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Take an enchanted hike with Austin chanteuse Celeste Griffin from blues-folk band Monarchs. [MUSIC + VIDEO]

2010 July 29

We snapped this pic of Celeste in Marfa during El Cosmico Weekend 2010

Last fall’s El Cosmico Weekend in Marfa was nothing short of a dream. Two days out in the desert, camping in teepees and wigwams. Running from art gallery to studio dressed as a lion. Oh, and the music, man, the music.

[Check out our full El Cosmico Weekend 2009 coverage]

It was in this dream state that I experienced the magical musings of Austin chanteuse Celeste Griffin from Austin’s Monarchs. Uh, and when I say ‘dream state,’ I actually mean an alcohol-induced haze brought on by a long day of imbibing on a limo bus-and it was like 3 in the morning. She was playing a guitar and singing in a ginormous teepee. All 30 or so folks were entranced as her voice lifted us high into the starry night sky.

Celeste’s voice is an interesting one. There’s a sort of salty soul that carries you into the Deep South, like you’ve just had a batch of collard greens cooked in bacon. It’s got a hint of Janis Joplin, but without all the heartbreak and Jack Daniels; instead, Celeste’s voice fills you with light and hope. Plus, Celeste ain’t no East Texas coastal girl like Janis; just like the bacon in those collard greens, her saltiness comes from her Alabama upbringing.

  • LISTEN: “Open It Up” by Monarchs from ‘The Oak E.P.’

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Celeste Griffin Monarchs Austin Band

Celeste says her inspiration comes from the music she grew up with, a smorgasbord of Dirty South hip hop, Memphis blues, country and rock. This diverse taste in music reflects itself in her band Monarchs. From blues to roots to folk, it’s kinda hard to nail down the band’s sound. For me, I see a lot of golden yellows, like the sun shining through a field of sunflowers in an old, faded photograph.

For their upcoming album, Monarchs are working with Mike McCarthy, the dude who produces Spoon and Patty Griffin. But that sort of talent comes at a price. To help raise money for recording, Monarchs have turned to a site called Pledge Music. Pledge Music takes the music back to the people by allow YOU the listening community to help fund the project. As you’ll note on the page, there are varying levels of contribution, and each level comes with a prize. The lowest donation, $10, gets you a digital copy of the album. Bid the highest level, $1200, and the band will play at your house party.

Late last week, we met up with Celeste for a hike through the Greenbelt. While there, she told us a little about the new album. The best part of the walk was Celeste singing part of one of the new songs off the album (see the video, below). In mid-song, it started sprinkling, then turned into a beautiful summer storm-the perfect way to end such a magical walk.

Celeste Griffin Monarchs Austin Band

Celeste Griffin chats with Chris about her new album.

  • WATCH: Check out the video, below, to experience our walk along the Greenbelt. You’ll learn a little more about Monarchs’s upcoming album, see us catch a pygmy frog and hear Celeste sing a new track off the album.


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3 Responses leave one →
  1. July 29, 2010

    Twitter Comment

    Check out the video / blog from my hike with Chris of Republic of Austin:
    (thank goodness I was wearing the… [link to post]

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  2. July 30, 2010

    Twitter Comment

    ROA Take an enchanted hike with Austin chanteuse Celeste Griffin from blues-folk band Monarchs. [MUSIC +... [link to post] via @ATX4U

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  1. Austin blues-folk band Monarchs perform a sultry version of ‘A Love Alive’ inside a church. [VOYEUR MUSIC VIDEO] | Life Music People and Events in Austin Texas

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