Mawule Debuts "More than Music" Initiative Tonight at University of Denver

By: Jura Daubenspeck

 “Music is therapeutic. Music is healing.” -Mawule 

Last time we checked in with R&B artist Mawule, he had just released his striking music video for “Black is Beautiful (feat. Bianca Mikahn and ILL Se7en).” Since then, Mawule’s vision for creating powerful, meaningful music has continued to develop, with some exciting announcements on the horizon. Throughout the last few months, he has been working on his new More than Music initiative.

Mawule. Photo Credit:  Joel Rekiel

Mawule. Photo Credit: Joel Rekiel

More than Music brings music, storytelling, and intersectionality to college campuses nationwide. Using a similar formula to TED Talks, More than Music is grounded in the mission to create dialogue, specifically focusing on topics such as diversity, identity, and individuality.  

Photo Credit: Jairo East

Photo Credit: Jairo East

The inspiration for the More than Music movement came after Mawule released his album, Chosen, last year. After talking with producer Glenn Sawyer (The Spot Studios), the idea to incorporate meaningful stories into his performance sets blossomed, and has since taken off.

Photo Credit:   Joel Rekiel

Photo Credit: Joel Rekiel

When he is not writing, recording, or performing, Mawule works in higher education. Through his role as Resident Director at University of Denver, he comes face to face with so many incredible individuals with powerful, unique stories. Here’s a bit more of what Mawule had to say on the topic:  

“My life experiences are inherent in my music. I write music with one intention: to help people. I use my musical talent to let those who might be going through similar things know they are not alone. We all have stories to tell, and those stories are pivotal to our learning and development. Whether our stories are rooted in pain, joy, anger, happiness, or sadness, there is inspiration found in each and every one of them. It is our responsibility as authors to share these stories, because people need to hear them.”
Photo Credit: Jairo East

Photo Credit: Jairo East

More than Music is set to become a nationwide initiative, bringing awareness to social, societal, and personal issues to college campuses. It will be a tool to help students connect on an interpersonal level using music and storytelling.

More than Music debuts tonight at University of Denver’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts - Elizabeth Erikson Byron Theatre. This FREE event is open to all ages, and will take place from 7:30PM-8:45PM (doors at 6:45PM). The event page can be found here, and registration can be complete here.

Connect with Mawule on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Twitter.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Premiere: Bo DePeña's Toe-Tappin' Track & Video "If I Let You Go Again"

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Last time we checked in with Americana singer/songwriter Bo DePeña, he had just released the single and music video for his intoxicating love ballad “The Weed and The Wine.” Since then, Bo has cast the finishing touches on his upcoming EP Long Road to Denver and been on the road for an astounding five-month 40+ show tour throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Bo DePeña. Photo Credit: Chris Bohlin

Bo DePeña. Photo Credit: Chris Bohlin

Even while on tour, the work never stops, and the hits just keep on coming. While traveling from Boerne, TX to Austin, TX, Bo stopped in to Austin Signal recording studio to film the live recording of yet another new track, “If I Let You Go Again.” The song, which was written two weeks before the final wrap-up of Long Road to Denver, was recorded with the help of Grammy Award winning recording/mixing engineer Charlie Kramsky and featured Sean Giddings (piano), Pat Harris (standup bass), and Josh Rodgers (drums).

Listening to “If I Let You Go Again,” influences of western swing, country, and jazz can all be heard. At first listen, the song has a simple, bare bones feel, like a piano bar in backroads country. However, the simplicity really comes from how smoothly each instrument- the guitar, piano, standup bass, and drums- all intertwine.

The song pulls from artists like Willie Nelson (circa 1960’s), Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, and Lefty Frizzell. It touches on heartbreak and the “what if's?” strung between the moments of clarity. True to many of Bo’s musical numbers, “If I Let You Go Again” carries a sweet somberness within its toe-tapping rhythms, a combination that makes his music ever so easy to listen to.

Watch “If I Let You Go Again:”

“If I Let You Go Again” is the perfect release to precede Bo's upcoming EP, which will be released on May 26th. Listeners who just can’t get enough can also pre-order the EP at Bo’s upcoming show this Saturday, May 13th at The Walnut Room. Event details can be found here, and tickets can be purchased at this link- get ‘em while they’re hot!

Connect with Bo on FacebookInstagramSoundcloud, and Twitter,.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

That Time I Followed The Hollow On Their CrowBus Extravaganza, Vol. 2

By: Jura Daubenspeck

The Hollow dabbles in the debonair, and gladly greets the gothic, candle-lit sounds of old with their tunes. I had the opportunity to join them on their tour through Northern Colorado for a weekend of music, whiskey, and, of course, brunch up the wazoo.

The Hollow.

The Hollow.

In a city that promotes community and collaboration, Denver rockers The Hollow take it to another level. Last weekend, the band performed at both FoCoMX (April 28th) and Greeley May Play Music Festival (April 29th), and invited their fans to join them on the two-night journey they dubbed the “NoCo CrowBus Experience.”

This was the second time the band offered this all-access pass to its “Crowmunity.” The idea was essentially this: come join us, see what we’re about, and let’s have some fun along the way. The concept of a band reaching out to their fans like this intrigued me, so I joined them on their weekend extravaganza and was amazed at what I found.

The Crowbus in all its glory.

The Crowbus in all its glory.

We headed for Fort Collins on Friday afternoon, forging through the snowstorm in time to set up for their 7:30PM set at The Aggie Theatre. I chatted with frontman Spencer Townshend Hughes about the transformation of the band over the years. Since 2013, they underwent a few member additions, including bassist Ethan Kotel, drummer Jason Hoke, and the lovely harpist Angela Rose Whaley. In its current makeup, the band’s sound may contain similar ingredients to bands such as Muse and Queens of the Stone Age, but has an additional Edgar Allan Poe flavor mixed into it - a tasty combination.

The Hollow commanded The Aggie’s stage, and kept the energy up for accompanying acts such as American Blackout, One Flew West, and The Violet Tides. They played favorites such as their “Pure Imagination” cover,  “An Open Letter to Kim K,” “Catch As You Can,” and of course their stellar cover of 21 Pilots’ “Heathens.” The way in which the band maintained a powerful, yet playful hold over the audience was entertaining and infectious.

Watching The Hollow’s Saturday night performance at The Jager in Greeley, CO felt like an entirely new experience. Unlike The Aggie in its vastness, The Jager was entirely the opposite: an “intimate” basement setting that got “Greeley weird, Greeley quickly.” And yet, no matter the stage or setting, The Hollow managed to command both crowds with their charisma, high energy, and dynamic melodies.

Throughout the weekend, I found myself thinking about what I would write about for this article. I did not document the band’s every word, and instead let the moments of free-moving fingers outweigh the moments of camera-filled hands. I decided to take it all in and allow myself the incredible experience of getting to know a new group of people. I discovered admirable and endearing qualities about each of them, and felt at home in their presence.

Of course, we talked about their music, message, and musical aspirations. We discussed the concept of The Hollow: that death is the only certainty in life, and accepting that inevitability makes life more fruitful and beautiful.

Spencer Townshend Hughes.

Spencer Townshend Hughes.

But above all, I found that The Hollow are a group of passionate and hard-working musicians who are as hilarious as they are dedicated. They’ve got the chops, and will stop at nothing to make sure that in due time, everyone in Denver will know exactly who they are. So next time the group offers up this opportunity, I highly recommend packing your bags and hopping in that van - you really will not regret it.

Keep in touch with The Hollow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And be sure to “Follow the Hollow” here to receive exclusive updates on new music, vlogs, backstage show access, and more.

-Jura

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Joseph Lamar's 'Quarter-Life Righteous' Is As Eclectic As It Is Beautiful

By: Jura Daubenspeck

I’ve recently fallen in love with some music. And I’ve gotta say, I think it’s getting serious.

Colorado Springs artist Joseph Lamar resides in many categories: a singer, songwriter, producer, storyteller, instrumentalist, dancer, and my personal favorite? Genre-f*cker. His debut album Quarter-Life Righteous (released March 31st) is an iridescent daydream, adorned with stunning vocals and introspective storytelling.

The badass album art for 'Quarter-Life Righteous.'

The badass album art for 'Quarter-Life Righteous.'

Quarter-Life Righteous feels like its very own storybook, with 15 uniquely-crafted and intentionally-chosen songs filling its pages. In the album, Lamar plays with double meanings and juxtaposition, all while exposing a common idea. He blends rock, pop, hip-hop, R&B, electronica, and neo-soul (amongst others) to create a vastly unique sound that challenges expectations and encourages expression.

Listen to Quarter-Life Righteous:

It’s hard to pick favorites, but there are definitely songs that have danced through my mind consistently since first listening to the album. “Black Boy,” “Not Gonna Call,” “I Want You,” and “Cosmic Joke” are personal frontrunners, but each song is complex lyrically and sonically. I dare you to find the songs that speak to you most.

Joseph Lamar. Photo Credit: David Rossa

Joseph Lamar. Photo Credit: David Rossa

In his own words, Lamar shared:

“I explored intersectionality and my experience as a black, gay, agnostic, cis-man on ‘Black Boy.’ I kinda explored the female identity (I think we're all both) on ‘Cruel Girl,’ and talked about the absurdity of existence on ‘Cosmic Joke.’ I think overall [Quarter-Life Righteous] is about trying to achieve a sense of self-actualization at a time in life when some people start to settle or become complacent.”
Photo Credit:  Gary Sheer

Photo Credit: Gary Sheer

Quarter-Life Righteous feels dark in the way that we all feel dark from time to time: that dark that stems from questioning yourself, others, and the universe that encapsulates us. It’s healthy, it’s present, and it’s real. The vibrant energy felt in this album is visceral, yet very much cerebral.

Photo Credit: Elle Coxon

Photo Credit: Elle Coxon

Many talented artists contributed to the creation of the album- check out who did what here and peruse the inspiration for each song.

Connect with Joseph Lamar on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For an extra glimpse into his music, check out the music video for “About Love: Concerning the Discrepancies Between Expectations and Reality” below:

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Denver's Coastal Wives Stay True to Their Vows

By: Jura Daubenspeck

It’s the kind of music that sounds dynamic and new, but twirls around you with a vague familiarity. It’s the kind of music that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but tells stories that feel relatable and reminiscent. It’s the music of Coastal Wives.

Coastal Wives.

Coastal Wives.

You may have caught them at one of their Underground Music Showcase sets throughout the years, or maybe you’ve snuck into one of their shows in the Denver area. If you’re lucky enough to have seen them play live, you might have found yourself wondering how to categorize their sound before quickly realizing some things just shouldn’t be held to a mold.

Coastal Wives has a little something for everyone. You could label them as indie rock, but that’d be too easy, as there’s so many other sounds sewn into their music. Their sound has a gentle depth to it, and haunting qualities that place you into flashbacks of the storyteller. With vocals that are just the right amount of raspy, and lyrics that you can sink your teeth into, Coastal Wives take indie rock into their own hands and bend it like putty.

Since their inception in 2014, the band has had two releases, Coastal Wives (2015) and Traditions (2016). Listening to the two collections, you can tell that the latter, Traditions, was a more playful, but well thought-out move for the group. The four-song EP has a tighter, fine-tuned quality that feels personal, palatable, and unique. Coming from a group that favors quality over quantity, these releases have left us with just enough solid tuneage to keep us craving more.

Listen to Traditions:

Coastal Wives have been working hard as ever, writing songs and rehearsing every chance they get. They’ll be hitting the studio soon, ready to work on some tantalizing new material sure to please your music-loving ears.

The band will also be performing at Larimer Lounge on April 29th, along with Master Ferocious, Weather Big Storm, and Cool Dogs in the Kennel. So give these guys a listen and be sure to catch them at their upcoming show later this month - it’s a guaranteed good time. Buy your tickets here!

Connect with Coastal Wives on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Gamits Are Still Killing It, In Case You Were Wondering

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Last weekend, Denver’s punk rock veterans The Gamits came out of hibernation and tore it up, with performances in Colorado Springs (The Black Sheep), Denver (The Marquis Theatre), Fort Collins (Hodi’s Half Note), and in Laramie, Wyoming (8 Bytes Game Cafe).

The Gamits.

The Gamits.

I had the pleasure of seeing the guys grace the stage on Friday night at The Marquis, along with Samiam, Armchair Martian, and Hotel Bar. I even scored a few minutes of face time with three of the members: Chris Fogal (guitar/vocals), Forrest Bartosh (drums), and Johnny Wilson (bass/ backing vocals). I didn’t get a chance to chat with guitarist Michael Marti, but still got to see him shred onstage.

How does it feel to be back at the Marquis, a venue where you most certainly get a lot of love from fans?

CF: It feels good. Our last show was almost exactly a year ago, on St. Patty’s Day Weekend. So it was a big mess, but still awesome.

Since you all got back together in 2009, you’ve released 'Parts,' and also went on a worldwide tour, hitting up places in Europe. But more recently, what have you guys been up to?

CF: We go into hibernation, and then when we get asked to do fun stuff, we consider it and look at what’s going on in our lives, and then we go, “Okay! We can do that. That’s worth getting together and practicing for.”

At this point of the conversation, I couldn’t help but notice Chris super gluing Johnny’s fingernail.

What’s that about?

FB: “Oh yeah, this is a good one too. All of their fingernails get torn up.”

CF: “Yeah, we do a lot of down picking.”

JW: “Playing in The Gamits is not easy!”

CF: “Yeah, I’m about to do mine too. It turns into blood and then it starts to hurt. But it feels cool. It’s like having a little superman shield on your finger.”

Forrest Bartosh. 

Forrest Bartosh. 

The Gamits are obviously widely known, especially in the Denver area, and people clearly have mad love for you at your shows, going wild and all, but what’s a performance like for you guys?

CF: Well, a good one is like tonight. We’re stoked when people are singing along and going nuts. But it’s like any band, crowd reactions and things of that nature. Also, the older we get, we tend to play with older bands. But we stay pretty current; we like a lot of bands. Johnny runs For the Love of Punk; I run a recording studio (Black In Bluhm). So when we get to play with younger bands, it still feels awesome too. It feels like we’re doing the exact same shit we were doing in in ‘98, or generally around that time period.

Who are some of the younger “up and coming” bands you guys like?

CF: Hotel Bar- they’re killer, and just played first tonight. Also The Bombpops, Red City Radio, Russian Girlfriends, and Redbush. Just bands that have been doing exactly what we’ve been doing, working hard and playing good music. Some of the bands might end up more under the radar, or maybe huger.

Chris Fogel. 

Chris Fogel. 

Playing for such a long time, you know the ins and outs, and have established a more mature mindset when it comes to playing music. Some might even say you are “pros” at this. So how do you keep it interesting? How do you keep yourselves on your toes?

CF: We won’t play shows for months! And it’s never not interesting. There’s always something interesting going on- usually something out of our control.

What are some of the challenges you face now that you didn’t in your earlier years?

JW: Not practicing for a while. And if you don’t sing for a while, it takes a bit to get back to it. We’re not a slouch band in the vocal department.

CF: And I’m even a little sore from playing a show last night.

FB: Playing with bands like Bud Bronson & The Good Timers is a lot more mid-tempo, whereas The Gamits are at a turbo level. So when you haven’t done if for a while, it’s tough.

CF: You rip your fingernails off!

Johnny Wilson.

Johnny Wilson.

I also really like the lyrics in your songs, and that is something I’ve always liked about punk music: the poetic nature of the lyrics, paired with a heavier sound. Is that something you guys always like to incorporate into your music?

CF: Totally. Especially if you’re playing “pop punk,” which is the genre we usually get put into. Some of that is teenagery bubble gum lyrics, so I like to combine those with something a little more, as you put it, poetic. I like the combination.

It’s often said the topics musicians talk about in their music is a product of what’s happening in their own lives- is that true for The Gambits?

CF: Write about what you know. Otherwise, you might come across as a bullshitter.

So do The Gamits have any other other releases coming up in the near future?

CF: Nope, just playing shows and figuring out what the next thing is.

Also, I was asked to ask you guys if you have any plans to release your music besides 'Parts' on vinyl?

CF: Yeah, repressing in Canada has been talked about forever. And I’m sure if someone wanted to do it, it would be cool. I doubt that would happen though unless we came out with a new album.

Again, having been in Denver’s music scene for so long, exiting, and then coming back in, what kinds of things have you noticed? How has the scene changed?

CF: Well we’re always involved in the music scene; we’re never out. We’re always doing other shit in other bands besides The Gamits. So we’ve been able to be in the music scene here and watch it grow, and it’s totally different now. Obviously it’s a bigger city and people are moving here, but it’s also still landlocked, which it always will be, which is pretty cool.

So besides the size, what else do you think has changed? How else has it developed?

JW: I think there’s a resurgence to people looking back to older bands.

So you guys have played a number of bigger name venues, but I’d love to hear about your favorite underground houseparty-type show?

JW: Russia was hands-down my favorite place. We’re the only band I’ve ever heard that has done twelve days in Russia. We did the really depressed areas, and went into the thick of it. Most people do Saint Petersburg and Moscow, but we did some of the most insane places, like the early scene of punk rock.

FB: Yeah the kids were like, “What the hell you doing here?” And they’d be bouncing off the walls, man.

JW: They would pick me up and sing the songs, and I couldn’t even play. It was just the strangest thing.

Shortly after this, we split ways, and I watched the guys blow the roof off the joint, playing their hits, new and old, for a crowd of diehard fans.

It’s safe to say that The Gamits are a group of regular, genuine guys who just like to have fun and play good music. So if you have the rare chance to see them play, then peel yourself from your couch and do it!

-Jura

All photos per Joel Rekiel of BLDGBLKS Music Company. All videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: AMBIT's New Single "Guest House" Will Take You to a Low-Lit Dungeon of Your Choosing

By: Jura Daubenspeck

AMBIT is Denver’s oozy & bizarre garage house trio that is “a little Chicago & a little Detroit.”

AMBIT.

AMBIT.

The eclectic group has some new music for anyone looking to shed their skin a bit and get weird. With a palindromic approach to creating music focusing on loops and patterns, their sound is one you’ll likely find blasting in a late night warehouse party.

Members Jason Iselin (guitar/bass), Eli Mishkin (vocals/guitar/bass), and Jeffrey Wentworth Stevens (bass/modulations/drums) are no strangers to Colorado’s music scene, playing in other bands such as Hot IQs, george&caplin, Wentworth Kersey, and Morriconez. AMBIT then made their start performing at the Underground Music Showcase in 2015.

AMBIT’s minimalistic darkwave sound beckons listeners to unbuckle their brain and get on the dance floor. Their previous releases, including “heartbeat noise,” “townies,” and “night drive,” incorporate dark and wavy bass beats, melancholic vocals, and splashes of space-like synth. At times, AMBIT sounds a bit like The Faint’s Danse Macabre album, while other times, you could swear you have already heard their music featured in the neo-noir crime film Drive.

The band released new music last week; their single “Guest House” dropped, which you can listen to above. “Guest House” follows suit to AMBIT’s previous releases with march-like rhythms, repetitive vocal commands, and a very subtle buildup. So close your eyes while listening to this track, and let yourself be taken to a low-lit dance dungeon of your choosing.

If “Guest House” is indicative of what is to come for AMBIT, there’s much to look forward to. Keep tabs on the band via Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram, and Soundcloud for future releases.  

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Don't Miss the 13th Annual Boulder International Film Festival's Singer/Songwriter Showcase

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Sunday evening’s Academy Awards Ceremony was certainly one for the books. So to keep that energy up, we’d like to give some love to the 13th Annual Boulder International Film Festival (March 2nd-5th). The festival has quickly earned acclaim for being one of the most influential young festivals in the U.S., featuring a variety of stellar feature-length narratives, documentaries, animation shorts, tributes, symposiums, and much more.

Nestled in the middle of the festival is the BIFF Singer/Songwriter Showcase, which will be held at The Lazy Dog from March 3rd-4th. The showcase will give festival goers the exclusive opportunity to hang out with their favorite filmmakers in the Filmmaker Lounge while listening to great tunes - for FREE.

Ten musicians will grace the stage at this year’s showcase, all with different stories to tell and unique ways of telling them.

Friday’s lineup consists of: Kenny Lee Young, Bethel Steele, Antonio Lopez, Girlfriend Duties, and Bryce Merritt.

Kenny Lee Young will kick off the evening with his soulful, rhythmic acoustic tunes, followed up by the fellow acoustically-driven sounds of Fort Collins’ Bethel Steele and Longmont’s Antonio Lopez, both of whom have been recognized at various independent music award ceremonies. The evening will close with Girlfriend Duties, consisting of sisters Savanna and Jenny Wright, as well as good friends Nils Jenson (lead guitar) and Patrick Smith (drums). With a sound that blends Americana, indie, soul, bluegrass, folk, and rock/pop, they’ll bring the energy right up in time for the evening’s final act, Bryce Merritt. Merritt’s soul-pop vibe will leave festival goers toe-tapping their way out of the venue and ready to take on the rest of the weekend.

Saturday’s lineup kicks off with the sultry indie/alternative acoustic stylings of Bella Musser, followed by the electronic-pop artist Amy Kress, whose story is just as impressive as her commanding vocal presence. The soulful and jazzy Halle Tomlinson will take the stage afterwards, leading nicely into the more moody, introspective John Common’s lyrical grooves. Award-winning singer/songwriter and Youth Educator Melissa Ivey, also known as the “gypsy rocker,” will close out the evening of killer local music.

For a little taste of what’s to come, give the Sounds of BIFF 2017 playlist a listen, and check out the other artists who will also be making appearances at the festival here.

Check out more on the Singer/Songwriter Showcase event on Facebook.  

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

A Night of Cosmically Cool Sounds with Denver's SIR

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Last Saturday, February 18th, Denver’s Lost Lake Lounge was bumping with the sounds of a few insanely eclectic artists: SF1, SIR, and Retrofette.

The place was packed full of dancing fools all coming together to catch their own respective buzz. Denver’s alternative hip-hop artist SF1 opened up the night with his bass-heavy beats, and the evening closed with the kooky synthpop-flavored group Retrofette. Sandwiched perfectly in between was the “sexy emotional rock pop” group SIR, made up of Sarah Angela (vocals/guitar), Kim O’Hara (bass/synth), and Luke Mehrens (drums).

SIR.

SIR.

I met up with the band at Cerebral Brewing for a beer prior to the show and chatted them up about their musical journey thus far. After we plopped down at our corner table, I quickly realized these were some of the friendliest, loveliest music folks around. They’re passionate about music, each other, and collaborations with other local musicians.

Gallery photos per Joel Rekiel.

“I moved out to Colorado six years ago because the music scene was so cool,” Sarah shared. “I saw very few female artists, which was weird because coming from Portland they’re everywhere. I linked up with Kim and met Luke one week after moving here, after seeing his band DELLA, who blew me away.”

After that, the band began writing songs together, starting off as “Sarah and The Meanies.”

“I always thought that name sounded like a high school punk band. It didn’t really fit our style then, and certainly doesn’t now.” Sarah laughed.

After some creative deliberation, the band came up with the name SIR.

“We liked SIR because it’s strong, cool and masculine, but also works for a female singer,” Sarah said.

“Yeah, we’re working off of the whole irony thing,” Luke added.

“It fit our style in a way, because our songs are emotional but also very in-your-face.” Sarah quipped.

Watching SIR perform onstage, this emotional, yet commanding vibe is definitely present. The three of them have such a palatable chemistry both on and off stage that makes you wonder if there are some other driving forces that brought them all together. They genuinely have a great time together, and that shows through their performances.

Watch SIR’s music video for “Go”:

In 2016, SIR released their single “Go,” which was recorded at Serenity West Studios in Los Angeles. “Go” carries a message that is simple, yet so relatable to anyone who occasionally needs to take a break from work and drift into the cosmic realm.

“We love to work hard and play hard,” Sarah said. “And part of playing hard is going to festivals together, coming back, and being inspired; asking ourselves what we learned from that festival. All of us have these busy lives that hold us down. But we’re the ones who let it hold us down from chasing our dreams. So that’s why we escape that for a bit and go to places where we can free ourselves.”

Sarah Angela of SIR. Photo Credit: Joel Rekiel of BLGBLKS MUsic

Sarah Angela of SIR. Photo Credit: Joel Rekiel of BLGBLKS MUsic

SIR is currently on their GO COLORADO tour, hitting up various Rocky Mountain hot spots. Saturday evening’s show was their second stop on this tour, and it’s safe to say it was a huge success.

Sarah’s soul-crushing, electrifying vocals, Kim’s groovy bass rhythms, and Luke’s hard-hitting drums make SIR more than just catchy music to the table. With influences ranging from West Coast hip-hop and rap, to Otis Redding-esque soul, their unique and otherworldly demeanor make them a must-see band.

Thankfully, SIR has got some piping hot new music dropping in the next few months. They’ll be releasing their newest single and music video “Hate and Darkness” this spring. In the meantime, catch them at one of their upcoming GO COLORADO shows and check out their music video for “Go” above.  

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Get Your Funk Fix at SYLVA's Debut Show This Saturday at Boulder's Shine

By: Jura Daubenspeck

As they say, a little funk never hurt nobody. And I’d even go further as to say that putting on those dancing shoes and wiggling around to some groovy beats is bound to make your life a little bit better.

This Saturday, February 18th, Boulder’s “stealth funk” jammers SYLVA are making their debut performance at Shine, along with fellow funk rockers Breaking Spaces.

SYLVA.

SYLVA.

Founded in 2008 by bassist/producer Tony Dickinson and vocalist Travis Moberg, SYLVA evolved and shifted until 2015, when longtime friend and jazz drummer Pat Lewis, and guitarist Peter Lacis joined the gang. Since then, the band has played with the sounds of progressive rock/fusion, incorporating catchy hooks, tight grooves, and plenty of tasty bass. Lacis’ guitar solos are spicy enough to make even the most stoic folk cry, and there’s enough synth in their songs to make your hair follicles tingle. But don’t take my word for it. See it for yourself in SYLVA’s live recording of “Brix of Funk.”

Breaking Spaces.

Breaking Spaces.

Joining SYLVA on stage is the Boulder-grown group Breaking Spaces, who keep it fun, fresh, and synthy at all times, especially at Red Rocks’ Bus to Show parking lot parties. Comprised of Neal Behrendt (keys/guitar), Kyle Bergen (drums), Mike Bruin (saxophone), and Robin Powers (bass/synth), the band has a sound and vibe that bursts with energy and soul.

Saturday’s performance is not one to miss for all you funkadelic hooligans out there. In addition to the sweetest music being played, artist Mick Tresemer will be live painting during the show for a total full-sensory experience.

But wait, there’s more! In honor of the new music SYLVA has been working on these past few months, the band will be giving away an exclusive copy of their four-song EP to one lucky attendee.

So grab your tickets now and get yourself to Shine on Saturday, February 18th to catch these cool cats making insane noises with their instruments. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door. Peep the official event page here!

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Velveteins' "Don't Yah Feel Better?" Music Video Is Teeming with Good Vibes

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Edmonton’s indie rock group The Velveteins have been steady releasing hits, including their dreamy and moody surf rock EP A Hot Second with The Velveteins. The band, comprised of Spencer Morphy (vocals/guitar), Addison Hiller (percussion), and Dean Kheroufi (bass), recently premiered their music video for the upbeat, playful tune “Don’t Yah Feel Better?” In these snowy winter months when the warmth of summer feels like a distant memory, this song swoops in, twirls you around, and envelopes you in its delightful rhythm.

Watch the “Don’t Yah Feel Better?” video:

The message of “Don’t Yah Feel Better?” is simple and colorful, as is the music video’s aesthetic. Its “stop and smell the roses” feel assures its listeners that everything they need is already at their fingertips, they just have to take a moment and listen for it. The retro-style video stars a pair of singing lips (vaguely reminiscent of The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s opening song), as well as other cut-out images of drums, guitars, and maracas. The music video’s director Evangeline Belzile shared:

"The song itself is simple and carefree so I didn’t want to create anything with a complex storyline or narrative. I had been interested in using a green screen to cut out specific body parts for a while and had also been interested in altering 16mm film. When the band asked me to create a visual component for ‘Don’t Yah Feel Better?’, I knew that pairing the two would complement their aesthetic."
The Velveteins.

The Velveteins.

In a world of increasing complexity, slowing down and reminding yourself of life’s enchantments is a necessary practice. So if you’re ever feeling blue, just turn on The Velveteins’ latest hits and dance yourself into the light! There, don’t you feel better?

Connect with The Velveteins on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more updates, releases, and show announcements.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Kick Off The New Year With Clayton Wyatt's Headlining Performance at Herman's Hideaway

By: Jura Daubenspeck

It’s a new year, and we all know what that means: new releases, new shows, and new artists to look out for. In the spirit of the new year, we’re happy to announce acoustic-folk singer/songwriter Clayton Wyatt will be headlining the Herman’s Hideaway stage tomorrow, January 4th.

The Colorado Springs native began playing guitar and writing his own music in his early teenage years, after discovering the music of Dallas Green (City and Colour). Though originally drawn to the sounds of rock’n’roll, Clayton quickly discovered the magic of the acoustic guitar and felt his path was better suited for writing emotional, heartfelt songs. Through tender vocals, soothing guitar, and relatable lyrics, Clayton connects with his fans in a sincere way.

“I want the fans to know that they are everything, without them I am really nothing, and I could never take their support for granted.”  

Clayton is in the final stages of recording and mastering his newest EP Not Today, which will be released in a few months. He will also be making another release-related announcement during tomorrow evening’s performance, so stay tuned.

If you’re ready to hit the ground running this year, and are in the mood for some feel-good acoustic music, then head on over to Herman’s Hideaway tomorrow night, and jam to the sweet sounds of Clayton Wyatt and accompanying artists Burnt Bridge Masons, Zach B., and Tuke & Denäe. Doors open at 7PM, the show starts at 7:30PM, and tickets can be purchased here.

For a taste of Clayton’s sound, check out this performance of his song “3000 Miles” for BalconyTV.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Boulder's Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove Fly Solo In Anticipation of New 2017 Releases

By: Jura Daubenspeck

During these times filled with frozen-shut windows and runny noses, it’s more important than ever to find some soulful tuneage to warm up your soul. Thankfully, Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove are just the band to do just this. Hailing from Virginia, but currently residing in Boulder, the four-piece Americana group is churning out the kind of music that reminds you of those breezy, sun-soaked hammock days.

Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove.

Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove.

Throughout the last two and a half years, band members Mitchel Evan (guitar, vocals, songwriter), Dave Janssen (bass, vocals, arrangements), Connor Craven (guitar/vocals), and Phil Crump (drums/percussion) have taken to stages throughout Colorado, and have impressed many with their 4-song releases, A Place of Love (2015) and Higher Ground (2016). Both EPs remain consistent in their soulful, funky, and sincere nature, yet no two songs sound the same. Of all the stellar tracks, personal favorites of mine include, “A Place of Love,” Up In Smoke,” and “Higher Ground.”

Their most recent release, Songs from The Archives (2016), takes on a much different tone from the previous two releases, as it’s a collection of Mitchel’s solo recordings and unreleased concepts that have finally found their home.

Listen to Songs from The Archives:

In November, the band announced that they would be taking their music in a different direction, playing their final shows as a full piece band over the New Year. Frontman Mitchel Bamberger will focus his efforts on future solo releases and performances throughout the country and beyond. While it may have come as disappointing news to Mangrove fans, it’s well known that the music will never die, it will just take a new form.

So in the name of love, life, and the constant cultivation of one’s craft, give Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove a listen, and stay tuned for Mitchel Bamberger’s upcoming announcements as he takes his tunes to a new level! Word on the street is that there will be some exciting announcements come the New Year, and many performances you’ll not want to miss.

Keep in touch with Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And for a little taste of what these guys are all about, check out this live performance of “When the Music Pays the Bills,” courtesy of Image of Colorado and I Love Colfax Productions.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Alternative Punk Rock Group American Blackout Debut 'Yeah So What' EP

By: Jura Daubenspeck

The gifts just keep on coming this holiday season with today’s release of the newest 'Yeah So What' EP by alternative punk rock group American Blackout. Hailing from Fort Collins, CO, members Craig Miller (vocals/guitar), Damian Schoenecke (guitar), Ross Dougherty (bass) and Gus Mircos (drums) have been anticipating this release for almost a year. Needless to say, the band is excited for today’s debut, so we sat down with frontman Craig Miller to get the scoop on American Black’s new music and more. Here’s our chat:

The 'Yeah So What' EP is your third and final release of 2016. How long have you guys been working on this for?

For a while now. We released our first single “Pants on Fire” last January, and just released “Shots Fired” in September, so [the whole EP] has been about one year in the works. We recorded all five tracks at The Spot Studios, recording two at a time, then recording one last song to finish it up. Lately we’ve been getting it all packaged, mastered, and ready for release.

American Blackout. Photo Credit: Studio Ardesco.

American Blackout. Photo Credit: Studio Ardesco.

There’s been quite a bit of hype leading up to this release, with little sneak previews, bundles, and free giveaways. How have people reacted so far?

Everyone seems pretty excited about it. We’ve received really good reviews on the singles. We just previewed our title track, “Yeah So What” yesterday, which is our favorite song to play live. It’s upbeat and high energy, which is perfect because we get down at our live shows.

What can fans expect from this new EP? What kinds of sounds and influences are embedded in it? Any themes?

What I like most about it is that it’s a little bit of a deviation from our last EP, Summer’s Gone. It’s a much more matured sound and a lot less “poppy.” The last EP focused a lot more on relationships, whereas Yeah So What is more raw and edgy, especially “Shots Fired.” Our lyrics have matured and our sound is a bit more gritty. As always, we’ve got a clean, crisply produced sound from working at The Spot Studios, but [this new release] just ended up being more energetic rock’n’roll versus pop. We like the direction it’s going in.

Listen to American Blackout's new Yeah So What EP:

Are there any special guest features on this release?

No guest features. One major difference is that this EP was recorded with our old drummer Jason LaBella. We have a new drummer now, Gus Mircos, who will be playing at the EP release show with us. We’re grateful to have worked with Jason, and are excited to have Gus with us now.

What was the creative process behind this release? Any particular reason why you’re aiming for an end of year release VS a new year release?

An end of the year release was just how it ended up happening with the availability and materials. Our last full-length release was in January 2015, so we are due for another one. Also, December is a great time to go out, given the holidays. Regarding our creative process, we’ve been writing a lot, and have been picky about what songs we wanted to record and what songs we wanted to included. We’ve been much more selective, starting with a basic idea, gathering new ideas, and continuing that effort until those ideas materialize into a song.

AB. Photo Credit: Talia Lezama.

AB. Photo Credit: Talia Lezama.

Will there be a tour to accompany this release? Any holiday pit stops you plan to make?

Our EP Release Party is this Saturday, December 17th at Downtown Artery. Then we’ve got a series of shows in late January, including a show at The Moxi Theater. We plan to hit the road in March 2017, working our way through the Southwest, California, and Nevada.

Finally, as an alternative punk band in Colorado, where do you most find your niche?

We’ve been able to make a lot of friends in different genres of music. We love playing with Wiredogs, who will also be playing at our EP Release Party this Friday along with I Am The Owl. We like playing with those guys quite a bit. We met so many different bands through the SpokesBUZZ program and we have played with many other genres, like the Gasoline Lollipops, who are more bluegrass/folk. We like to mix it up and tailor our sets to the other bands’ styles. That’s what’s great about the Colorado music scene: everyone likes to work together, meet new people, and experience new styles of music.

Keep in touch with American Blackout via their Facebook, Instagram, and website. And be sure to grab your tickets to their EP Release Party this Saturday, December 17th!

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Bonne Finken Talks To Us About Her Grammy Consideration, SXSW, & More

By: Jura Daubenspeck

It’s no mystery that the ladies of Denver’s music scene are a force to be reckoned with. And when it comes to finding a place that not only satiates your musical thirst, but also your need for some downright tasty pizza, The Walnut Room is where it’s at.

Last Saturday, ladies took over the stage at The Walnut Room for a night of indie electronica flavor. Tana Victoria, Amy Kress, Bonne Finken with DJ/backup vocalist Christine Steeples, and Phee all kept it edgy, poetic, and even a bit dark at times. The lineup consisted of mostly Colorado locals, with the exception of Iowa native Bonne Finken, who lit up the room with her booming vocals and phantasmal projections.

Each performer wowed during their time on stage, but this week, we wanted to give special props to Bonne Finken, who, despite her strong Midwest following, made her Denver debut at the show. We sat down with Bonne prior to her set to ask her a few questions about what she’s been up to, including her upcoming album, her Grammy consideration, and her plans for SXSW 2017. Here’s what she had to say:

This is your first time playing in Denver. Welcome! How are you feeling?

I feel excited! We just got done with soundcheck, and I got to hear the other artists play a bit. It sounds like we’re all in the same genre, so that’s pretty cool.

Earlier this summer you released your single and video “Speak to Me.” What have you been up to in the meantime?

I’ve been working on the new album, which will be released in 2017. “Speak to Me” was just the first release from that album. We’ve been recording, which is why I’m in Denver now. Joel Rekiel, my publicist, lined this show up for me while I was in town. I’ve been working on the album; retooling the show. It’s gone really electronic now learning a bunch of technologies, and the band is relearning gear. So that’s what we’re working on now.

You’ve been recording at The Spot Studios. How long have you been working with them?

I just went there last spring to record “Speak to Me.” And then I just started again about a week ago. I’ll be returning next spring and will hopefully have it all done by June 2017.

Bonne Finken. 

Bonne Finken. 

So what’s the experience been like this past week?

Really awesome. They’re so great to work with, and they (Glenn Sawyer and Rich Veltrop) understand my sound more than anybody I’ve worked with before. So it feels super easy. Instead of me trying to translate my sound or fight on sounds, it feels very comfortable, and goes so fast. It’s incredible! It’s been fun, relaxing and exciting.

Last time we talked, we discussed how you put your heart and soul into your music. You take the time to learn everything about every aspect of your music, so it really becomes a piece of you. I’m curious about what that process has been like, and how much of your blood, sweat, and tears will be going into this next album.

Definitely more than ever before. It’s hard to explain. Literally they’re using my own sessions and my own sounds and it’s demoed to the point where if I want a certain harmony figured out, I better have it figured out when I bring it in. [On other records] we would bring in really sketched out ideas and flush them out in the studio, where as now we bring it in and execute whatever we have, so we have to be more prepared. Which is scary and good. It goes faster, but it means whatever my idea is in real time is what they execute. So that’s been a big difference on this album. And I’ve learned a lot about MIDI. You’re able to use electronic instruments of any kind, and write with them. So that’s been very freeing for me as a writer and as an artist. I love the freeness of MIDI.

Regarding your recorded work, what can your fans expect in the coming months?

I’ll probably have a couple more singles out and promote them like I did “Speak to Me.” “Speak to Me” was kind of a campaign to try to get on the Grammy ballot, which it did do, so that was cool that we released it in time. But I’ll probably release a couple of music videos almost quietly. Not necessarily to sell, but to test out some of the sounds on the album. You’ll be hearing what’s been in my brain for the last decade but has taken me a long time to understand how to articulate audibly. I’ve always had crazy ideas, but now I feel like I can really make it happen and show that off in my music.

How will those those crazy, cool ideas be manifested in your future performances?

When I write, I keep in mind my live shows, because that’s what I love most, maybe to the detriment of thinking, “Will this song work live?” It’s important for me to get [my work] across in my live shows. So if anything, my live shows will be stronger because I keep that in mind and am able to manipulate the recordings knowing that. I like going to shows and hearing artists sound like they do in the recording, rather than not being able to recognize the song because it’s been changed too much.

Steeples (left) & Finken (right). 

Steeples (left) & Finken (right). 

Do you have any upcoming shows, or tours around the country?

We’re actually coming down into recording mode. Most winters I hole up. I don’t like to travel in bad weather. So I’ve learned to call a spade a spade, and not push it. But we are going to SXSW so I’m super stoked for that. We might just go underground a bit [this winter], write some songs, work on the show, and let SXSW be our big reveal for some of these new songs.

We can’t wait to hear more! Keep up with Bonne Finken here.

-Jura

All photos per the author. Videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Balanced Breakfast Bash Warmed Up Denver On Its First Snowy Night Last Week

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Each month the creative minds at Balanced Breakfast gather to discuss various key topics in Denver’s music scene. With the help of the organizers, hosts, and the equally passionate members, Balanced Breakfast serves as a group of local music industry professionals paving the way for an even more fruitful music scene for artists and music-lovers alike.

Last Thursday, November 17th, Balanced Breakfast hosted the Balanced Breakfast Bash, a music showcase where the walls of Syntax Physic Opera came alive with the musical stylings of Twin Flame Medicine, Amy Kress, and The Lollygags.

Twin Flame Medicine. 

Twin Flame Medicine. 

Syntax is easily one of my favorite intimate music venues in the city. Its cozy, warm-lit atmosphere and intricate wall decorations have your eyes wandering constantly, and the lounge-style arrangement near the stage keeps vibes cool and classy. Not to mention that they happen to serve the best Old Fashioneds, or “Corn Punks,” I’ve ever had.

Twin Flame Medicine took the stage first at the Balanced Breakfast Bash, serenading everyone with their soothing, groovy vibrations. Fronted by lead singer and ukulele player Monalicious, this band is one to most definitely check out if you have the chance. Their bluesy feel and funky melodies will beckon you into a calm and positive mindset. Check out their song “Style” for a little taste of what they’re about.

The Lollygags.

The Lollygags.

Rocky Mountain locals The Lollygags brought up the energy and kept true to their form next, gracing the stage with their grunge rock’n’roll vibes. Frontman Jonathan Snyder’s facial expressions and guitar solos were enough to grab anyone’s attention, but the entire band's presence was confident, cool, and ready to rock. Listen to their EP People I Know and you’ll quickly see what I mean.

Amy Kress.

Amy Kress.

Finally, electronic pop artist Amy Kress closed the evening with her booming vocals and soulful style. Switching between pure vocals, piano, and with Joel Rekiel on drums, Kress delivered a powerful, dance-worthy performance that had me humming her songs days later. She played a number of fan favorites, including hits from her recent album Fly.

Reed Fuchs.

Reed Fuchs.

Reed Fuchs, a Balanced Breakfast host who also happens to front Denver’s surrealist group DéCollage, provided the mellow but sultry interludes between artists with his DJ sets.

Balanced Breakfast Bash was the perfect way to warm up during the season’s first chilly snow. Keep in touch with the folks at Balanced Breakfast on their Facebook, and stay tuned for more upcoming announcements, meetups, and info on shindigs like this awesome bash from BolderBeat.

-Jura

All photos per the author. All videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Oklahoma's Skytown Head Back Into The Studio & Planning Festival Schedule for 2017

By: Jura Daubenspeck

After a wild summer of shows, festivals, and a debut music video release, acoustic rock group Skytown is set to take on 2017 with an arsenal of soon-to-be-recorded music, tour stops in new cities, and a booked year of music festivals.

Skytown.

Skytown.

Since their inception in 2012, Skytown has established themselves as one of the most unique sounding bands today. The hard-hitting, guitar-driven rock group has deep roots in their hometown of Tulsa, OK, where they consistently yield hundreds of passionate fans to their shows every week at venues like The Vanguard, and The Shrine. In addition, Skytown are no strangers to the wonderful world of music festivals. They have performed at Wakarusa, Backwoods Music Festival, Rocklahoma, East Meets West Battle of the Bands, and the 75th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Their most recent festi performances were at Twister Fest, KATTFEST, and Metro Music Festival. With 2017 on the horizon, festival dates for the coming year are being revealed, and the mad dash for band submission applications begins. So keep your eyes peeled because there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing Skytown at some of your favorite small and large-scale jamborees.

Skytown’s latest release of their “Through Circles” music video, (off of Outshine the Sun) received incredibly positive feedback from fans and new listeners alike. Filmed in their hometown with the help of BLDGBLKS Music Company, Skytown showed the dark and cryptically artistic side to their music with the video. Lucky for fans, the band has about thirteen songs they hope to record in the coming months, and are sure to create another visual piece from one of their new tracks. It’s too soon to tell what vibe they’ll introduce us to next, but if it’s anything like what they’ve been playing lately, it will be damn good rock music with substance. Skytown’s consistently successful releases, diehard fans, and constant desire to create more music make them a band you should definitely check out if you haven’t already.

Stay in touch with Skytown’s announcements and releases on their Facebook and website. And if you’re in the Tulsa area, catch them at their next show at Cain’s Ballroom on November 19th with The Young Vines, Riot Waves, The Capital Whys, and NeoRomantics.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

BLDGBLKS Artists Score Grammy Considerations

By: Jura Daubenspeck

A Grammy Award is no doubt the highest honor for recording artists. Each year, thousands of artists are entered for considerations. And while the heavy-hitting musicians we know and love often find their way onto the ballots, it’s also important to note the other hard-working up-and-comers who make their way onto the list.

This year BLDGBLKS artists Bonne Finken, Amy Kress, Mawule, R Michael Rhodes, and Interstate 10 have made the cut for the 2017 Awards considerations.

A membership with The Recording Academy is required in order to submit any music. Glenn Sawyer, producer at The Spot Studios, as well as a Voting Member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), has taken charge and submitted the following music for these BLDGBLKS artists:

Bonne Finken - “Speak to Me” - Best Pop Solo Performance

Amy Kress - “Fly” - Best Dance Album of the Year

Mawule - “Chosen” - Best R&B Album

R Michael Rhodes - “After All These Years” - Best Americana Album

Interstate 10 - “I’m Gonna Miss You” - Best Country Duo Performance

So what happens for these artists between now and the Awards? After the voting members submit their music for the consideration round, the expert Grammy committees come up with a final ballot of artists. Artists are generally taken from the top percentage of nominations, but many artists not on this top list still make their way onto the ballot. This part of the process can take about two weeks. After the final nominees are contacted and, once again, voted for, the results remain hidden until the fateful February evening of the Awards ceremony.

Until then, considered artists can connect with one another, and make a push to have their music heard. Artists such as Bonne Finken, R Michael Rhodes, and Mawule all plan on partaking in this lobbying process, sending out personalized letters and connecting with voting members.

No matter what degree of fame an artist holds, it is an immense honor to even be considered for the acclaimed Grammy Awards. And while many voters may already have their eyes and ears set on a sure-fire winner, it’s important to always honor the accomplished local talent, who will stop at nothing to get their voices heard.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

R Michael Rhodes & His Band Kept Sunday Funday Going Strong at The Brew on Broadway

By: Jura Daubenspeck

After a full-blown weekend of fall activities in Denver, as well as some startlingly warm temperatures, I think we can safely say that everyone wanted to continue the party as long as they could. Come Sunday afternoon, the sun was shining more than ever, and there was a warm breeze tickling my skin. I couldn’t think of a better excuse to head on over to a brewery for delicious pumpkin ale and easy listening music, so I made my way to The Brew on Broadway to see singer/songwriter R Michael Rhodes and his band play some of their tunes.

Though a bit off the beaten path for Denver residents, The Brew on Broadway on South Broadway in Englewood has a bit of something for everyone. With a wide selection of craft beers, freshly brewed coffee, tasty bar snacks, and a dog-friendly beer garden to enjoy it all in, it’s the perfect neighborhood spot to gather at for a little Sunday Funday relaxation.

R Michael Rhodes and his band, comprised of Nick Morgan (guitar), Joe Armenta (four-string guitar), and Don Kalil (drums), soothed the souls of everyone at The BoB. Having just released his solo EP After All These Years in September, the almost two-hour set showcased some of Mike’s recently released music including “The Only Song,” “Please Remember Me,” and “Sunday Mornin’ Breeze,” as well as new band originals like “Whiskey Nights,” “Evil Woman,” “Chasin’ Ghosts,” and “Where Are You Now?”

Listen to R Michael Rhodes' latest EP:

All four musicians were in-sync, relaxed, and genuinely seemed to be having a great time playing for their friends, family, and everyone guided inside by their music. They played some cool covers too: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Somewhere with You,” and even had everyone in the bar singing along with “Proud Mary.”

Staying true to form, Mike and his band paid homage to great musicians like the Eagles, John Denver, Neil Young, and Garth Brooks, yet still maintained their own stylistic flair. With playful, personal anecdotes between each song, and hoots and hollers from attendees, the overall vibe of their show matched the weather perfectly, warm and bright.

All in all, Mike’s performance at The BoB was the perfect wrap-up to my weekend. Between the sunshine, fall beer, friendly faces, and relaxing music, there’s not much else I could have asked for.

I can’t wait to hear what’s in store next for Rhodes as he continues to work on new material for recording. Check out R Michael Rhodes’ website and his Facebook for more updates on upcoming performances and releases.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Neil Young & Promise of the Real Enchanted All At Their Debut Performance in Telluride

By: Jura Daubenspeck

“I’ve never seen so many people so in love with one person.”

These words were uttered to me as Neil Young took to the stage last Friday in the musical wonderland that is Telluride Town Park. Screaming fans of all ages huddled as close as they could to the stage for what was a stellar weekend of performances by a living legend and his talented band.

Neil Young.

Neil Young.

This was Neil Young’s first time performing in Telluride, making it an even more exciting experience for all. He was joined by Promise of the Real, who he has been touring with since 2014. Watching Neil Young and Promise of the Real perform is like watching a master puppeteer and his marionettes. It was clear just how in-sync every band member was, hypnotically following Neil’s cues.

Sunset at the stage.

Sunset at the stage.

Friday and Saturday night’s sets were similar, but tweaked enough to add some diversity to folks who were camping all weekend. Neil opened up both evenings with acclaimed hits such as “After the Gold Rush,” “Heart of Gold,” and “Mother Earth (Natural Anthem),” and closed with “Rockin’ In The Free World.” He debuted some brand spankin’ new songs, with only working titles: “Hang Gliders,” “Texas Rangers,” “Peace Trail,” and “Show Me”, which might indicate a new album in our future? We can only hope.

Neil Young & Promise of the Real.

Neil Young & Promise of the Real.

Between the two nights, Neil and Promise of the Real played crowd favorites like “Powderfinger,” “Out on the Weekend,” “Old Man,” “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” “Vampire Blues,” “Harvest Moon,” “Cortez the Killer,” “Walk On,” “Cinnamon Girl,” and of course, a damn near fifteen minute performance of “Down by the River”.

Camping in 'ride.

Camping in 'ride.

Neil is most definitely a sorcerer. His music, paired with the golden hues hovering over the mountains, was an irreplaceable sight. I was so blown away by the overwhelming beauty that I burst into tears almost right as the music began. I was also impressed by Promise of the Real’s ability to add such a vibrant twist to Neil’s already delicious music. With their haunting harmonies, psychedelic riffs, and an overall Rocky Mountain chic aesthetic, this performance was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Telluride's Heart of Gold.

Telluride's Heart of Gold.

One limitation any young festival lover can relate to is money. But never fear, it can be done! I volunteered for these shows through the festival’s website, and in exchange for working one six-hour shift, I received a two-day concert pass. This saved me over $200, and only left me to cover the cost of camping, travel, food & beverages, and (optional) merchandise.

Festi Oasis.

Festi Oasis.

Hands down, this was my favorite music experience I’ve ever had. Camping amongst the golden aspens less than a five minute walk from the stage where Neil Young played was something I never thought I would have the chance to do. I listened to his mic check while hanging in my hammock! Neil’s music made me cry, laugh, sing, and holler at the top of my lungs. The sheer beauty of Telluride is inspiration enough to make the trek, but if you have the chance to get out there for a festival, collect your money and just DO it!

-Jura

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.