Just above Boulder, after a short ride up Sunshine Canyon, sits a magical space: The Starhouse. Surround by 200 acres of open space, pine forests, and a killer view of Boulder, The Starhouse was constructed in 1990 as a living temple for trans-denominational spirituality. It was built by souls dedicated to sacred geometry and astronomy, so its entrance sits aligned with Polaris, and its acoustics are out of this world. The space regularly hosts Solar celebrations and Lunar events, but recently, I went for another reason: an intimate concert series curated by Daniel Herman of rt60.co and Mineral Sound.
Herman has hosted a few shows recently at The Starhouse, all of which have featured local singer/songwriters unplugged in the natural acoustics of The Starhouse’s main wooden room. There’s a sort of sacredness to entering the place beyond the geometry- patrons are asked to remove their shoes, and meditation floor chairs and blankets are provided. There are candles along each windowsill, and after taking a seat, The Keepers of The Starhouse instruct you to turn off your phones and tune in to the present. That’s when rt60.co’s performers take the stage- the recent Starhouse lineup consisted of Megan Burtt, Paul Kimbiris, and Julian Peterson.
Julian Peterson opened the evening just as the sun set, playing a few tracks from his last record Get On This Train, along with his tune “Broken Man.” Though he’s played Red Rocks and The Boulder Theater in the past year, he admitted there is something different about playing The Starhouse.
“This is so crazy up here! I feel naked.” he smiled, as the crowd laughed.
Julian’s sound is bluesy, soulful, and honest. He has a strong storytelling ability in his songwriting, and with an audience as silent as The Starhouse, it was easy to hear every intonation in Peterson’s range vocally. He ended his set playing a tune on his resonator guitar, which left us draped in delta vibes.
Paul Kimbiris was next, opening his set playing guitar and a kick drum, which he’s newly added to his live shows. He then brought up Philip Parker (Gregory Alan Isakov), who accompanied him on cello for the remainder of the set. With Parker's deep and swift cello sounds backing Paul’s bold vocals and guitar playing, it was impossible to be anything but present in their beautiful tunes. They played several tracks from The Dark Side of Pearl, and though Paul remarked that the two hadn’t shared the stage in quite some time, you’d have thought they’d just come off the road together with the touring chemistry of a string of shows just behind them.
Near the end of his set, as he looked around The Starhouse and into the crowd, Kimbiris smiled and said, “You know- I was thinking, and this- this is so Colorado.”
The Starhouse indeed felt almost like a cozy cabin at that point, with the sun gone, the moon hidden by clouds, and only soft lighting and the glow of candles illuminating the space.
Megan Burtt closed out the intimate Starhouse evening; I had actually caught her set just the day before at Strings & Woods’ Westword Music Showcase performance. Burtt has been a touring musician for years now, and this year is one of the first she hasn’t spent either constantly on the road or in the studio. Having played overseas, with symphonies, and at numerous local digs, Burtt agreed there is something different from anywhere else about The Starhouse.
“This is so vibey!” she smiled after taking her place at the front of the room.
Burtt played a couple of tunes from her record The Bargain, including a powerful rendition of her song “Anchor.” The room was exceptionally still for Burtt’s silky vocals- she transitioned between high and low tones with smooth and exceptional ease. She was accompanied only by her guitar playing, which, thanks to sacred geometry, all sounded as crisp and clear as if she were plugged in without her actually having been.
When the show came to a close, rt60’s Daniel Herman thanked the crowd as he remarked, “As someone who works in sound, having these artists play without amplification or anything is a sort of a therapy for me.”
I’d argue The Starhouse is a dose of therapy for anyone who has the chance to inhabit the space. Chakras aside, there’s really nothing like it, so make sure to attend rt60’s next curated performance in August.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.