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Apollo ranges from folk to blues to Motown

Teenage friends form successful band years later


by: COURTESY -      Brent Cowles didn’t take his childhood dog, Apollo, with him when he journeyed into the desert alone to make music, but he did take its name.

You, Me and Apollo was the name Cowles gave to his solo project when he left his hometown of Colorado Springs to record with a small indie label in southern Arizona. After a year in the hot desert sun, Cowles released the five-song EP, “How to Swim, How to Rot.” But the singer-songwriter felt out of place and out of luck, so he ashed his last, unfinished cigarette in the cracked dirt and headed home to Colorado.

There, locked away in a Fort Collins basement, Cowles laid out the lyrics for a new record, “Cards with Cheats,” and found a circle of music- minded friends to record the album and form a band. Most of them had grown up together. They kept You, Me and Apollo as the name.

That was almost two years ago.

Now, having fine-tuned their sound, the indie blues folk rock band has joined the Great Northwest Music Tour.

What can audiences expect? The band summary offers a hint: “They are moonlight and they are bright lights. They're in the woods and they're on the strip. They are heartache and they are vengeance. They are swagger and stomp. You Me & Apollo are headlong into the deep desert, and you're going with them. ”

Rooted in folk, with influences such as Horse Feathers, Damien Jerado and Fleet Foxes, Cowles says the band lately seems to be veering into Motown and early R&B artists such as Otis Blackwell, the writer who made Elvis Presley famous with songs like “Fever.”

The band brings the infectious “Oh My Molly,” written in the desert by Cowles. A poet at heart with a head full of shaggy curls and a beautiful voice drenched in doo-wop, soul and alt-country lament, the front man gets the audience to plead the chorus, “Please, Please."

Drummer Tyler Kellogg was 13 when he first met Cowles — then nine — and reconnected with him after Cowles moved back from the desert. Kellogg says the band's new song favorite is “I Don't Want to be Loved,” a simple yet suspenseful number that keeps audiences guessing.

And the boys like to lose it on stage with “We Got a Roof,” beginning in slow guitar grooves and picking up in a heavy passion, Cowles said. “We go nuts when we play it.”



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