Stax, Daptone, Big Crown are all record labels famous for delivering top-notch, goosebump-producing soul music. Legends like Sharon Jones, Booker T, Charles Bradley, The Staples Singers and so many more released world-changing albums under these cult classic labels, creating movements and generations of soul, gospel and funk.
More recently, a new wave of young artists have taken hold, catching the ears of music enthusiasts globally. Telluride has caught a glimpse of this new wave and, maybe, you have, too. If you had the luck of attending local performances from the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Durand Jones & The Indications or Monophonics in town you 100 percent got a healthy glimpse of the wave. These stunning young artists, along with other incredible talent, all have one emerging record label in common, Colemine Records.
With bright vinyl, dynamic artists and prolific output, Colemine Records, an Ohio-based label, has inspired a new movement of soul, gospel, funk and blues, unique in style and one that can’t be ignored. Terry Cole started the operation, helmed by two brothers, as he looked to promote his college hip-hop/funk band in 2007. He wanted their album to look legit, so he made up a name, scribbled a logo and Colemine Records was born. After some success on the release and a random licensing deal from Japan, Terry decided to give the record business a go. A few years and records later, Colemine found its stride, opening a vinyl record store, Plaid Room Records, in downtown Loveland, Ohio, and putting out increasing quantities of albums with new groups each year.
Talking about his inspiration for Colemine, Terry Cole said, “I simply wanted to release music that I love and help those that create that music in any way possible. This label was never about getting rich, becoming famous or overnight success. I was a high school biology teacher for the first eight years of the label’s existence, and this label has always much been my labor of love. True love.”
In 2019 alone, Colemine has put out over 10 full-length albums and a handful of 45 singles with no signs of slowing down. Each record is beautifully packaged, using uniquely colored vinyl and retro styling with high importance on attention to detail. More exciting than just intricate packaging, the music etched into each of the records is, simply put, amazing. Artists like Durand Jones & The Indications, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements, Neal Francis, Black Pumpas and The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble are on frequent rotation in my headphones and my KOTO radio show, Pow Surf Radio.
Not alone in my excitement, these bands have left favorable impressions with music fans all over the world, elevating artists from local giggers to international sensations. In 2018, Delvon Lamarr went from a burnout Seattle musician to holding the number one spot on the Contemporary Jazz Album Charts for months for his “Close But No Cigar” rerelease with the help of Colemine. In 2019, Lamarr went on a year-long global tour, including a stop right here at the Telluride Jazz Festival.
Terry Cole and the folks at Colemine have an impeccable ear for the retro style that’s reminiscent of the sounds of the 1960s and ’70s. Without their discerning ear, it’s easy to believe many talented artists would go untapped in the modern music landscape. A quick browse on their website or their Spotify “This is: Colemine Records” playlist will yield artist discoveries that will consume the soul, funk, gospel, jazz and blues fan. You’ve heard it here, and you’ll hear it again, Colemine Records is the new soul institution.
COLEMINE RELEASE PICKS
Durand Jones & The Indications, “American Love Call”
The soul outfit focusing on harmonies reminiscent of the 1970s recently delivered two great performances at the 2019 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. Their morning Main Stage set showcased their melodic side, while the band perked up and got wild for the festival closing show at the Sheridan Opera House. Lead singer Durand Jones later posted to their instagram saying, “Reminiscing of the time I had in Telluride at the Sheridan Opera House. Seeing pictures of @sharonjones, @leefieldsandtheexpressions, and @smokeyrobinson on the wall playing there gave me inspiration to dig deep, ‘cause singing in that high altitude is hella tough. I live in an area that’s below sea level, so the difference in air thickness/thinness was giving me a mad headache! I’m not accustomed to singing in a place so high up lol but I gave it all I had. It’s something I try to do every damn show.” It was quite the show. Their latest album, “American Love Call,” is a fantastic listen for fans of classic soul acts like James Brown, Charles Bradley or Sharon Jones.
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, “Live at KEXP”
Live albums can be hit or miss, but this one is definitely a hit. This performance lead to Delvon Lamarr’s breakout success in 2018, and showcased incredible improvisation skills, along with organ chops, that could hang with the likes of Booker T Jones. This album is a funky one.
Neal Francis, “Changes”
“New Orleans rhythms, Chicago blues, and early ’70s rock ’n’ roll,” writes Colemine about Neal Franicis’ new album “Changes.” Alive with keys, horns and soul singers, this album is a fun and unique take on modern funk.
Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements
Kelly Finnigan is the lead singer and keyboardist of a Telluride favorite, Monophonics. His solo work showcases his incredible vocal range with stellar songwriting. From deep soulful growls on the song “Freedom” to sweet falsetto pitches on the single “Catch Me I’m Falling,” the album is a worthy listen front to back.