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Kyle Hollingsworth: A Brewer Looks at 50

Dean Budnick | March 06, 2018
Doug Fondriest

If you've been following along since late 2017, then you are probably aware that Relix has teamed with String Cheese Incident keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth and SweetWater Brewery to create a new signature IPA, Ground Score. On February 7, Hollingsworth, SweetWater and Relix came together to celebrate the beer’s release at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl. This was actually the first of two milestones in relatively short order for Hollingsworth, who turned 50 on March 2. He marked the occasion not only with a special series of shows, but also with a new studio album, titled, fittingly enough, 50.

The new record is a cohesive, owing statement that begins mid-jam with “Onset”—a theme that returns at the album’s conclusion as “Offset.” On 50, Hollingsworth is joined by his steady touring group, which features guitarist Dan Schwindt, drummer Brian McCrae and bass player Paul McDaniel, as well as a variety of guests, including Andy Hall, Jen Hartswick, Kim Dawson, DJ Logic, Tanya Shylock and his SCI bandmate Jason Hann.

“This album sounds like a new band,” the keyboard player observes. “We’re heavier—it has more of a rock feel, which represents what this band is with a little bit of a different lineup. For a while, Dave [Watts] and Garrett [Sayers] were in my band, and they’re awesome musicians, but they were focused on The Motet. They were committed musicians when they were playing with me, but they weren’t committed to a sound. This band is committed to the sound. We approach music differently than my last group. Brian specifically is a little bit more of a rock drummer versus Dave Watts, who’s a little bit more of a funk drummer. I was writing more for a rock band this time around, and I think you can hear that.”