Catching Up With Kyle Hollingsworth of String Cheese Incident: An Interview

Photo credit: Dylan Langille

Photo credit: Dylan Langille

Attention Cheese heads, jam band lovers, wooks, glitter faced hippie chicks and tie dye wearing bros, Boulders very own Kyle Hollingsworth (keyboardist and composer of String Cheese Incident) announces his latest solo album '50'. The project commemorates his upcoming 50th birthday and his progression and growth as a stand out solo artist.  

Kyle will celebrate his personal milestone and new project with a set of release shows in Denver and surrounding areas as well as an appearance at Chicago's Summer Camp festival. Keep reading for an exclusive interview with Kyle Hollingsworth!

Ultra5280: What was the inspiration behind '50'?

Kyle: I get inspired with SCI. I'm able to work with them and vibe with them but I felt like I needed another outlet for my artistic expression. Living in such a great musical town (Boulder) inspires me especially with a lot of great musicians around.


Ultra5280: What kind of artistic expression are you trying to portray in your new album?

Kyle: I wrote the songs individually over the last year or so. I hope it's telling a story. It's a journey. It moves through many different styles but I feel like there's a continuity.

Ultra5280: You have a lot of guest musicians on '50,' what was the song writing process like?

Kyle: So the way it worked was SCI just bought a new recording space. When (Michael) Kang wasn't looking I took the keys and would sneak in and record my solo stuff. After recording I would see what the songs needed. One of the songs "Finding Our Way" has Andy Hall from The String Dusters, the Motet horns are on a song. You could say the album is a celebration of collaboration. 

Other special guests on the album include DJ Logic, Jason Hann, Kim Dawson, Darren Kramer, Paige Sandusky and Tanya Shylock.

Ultra5280: Who is your favorite artist to play with and why?

Kyle: Bill Payne. Keyboard player from Little Feat. He's a generous musician with a big heart. He's always willing to share his experience with you.

Ultra5280: How difficult was it to play with a broken wrist a couple years back?

Kyle: Yeah it was New Years a couple years ago. I like to tell people I was valiant in a polar bear/wolf attack but the truth is it's rather embarrassing how it happened. It was before the SCI 3 show run at 1st bank. 9 sets in 3 days using one hand. It was difficult but we didn't have to change the set I played it straight. 

(Holy badass alert!)

Ultra5280: Other than red rocks, what's your favorite venue to play at?


Kyle: Electric Forest. 

Ultra5280: Are you doing a solo tour for this album? Are you playing in Denver anytime soon?

Kyle: I'm doing so dates. I have birthday shows March 1st in FoCo, 2nd in Denver and 3rd in Boulder. Some of the performers  include Michael Kang (String Cheese incident) and Jennifer Hartswick (horns for Phish).

Ultra5280: You have some other awesome stuff going on too, right? 

Kyle: I'm a brewer as well! For about 25 years or more. I've connected the dots between the two industries. I want to be creative in both those worlds. For me the process for both brewing and performing are similar. You have a base for both. I like to take riff off the basic recipe and improvise. Jump in and take on the solo. I like to experiment in both worlds. Sometimes it rocks and sometimes it sucks *laughs*. I'm doing a collaboration with Sweetwater brewery and Relix magazine. We had a lot of great names picked but Ground Score IPA really stuck out. It worked. The collaboration beer debuted on February 7th at the Brooklyn Bowl launch party and will be released for the public February 12th, 2018. 

Ground Score IPA will also be available at SweetWater’s 420 Fest in Atlanta, GA on April 20-22, where The String Cheese Incident will headline.

Check out the full behind-the-brew story by Relix here.