The Strange American's "Till You're Told" Music Video Is Symbolic Of The Musician's Journey

By: Sam Piscitelli

As a musician, whether you’re a solo artist or in a band, there is this acknowledgement that comes with garnering a certain amount of fans or receiving positive praise. It’s as though you are no longer a lone act playing your songs in your bedroom; instead you seem to be a well-known somebody. From there, all seems like it will move upwards rather than careening into a haze of obscurity. But, what people don’t know is the long-haul you’ve placed yourself in; the countless times you  practice your craft, the stomach-turning preparation of every interview or review of you and your art, and the unnerving fear that as quickly as your dreams were made, they can just as easily disappear. In their music video for “Till You’re Told” the Strange Americans symbolically covers the landscape of the music business while also relying on the talent that brought them their success.

The video begins with each band member on their own, forging their individual paths. They all carry one item with them, the items being symbolic of who the band is when they come together. The symbolism in the music video is very subjective, but to me each item plays off one another. For example; the lantern is for the fire the band has inside of themselves, the sticks are the framework of the band, the amp is the way in which they express themselves through music, the shovel is about burying the past, and the suitcase is for the accomplished dreams they wish to carry with them one day. With their now unified front, the Strange Americans then begin to traverse the land together. To me, this shows that while they are further than they’ve ever been before, they’re still on the journey. It’s a music video that reflects upon anyone’s time in the music industry. You can walk for miles with the passions you have, the items you bring along for the ride and create as much as you want, but nothing is certain.

While the symbolism can- and mostly likely will be debated- we can’t ignore how this video catches the heart of the struggling musician. It’s a message that no matter how much you go through from the very beginning till the end of your make or break career, that nothing will be set in stone, especially your reputation “Till You’re Told” otherwise. In a business that is continuously changing, the only thing you can be sure of is the work you put out into the world. Once it’s out there, it represents you and that’s what matters. For a video that has a lot of hidden meanings, it’s untold truth is undeniable.

Keep up with the Strange Americans here.

-Sam

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

Cafe Aion Music: Week Two featuring Ben Hanna & Whiskey Autumn

By: Pete Laffin

The single best part of booking a new venue in town (especially one with the enviable setting Cafe Aion provides (fireplace burning, house lights low, and hardwood floors made for dancing), is that I get to come watch acts I love. Much like at our music opening last weekend, which featured Paul Kimbiris and the Dark Side of Pearl and Foxfeather, this weekend’s acts are ones of which I truly consider myself a fan. 

Ben Hanna.

Ben Hanna.

Friday night at 10, the enigmatic songsmith Ben Hanna will begin performing his unique blend of acoustic folk-rock. Hanna is known locally as a performer whose thoughtful songs will challenge you as much as they will make you hoot-and-holler along. While his songs have a rough edge both musically and lyrically, his utterly authentic performances render his music listener-friendly. “With a sort of gravely, half-speaking, half-singing vocal style, Ben Hanna has easily drawn comparisons to Lou Reed,” writes Marquee.

Whiskey Autumn. 

Whiskey Autumn. 

On Saturday at 10, the night most folks will be out celebrating Valentine’s Day, couples looking for just the right vibe should come dance and sing-a-long with Boulder staple Whiskey Autumn. The indie-pop rock trio with an early 60s Motown flavor will have you swooning to a bevy of originals and covers. Their early EPs have received a great deal of acclaim, and their track “07.04.07” was recently featured on the nationally syndicated Dave Leonard's UNLEASHED. Want the perfect way to end a romantic day with your special someone? Look no further.

Look over February's full schedule & check back for artist bios every Wednesday on BolderBeat:

For information on booking, please contact me at aionbookings@gmail.com, and I will get back to you post-haste!

-Pete

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

Opening Weekend at Cafe Aion featuring Paul Kimbiris and Foxfeather

By: Pete Laffin

This weekend marks the start of music at a great Boulder venue.

There was never any other local act I hoped would play on opening night for live music at Cafe AionPaul Kimbiris, who will be christening our new stage this Friday, February 5th at 10pm, is becoming nationally renowned for his enviable songwriting and for his own uniquely melodic brand of acoustic folk. A self-described “recovering Philadelphian”, he’s been playing around Boulder for the past five years, released a well received record last summer, and can be found on the soundtracks for major network TV shows like “The Shield”, “Gang Related”, and most recently, ABC’s “Forever”. We are honored to have him perform on such a momentous night for our new endeavor.

Boulder's Paul Kimbiris. Photo Credit: Joshua Elioseff

Boulder's Paul Kimbiris. Photo Credit: Joshua Elioseff

Playing the following evening, also at 10pm, is another burgeoning local sensation. The folk ensemble Foxfeather formed in 2013, and has made quite an impression on the Boulder music scene, offering an eclectic mix of styles, from folk to blues to bluegrass to jazz and even to pop. They regularly bring down the house at venues all over town, and are sure to rock the room at Aion.

Boulder's Foxfeather. Photo Credit: CNPhotos.

Boulder's Foxfeather. Photo Credit: CNPhotos.

Please join us in celebrating our opening weekend! It’s sure to be one for the books.

For information on booking, please contact me at aionbookings@gmail.com, and I will get back to you post-haste!

-Pete

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

A New Era of Music at Cafe Aion

By: Pete Laffin

Cafe Aoin is ready to bring on the tunes. 

A few months ago, the guys at Cafe Aion asked me to come in and talk about the possibility of creating a weekend music program. I arrived as they were closing up for the night, and I as I made my way up the stairs to the dining room, all I could think was: Fuck, this place is beautiful.

View of the stage at revamped Cafe Aion.

View of the stage at revamped Cafe Aion.

The last time I’d been in there it was called Burnt Toast, and significant upgrades had been made to the interior. A big, unnecessary wall had been removed, which opened up the room and made it seem far larger than before; a new bar had been built with significant space surrounding it for late-night patrons. Coupled with what the room already had going for itself (a red-brick fireplace, hardwood flooring, wide windows looking out on Pennsylvania Avenue), these upgrades made the place glow with late night potential. When I learned that a new stage would be built as an extension of the window platforms, I signed on to the project without hesitation. This looked to be the kind of venue I and many other Boulder music lovers have long awaited: a beautiful, classy room tailored for acoustic acts (and small band set-ups), but with a true nightlife atmosphere (premium cocktails and craft brews).

Cafe Aion, the nightlife version, doesn’t project to be another small, rock venue that caters to obscenely loud acts, nor does it project to be anything like the acoustic alternatives in town: coffeeshops with loud machinery where half the room ignores the live music in favor of glowing laptop screens.

Cafe Aion: The Nightlife Version.

Cafe Aion: The Nightlife Version.

The potential of this project has me giddy. There is an overflow of local acts who are a perfect fit for this type of space, with very few, if any, comparable alternatives. Since taking on the booking, I have done my darnedest to pack the calendar with premium local acoustic acts. On February 5th, Paul Kimbiris (whose latest album I had the pleasure of reviewing) will christen the new stage, followed the next night by the fantastic folk ensemble, Foxfeather.

I will be writing up profiles right here on BolderBeat every Wednesday for each of the weekend acts during our first month of operation, so keep an eye out! All weekend shows begin at 10PM, and we can’t wait to share with you, the music lovers of Boulder, what we’ve put together.

Look over February's full schedule & check back for artist bios every Wednesday on BolderBeat:

For information on booking, please contact me at aionbookings@gmail.com, and I will get back to you post-haste!

-Pete

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

Studio 700: The Awesome DIY Venue Hosting Tomorrow's #MusicMasquerade

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Gotta love DIY. 

We’re skipping our usual Weekend Six feature today since we’re sponsoring a sweet show tomorrow that we want to tell you a lil’ baby more about, B. Read on:

Studio 700 is a Boulder DIY venue explained to us by three of its creators: Joshua Thomas (of Villain Baritone), Boulder singer/songwriter Hunter Stone, and a man known only to us as Buckles. What started as a group of local musicians looking for a house turned into an awesome DIY venue, complete with a stage, lights, sound equipment, and a curious cutout of Alfred Hitchcock. The place is well lit, insulated, and rumored to have been used by James Taylor’s daughter for recording purposes back in the day. And the idea for its inception started with house hunting on (what else kids?) Craigslist.

Hunter: When I found the house, I was excited. I mean, I knew the potential here. I thought, ‘If we don’t get this space, it will be taken over by beer pong.’ And I knew we could turn it into something more.

Joshua: Yeah we saw this place and we were like schoolboys- we were walking around like we could do this and this and this- just drawing up silly things and mainly just getting excited. Once we saw this space, we were like ‘This is happening.’

And so began Studio 700. The venue has hosted three shows to date, each with a cool theme and an all-local lineup.

Joshua: We do this so that we can support local artists and give them a showcase, so we try to put something on at least once a month.

Hunter: Yeah there are just so many bands in Boulder that are good bands, and there just aren’t enough venues that service the musicians here. I mean The Fox is the ideal destination for most people playing in Boulder, but there just aren’t a lot of other places where music is the focused intent. And so that’s what we want to create here; a community.

Hunter & Joshua at Studio 700 talkin' 'bout Studio 700. 

Hunter & Joshua at Studio 700 talkin' 'bout Studio 700. 

So how did they build this sweet spot?

Buckles: It’s been collaborative between all of us. A lot of the physical things have definitely been Josh- building the stage and getting up the lights. And then we all have contributed different equipment.

Hunter: Yeah, like I set up a lot of my recording equipment in here. I’ve used some of that for my project Hole in the Wall Recording, which has also involved some video production. And you’ve recorded in here too, right Josh?

Joshua: Yeah with Villain Baritone, we’ve recorded a lot of our music in here. The first thing we tracked [at Studio 700] were drums and it actually sounded amazing.

Joshua and Buckles in the s700 shadows.

Joshua and Buckles in the s700 shadows.

But the guys have plans beyond recording and once-a-month shows too.

Josh: Longterm we want to collaborate with more people to see more of what we can do here and what the possibilities are.  

Hunter: I’d like to use it for more intimate things too- singer/songwriter nights and smaller shows. We want to fill the place with art; have live painting during shows. And of course we’ll keep booking bands. We want to use [this] to raise money to pay musicians and to book bands where their fans overlap. We want to keep incorporating small businesses… I mean there’s a lot of potential for it. It’s just about realizing all of the potential.

So come support this rad DIY spot Boulder! We brought you coverage on all three local bands playing tomorrow’s #MusicMasquerade, and if you missed those, click ‘em here: Whiskey Autumn, Villain Baritone with Special Guests Andrew Sturtz and Hunter Stone, and Noctogon. Join the FB event for specifics by clicking this sentence.

We’ll see you tomorrow, masked and all. Happy Weekend!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

The Pamlico Sound: Get Baptized in Funk This Saturday at The Lazy Dog

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Boulder's TPS are back in the game. 

Funk, soul, and psychedelia. That’s what Boulder’s The Pamlico Sound is all about. Formed in 2010, TPS has shared the stage with acts like Orgone, Kung Fu, Rowdy Shadehouse, The Magic Beans, and Technicolor Tone Factory. The eight-piece outfit have played The Fox, The Boulder Theater, The Bluebird, The Oriental, and many other local favorite spots. In 2014, the band took a hiatus as members worked on other projects, but they want you to know something Boulder: They’re Back! The Pamlico Sound will be throwing one crazy dance party at The Lazy Dog this Saturday, complete with a new killer rhythm section, an explosion of energy, and their “Jive Church” experience (just keep reading and it will all make sense soon young ones). In anticipation for the show, we sat down with the driving force behind the band, Will Baumgartner (vocals/baritone and soprano sax/flute/harmonica) to chat more about TPS and their plans for a 2016 takeover! Keep reading:

So Will, talk to us more about the “Jive Church” concept that TPS and their fans have been raving about since the band’s reformation. We’ve heard good things.

Glad you asked! The Jive Church basically turns our shows into an interaction between Pastor Will B (aka me, The Reverend Ever Ready), the Deacons (band members), Ghana Queen (our female vocalist), and the Congregation (audience) like so: As the pastor/reverend, I ask emphatically, “Can I get a ‘Hell Yeah’ from the Deacons?!”, to which the people onstage reply even more vigorously, “HELL YEAH!” Then, I turn to the audience: “Can I get a ‘Hell Yeah’ from the CONGREGATION?!” This often escalates to urgent calls of “Can I get a ‘F*CK YEAH?!’” And so on… Then, at least once during the show (usually toward the middle and the end), we offer a Funk Baptism, which consists of encouraging members of the Congregation to come to the edge of the stage (or up onto the stage itself), to be sprayed with Funky Holy Water (it’s a lot more sanitary than it sounds) while they writhe and contort in the Holy Spirit of the Funk. Our shows are also spiced up by brief “sermons” from me, Pastor Will/Reverend Ever Ready.

Wow. You literally spray people with Funky Holy Water and they love it?! I’m intrigued and impressed. Are you planning a lot of Funk Baptisms for Saturday’s show at The Lazy Dog? What else are you guys excited about?

Dang, that’s a GOOD QUESTION! In no particular order: Returning to our favorite small club in the homietown; our first show with new member (on trombone and vocals) Thom Holum; our second show with new drummer Curtis Collazo; the great likelihood of having some old friends/local luminaries sit in with the band; periodic stage diving into the arms of our beloved homiefans…

The Pamlico Sound bringing a funkadelic party to any show almost feels like an understatement for the picture my mind is making from all of this…

Yeah- we started out playing rager parties on the Hill to delirious hordes of sweaty wild-eyed lunatics, and that’s still how we approach every show: if you’re not sweaty, wild-eyed and delirious, you’ve mistakenly wandered into another show by a band of impostors. We are here to make you (and ourselves) feel ridiculously happy and free. And aside from the Jive Church shenanigans mentioned above, we always do things like sending the horn players out to wander amidst the crowd and play directly to them, “walk the bar” and so on; we also are known to frequently leap offstage and dance with crowd, and invite audience members to come onstage to sing and  dance with us.

The Pamlico Sound. Photo Credit:   Miles Photography

The Pamlico Sound. Photo Credit: Miles Photography

It sounds like to get the full TPS experience, we’ve got to come to a live show. We can’t wait! Beyond the insanity planned to rock the LD, what’s on deck for The Pamlico Sound in 2016?

We plan to give up sugar and coffee, participate in beauty pageants, and save kittens from trees. After we’ve done all that, we are planning to record all our new songs with Josh Fairman at Scanhope Sound (Josh has recently recorded/produced/mixed/mastered albums by The New Mastersounds, Atomga, and Analog Son, among others.) We’re also in the planning stages for our next Funkstravaganza, which is where we choose our favorite local funk bands and throw a big fat dance party with them at Cervantes’ in Denver. That will probably be happening in March or April. We’re also looking at festivals and regional tours.

Awesome! Anything else you want to tell us before Saturday, Pastor Will B?

Bring us your wired, your floored, your hugging bastards longing to be Flea.

Funk yeah. See you there Beaters.

Join the FB event here.

Watch The Pamlico Sound perform in the Radio1190 Studio here:

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Cold River City: Home for the Holidays

Cold River City. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Cold River City. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

The Fox Theatre gave Boulder an early Christmas present this year: a local lineup, and atop it, Boulder’s own Cold River City. The night started off with Tenth Mountain Division’s improv bluegrass rock and continued with Lula Granji’s grooving electronic instrumentals. Both bands delivered and set the tone for Cold River City’s third return to The Fox stage.

Emma Fields. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Emma Fields. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Arguably one of Boulder’s most successful and talented bands, Cold River City weaves between funk, soul, blues, and rock like they’re crocheting their music together. The six-piece is comprised of Jeremy Baugh (guitar/vocals), Emma Fields (vocals/percussion), Cody Hart (guitar), Brian Hubbert (vocals/guitar), Austin Pacharz (bass), and Andrew Oakley (drums). Almost every member is also involved in other projects- A Shadow of Jaguar, Asalott, Campos, BANDITS, and Groov are just a few. Clearly, this makes Cold River City a band that has its hands deep in the heart of the Boulder music scene.  

Cold River Cody (Hart). Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Cold River Cody (Hart). Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

As it came time for CRC to take the stage, their giant sign flashed and the noise of the crowd swelled. The atmosphere felt like coming home: something familial but with the kind of energy that left the crowd of several hundred buzzing for hours. Cold River played a medley of songs, stringing through their four previous releases and their upcoming album, Thank You. Sorry. Love You.

Jeremy Baugh. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Jeremy Baugh. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Taking the stage at The Fox is an honor for any band, but especially a local one. It comes with great reverence; almost too much. But Cold River City struck the right balance at their show and rightfully so. For as eclectic as their musical collection is, they know exactly who they are. There is a real sense of family on stage; you can see how much they love what they do individually and as a group. And that sort of energy translates to the audience in a very real way. The manner in which Cold River City connects with their audience has a real and comfortable truth to it. At one point in the show, Hubbert told us “Put down your cell phones and let’s be present here in this moment.” And it was an authentic moment. This is a band that wants to connect here, now, and tonight.

Brian Hubbert. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Brian Hubbert. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

And though there were a few sentimental moments like this, one must remember that Cold River City is also the type of rock and roll band who takes full pulls of Jack Daniels onstage between songs. They know how to make your head swing with purpose and how to shake souls with authentic solos. 

Andrew Oakley. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Andrew Oakley. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

The show closed with a highlight: Oakley’s set-ending drum solo followed by Pacharz jumping on Oakley’s kit and presenting Oakley his bass to drum on. The two wildly whipped sounds until the rest of the band joined them for an encore, which ended with Hubbert knocking over Oakley’s kit and slamming down his own guitar.

Austin Pacharz. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Austin Pacharz. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

It was a night full of memorable music and moments that created a hazy morning for many in the Boulder crowd. It was a great party, an early Christmas present, and an incredible night of local music.

Happy Holidays Boulder.

-Zach

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

Sunday's Show at Shine: An Interview with Willy Porter & Dave Tamkin

By: Hannah Oreskovich

We're running press at a Homevibe event, and you should come check it out. 

Hey Beaters. We’ve got a little more for you today than just the good ‘ol Weekend Six. We’re stoked to announce that we’ve partnered with Homevibe Presents for some of their upcoming shows, the first of which is THIS SUNDAY! Here are the deets:

Internationally touring rock musician Willy Porter is coming to town! And Boulder’s very own Dave Tamkin is opening up the evening show. The night will kick off at 7PM, tickets are $20 in advance ($25 at the door), and it’s all going down at Shine.

Willy Porter is going to turn things upside down on Sunday. 

Willy Porter is going to turn things upside down on Sunday. 

This week, we caught up with Willy and Dave to chat about Sunday’s show. Read on:

So guys- first things first- what are you most looking forward to about Sunday’s show?

Willy: Seeing old friends always puts a spark in the show for me. That energy will be there for sure.

Dave: I’ve been working on some new tunes and I’m anxious to try them out in front of an audience that also appreciates Willy’s music.

All smiles with Dave Tamkin.

All smiles with Dave Tamkin.

And you guys have played a show together before, correct?

Dave: I actually opened up for Willy ten or twelve years ago in Chicago. We shared the stage at Lincoln Park Fest. I was young and very star struck. I’d been spinning Dog Eared Dream for eight or nine years already. The excitement was different then- I was more interested in showing [Willy] how much he influenced my guitar playing, and wanted to ask him about his family, his chord structures, and how life worked as a full-time musician.

Fast forward ten years and here I am devoting my life to what I love doing. After a five year break, I’m just starting up again and Willy Porter is still going strong. He’s an inspiration to me as a fantastic player and singer, and as a professional musician that continues to tour and make great albums.

Wow! That’s awesome. Willy- he’s got a point. We know you’ve essentially been on the road touring since your first commercial release in 1990- so tell us- what has it been like traveling as a musician for 25 years?

Willy: The road ‘bug’ hit me as a kid when I traveled throughout the Midwest with my dad. He was racing an Alfa Romeo sports car in those days, and I loved the travel, setting up the car and being a part of the caravan of racing gypsies. I simply couldn’t wait to go out on the weekends. To this day music touring brings the same emotion; it’s a gift.

Very cool. So current projects! Willy- tell us about the creative process behind your latest release Human Kindness. What inspired it, how long did you spend recording it, and who did you work with in-studio?

Willy: I spent about three years off and on writing, producing and mixing Human Kindness. It was a blast to make. I brought in some of my best friends from the road to join my core band including Natalia Zukerman, Martin Barre, the Carpe Diem String Quartet, and guitarist Val McCallum. I just wanted to make a record that was a fun ride from beginning to end. It was produced to peel away like an onion on repeated listens.

Tamkin.

Tamkin.

It definitely has that feel. And Dave, talk to us about your most recent work.

Dave: My last EP Cedar came out at the beginning of 2014. Since then, I have 12 more songs that I’ve written with friends Chris Webb, Josh Queen, and Daphne Willis that I want to record. I’m leaving this Monday to drive out to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to record at Crown Studios with Tim King and Dick Prall. Tim and Dick made a really fantastic album this past year, and if I can capture any essence of that, I’ll have a nice EP of songs co-written by some of my closest friends.

Carmen and Willy. 

Carmen and Willy. 

Awesome- Willy what are your plans for next year?

Currently we’re focussing on my next release slated for 2016- a duo collaboration with fellow singer/songwriter Carmen Nickerson.

Nice. I’m getting the vibe here that working with friends is the key to awesome music-making. And there are sure to be a lot of friends at Sunday’s show. Dave- you’ve played Shine before- what do you most enjoy about playing shows there?

Dave: Shine is an interesting place to play music. I’ve been there for a standing-only show where everyone danced, and I have played to an audience that sat and listened for pins to drop. The audience is there for one reason and that is to take in the show. There is no bar in the back or noise off the street. It’s a perfect listening room where the audience always seems to be on the same page.

Indeed. So jump on that page with us Boulder! Get your tickets for the show here. And check out Homevibe’s FB for event updates here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Hit Up Boulder-in-the-Round's 1st Anniversary Showcase Tonight!

By: Hannah Oreskovich

BITR has been at it for a year and it's time to celebrate. 

Vapor Distillery. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Vapor Distillery. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

On the first Wednesday of every month, you can hear some sweet sounds behind the garage door of Vapor Distillery. And who’s been bringin’ them to yah? Boulder-in-the-Round! And while tonight is the first Wednesday of the month, it also happens to be just a little bit more than that for BITR: It’s their 1st Anniversary Showcase!

We caught up with BITR’s organizers this week to ask them about hitting the one-year mark of their monthly tradition. Said Hunter Stone, “We are both so excited to be celebrating the anniversary show. We’ve had so much support from the community in the past year. We’re thankful to have met and hosted so many great musicians and fostered connections between artists and fans, while helping build a creative culture for songwriting in our community.” Added Theresa Peterson, “I’ve watched [Boulder-in-the-Round] connect people to each other and to local, original music. It’s been awesome to watch that community grow. We can’t wait to celebrate and to see what year two has in store!”

So who’s playing tonight’s anniversary party?

All four acts this evening happen to be Boulder based: folk/pop mountain dulcimer player Eric Elliott, soul/jazz guitarist, pianist, and vocalist Dechen Hawk, rock/blues guitarist and vocalist Hunter Stone, and folk guitarist, vocalist, and one part of Monocle’s Bill Huston.

The style of any Boulder-in-the-Round event is to have four badass musicians lined up on stage who then take turns playing songs. Sometimes they’ll jam together; sometimes they roll solo. Either way, they’re always so talented that you don’t really care what they’re doing- you just wanna listen. Wanting a lil taste of each artist? Lucky for you, we’ve put together a playlist for your eyes and ears here:

Eric Elliott:

Dechen Hawk:

Hunter Stone:

Bill Huston with Monocle:

Go celebrate Boulder’s awesome music community at Boulder-in-the-Round’s 1st Anniversary Showcase tonight! See you there.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Sancho's Boulder Arrow is Starting an Open Mic Night

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Another open mic night to add to your list!

Rooftop views. Photo Credit:   Sancho's Boulder Arrow

Rooftop views. Photo Credit: Sancho's Boulder Arrow

Hey Boulder- remember that time we featured an article on local Open Mic Nights? Well we’d like to throw another one into the mix! Starting tonight, every Monday at Sancho’s Boulder Arrow will be Open Mic Night. Sign-up is at 7PM, the show starts at 730PM, and slots are 15 minutes each. Almost all of the musicians we’ve interviewed have had some experience in local Open Mic Nights- they’re an awesome way to network with other musicians and people who dig music in general. So get out there! Performers get half off all well drinks and draft beers, so that’s incentive enough to have a jammin’ Monday evening.

AND most importantly, your host for tonight’s Open Mic is Boulder’s Silent Bear! We’ll be bringing you a feature on his work soon, so stay tuned.

Silent Bear. Photo Credit:   Joshua Elioseff of Dancer Productions

Silent Bear. Photo Credit: Joshua Elioseff of Dancer Productions

Head to Sancho’s tonight Boulder! Let's get weird. Happy Music Monday!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

I Spent Saturday in a Storage Unit with Bareface & It Was Awesome.

By: Hannah Oreskovich

I spent my Saturday night in a storage unit with Boulder band Bareface and it was awesome.

Driving up, the venue appears to be part warehouse, part storage unit. It’s got a garage, it’s got a front door, and everything else around the unit it is dark and quiet. The location is secret, the vibe is relaxed, and I’m told that the music at this spot is always choice. Where am I? Paradime.

The Paradime Steps.

The Paradime Steps.

Paradime is a local DIY venue that, according to one regular, hosts “primarily punk folk bands and solo artists.” When you enter, there’s an old wooden piano to your left and beyond that, a stage. There’s room for dancing and there’s a small kitchen that’s been crafted from scratch: a counter with bar stool seating, a refrigerator, and a back room with more seating and a cut-out window for show-viewing. On the far wall opposite the door, there are steps that take you to a lofted area, and beneath them is a little hallway with a library and a vinyl collection for anyone to peruse and use. The whole place is also dripping with art: canvases, drawings, scribbles. Paradime is wildly independent and beautiful, a true testament to the DIY community’s talent and passion for this space. But sadly, due to lease issues, Paradime is closing its doors soon.

Bareface Grooving Us On Stage.

Bareface Grooving Us On Stage.

Enter Bareface, who played the final Paradime gig last Saturday. Bareface is a Boulder band composed of Will Parkhill (vocals, guitar, and bass), Robert Collins (also vocals, guitar, bass), Rebecca Oliver (vocals, kazoo), Jean du la Monde (vocals, drums), Lee Garrett (banjo, guitar, lap steel), and Emma Mulholland (violin). Parkhill and Collins met in an alchemy class a couple of years ago, started playing music together, and slowly collected members for what is now the current Bareface lineup.

Dancing with Ghosts. 

Dancing with Ghosts. 

Before the five piece started their set Saturday, a couple of solo performers had played the Paradime stage. Neither were exactly dance-worthy and they had driven a good part of the crowd outside. But the minute Bareface opened their set with a couple of jazzy numbers, everyone wandered inside. And by the time they started into their cool rendition of Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Bluebird,” everyone was dancing and laughing. A girl with blue hair grabbed anyone who wasn’t moving and pulled them onto the floor to groove with her. Soon, the whole place was twirling along to Bareface. It was radical.

Balls to the Wind. 

Balls to the Wind. 

After watching Bareface electrify Paradime with their positive, groovy energy, I wanted to know what this doo-wop lounge-group was up to besides playing amazing DIY spots. Parkhill smiled, “Well, to keep on the DIY theme, we’re actually doing a lot of DIY recording- we’re working in the bedrooms and garages of good friends.” And their plans for release? “Sometime this fall!” shouted Jean du le Monde. Bareface also has an upcoming gig that they’re pretty excited about. “We’re playing the Boulder Outdoor Cinema on August 22nd,” Mullholland laughed, "and it’s for The Princess Bride so we’re dressing up!” Sweet.

Collins Kiling It.

Collins Kiling It.

So Boulder, although you might not have the chance anymore to peep a Paradime show, you should definitely check out Bareface. Listen to them here. And keep up with their upcoming events, including this weekend’s show, here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Conor O'Neill's: The Closest Thing Boulder Has to a Mid-Level Music Venue

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Boulder doesn't have a real mid-level venue and it's a problem.

Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub and Restaurant, or “Conor’s” as it is more affectionately known, is a venue we’ve mentioned before. They have music every night of the week, their open mic night on Tuesdays is notable for hosting up-and-coming artists, and the talented Danny Shafer books the entertainment for the venue.

An Irish Pub is somehow one of Boulder's best music venues. Photo Credit:   Westword  .

An Irish Pub is somehow one of Boulder's best music venues. Photo Credit: Westword.

At first glance, Conor’s looks a little like your average college joint. There’s a big front room with booths and chairs, a bar wraps around the right corner, and the stage is in the back. And let’s be honest, the stage is small. With a lack of mid-level music venues in Boulder, if we’re ranking stages, The Lazy DogThe Biergarten and even The Riverside probably place ahead of Conor’s. Conor’s also stacks all of their floor furniture behind the performing band to make room for a dance floor, which makes it a bit cramped, even for something like a three-piece. And bands have to run their own sound. But Conor’s still holds a special place in Boulder’s music scene, and this is why:

As mentioned, Boulder lacks mid-level music venues. Oh how we crave a Larimer Lounge, a Hi-Dive, or a Cervantes. Alas, we have none (investors, please approach). Boulder bands start in coffee shops or small bars, advance to a place the size of Conor’s, and then go on to play the worshiped Fox or Boulder Theater. This is the Boulder ladder; this is often the standard progression for a band in the Boulder music scene. Thus Conor’s is, in some respects, all that we have to hope for when we pray for a mid-level club. And this makes Conor’s a pretty great stepping stone for local talent.

Local Band Whiskey Autumn at Conor's. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Local Band Whiskey Autumn at Conor's. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Conor’s has a winning combination with Danny Shafer's skilled ear approving shows, a fun atmosphere, and the fact that it is (almost) always really busy. The drinks are decent, the place attracts a lot of college kids + a twenty-something crowd interested in music, and because the stage room has no real seating during shows, people become more engaged with the performers. You have to stand (like you would at a rock club), you have to watch, you want to dance, and usually you do. It’s always a party; it’s always a good time. Even on slower nights, I’ve never walked out of Conor’s wishing I’d gone somewhere else.

Dr. Dog's Secret Show at CO. Photo Credit:   Daily Camera

Dr. Dog's Secret Show at CO. Photo Credit: Daily Camera

Conor’s support and showcase of local music is our best shot of pushing performers into bigger Boulder venues, or into legitimate mid-sized Denver spots. Seriously- go catch a Conor’s show. You are guaranteed a good time, you’re supporting local music, you make it possible for Conor’s to support said local music, and your presence at a Conor’s show is living proof of what Boulder needs: mid-level music venues. So rock club entrepreneurs, where you at?

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

You Can Check Out Shows Nightly at Denver's Larimer Lounge

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Things are bumpin' pretty frequently at The Larimer Lounge.

The Larimer.

The Larimer.

This week, we’ve tried to bring you different local venues where you can catch a show any night of the week. Today, we’re featuring Denver’s Larimer Lounge. The Larimer has an intimate rock-club vibe where you can mosh one night and dance away the next. They book a variety of shows and it’s the type of place that no matter where you stand, you have a great view. It’s a smaller venue, so performances are always electrically energetic. They book both local talent and touring acts, which is one reason we really love them. And they're in a cool Denver neighborhood where other music is happening. So without further ado, here are their headlining acts for the next week:

Friday July 10th - Eternal Summers (9PM)

It’s Friday and it’s summer! So it’s a great night to go catch Virginia-based “noise pop, power rock trio” Eternal Summers. They’ll help you pretend it’s summer (and the weekend) forever with some dancey fun. Not too long ago, they shared the stage with Surfer Blood, who we just featured here. Check out the ES sound here.

Vibes.

Vibes.

Saturday July 11th - K.Flay (9PM)

K.Flay has already played some big name festivals, including Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, and The Governor’s Ball. So catching her in a small setting if you’re into her indie-hip-hip ways would be a super treat. She released her debut album Life as a Dog two years ago and is still riding that wave. Listen to her here.

Sunday July 12th - The Griswalds (9PM)

We’ve been digging on a bunch of Australian artists this summer and The Griswalds have been on our radar. They call their sound “pop-punk, crazy fun psychobilly” and we imagine their live show is as entertaining as this description makes it sound. They’ll bring the party before you’re stuck in another work week. Check them out here.

Party with these Aussies.

Party with these Aussies.

Monday July 13th - The Garden (8PM)

To keep the punk going, Orange County’s The Garden will be at the Larimer Monday. Composed of twin brothers Wyatt and Fletcher Shears, “together the twins are an acidic concoction; unstable, sexy, and probably toxic”. These are the boys your mamma said to stay away from. Listen to them here.

Tuesday July 14th - Jay Brannan (730PM) and late-night Dorsia (10PM)

Here’s what we mean when we say The Larimer books an awesome variety of things. After two nights of punkin’ it, Jay Brannan will be bringing his “sweet and sad folk songs” to the stage. He’s a singer-songwriter you can listen to here. And then following his set, the Larimer is hosting death metal band Dorsia for a late-night deal, who are sure to scare all of Jay Brannan’s crowd away.

SBN.

SBN.

Wednesday July 15th - Sarah Bethe Nelson (9PM)

Nelson is a bartender turned rocker chick from “San Francisco’s close-knit rock and roll community.” She was recently signed to Burger Records (awesome!) and is touring on her recent release Fast-Moving Clouds. Let her kiss you with guitar ballads and listen to her here.

Thursday July 16th - Signs and Signals EP Release Party (8PM)

Local, local, local! That’s what we love! And EP release shows are the best! So roll to the Larimer next Thursday and support Denver band Signs and Signals, an alt-rock band who say their music is “genuine, heartfelt, and all original.” If you can’t make this show, catch them at UMS on July 25th. Or listen to them here.

Space.

Space.

That’s a lot to pick from Boulder! So make the drive and check out the Larimer this week!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

The No Name Bar Has Live Music Almost Every Night

By: Hannah Oreskovich

There are always new tunes behind the big brown door.

Like we mentioned in our Laughing Goat feature yesterday, this week we’re trying to bring you local venues where you can find a performance any night of the week. Today, we want to talk to you about a place with no name. I’ve heard people refer to it as “the brown door” or “the secret bar”. It’s a place of many names and none at all: The No Name Bar.

The Door.

The Door.

The No Name is one of our most favorite of all Boulder hangouts. It’s where musicians go to support and be inspired by other musicians. It’s where you go to sip a great glass of whiskey while chatting with other creatives; or sit in silence enjoying the sounds. It’s atmosphere is unlike anywhere else we’ve been in good ‘ol Boulder. It’s arguably the beating heart of the local music scene.

The No Name Bar has three nights of themed music every week. Mondays are Bluegrass, Tuesdays are Swing, and Wednesdays are Jazz. The Boulder Swing Collective often performs on Tuesdays, Fleedami or a cluster of jazz musicians perform Wednesdays, & Mondays are also a variation of skilled instrumentalists bringing you dancey bluegrass jams. So drop in to check one of these out, or pick a night to religiously attend every week. Either way, you’ll always be impressed by the talent here.

Lovin' dat bass Mangrovers.

Lovin' dat bass Mangrovers.

The rest of the week, various bands play the bar. This Thursday is Mitchel Evan and The Mangrove, a folk-rock-americana trio from Boulder. They promise “tasteful harmonies” and “powerful lyrics.” They’re a band we haven’t had the chance to see live yet, but they definitely sound worth checking out.

Friday is the reunion show of Boulder’s Almond Butters band. The Almond Butters are a supergroup of sorts. Their members are all involved in other projects (Moonwavve, Natural Motives, and Bareface), but perform under aliases for this band. So frontman Jebediah Almond will be on bass, Daryl Almond will be tickling the keys, Leo Garetti will hold down lead guitar, and Jean du le Monde will be on drums. Come to the show to uncover their true identities and listen to them bring “outlaw indie, in-law country” and a seriously good time to the bar. Though their shows are few and far between, they always put on a wildly energetic live performance. We’ll be covering their event on Friday and snapping pics, so come dance with us!

The Butter Boys.

The Butter Boys.

Saturday is still TBA, so we will update this article accordingly once announced.

Sundays rarely have music. However, Matty Schelling of Whiskey Autumn bartends Sundays and a conversation with him is as awesome as any band you would roll in to check out. He’s extremely knowledgeable on all things music (truly it’s astonishing), he books all of The No Name music, and he’ll pour you an awesome IPA to sip on while you talk hip-hop influences. Skip church and pay Matty a Sunday visit.

That’s The No Name for the week! We’re featuring a video launch tomorrow, but Thursday we’ll bring you another Nightly Music Venue Feature. Keep groovin’ Boulder.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

The Laughing Goat Has Live Music Every Night of the Week

By: Hannah Oreskovich

The LG has music happening all the time and you should check it out.

Nightly music. It’s what we live for here at BolderBeat.

So this week, we’re bringing you short, daily features on local venues that boast artist performances every. single. night. First up? The Laughing Goat.

An actual laughing goat. Terrifyingly cute?

An actual laughing goat. Terrifyingly cute?

Located on 17th and Pearl, The Laughing Goat has been a coffeehouse-music-stop under different monikers for decades. Rumor even has it that Nirvana played there once when it was Penny Lane. While we can’t promise you Kurt Cobain (RIP homie), we can promise you that you’ll hear some good tunes over a latte made by our awesome contributor Becky. So head over to the Laughing Goat this week (or any) to catch nightly music musings.

Here’s their schedule for the next few days:

Monday July 6th - Poetry Night (8-11pm)

Get ready for the beat generation kids.

The ‘So, You're a Poet’ reading series by Boulder's 'beat book shop’ has several Kerouac events on its poetry calendar. Poets who have performed in this venerable, decades-old series include the late Allen Ginsberg... The series has always been hosted by poet and Kerouac School alumnus Tom Peters, owner of the Pearl Street landmark ‘beat book shop.’"

That’s pretty cool. Tonight, they’re featuring poets Anne Waldman, Ambrose Bye, Clark Coolidge, Thurston Moore & special guests. Go hear some rhymes.

Tuesday July 7th - Jazz Night (8-11pm)

For their regular Tuesday jazz night, Denver-based The Stephen Brooks Trio will be holding down the house. Preview them here and show up to dance, read, or Facebook in the corner feigning social-ness while listening to good music.

" Welcome to gypsy indie folk as you've never heard it before." -PM

"Welcome to gypsy indie folk as you've never heard it before." -PM

Wednesday July 8th- Jazz Night (8-11pm)

Jazz night round two. Why? Because Boulder and coffee shops in general love jazz. So if you missed your Tuesday dose, slide over and order tea in a little baby teapot because it makes you feel good. And listen to Paper Moonshine, who describe themselves as “still jazzy, with a touch of bluegrass, folk, pop, and even funk.” Check them out here.

Thursday July 9th- Touring Acts (8-11pm)

One thing we love about the LG is that they feature a lot of touring singer/songwriters. That’s how we got in touch with Miles Wide last month. This week, you can check out Adam Hunt’s “lush, orchestrated, expansive” sound followed by Steve Itterly’s ragtime and folk blues. Sounds like a cool combo.

Something tells me you'll fit into Boulder just fine with that North Face Mr. Itterly.

Something tells me you'll fit into Boulder just fine with that North Face Mr. Itterly.

Friday July 10th- Touring Acts (8-11pm)

Start your weekend with traveling musicians, the first of which is the “mellow and moody” Annalise Emerick. Following her is J.W. Teller from Asheville, NC with storytelling lyrics of Southern life. And the final act is Shay Gestal, a violinist and songwriter who is actually beginning her tour from Boulder to Burlington with this show. Lots of cool stranggs.

Saturday July 11th- One Band Night (8-11pm)

WadiRum will hold down the whole set Saturday with songs they describe as “lush harmony, dark, warm bass and cello, and drums that move from subtle to explosive.” They’ve got some rock happening, which is cool. Did we mention you can get a beer at The Laughing Goat?

How can you say no to this lone star? Bob Cheevers.

How can you say no to this lone star? Bob Cheevers.

Sunday July 12th- Singer/Songwriters

Sunday. It seems so far away right now… But you can catch Boulder musician Brandon Hagen there before you start the work week. He’s an indie-folk artist who has been involved in several local projects. And following Brandon is Bob. Bob Cheevers has one of those names you have to say multiple times in a row. Bob Cheevers. Bob Cheevers. Anyway- Bob looks like an old legend who is rumored to be “one cool scarecrow gypsy poet who writes and sings the romantic beautiful truth.” Go see Bob Cheevers.

So there you have it Boulder! Your first venue to catch shows at any night of the week. Stay tuned as we bring you more venues over the next few days. And keep up on all Laughing Goat events here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Keeping It Underground: The Spacement

By: Hannah Oreskovich

DIY feels good.

There are geodes on the tables, tapestries on the walls, and hammocks for seating in the back. There’s a makeshift bar to your left, easels on the right, and Christmas lights illuminate the ‘stage.’ The vibe is relaxed, with a hint of psychedelia. Where are you? The Spacement.

The Spacement is a new music venue to Boulder, and one that you can’t actually find without the whole “know someone who knows someone” thing. It’s invite-only, and if you’re looking to play there, you’d better be good.

Says the owner, “I want this place to be known for good music. I’m not just letting anyone book here. I am hand-picking [the ones] that I think best fit the space.”

Shrowded in mystery: The Spacement. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Shrowded in mystery: The Spacement. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

So who played when I attended? Boulder-based Natural Motives and friends + Asalott. Natural Motives original members Chris Ruiz and Kevin Ritch blended sounds with their newest member, bassist Jeff Vescuso, and guest drummer Gaines Green of Boulder Sound Lab. The guys opened their show with several jammy, jazz-rock numbers. And as the four-piece grooved along, Ruiz sprinkled us with mellow vocals and the boys brought in some reggae undertones for their dancier beats. You wouldn’t know this collective hadn’t played much together; each is so talented instrumentally that together they brought us strong, sleek funk. And as cool as the hammocks were, Natural Motives and friends definitely got the crowd swaying.

Natural Motives in Silhouette. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Natural Motives in Silhouette. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Which brings us to Asalott. I first saw these guys perform at the No Name Bar a few months ago and was instantly intrigued by Forrest Lotterhos’ hammered dulcimer playing. It’s like a piano/harp/mandolin/drum thanggg all in one. It’s awesome. And Lotterhos played it with an energetic ease that was magnetizing to watch. Lotterhos also threw down on the keys, depending on the song. Meanwhile, Cody Hart of Cold River City and Matty Schelling of Whiskey Autumn each brought their own badass beats to the Asalott mix. Hart was atop the cojóne while Schelling built electronic swells on his Roland Octapad and Roland TD6. Together, the trio constructed trancy downtempo pieces that pulled you in and didn’t let go. There was a Middle Eastern vibe to the sound with the dulcimer in the mix, but Schelling also brought us a hip-hop style pulse. It was impossible not to move along with their sound.

Asalott bringing beats. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Asalott bringing beats. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Beyond live performances, the owner of The Spacement told us that they want to record shows “with a radio-quality sound.” They have diamond sound boards scattered throughout the walls of the venue and behind the tapestries, they’ve also insulated the room for recording purposes.

Overall, the underground vibe of this place rocked. And they’re only looking to make the space more creatively cool as time goes on.

Said the owner, “I want people live-painting during shows. I want nightly themed performances: jazz, jamtronica, reggae. I want to track live shows and release them. We’re making something different here.”

Different, secret, psychedelic. I can dig.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

The Meadowlark Bar: Denver's Corner Catacomb Hot Spot

By: Zach Dahmen

I explored the awesome catacomb-like tomb that is The Meadowlark Bar. 

Stoned. Photo Credit:   The Sundance Kid    

Stoned. Photo Credit: The Sundance Kid
 

On a corner in Denver’s Ballpark Neighborhood stands a best kept musical secret: the Meadowlark Bar. I follow the subterranean stares into a stonewalled intimate bar. The local art hanging on the stone and the dim lighting immediately create warmth to the bar, which is deceptively vacant from the outside looking in. The narrow room leads to a small stage bathed in warm light.

WA Bricked. Photo Credit:   Zach Dahmen    

WA Bricked. Photo Credit: Zach Dahmen
 

This night has two of Boulder’s favorite bands taking the stage: Whiskey Autumn and Augustus. I get to the venue early as the bands are setting up for the evening. The horseshoe-shaped bar serves a steady stream of customers coming in for happy hour and lazy conversations. I make my way to the back staircase that leads to an outdoor patio. The open-aired space stands in stark contrast to the catacombs-like bar. I sit in smoky conversation with friends, taking in the Denver evening.

Horseshoe Show. Photo Credit:   Alison Lentz  

Horseshoe Show. Photo Credit: Alison Lentz
 

Augustus starts out the night as the bar fills and crowds towards the stage. Their bluesy set soon captures everyone’s attention. Acoustically, the venue is shallow but the stone walls create a resonating sound that is bold, while the small stage creates intimacy with the performers. The room has an organic feel. You get the vibe that the Meadowlark is a space that has taken shape through those who frequent it. With mounted deer heads adorning two separate walls, this place definitely has a feel all its own.

Local Art. Photo Credit:   Karma Leigh


Local Art. Photo Credit: Karma Leigh

As the night climbs on, Whiskey Autumn begins their set with three-part poppy harmonies, keeping the bar dancing. The crowd wanes as the AM appears, but the energy stays consistent. Things wind down with a couple of encores; some half finished drinks. Walking out bathed in street light, I spy a taco truck outside and think about the next time I’ll be visiting this “true king of a bar in the Queen City of the Plains.”

To learn about upcoming music or happy hour specials, check out the Meadowlark Bar here.

-Zach

Follow Zach on Instagram.

Special thanks to Hillary, for the drinks.

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

The Jamestown Mercantile Is An Awesome Music Mountain Spot

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Jamestown's Merc is not to be missed.

Climbing into the snowy mountains Saturday night, it was hard to tell where the earth ended and the sky began. Everything was covered in a thick white mist. After leaving rainy Boulder behind, fat flakes fell as our altitude increased. On the winding canyon road to Jamestown, we could see where parts of the mountain washed away during the 2013 flood; where a bridge fell. It’s been well over a year since the flood, but the work needed to bring this canyon back to life is evident. Guardrails are missing in what feel like necessary parts of the route and some of the neon orange road signs make me wonder if it’s safe to continue on. But we do. And it’s well worth it.

Jamestown is a tiny mountain community of a few hundred people. The houses dot along the roadway into town and amongst the cliffs above. It’s quiet when we step onto Main Street. It’s snowing pretty hard. The smell of burning firewood covers us and the warm lights of the Jamestown Mercantile Co. Cafe beckon us inside. The Merc, as it’s affectionately known, has a general-store-home-cooked-meal feel from the moment you walk in. The floors and furniture are wooden; the interior is painted red and cream. There is awesome artwork everywhere, lamps with fringe adorn the ceiling, and various low-colored lights lend groovy vibes. In the corner near the big front window, the band sets up to play. Families trickle in and out for the dinner rush; a tasty veggie pesto lasagna special tonight. Children run back and forth between the tables. Everyone knows each other here and I love that about these smaller mountain towns.

the big window beckons. Photo:   Hannah Oreskovich

the big window beckons. Photo: Hannah Oreskovich

Joe behind the bar serves me Julien’s Cliffhouse Kombucha on tap. It’s made in a pink and turquoise house on the cliff across the street and it’s amazing. If every bar had this kombucha on tap, I’d never drink a beer. Sipping in the corner, I notice the fringe-lamp lights dim around 8:00pm and the three-piece band I rode up with begins their set. The acoustics are good- The Merc has a PA and the length of the room allows for a solid sound.

The band starts with a few slow songs and then moves into some dancy, rockin’ beats. One of the locals, Matteo, asks me to dance. I noticed Matteo earlier because during the slow songs, he was stretching and contorting himself into yoga poses on the empty dance floor preparing for what I guess is now our time to bust a move. Soon we’re stomping around on the hardwood floor and collecting other people to dance with us. There are gray-haired couples twirling each other and everyone is smiling and approachable. Local or not, you feel welcomed here.

a local we made friends with. Polaroid:   David Landry

a local we made friends with. Polaroid: David Landry

Back near the bar, I meet regular Pat Brophy and ask him about this place. He tells me bands either fall in love with The Merc or they never come back. There is no in between. He says The Merc is “eclectic” and that the culture of Jamestown, although changed from his first days in the 60s, is still different than anywhere else he’s been. He tells me of afterparties up the hill that dwindle into morning and that there is no better place to stare at the stars than Jamestown.

“But don’t write too much!” he says. “We want to keep this place a bit of a secret. It’s where we have to go around here.”

the merc monkey. Polaroid:   Hannah Oreskovich

the merc monkey. Polaroid: Hannah Oreskovich

As the band's set comes to a close (there’s a 10 o’clock curfew on Saturdays), people wander over to the tip jar before making their way to the door. The crowd here is so appreciative of the groups who make the canyon drive to play and the band seems equally grateful to escape their regular Boulder gigs for a taste of this place.

Eventually, we load the gear up for the descent back into Boulder. Matteo waves goodbye; an older couple smiles holding hands as they walk home. The snow has stopped and the white blanket of mist is gone. I gaze upward. Above the pink cliffhouse, the stars look like banded agates glimmering against the granite backdrop of the clear night sky. It makes me pause and stare.

Pat was right.

Though in its recovery, Jamestown still needs donations and volunteers for flood relief. Please help their lovely community here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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