprint of venues including the “Cole Thorne Train Tour” across the country with stops in CO, NM, FL (Florida Keys) & NC. New Year’s Eve was a peak experience when the set of players behind the Vulfpeck tribute quietly populated the stage and backed Cole with the bravest fusion since the Marsalis brothers took Lincoln Center. Which tells you something about what happens when excellent musicians get together – they can play in any style and they love getting behind Cole’s beautiful voice. “Bringing bands together is a showcase of art,” affirms Cole. For the audience, it is clear the instrumentalists adore her and she pays it forward, “when I feel the audience, my emotions flow . . . While I’m playing, I definitely feed off the audience, that’s for sure. I can tell if they’re feeling it. And, if they are feeling it, the whole band will be in synergy too. I don’t know about other musicians, but for me it’s about an energy connection. We’re all energetic and that is what makes it real.”

And, oh can she sing people. Listen to her signature pieces,“I See You,” and “Be Here Now.” It is impossible to figure out who may have informed Cole’s lyricism but we tried at the Bozambique/Cole and the Thornes show last month – me (Joan Baez, Carly Simon, Edith Piaf, Brandi Carlisle, Sade, Fiorella Mannoia); he (Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Fiona Apple, Mazzy Star). And, then, both of us in unison “can’t be done . . . Cole’s voice is unique, there’s nobody like her!”  Cole’s musical mentor, Sean Hayes, said it best: “Mystery Surrounds Us!” Cole says that her musical mentors Clarence Greenwood from “Citizen Cope”, Trevor Hall, and and Dallas Tamaira from Fat Freddy’s Drop inspire her mission, “I want to spread love and to send message. Music is a form of medicine. My passion is music and creation. Combining music with being a teacher and a healer, that’s not just my lifestyle, it’s my life’s purpose.”     

Catch Cole at a Concert Coming Soon!
February 11, 406 Brewery
February 11, Filling Station (both on Feb 11)
February 23, Bozeman Hot Springs
February 25, Maverick Mountain Ski Resort
March 18th, Norris Hot Springs, 7-9pm

Find out more about her new album “Meet Cole & The Thornes” on Facebook; Like and Follow Cole and the Thornes, they will add other gigs at the Zebra, Filling Station, and 406 Brewery via their FB page.   

About the Author(s)

Kathleen Melee

Kathleen Melee, writer, teacher, researcher, and 4H mom, was a college, foreign-languages textbook editor in San Francisco for many years before working briefly at MSU from 1998-2000, and returning to Bozeman permanently in 2014.

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