You 'Gotta Get Back' to Denver's Walnut Room Tonight with Seth Walker

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Seth Walker is playing at The Walnut Room in Denver tonight, Friday, January 20th. He’s a singer/songwriter who has been writing songs and creating albums since childhood. His Spotify profile goes back to 2007, but he’s been steeped in the culture of music since birth. In fact, he may just have genetically inherited his talents from the generations of musicians he comes from: his grandfather was a professional band and choir director, and both of his parents, who collaborated with him on his latest album Gotta Get Back, are professional musicians who have helped shape Walker’s musical inclinations, aspirations, and talent. But genetics aside, it’s clear that Walker’s been putting time and work into his artistry for years.

You’ll be quick to realize the talent and professionalism that envelops each song in Walker’s new album once you have a listen. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that it takes a village to create a whole, cohesive sound. Beside his parents, Walker brought his sister into the mix, making it truly a family affair. And to further the family theme, Jano Rix of The Wood Brothers produced the album, and member Oliver Wood collaborated on some of the songs too. The “keeping it in the family” is a sizzling thing with musicians these days and Walker’s got his finger all over it.  

Check out Walker's Gotta Get Back:

As for genre, which can be a difficult thing to pin down sometimes, Seth Walker makes it even harder to confine. Gotta Get Back is certainly an eclectic mix of jazz, country, soul, funk, blues, and classic gospel. All of these flavors come through on the album and they’re a direct reflection of Walker’s experiences from living in places like North Carolina (where he was raised in a commune) to Austin, Texas, to New Orleans, and finally to his current place of residence in Nashville, Tennessee.  

So, if you want to feast your ears on a spread of good tunes, and you know they’ll be played to a T considering Walker’s history and experience with music, come out tonight! Besides, if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get  to experience the community vibes that Walker used to create his latest record and even see some of the other musicians who collaborated on Gotta Get Back right next to Walker onstage.

See you there! Peep the Facebook event; tickets here.

-Mirna

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

A Light in the Darkness: An Interview With Wesley Watkins of Other Black

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Wesley Watkins is a powerhouse. To have a frontman with so much momentum will inherently draw attention to a band as a whole. But Watkins is just one member of an assortment of artistry that demand its presence on stage: what started with nine musicians back in 2012 has fluxed in members since then, but at times has been as many as 24. Meet the Other Black.


All photos per George L. Bosser.


I had the pleasure of seeing Other Black perform at Syntax Physic Opera in Denver recently and interviewed Watkins post-show. The small stage of the venue was crowded with somewhere between 12-16 artists throughout the set who played three hours of original tunes and featured several local artists whose voices carry a worthy message.

“When I thought about getting features for this show, I asked people who are gonna say something everyone needs to hear. If you’ve not experienced injustice, it’s my job as an artist to bring awareness to the fact that this injustice is around. And I want to encourage those who are strong enough to speak up to continue doing so.” Watkins told me.

Watkins and Heffernan.

Watkins and Heffernan.

Kalyn Heffernan from Wheelchair Sports Camp and Stephen “Brer Rabbit” from Flobots, both of whom have been through a lot of injustice in their lives, each made appearances within the crowd at Other Black's Syntax show to speak about current events in the world with fellow audience members.

Wesley Watkins.

Wesley Watkins.

My conversation with Wesley very quickly took a political, bigger-picture kind of turn. I want to believe it was because our heartstrings tuned in as two agents of change trying to shine light on darkness and bring awareness where awareness is so desperately needed during these hard times.

He went on, “As musicians, especially those staying true to what they sound like, [we] have a responsibly to talk about what is happening in our modern world. We have to be careful of what we put out there- this world can’t take any more bullsh*t. And as a musician myself, I want to encourage other musicians out there to stay true to themselves and not try to be a part of a product.”

I agreed with him wholeheartedly. We, as a people, definitely need inspiration and positive, good-hearted individuals to wield social and cultural sentiment, which music and art (and free press!) is ripe with the power to do.  

Watkins with Other Black.

Watkins with Other Black.

So, where does Other Black fall in this spectrum of empowering agency and bringing awareness?

The Other Black is a music project created out of love for hip-hop, jazz, soul, and gospel music, all of which are genres born out of slavery and life struggles experienced by the oppressed, specifically the black population of the US.   

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth. It’s what I grew up with and what I wanted to tap into with this band.” Watkins said. “Most of the songs Other Black plays today, I wrote when I was homeless and on the streets back in 2009. And I want people to know that it was by no fault of mine that I ended up homeless.”

Wesley has been in several different bands including Air Dubai, Petals of Spain, and most recently, he toured with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. But he realized that having his own project was what he needed to do to fulfill his purpose as an artist.  

“By the time 2012 rolled around, I was just getting out of being homeless and had been in several different bands with some of my closest friends. But I kept quitting bands. That’s when a close friend of mine brought it to my attention that I needed to start my own. I started Other Black because of my love for soul and hip-hop.”

But when Wesley talks about soul and funk music, he is talking about the “old-school sh*t” like Sly Stone and Sam Cooke, whose music shed light on the daily struggles of black people in America, and 90s hip-hop, which gave a powerful voice to the still oppressed and marginalized black Americans.  

“We have a system that’s really bias. So what you see from black powerful figures in our media today is so bias and it’s perpetuating a stereotype. To have today’s hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar speak the hard truth they don’t want to hear, but need to, is important and it’s empowering the people. At the very least, what I can do with my music is bring awareness to what is unjust in the world.”  

When I started the interview with Wesley, I wanted to know what Other Black implies in its name. I forgot to ask, but now I’m left with only room for interpretation, which is a good thing. What I infer after talking to Wesley and seeing Other Black on stage at Syntax is that the Other Black is a light amidst the darkness. It’s the mold breaking the stereotype. It’s an attempt at bringing awareness through music by making people get down.

“I want to encourage people to experience themselves, because if people can experience themselves to the core of their being and be comfortable with that, then all of a sudden we have people who are comfortable with how other people are starting to experience them.” Watkins told me.

If you want to find out what Other Black means to you, you can. They will be rockin’ in the New Year with The Yawpers at The Oriental Theater on December 31st for New Year’s Eve. You can check out their Facebook page for more information, and to hear their music, click here. Be on the lookout for the Other Black’s first album too, which is still in the works and will feature 14 songs which more than likely will encourage you to experience yourself. And that’s powerful.

-Mirna

All photos per George L. Bosser. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 08/26, 08/27, & 08/28

By: Hannah Oreskovich

TGIF yo. Here’s The Six:

Today (Friday 08/26):

RiNo Music Festival at RiNo Neighborhood in Denver 430PM-Close

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Channel 93.3, Westword, and Twist and Shout are throwing a festival bash for you today in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood, and it’s just in time for happy hour. The music lineup includes Silversun Pickups, St. Lucia, 888, Bishop Briggs, and A Silent Film. Tickets are $40 for the whole shebang, and you can nab ‘em here. Festi while you can, folks.

Watch 888’s official music video for their song “Critical Mistakes”:

Local Songwriter Showcase at Club 156 in Boulder 7PM-9PM

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CU’s Program Council is putting on a cool event tonight at Club 156 that features several local talented singer/songwriters, including Cameron Bailey, Jobi, Jarocki, Ethan Cohen, Nate Harvey, and Sophie Kloor. The event is free and open to the public, so whether you’re new to CU and wanting to learn more about the music scene, or a longtime Boulder resident wanting to check out some new tunes, get to this show! 

Listen to Sophie Kloor’s demo for her song “Losing Myself”:

Kutandara Kombi at The Laughing Goat in Boulder 8PM-Close

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Boulder’s Kutandara is a world music group, fusing “African music traditions with indie-pop, rock, jazz, gospel, [and] classical” sounds. And tonight, they’ve got a gig at Boulder’s LG that is sure to make your spirits dance. Kutandara are well known for their eclectic sets, playing every show with the intent of “exchanging energy of music and movement with our audiences”. Sounds like a rad time- and it’s free! Head on down.

Sample some Kutandara tracks here.

Tomorrow (Saturday 08/27):

Eros and the Eschaton Album Release Show at Larimer Lounge in Denver 8PM-Close

Colorado Springs’ Eros and the Eschaton dropped their sophomore album Weight of Matter recently, and we have been diggin’ on it. Major. Read more about it in our review of the album, and celebrate with the band tomorrow at their Larimer show. Denver’s I Sank Molly Brown and Maybe Baby & The Bitch Boys are joining the party, and OpenAir CPR is putting on the show. Tickets are only $10 in advance. Get ‘em now, and while you’re at it, get Weight of Matter. Your ears will thank you.

Listen to Eros and the Eschaton’s single “Rxx”:

Mayhem Gulch at Conor O’Neill’s in Boulder 10PM-Close

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If you’re looking for a solid bluegrass show for the weekend, look no further Colorado! Boulder’s own bluegrass/newgrass five-piece Mayhem Gulch will be strummin’ at Conor’s tomorrow night. The group describe themselves as “a whiskey-fueled campfire jam”, which sounds pretty perfect for a summer Saturday. So get to it!

Listen to Mayhem Gulch’s “Run for the Hills”:

The Next Day (Sunday 08/28):

Magpie, Ethan Griggs + Sonder Ensemble, & Chloe Tang at Lost Lake Lounge in Denver 8PM-Close

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Back in March, we featured Denver’s soulful folk outfit Magpie. The “orchestral folk rock” project, led by Zach Dunn, is playing The Lost Lake this Sunday, headlining a bill that features Ethan Griggs + Sonder Ensemble and Chloe Tang. The show starts at 8PM and is only $8, so ease into the week with a good drink and the sweet sounds of these Denver acts. More info here.

Watch Magpie’s live performance video of their tune “Trembling”:

See you at a show CO! Xoxox

-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.

Denver's Soulful Folk Outfit Magpie Hit The Fox Stage Tonight with Satsang & headliner Zach Deputy

By: Zach Dahmen

Get to The Fox tonight for a lineup that has a major mix of sounds.

Denver’s’s soulful folk outfit Magpie is opening tonight’s Fox Theatre show, which features reggae/folk/hip-hop four-piece Satsang and headliner “gospel/soul ninja” Zach Deputy.

Magpie is a three piece whose sound has an heir of the late 00’s folk surge. Lead by Zach Dunn’s wavering vocals and sparse guitar, the band drifts through each song like they are finding their way with each note. Filling out the lineup is Liz Becker on backing vocals and fiddle player Luke Sivertson. Their full length album Good Friends is a full orchestral production, ranging from the expansive eight minute long rambler ‘“Raindance of the Hunter Gatherer” to the brief and breezy “Le Porch”.

“Trembling”, the lead single of the album, gives the best perspective on their sound as a whole; at times experimental but also hitting heavy on repetitive lyrics, which build to a foot-stomping good time. It’s one of the many moments where the band’s sound is reminiscent of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, while other songs, such as “Big Sur Drive”, take cues from Conor Oberst with ghostly vocals and simple arrangements.

Magpie make their return to Boulder tonight. Doors are at 830PM, show starts at 9PM, and tickets are only $15. Check out this great local opener and get your tickets here.

Watch Magpie’s video for “Trembling”:

Connect with Magpie on Facebook to keep up with their live performance schedule and other news.

-Zach

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