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Hitting the High Notes

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From small coffee shops to mid-sized venues, Plain Faraday does it all

By Deborah Swearingen

Plain Faraday’s plan is pretty simple: just go with the flow.

For the indie folk band from Littleton, it’s not so difficult to do. Recently, it wrapped up a recording project at The Spot, a studio in Lakewood. It has several shows slated in the upcoming months and a newly released single, “Porcelain Fine.”

Life is good.

“We want to focus on quality, and whatever happens, happens,” said bassist Rob Sanders. “We’re focused on quality and community, developing friendships and being creative. … We’re all doing different things right now, and we’re at different places in life.”

Comprised of Caleb Sanders, guitarist and vocalist, Ellis Murray, percussionist, Rob Sanders and Katie Burns, cellist, Plain Faraday finds inspiration from songwriters such as Bob Dylan and artists like The Lumineers and The Oh Hellos.

The group is all about flexibility. It sounds great with a built-up, orchestrated sound and has played at venues such as the Marquis Theatre in downtown Denver. But it also can condense its sound and perform acoustically in smaller establishments like Spur Coffee or the Outnumbered Art Gallery in Littleton. In fact, the band played an impromptu show at the art gallery several weeks ago.

Burns just graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. Caleb Sanders is a senior at D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School who is headed to the Colorado School of Mines in the upcoming year. Murray graduated last year from D’Evelyn and is wrapping up his first year at the University of Wyoming. Rob Sanders, Caleb’s father, lives in Littleton but works as an energy executive in downtown Denver.

Like Rob Sanders said, it’s safe to say they are all at different stages in life, but when they come together it’s tough to tell. From the moment Plain Faraday begins a jam, their creativity and collaborative skills shine.

Often, that is music’s inherent nature.

“Music is this really cool thing where you have individuals playing entirely different instruments and doing different things but yet in unity together are creating,” Rob Sanders said.

As a vocalist and songwriter, strong lyrics are essential for Caleb Sanders. In fact, he says that is how an artist can draw in an audience. It’s what drew him to Bob Dylan.

“Some may say he didn’t have a very good voice, but he was one of the greatest songwriters to ever walk the face of the planet,” Caleb Sanders said. “That has inspired me personally to really try and write substantive lyrics that are very well thought out.”

At the core of Plain Faraday is Rob and Caleb, a father and son duo who have been making music together for years. They began playing music in local venues a little more than a year ago, focusing at first on locations around South Jeffco. Ellis was a longtime friend of Caleb’s, and he soon joined in. Then came Burns, who came aboard after meeting the other band members through a mutual friend at the recording studio.

Music offers the band an opportunity for connectivity — with each other and with its community.

“It’s … a vehicle for being with people and trying to build relationships and make a better world,” Burns said.

‘I must remain Plain Michael Faraday’

Google Plain Faraday, and all of the top hits lead to the Littleton band.

“We own the music space,” Rob Sanders said with a smile.

Their name stems from Michael Faraday, an English scientist credited with the discovery of electromagnetic induction. A humble man, he often refused awards and accolades. In response to insistence that he deserved recognition, he once said, “I must remain Plain Michael Faraday.”

Plain Faraday hopes to emulate this sense of modesty.

“His point was that … all his work wasn’t done for self-gratification, self-glory,” Rob Sanders said. “… Music’s a lot like that because you can get caught up with self-promotion.”

Caleb Sanders agreed, saying the idea of self-promotion can be a catch-22 of sorts ­— necessary but often unnatural.

“Kind of the whole juxtaposition behind Plain Faraday is its a band name. We’re trying to promote ourselves. We’re trying to say, ‘Hey, listen to our music,’ but at the same time balance that with a sense of humility,” he said.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.

More information

  • To listen to a video of a live performance by Plain Faraday in the Outnumbered Art Gallery in downtown Littleton, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yItIwVQtg7Y.
  • To learn more about the band, visit www.plainfaraday.com or like the band on Facebook or Instagram. Its single "Porcelain Fine" is available on Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes and other listening platforms.
  • To catch Plain Faraday live, head to the Muddy Buck in Evergreen at 6:30 p.m. April 21.

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