The musical roots of Firefall run deep into the fertile soil of American rock and folk rock. In more than 40 years of making music, Firefall has distinguished itself as one of the top bands in the genre known as Americana. The band helped spearhead the birth and growth of the country rock and folk-rock sound of the 1970s and still remains one of the few remaining torchbearers for harmony-laden rock. It transcends and embraces many labels: rock, soft rock, country rock, contemporary country, easy listening and Americana.
The band got its start in Boulder, Colorado, in 1974, when lead guitarist and vocalist Jock Bartley joined forces with Rick Roberts and others from the legendary Gram Parsons band. After bassist Mark Andes and guitarist Larry Burnett joined, the new band needed a name. It was called Firefall, a name Roberts is said to have come up with after seeing the Yosemite Firefall annual event at Yosemite National Park. With its deep roots in Colorado, Firefall was one of the first bands to bring the creative and musical richness of the Rocky Mountain area to the forefront of the industry.
Firefall went on to earn two platinum and three gold albums with hits like “You Are the Woman,” “Just Remember I Love You,” “Strange Way,” “Cinderella,” “Mexico,” and “Call On Me.” They shared stages with other top bands of the day, including Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, The Beach Boys, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Chicago.
Lead guitarist and singer/songwriter Jock Bartley was the common thread through the decades and during periods of changing personnel. For Barkley, the band’s co-founder, Firefall has presented the opportunity to make quality music over the course of four decades. It also represents a personal, heartfelt commitment to maintaining the tradition of the contemporary musical genre he and his peers helped create.
Firefall has nurtured its faithful and growing audiences through live performances which attract new generations of fans. With a wealth of old and new songs, Firefall demonstrates the depth and diversity of the band’s lyrical and musical excellence. The tight harmonies and intricate vocal arrangements are a fresh reminder of what melodic music is all about. The response to the solos and extended “jams” on concerts brings fun and spontaneity to a Firefall show. Today, Bartley tours with longtime members Steve Weinmeister on guitar, mandolin, keyboard and vocals, Jim Waddell on keyboard, flute and saxophone, Sandy Ficca on drums and newcomer John Bisaha on bass and vocals.
In the fall of 2023, the band will release Friends and Family on Sunset Blvd. Records. A “concept” album, it features new versions of classic songs by artists that are a part of Firefall’s rich history, including groups that the founding members played in or that Firefall toured with, such as The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Spirit, Dan Fogelberg, Heart, Gram Parsons, Poco, the Doobie Brothers, Loggins & Messina, Fleetwood Mac, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Marshall Tucker.
For Jock Bartley, it’s a privilege to be able to do what they love and helped to birth. “I think it’s great that in this day and age of trends that change overnight, a kind of music we helped create 40-plus years ago is still around and growing in popularity.”