Feb 222006
Authors: Jenny Ivy

Recording piano jams on a four-track in his basement during his teenage years in Baltimore was just the beginning of a lucrative music career for String Cheese Incident keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth.

Eventually his basement jamming, a degree in jazz piano performance and seven years experience touring with a Colorado-rooted band would lead him to his next step: a solo album.

"I put out this album because I needed to have that outlet that I wasn't getting with String Cheese Incident," said Hollingsworth of his 2004 solo album release, "Never Odd or Even."

Set to perform tonight at the Aggie Theatre, 204 S. College Ave., Hollingsworth admitted in a phone interview last week that he, yet again, found himself spewing out notes from a dim basement in Boulder as he collaborated his solo album.

"I was definitely in my own world," Hollingsworth said. "I was stuck in a basement for eight months without seeing the sun. But from that silent space, a lot of creative things came out."

The album's gospel-style horn section, jazzy instrumentals and eclectic harmonies stray from String Cheese Incident's twangy bluegrass sound.

While he has no solid plans to make a second album, Hollingsworth said his fellow String Cheese band mates were in full support of his decision to go solo.

"Stepping into a fresh set of ears, it's refreshing to have a different take. We can read each other," said Hollingsworth, who also plays alongside jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman and pedal steel player Robert Randolph.

Hollingsworth began playing with String Cheese Incident in 1993. Playing at first for free lift tickets in Crested Butte, the band's down-to-earth grassroots image soon picked up popularity among Coloradans and the fan base continued to grow.

But for Hollingswoth, as if putting himself through a hermit-like state wasn't enough of a challenge, there was still the matter of creatively taking charge of his own solo album.

"I feel more comfortable in the instrumental world," Hollingsworth said. "It's different (from String Cheese) in the fact that I'm the leader; everything is on your shoulders."

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