Bevin Luna calls Colorado her home but the Memphis shoreline of the Mississippi River runs through her veins, shining like a national guitar in her music.
Born to a military family in Hawaii, Luna moved around a lot, but spent her formative years in Memphis, TN. Arguably American music’s most sacred place, the city remains a huge influence. Luna herself calls it “the birth land of rock and roll,” but the Delta shoreline is winding and diverse. So, in fact, is Luna’s life history, and subsequently the genres in her musical catalog.
“Being a multiracial person with roots in Dominican Republic and Memphis, my influences vary significantly from garage rock to bachata, blues to country, industrial to rap and grunge to pop,” Luna tells BandWagon. And you can hear that diversity in her releases. From the full-band rock aggression of 2015’s Attack Of The Killer Redheads to the lo-fi, solo porch twang of 2021’s Buchanan, Luna is always fishing for new sounds and inspirations.
“For me, music is an exploratory process,” Luna says. “I don’t see recording different styles of music as a flip-flop. I see it as an experimentation with a variety of sounds and emotions.”
On Madison & Angelus, the EP she released late last month, Luna says she recorded songs that represented Colorado, but also took influence from the places of her past, as she claims she will always do. The contents of the songs come from “all of the other places that I’ve lived being a military brat,” Luna says, pinpointing the record’s genre as garage rock this time, due once again to influence of location.
“Madison & Angelus is a garage rock EP because it’s rock and roll. And it was literally recorded in a garage in LaPorte, Colorado,” she says.
True to the garage band ethos, the 6 tracks mesh originals, covers and co-writes with big, fuzzy guitars, overdriven vocals and bashing drums. But the garage has a heart and some depth behind its door. Much of the writing discusses the turmoil of being a musician in the digital age, and as Luna puts it: “In the middle of a pandemic sandwich: never knowing where to begin or if it’s ever going to end – constantly trying to reassure ourselves that everything was gonna be OK.”
The raucous collection of tunes on Madison & Angelus include covers of the former, beloved Colorado band Matson Jones, a co-write with Justin Maul of A.M. Pleasure Assassins and The Great Aerodrome, and “Mary Lou” written by the 1950’s blues/jazz musician Young Jessie, famously covered by Frank Zappa and several others.
“The last track is a collaboration with the Music District in Fort Collins,” Luna says. “Through a program called Song Lotto, we were paired with local songwriter Jeff Finlin. He signed up to write a song for us. We met with him to discuss his writing process and our writing process. The end result was a super cool retro-pop-rock tune titled ‘Summer’ – just in time for the season!”
“Summer,” and the EP on the whole, is a representation of Luna’s process. It reflects a confluence; a meshing of elements. It also celebrates the simple joy of rocking out, processing your feelings and making collaborative music. It’s a process which reflects her life. It flows, embracing versatility and diversity, and ultimately, simply seeks to connect.
For Luna, the best place for that confluence of rock n roll is Colorado. She says she’s had wonderful opportunities here over the years, the Music District collaboration to name just one. “I love the natural beauty of Colorado,” she says, “and I’ve been fortunate enough to find a very supportive music community.”
But a river doesn’t stay in one place. It stems from a source, carrying pieces of the places it passes along the way.
“Even though I call Colorado home and it very much sways my musical process, my influences will always come from all of the places I’ve lived,” Luna says “and the new lands I will continue to visit. It’s an evolution – and it’s so much fun.”
Listen to Bevin Luna on 105.5 The Colorado Sound! See her live at Black Fret Colorado on August 6 in Old Town Square Fort Collins and August 12 at The Lyric Cinema in Fort Collins, the EP release show for Madison & Angelus with West Side Joe and the Men of Soul. More at bevinluna.com