Brett Randell: Acoustic Soul Folk for the Traveling Soul

By: Dawn Raymond

Denver's Brett Randell is for those who want to be transported to the many places this touring artist has called home.

Brett Randell is a solo artist from New York who gave up a steady 9-5 to wander the world, guitar in hand. First stop: Austin, TX, then a tour around the US and Europe, until finally, his journey took a pause in Denver, CO. Randell has spent the last few years in the Mile High City working on, and performing, his release Rise (2015). This release is Brett's third, lovingly crafted with musicians and engineers from both Denver and Austin. He coins his genre as "acoustic soul folk", which is quite fitting.

Brett Randell.

Brett Randell.

Randell grew up with musical siblings, but planned to focus on drawing and writing as his form of creative expression. But when he bought his first acoustic guitar around the age of 20, everything changed. He got good, and he got good quickly. After only 9 months, Randell was already touring and playing for audiences in places like Milan, Italy. Later that year, he opened for Pete Francis of the famous alternative band, Dispatch.

Randell’s songwriting process allows his music to unfold and evolve. He gives it some time to mellow, rounds it out by playing it in several different ways (solo, with a band, as a duet), and once it's been fully forged and feels solid, it's finished. Several of his songs have traveled the world with him, and his adventures give his music a warm, velvety sound. Brett's vocals are smooth, satisfying, and resonate with the listener. His lyrics are those of a solid soul; heartfelt and genuine.  

Watch Randell’s lyric video for his track “The Waitress”:

Rise consists of five songs. “The Waitress” is reminiscent of artists like Jason Mraz or Ed Sheeran, but I was waiting for some humor to drop (perhaps in the style of Tim Minchin) due to the upbeat mood of the track. It's easy to assume that there is a waitress or two who inspired this one during his travels. “Without You” has a tender, lonely vibe that gets more powerful and compelling as the song goes on, and “Ghost” is pensive, peaceful and of course, “haunting”.

It looks as though Brett is on the move again. You can keep track of him via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and his website.

-Dawn

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited.

Joseph Tonelli's Debut Album "Dust and Snow": A Review of One Sincere Singer/Songwriter

By: Dawn Raymond

Joseph Tonelli's debut record presents more than just his soul.

If Joseph Tonelli's music were a season, I think it would be fall, with its aromatic romance and the slightly sad sense of endings. His music ponders the timeless topics of things like love and loss, and it finds a striking, restful acceptance of the two. Tonelli doesn't specifically write songs about heartbreak, but he does write about the deep-down heart of life, with it's beauty and it's pain. He likes all of his lyrics, and this just exemplifies the consistency of his soul: Joseph Tonelli presents himself in a simple and sincere way, with an honest transparency that sometimes borders on discomfort, but ultimately gives you a sense of his soul.

Boulder's Joseph Tonelli. 

Boulder's Joseph Tonelli. 

In creating his upcoming June 2016 release Dust and Snow, all 7 songs presented themselves to be a part of the album, which suggests that the music travels through him to it's destination. Tonelli recorded the album in his living room, sometimes even with his son sleeping close by, and every track is a sort of hand-crafted work of art.

Some of Joseph's songs have a sort of rustic and lonely feel; the kind of music you listen to in honest, quiet moments of contemplation, but each track is totally relatable for pondering, wandering souls. His lyrics sometimes communicate the thoughts that he can't convey in any other way, with personal themes and messages weaving their way throughout:

"I'll probably end up at some bar down the road,
can't tell if it’s heaven or hell sort of reminds me of both." (June 15, 2009)

"Sometimes I can catch a sight through these cracks in the night
of the man that I once knew that I could be,
he's covered in dust and soot and grime
a deadly sin, a heinous crime
but man i swear he's just one breath away" (Sometimes)

Joseph plans to continue writing, collaborating and performing live after the release of Dust and Snow, and it will be interesting to see what lyrics and melodies present themselves for public consumption for his future projects.

In the meantime, preorder Dust and Snow on vinyl, flashdrive, and CD right here. Stay tuned for upcoming show information by liking JT’s Facebook page, or checking out his website. Want to read more about Joseph Tonelli? Check out our exclusive interview with the Boulder artist here.

-Dawn

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited.

Redline Alchemy: No Genre But a Lot of Fun

Redline Alchemy consists of a trio of brothers, along with two others (Joe, Dan and Nick Ausmus, with Corey Golon and Nate Wilson). They are a group of native Coloradoans and their genre is nonre, because you can't pin 'em down to one; don't even try. They've been gracious enough to cough up enough categories to give a general feel for the landscape of their loudness, so let's put it this way: if you could make a Redline Alchemy sandwich, you might have some mellow acoustic goodness with some zesty metal and warm, melty country nestled between slices of reggae and rock. Frankly, you'd be hard-pressed to come up with something that ISN'T on that sandwich. But one thing these guys always serve up is fun. Who doesn't need some of that?  

Check out Redline Alchemy’s Demo Tracks:

This is a band that likes to push their musical experimentation to the upper limits, hence the name "Redline" being the upper limits on a tachometer, and "Alchemy" being the pseudoscience of making gold from less valuable materials.  

Redline Alchemy is currently hoping to build a strong local following,  write more tunes, and perhaps perform at Red Rocks one day. No plans for complete world domination are currently in the works, which means you can kick back and fearlessly enjoy the show.  

And speaking of show, the gentlemen play this Friday, April 22nd at Riffs Rock and Roll Bar in Wheat Ridge from 9pm to 1am (free/21+ age limit). It’s a celebration for member Dan’s birthday, and the five-piece have some fun things planned for their set. RA are also compiling a mini tour in July, with shows in Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, and Moab.  

Keep up with their shows and more on Facebook, or on their website.

-Dawn

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited.

King Cardinal's Latest Will Have You Feeling Right at Home

By: Dawn Raymond

King Cardinal is a band that's been coined "alt-folk" by some, but Brennan Mackey, founder of the Denver based band, tossed out the word "Americana", and rightly so: It feels like home.

Once A Giant, King Cardinal's most recent release, was recorded mostly live in a living room and was then sent out to be professionally mixed and mastered. This approach lends the project it's earthy, yet polished finish. The addition of the steel guitar to songs like "Into the Wind" and "Gasoline" tops off their sound beautifully, like maple syrup on a short stack. The EP is also lyrically satisfying, with poetic musings and bits of melancholy that give it a soulful feel.

Watch King Cardinal’s music video for “Gasoline”:

King Cardinal is: Brennan Mackey (Vocals, Guitar, Banjo), Scott Roush (Drums), Andrew Porter (Bass),  Ben Waligoske (Pedal Steel) and Texanna Dennie (Vocals).

See the guys live this Saturday 04/16 at the Lost Lake Lounge in Denver and later this month at FOCOMX. Check out their other tour dates here.

-Dawn

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited.

Denver's The Clearwings Are Guaranteed to Folk You Up

Denver's The Clearwings. Photo Credit: Jason Paul Roberts

Denver's The Clearwings. Photo Credit: Jason Paul Roberts

The Clearwings are a Denver based duo guaranteed to "folk you up" with their uncomplicated and unclad musical stylings. The band, consisting of Raven Adams (vocals) and Mark Phillips (vocals and guitar), wandered nameless through a few open mic nights before a moniker was required of them. They settled on naming the band after a moth. This may seem a questionable concept, until you hear the story of when they were in Taos, New Mexico one spring evening and had the surreal experience of seeing dozens of hummingbird moths around them (a.k.a: clearwings) in a field of flowers at sunset. Said Mark of the experience, "It was an amazing and other-worldly moment; these bugs that look like birds on invisible wings in golden light [fluttering around] and all the while [we were] looking up at sacred Taos Mountain." After that blissful eve, the name "The Clearwings" just felt right.

Watch The Clearwings music video for their song “Driving Around”: 

The duo currently consider themselves "alt-folk". The folk flavor comes from the simplicity of vocals and guitar, while the alt-ambiance is reflected in their ability to launch off into alternative rock covers and acoustic electronica dance tunes with ease. The end result is that two convey a lively, authentic presence without a lot of pretense.

The Clearwings are currently finishing up their EP entitled Rocks in My Shoes, which will be released as a seven-inch, lathe-cut record with Meep Records. The release party will be at Syntax Physic Opera in Denver on Saturday, May 14. They will be touring this summer, and are scheduled to appear on the 2016 season of “The White Wall Sessions” in South Dakota.

Listen to The Clearwings Nothing to Say

You can get show information and keep up with this Denver duo through their website and Facebook.

-Dawn

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

Hillary Susz is a Denver Mod Rock Queen Hitting The Boulder Scene... Tonight!

By: Dawn Raymond

Mod Rock: Meet Colorado. 

Hillary Susz is a Denver based mod-rocker originating from Seattle. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Western Washington University and draws her musical influence from a variety of genres: freak folk, ambient pop, psychedelic, jazz, and soul.

Denver's Hillary Susz.

Denver's Hillary Susz.

Perusing Susz is a bit like sampling fine wine. Between her rich and varied vocals, and guitar that ranges from gently melodic to good ol' grunge, you sense some of the influences that round out her sound. Those influences range from Nina Simone to PJ Harvey, but I swear I detected a little essence of Interpol and Johnny Cash as well (go figure).

Susz’s lyrics are hauntingly poetic, as one might expect from an artist with a bachelor's degree in writing. There are too many worthwhile phrases to begin to list here, but if you get the chance to let her lyrics roll around in your mouth, you will find them quite satisfying.  

Hillary has a summer tour in the works to support her upcoming LP release of The Heart Will Jump (With Nowhere to Fall). You can find tour updates on her website, or on her Facebook page.  

Fortunately, you can also find her in person tonight at The No Name Bar at 10PM. It will be a gratifying evening of auditory entertainment for all.

Watch Susz’s official music video for her track “Swat Team”: 

-Dawn

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

*This feature was originally published 03/23/16, but due to a snowstorm, Susz's show (then at Innisfree) was cancelled. As such, we're re-publishing it for her new show, tonight (at The No Name Bar). 

Britt Margit: A Preview of Her EP "Melisma" & More

By: Dawn Raymond

Britt Margit will preview her new EP live this weekend.

Britt Margit is a budding singer/songwriter from Aspen, Colorado. Her interest in music started at 5 years of age, when she wrote her first song. It appears that she's been pursuing music, or perhaps it's been pursuing her, ever since. Her musical influences include Taylor Swift, Florence and the Machine, and Fleetwood Mac, among others, but you can't nail her sound down to any of their genres: She's got a style all her own.  

Britt's sound blends folk and classic rock with a bit of a poppy flavor that is soothing to the soul. If you want to check her artistry out in advance of her EP release Melisma, you can find her at The Laughing Goat this Sunday, March 20th.  For more information on this preview show and the upcoming release of her full-length album, click here.

Listen to Britt's track “Peace And Harmony (In The Bleak Midwinter)”:

-Dawn

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

Listening to Gina Sobel Feels Like a Mid-Summer Celebration

By: Dawn Raymond

Gina Sobel will transport you to summer.

Gina Sobel.

Gina Sobel.

Listening to Gina Sobel and the Mighty Fine feels like a mid-summer celebration- you can almost feel the sun kiss your face. The down-to-earth style and the upbeat tempo of their sound nearly demands that you get on your feet and get your groove on. Gina's winsome vocals are sometimes accented by her flute or saxophone skills, and the band members (David French- vocals/guitar, Ryan Lee- guitar, Simon Evans- bass, Pat Hayes- drums) mesh quite well, with David's vocals being a welcome addition to the mix. There is a serious vibe about the band, but also a light-heartedness that is genuine and welcoming. 

Gina Sobel and the Mighty Fine have made several appearances in Colorado during the month of March, the last of which is tonight at The Pearl Street Pub. If you want to get your summer on this spring, check out their website for other show dates and locations.

And give Gina Sobel and the Mighty Fine a listen for yourself below:

-Dawn

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

Flint Eastwood: Detroit's It Girl Who We Can't Wait to See Live

By: Dawn Raymond

Flint Eastwood won't let anyone or anything break her (except sick beats).

You have to take the punches life throws and transform them into something your mama would be proud of. That's exactly what Jax Anderson, aka Flint Eastwood, did with her six song EP released in November 2015. The song entitled "Find What You're Looking For" was inspired by her biggest fan's final words to Jax before her death. Those words were: "Don't let this break you". That biggest fan? Her mother. In homage to all final words, mothers and biggest fans everywhere, this track deserves some love.  

Flint Eastwood

Flint Eastwood

Listen to “Find What You’re Looking For”:

On a brighter note, the poppy "Glitches" is a catchy, rhythmic total keeper. Much of the rest of the new EP has an upbeat and danceable tempo to boot. Flint Eastwood is slated to swing through the Denver/Boulder region sometime this spring, so shine up your dancing shoes and stay tuned. For a show schedule and more information, check out her Facebook page.

Listen to “Glitches”:

-Dawn

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

CITRA: The BUOYANT Denver Four-Piece & Their Debut EP "Ocean"

By: Dawn Raymond

What's born on Craigslist can be a great thing.

You know how so often your Craigslist encounters go awry? Well here's one that went aright. Not so many moons ago, a fella named Brandon Arndt posted an ad on Craigslist looking for fellow musicians who wanted to work hard and create some high energy entertainment. After assembling some respondents, and with only 2 practices under their collective belt, the chemistry was magically on point: Denver’s CITRA was born.  

CITRA, in a word, is BUOYANT, most notably in their the song entitled "Settle Down". Another fave from their January 2016 debut EP Ocean is the darker feeling "In the Ground", with its militant, drum-beat-driven-guitars and slightly more sunny sounding chorus. Trust me, it works, and these grooves really grow on you.

So who makes up this winning collective? CITRA is: Brandon Arndt (Vocals, Guitar), Augie Menos (Lead Guitar), Dan Naddy (Drums) and Sean Slattery (Bass). The boys play Denver’s Illegal Pete’s on South Broadway tonight at 8PM.

For more show info, humor, and more things CITRA, you can follow them on Facebook or visit their website here.

Listen to CITRA’s EP Ocean:

-Dawn

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

Making a Trip to Hear Denver's The Trip Will Be Well-Worth It:

By: Dawn Raymond

Even if you have to make the drive to Denver to see The Trip, it'll be worth, yes... the trip.  

I was fortunate enough to see the Denver rock’n’roll band play recently and I was pleasantly surprised. They are a band comprised of all the necessary aspects of band-dom: Guitarist (Brian), Bass Player (Michael), Drummer (Zak) and Vocalist (Allison), and together they run a pretty tight show. Drummer Zak coined their style of music "post psychedelic surfer" to which one might add a little "punk".   

Denver's The Trip.

Denver's The Trip.

There were a few songs that totally rose to the top of their set, one of which was "Red-Handed Vixen".  It started out pretty precious, then burst into full-on badassed-ness, with lead singer Allison's growling vocals demanding your complete contemplation. The vibe of this song really defines her style: Sweet but Deadly.  

A little further down the road was a song called "Electric City: Part 2", in which the audience was reprimanded for it's addiction to technology. I didn't care. I got some bitchin' footage with my device, and bore the shame with grace.

The Trip Live. Photo per the author.

The Trip Live. Photo per the author.

Another little ditty, entitled "FYJW" was so shrouded in mystery, I was told to forget it ever happened.  

You might wonder, upon hearing this quartet:  "Do they have a CD out yet?" Fortunately, there's a 10-track, self-titled debut in the works, due out this spring (March 2016).

The Trip just played Denver’s Unveiled Music Festival this past weekend- a three day deal comprised of 15 bands at Jackson’s in Denver. If you missed that show, check out their Facebook page for upcoming gigs.

Watch my video of The Trip performing live here:

-Dawn

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