Stillhouse Junkies

Monday, January 23, 2023

Joining us as our first Green Box Artists in Residence of 2023, the Durango-based bluegrass trio, Stillhouse Junkies has been busy at work the last two weeks in Green Mountain Falls on their next album. This one-of-a-kind trio was born out of the collective passions of three individuals with very different musical backgrounds. Fred Kosak, Alissa Wolf, and Cody Tinnin share a common goal of bringing sounds and grooves to their fans that fall outside easy genre distinctions.

Green Box: Welcome to Green Mountain Falls! What are your thoughts on this location being an inspiring place to create new work?

Fred: We’ve driven through this part of the state many times, but we had no idea Green Mountain Falls even existed, so it was a nice surprise to look at it on the on the map. It’s a cool little community. The winter is a slower vibe than the busier summer months, but we’ve been able to go out on the trails, eat at The Pantry, and get to know the town a little bit.

Green Box: What has your time here meant to you so far? Have you ever done anything like this before?

Alissa: It’s incredibly unique for us to have the time and space to come together and work on music, specifically new music. As touring musicians we’re on the road so much it’s difficult to have the space and energy to create, especially together. So, it has been phenomenal in that regard. It’s very quiet here and peaceful. The amount of space that Green Box has given us to set our schedule and work on our own has been amazing.

Cody: I’d like to add we were all extremely focused coming into this residency. We had time off beforehand and a chance to recuperate from last summer’s tour. To have no other responsibilities than to just work, having the total freedom every day to create. We’re all having a really good time and we’re very motivated in this space.

Fred: Getting into a daily rhythm is something we wouldn’t be able to do normally. To have this many days in a row, unprogrammed, and to get into the flow of meeting each morning for coffee, playing on our own, then coming together again in the afternoon to see what we’ve worked on … it’s been really special.

Your creative juices can follow a schedule much better than having a day here or there. This is really rare for us. 

Green Box: How often do you get together to practice?

Cody: Normally, we’re together all the time on tour and practice whenever and wherever we can. Airplanes, hotel rooms, etc. But to have the “free” time, especially for an entire month? It’s definitely one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. We’re now trying to figure out if this is something we can do annually, maybe rent a house each January in Florida or something.

Green Box: How many days are you on the road typically?

Cody: We do around 150 shows each year. We’re touring the first couple of weeks of February and March, then we’re on the road April through October. We’ll also be in Germany in this winter for a 30-show tour and we were in Europe last summer as well.

Fred: Usually when we do have time off, we don’t want to play music. It’s a time for us to recharge before we go on tour again. Sure, practicing on the new album is something we could have squeezed in, but to be able to get momentum around the effort, and a continuity from song-to-song because we’re all here together in one place is amazing.

Green Box: Something unique about you all is that you’re from Colorado. You already create in this beautiful place. But here, you are immersed in nature at The Shed, the Artist in Residence space. How has that been?

Alissa: Personally, having my own room to sit in and practice my fiddle has been inspiring. I practice a lot at home, but being in an environment where the sole purpose of being here is to work, I’ve been extra creative.

It reminds me of the vibe of going to summer camps when I was young. We have this monthlong period of time where we’re expected to focus only on music. You get in a mindset here, and it’s really encouraging and positive.

Green Box: Tell us about what you’re working on. Is there a certain theme, tone, or purpose for this new album?

Cody: Fred has been working on this new album for a long time. For Alissa and me, there’s been this inside joke, like “yeah, Fred’s got this whole record and we’ve never heard it.” Fred has done a lot of the legwork on this over the years, especially during Covid, so we’ve had this music “in the queue” for a long time. But again, nothing Alissa or I had ever really heard until we arrived here.

So, when we got here, obviously we were really excited. This has been a long time coming, and the music is still very raw, but we’ve had more opportunity to co-write together. To get into the arrangements and parts together from the ground floor up.

Fred: I’ve always liked a themed album, where it’s a single artistic statement as opposed to just a collection of other songs someone has at the time. Without giving too much away, our new album is an American story of a musician being “found” by a producer, brought to the city, and dealing with the music business while trying to navigate this new environment and staying true to the music.

I wanted to do something “about” making music, which is something we’re all very familiar with at this point. We know the ins-and-outs of the industry. This music is kind of a reflection of our own journey in some ways.

Green Box: When can we expect to hear this new album?

Cody: People have been curious since we’re all out here working together. They’re wondering when new music will be coming out. We just released an album in September called Small Towns that we’re really proud of. We won’t release another album until 2024. This time together is essential for when we go into the studio to record in either winter of 2023, or spring of 2024. 

Timing-wise it’s serendipitous to get this music started now before our next tour season. We have a nice head start, and we can start trickling in new music into our live shows as well. That’s really where we learn what songs are going to be – when we play them live a few hundred times. The audience starts to tell us what they want. 

Fred: We drove up here in the evening and immediately started working the next day. We’re at the halfway point and have about 6 songs completed of a 12-track album. And that’s working every day for  two weeks straight. It’s a lot of work. We would have found a way to get it done eventually, but it would’ve been challenging and definitely wouldn’t have happened all at once like this.

We’ve never worked on an entire album from start to finish, as one continuous thing. It’s perfect with how this residency worked out because the album lends itself to that kind of process for sure.

Green Box: We’re really excited to hear what you guys come up with! Anything else you’d like to add?

Alissa: We’re all so grateful and appreciative for all of this. It’s really unique and special and we’re deeply thankful for the experience.