Make It Rain
The Haunted Windchimes
Words – Patrick Sean Moore
The five troubadours that make up Americana band The Haunted Windchimes know how to bring the rain. They recently played a show at the Beulah Songbird Cafe just outside their home base of Pueblo, Colorado. Wildfires and drought had decimated the region for some time, but at the climax of their raucous “Bound to Break,” thunder struck and the rain came. Fitting for a band that stays in touch with the pulse of the land as they carve out their career all over America. The band was born in the throws of young love by couple Inaiah Lujan, guitar, and Desirae Garcia, ukulele, who exchanged stories of spooky incidents involving certain twinkling porch decor. In 2007, Inaiah’s sister Chela joined the fray, and with her banjo, the three began writing and performing songs in Pueblo. They quickly caught the eye of bass player Sean Fanning and multi-instrumentalist Mike Clark, and the Windchimes were born. The group has a Wichita connection in Desirae, who was born here, and Sean, who moonlighted in Doo Dah as a young adult.
The subject matter of their songs hangs in the balance of heartbreak, infidelity, moonshine and societal pressures. Musically, the Windchimes’ catalogue is full of barnburners, campfire sing-alongs, and lush reveries full of four- and five-part harmonies. Inaiah sings like Buddy Holly after a bender filled with too much moonshine and too many Marlboro Reds. His vocals contrast beautifully with the soft cooing of Desirae and Chela. The ’Chimes have developed an impressive following and have achieved name recognition in the music industry. They have been featured performers on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” an experience where they were impressive for more than their music. “Garrison complimented my suit and tie; I think he was a little jealous,” said Fanning. The group has even taken their raucous live show to World Arena in Colorado Springs, a venue that seats nearly 10,000 people. However, no concert is too small, as they often play hole-in-the-wall bars and house shows.
The band has a dynamic sound, often relying on sweeping crescendos to emphasize a musical movement, which can be hard to translate in a live setting. Unruly crowds and cavalier sound guys are hazards of the job. “We’ve had a couple of sound guys look like they’re playing video games, like they got paid per knob turn,” cracked Inaiah. “There is so much that goes into putting on a good show. The mood of the band and the crowd, the sound. We never really know how it’s going to go. It just has to be a mental agreement between us that’s just like, we’re gonna do this.” Despite all the variables a live band faces, they admit they have silenced rowdy bars with their ballads.
After six years of touring, writing and recording, the Haunted Windchimes now play hundreds of shows each year, from Alaska to Pennsylvania, with a goal to visit Europe next year. After all the accomplishments in their burgeoning career, they hold a bit of advice from Bob Dylan close to their vest: “An artist has got to be careful never really to arrive at a place where he thinks he’s ‘at’ somewhere. You always have to realize that you’re constantly in a state of becoming.” “I love that quote because I don’t feel like we’re ever gonna sit down and say, ‘Alright guys, we made it!’” said Inaiah. “But please God, let it happen,” quipped Chela. I’ll drink to that.