The members of Truckee’s Coburn Station bill their music as “mountain rock.”
“It’s just the energy, I think,” said Dan McAlister, guitarist and lead vocalist. “You live in the mountains. There’s a way of going about your every day that kind of informs your taste, your outlook, your perception of the world. … It’s just mountain living, and we’re a product of it—and it’s rock ’n’ roll”
It most certainly is rock ’n’ roll, although not of any particular flavor. And, in a way, that’s another aspect of Coburn Station’s sound that qualifies it as mountain rock. It’s a mix of blues, folk and psychedelia that speaks to different regional influences. It’s the product of a resort town, a “mountain town”—and like its creators and so many others who visit and live in Truckee—the music has roots elsewhere.
McAlister grew up in Massachusetts and moved to the Truckee area directly after finishing college in Vermont—bringing with him an appreciation for the “whole jam, psychedelic scene in Burlington, and the Northeast in general.”
He and bassist Thomas Page met sometime around 2009 at a jam session and party hosted by a mutual friend.
Page, a native of Mississippi, described his own upbringing as “steeped in the blues.” It’s an image that fits well with the story he tells about spending eight months on the road, living off a bonus check from his last job, before settling in South Lake Tahoe in 2008.
“Thomas brings—absolutely, without him even knowing it—the Southern flavor,” said drummer Conor McAlindin, the third member to join Coburn Station.
McAlindin and McAlister actually studied at the University of Vermont in Burlington at the same time but never met until they’d moved to the Truckee area. While the two share an interest in psychedelic and improvisational music, McAlindin brings a particular love for folk stylings to the mix.
“Music for me has always been the campfire circle style,” McAlindin said. “I loved being in band and stuff and learning and performing in high school, but my true passion came … when I grew up enough to understand folk music and jazz music—where people communicate through music.”
“Some of our best times ever have just been outside of a band setting, sitting around a campfire, singing songs, playing instruments that we don’t play in the band,” said Page. “You bring your souls together in music.”
Coburn Station released its first album—Coming Home—in February 2016. The 11 tracks run the gamut from folky, piano-intensive ballads to bluesy, feel-good tunes.
“It really was a time and place for the band,” said McAlindin. “[And the songs] really run the history of the band, up to that point.”
With the recent addition of Brian Mooney—a Wisconsin native—the band gained a fourth member and permanent keyboardist. Now, the guys are looking toward the future and a new chapter for Coburn Station.
“We’re actually hitting kind of a creative streak here,” said McAlindin. “And I think it has a lot to do with Brian joining the band, and also the honeymoon period of the first album kind of ending. … And I think, 2017, we’re primed and ready to record a follow up.”