Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Livy & the Boys showcases local school talent


Courtesy Photo From left, Ethan Oliver, Livy Herring and Liam Cremmins. This was the original acoustic trio playing at a Led Zeppelin show for School of Rock.

For Olivia “Livy” Herring, playing for thousands of fans at Red Rocks as a member of the Boulder School of Rock’s House Band was easy compared to stepping onto the bandstand at Whistle Stop Park with her eponymous band to play for friends and family. But that’s just what the recent Niwot High graduate will be doing next Thursday night, when Livy & the Boys opens for Rebecca Folsom at Rock & Rails on July 5.

“When I was performing as a student of the School of Rock, if I messed up no one knew it was Livy Herring,” the vocalist/guitarist said. “But if I mess up at Rock & Rails, that’s my name right there on the sign and everyone is going to see me do it.”

Livy & the Boys is a six-piece guitar-based band with a self-described “jazzy, rocker vibe.” Counting Led Zeppelin and Florence + the Machine among its influences, the band covers a wide range of punk and rock songs.

Technically, Livy & the Boys is a bit of a misnomer. Herring formed the combo originally to continue “gigging” with her friends after aging out of the SOR program. It started as an acoustic trio featuring Herring on lead vocals and SOR classmates Liam Crimmins (lead guitar), and Ethan Oliver (keyboard). After a handful of local shows, including at this year’s Let’s Wine About Winter, the trio added Dawson Campbell on bass, and drummer Nathan Shamblin. A late entrant to the group is Gabi Casals, a new student at the SOR who is decidedly not one of “the Boys.”

“Gabi and I did a show together, my last show there, and we harmonized together really well,” Herring said. “I can’t play this show without her, because it’s going to be so much cooler sounding. So she said, ‘I’ll just be a boy’.”

Despite some nerves, Herring is eagerly anticipating Rock & Rails from an artistic perspective. The band will be debuting some new songs, including a cover of “Dog Days are Over,” one of Florence + the Machine’s biggest hits. They will also be playing two of Herring’s songs, “Occupied” and “Falling for You.”

“I’m really excited to play some of my original stuff, but it scares me,” she said. “I’ve never played original songs in a big public place.”

Herring’s love of music flowered at an early age with the simple act of singing, which she called “the easiest thing you can do.” In fourth grade, she took up flute and piano, and shortly after that, guitar and saxophone. She has since dropped the wind instruments, but picked up the ukulele, an instrument that figures prominently in her songwriting.

Herring was a four-year member of the Niwot High choir, and participated in Jazz Band. She credits the staff in the music department there and at Sunset Middle School for helping her channel her “crazy music-loving ways.”

“Mrs. Walters has always been supportive of my music on the side,” she said of the Niwot choir director. Concurrent to her time at Niwot, Herring started spending time at SOR. “It’s such a good group of people who care about if you feel well-rounded.”

If all of this sounds ambitious for a band led by a teenager, that’s because Herring has serious ambitions.

“I’m going to college for music, and it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life,” she said. “It’s my favorite thing to do ever.”

Among other things, she admires the path of the night’s headliner, who was once Herring’s vocal teacher.

“Even to be as successful as Rebecca Folsom, I would be honored,” she said. “I adore her. She’s such an incredible person.”

Herring admitted that fronting a rock band is not all fun and games, but she is grateful for the life lessons.

“It’s weird to be the one in charge, because they’re some of my closest friends,” she said. “At School of Rock there was always an adult, and now I’m the adult.”

In the fall, Herring is headed for the University of Oregon, where she plans to study music and hopes to join-up with some like-minded musicians and start performing again as soon as possible, ideally in a jazz-combo.

“That would be my ultimate dream,” she said. “I love playing in a rock band, but I also have a soft spot for jazz. It’s my favorite thing to sing for people.”

In the meantime, Herring is just hoping everything goes right for the first of what she hopes will be many more nights to come.

“This is the biggest thing I’ve ever done on my own,” she said. “That’s very exciting for me.”

Livy and the Boys takes the Rock & Rails stage at 5 p.m. on July 5. Take advantage of Happy Hour prices ($5 for beer, wine, and margaritas) before 6 p.m. Rebecca Folsom headlines the night.

The Rock & Rails concert series runs 13 weeks on Thursday nights from June 7 through August 30 at Whistlestop Park, just south of Old Town. For a full lineup for opening and headlining acts, go to Niwot.com/rock-and-rails.


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