Campout for the Cause Was the Most Grounding Music Festival I've Ever Been To

By: Mirna Tufekcic

The 10th Anniversary of Campout for the Cause took place the first weekend of June at the beautiful Meadows in Buena Vista, Colorado. Kicking off the high country summer, Campout was a community gathering of yogis, nature, and music lovers alike. Campout’s mission over the years has been to step away from the party so familiar to music festivals and focus more on community, conversation, yoga, and music while contributing to a meaningful cause. Each year the cause changes, but it generally focuses around environmental, humanitarian, and educational topics, and it’s always for a not-for-profit organization.

Acrobatics. Photo Credit: Molly McCormick

Acrobatics. Photo Credit: Molly McCormick

This year, however, the cause was a little closer to home. The proceeds went to a Campout for the Cause partner Michael Welle and his family to help pay for their daughter’s medical expenses. Emery, now two years old, has been fighting embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a pediatric cancer, since she was five months old. For almost two years, Emmy has been undergoing regular chemotherapy treatments at Children's Hospital in Denver. Her prognosis is encouraging, but this tough little ladybug still has a long road to travel before she gets better.  For more information or ways to donate, you can visit Emmy’s Friends.   

That being said, attending Campout for the Cause this past weekend felt really good. Knowing that the money spent at the festival was going to be an honorable cause while enjoying nature, yoga, music, and learning about sustainable living filled my cup for the weekend and was a great way to start the summer days. It also felt really good to relax and be surrounded by families with children, without the pressure of drinking, taking drugs, or partying to fit in. The vibe of the festival was really grounding and quiet, despite the loud music coming from the stage every evening.

Pixie and Party Grass. Photo Credit: Zach Malone

Pixie and Party Grass. Photo Credit: Zach Malone

Speaking of the loud music, the lineup was quite enjoyable. Unfortunately I missed Mandolin Orange on Friday night, but I caught the whole lineup on Saturday evening which featured The Lil’ Smokies, Intuit, Tierro with Bridget Law, Grantful Dead Review (Grant Farm’s very own take on the Grateful Dead), and others. Sunday evening, last of the festival, featured Bonnie Paine of Elephant Revival with Friends, while Grant Farm closed the night.

Workshops during the weekend ranged from building a sustainable lifestyle and self-love to belly dancing and hula hooping. Yoga classes were offered each day with instructors like Gina Caputo teaching on the main stage, “Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga” at the pond of the meadows, and aerial yoga for both adults and kiddos. If you think these sound unappealing, think again. All of them filled up before the afternoon!

Yoga. Photo Credit: Zach Malone.

Yoga. Photo Credit: Zach Malone.

Campout for the Cause is presented by Wondergrass, the same people who put together the annual Winter Wondergrass music festival in Steamboat Springs. So if you like the grassy, rooty, folk feel of a music festival without all the beer and party fuss, come out next year for a real feel-good, wholesome experience at Campout. And give to the cause! See you next year.

-Mirna

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

The Velveteers' Release Party Was Bloody Good Rock'N'Roll

By: Mirna Tufekcic

The Velveteers sold-out the iconic Hi-Dive in Denver last Friday for their self-titled EP release party. An hour after the doors opened, the place was packed with both young and seasoned heavy rock’n’roll fans.

Plastic Daggers. Photo Credit: George L. Bosser

Plastic Daggers. Photo Credit: George L. Bosser

The keen energy in the room was stoked by Denver’s own hard rock/punk band Plastic Daggers, who by the end of their set decided to smash their bass against the stage. Their drummer also brought so much thrill to the performance that he left the stage with bloody hands. There is nothing like blood and broken instruments to start off a good night of music at the Hi-Dive.

Plastic Daggers. Photo Credit: George L. Bosser

Plastic Daggers. Photo Credit: George L. Bosser

During set break, fans were getting excited for the main event of the evening. As sound check started, people eagerly stared at the stage in anticipation for the first riff from The Velveteers to send them off. When you have fans getting this excited for sound check, let’s be real, you must be doing something right.

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: George L. Bosser

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: George L. Bosser

The lights dimmed and The Velveteers walked onstage, accompanied by grave-like organ instrumentation blasting over the speakers. Noah Shomberg and John Demitro hit the first beat on two synced drum sets positioned on opposite sides of the stage as Demi Demitro, the front lady set dead center between them, sent out her signature harsh and heavy, yet elegant strokes of baritone guitar off into the crowd.

Demi Demitro. Photo Credit: George L. Bosser

Demi Demitro. Photo Credit: George L. Bosser

If you haven’t already heard, Demi Demitro is a powerhouse to be reckoned with. Her undeniable talent and presence on stage demands attention and awe as she sings mesmerizing lyrics with enchanted vocals seasoned to put a hex on you. But it’s the song “Just Like The Weather,” the lead single from the band's new self-titled EP, that is ripe with vivacity and momentum to take this band to even higher places than they've already been. Their entire performance was the guitar-scraping-monitors, head-banging blast that the band has come to be known for.

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: George L. Bosser

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: George L. Bosser

The Velveteers’ Hi-Dive show kicked off their release tour, which will take them around the Midwest for the rest of the month. For their upcoming shows, keep up with their Facebook. May the rock’n’roll be with you!

-Mirna

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

This Is Why Every Fruition Show Feels Like Home

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Fruition, a five-piece band from Portland, Oregon, have been playing around Colorado for around ten years, accumulating big love from their fans and innocent first-time observers alike. I proudly consider myself a part of the Fruity Freaks Family, as we Fruition fans like to call ourselves. I have been following Fruition for over eight years now, seeing them play in bars like Oskar Blues in Lyons and at day sets at Ned Fest. They’ve come a long way since then and their newest album, Watching It All Fall Apart, which dropped earlier this month, is a testament to that growth.

Fruition.

Fruition.

For someone like me, who has seen Fruition turn from a green seedling into a blossoming tree, experiencing them rock Denver’s Ogden this past weekend was heartwarming. Their Saturday night performance was nothing short of awesome. The set was filled with music off the new record with soulful songs like “Northern Town” and “I Should Be (On Top Of The World),” rock’n’roll tunes like “I’ll Never Sing Your Name,” “Stuck On You,” “There She Was,” and finally sprinkled throughout were old school Fruition barn-stompers like “Never Again and Boil Over.”  As the band got onstage and the lights turned red and blue, the energy was stoked and by the third song in, the room was electric. People were dancing and singing and catching up with old friends. Taking it all in was a blast.

The thing about a band like Fruition is their family, good-time, sing-and-stomp-along vibe beckons to be experienced on multiple occasions. Going to their shows is like coming back home to catch up with old friends and family and share in the common thread that is their amazing musical talent and performance. And although their latest record is a departure from their grassroots foundation toward an experiment in rock‘n’roll and soul, the essence of Fruition still remains. Any band that plays together and stays together for ten years or more is bound to search and experiment new ways of expressing themselves, and these five members just keep exploring ways to harmonize and express themselves individually and simultaneously cohesively. Morphing into maturity through depth and curiosity, all the while staying grounded and kind, is something that I have always admired about Fruition and why I always believed that they were a powerhouse of musicians worthy of everyone’s attention. After seeing them play this past weekend, my admiration of them is only stronger and my anticipation of their next Colorado visit only higher.   

Check out Fruition at Winter Wondergrass this month, February 24th in Steamboat Springs and later this summer at Red Rocks Amphitheater on August 18th. You can follow them on Facebook for more events and cool videos, like behind the making of their latest album.

-Mirna

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

Dynohunter Evoke The Depth And Expansiveness The EDM Scene Is Craving

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Boulder, Colorado, a city closely associated with bluegrass and jam bands, is also home to thriving EDM musicians. Born out of the Lotus and STS9 jam scene, Boulder’s own Dynohunter is a hybrid of electronic dance music production and live band improvisation. Pulling electronic influences from house, techno, and electronica, while continuing to be influenced by their instrumental funk, jazz, and jam roots; blending electronic influences with live saxophone, drums and bass, Dynohunter evoke the depth and expansiveness the EDM scene is craving.

Dynohunter.

Dynohunter.

The trio has been around since 2010 and they’ve come a long way in their time as a band. Clark Smith has been keeping Dynohunter fresh with sax, keys, and percussion while mixing and producing the music, Fred Reisen adds the essential drooling low bass grooves, and drops a synth note when appropriate, Nic Thornsberry seamlessly kicks the drums and SPD-SX.  Blend these with tasteful original electronic soundscapes peppered with other organic instruments (like a conch shell, for example) and you got yourself an EDM journey deep into the universe (or jungle, or ocean, or insert your own temperature and atmosphere preference here). You are bound to at least bob your head, if you’re not fully compelled to dance.   

Watch Dynohunter’s recent live session at Knew Conscious:

Clark’s sparking creativity stems from his take on the music genre, “I just feel like EDM, Techno, and House music have so much untapped potential and unexplored pockets that intrigue and excite me. With other music genres, it feels like most avenues have already been explored.”

Dynohunter.

Dynohunter.

Early on in their career, the band played alongside the likes of Sunsquabi, Infected Mushroom, Shpongle, The New Deal, Papadosio and more. They’ve toured the country and have performed at music festivals coast to coast including Summercamp, Joshua Tree Music Festival, Sonic Bloom, and Arise. But along with their successes, the band has also dealt with tough loss. In April 2016, the band’s drummer and dear friend Justin Ehmer passed away after a long battle with cancer. Justin was a key member of the band who poured his heart and soul into the project. Since then, Dynohunter has pushed on, healing with time, but keeping Justin’s spirit alive in their music. A picture of his smiling face still stands behind the drums in Dynohunter’s home studio, a place the band has recently been working hard in.

24059004_1959979737351588_3168496137569623013_n.jpg

Dynohunter’s 2015 full length album The Nomad was well received; since then they have released four EPs, with Rattle the Cage being their most recent. Their fifth and upcoming EP titled Tilmun is scheduled for release on December 13th, with the single dropping December 6th, just a couple of days before they headline The Bluebird Theater in Denver.

Dynohunter at   Knew Conscious  .

Dynohunter at Knew Conscious.

Being a musical experience of their own, Dynohunter is well worth seeing live.  If you can catch them this Friday, December 8th at The Bluebird Theater, you’ll be in for a treat with fresh music right out of the studio and onto the stage.

According to Reisen, “[Dynohunter] sure has a way of bringing that experiential aspect of music to life and if you’re coming into it open-minded, you’ll be taken on a journey of higher vibration; an hour and a half experience that leaves you feeling a little bit better and expanded.”  Spoken like a true Boulderite, Fred!

-Mirna

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

Colorado Halloween 2017: Your Guide To All The Best Halloween Shows Happening This Month

By: Mirna Tufekcic

‘Tis the season of witches and warlocks, zombies and monsters, and some kick-ass parties honoring All Hallow’s Eve. If you’re anything like us, you’ve already started gearing up for the most fun weekend of the year- the one that celebrates the weird with music, costumes, and more music. Colorado music lovers, we’re here to tear you apart with choices of all the celebrations taking place around the state for this year’s Halloween weekend.

Boulder

Papadosio.

Papadosio.

Thursday 10/26: The Boulder Theater presents the unmistakeable: The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Colorado’s Elusive Ingredient- Denver’s Rocky Horror Shadowcast will perform along with the film. Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or a virgin to this interactive movie and theatre performance, it’s sure to make a great start to a funky weekend. The key word for this event is interactive.  Expect to touch or be touched.  

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: Halloween weekend at The Boulder Theater will host a two-night “Rave from the Grave” party with Papadosio and friends. Papadosio plans to pay tribute to some of the 90s and early 2000s electronic artists that influenced their path as a band. To pop the cherry of this event, Boulder’s own Dynohunter will take guests on a journey through deep, grounding house tunes, just to lift you up through organic electro peaks and valleys you can rave about all over the dance floor. Saturday night, the party will start with Bass Physics, a one man show put together by Denver’s esteemed Arja Adair guaranteed to provide positive tunes while mixing up acoustic guitar and electronic sounds. Two-day passes are already sold out for this weekend, but click here to buy a one day ticket before they’re all gone. This event is likely to sell out soon.

Sunday 10/29: The Fox Theatre is hosting Sinful Sunday Halloween Party with Midnight North and All Chiefs. This ought to be an upbeat, dancey, bodies-grinding-all-night kind of show as Midnight North brings their soul, country, rock’n’roll, and All Chiefs their indie beeps, boops, and digital sprinkles to make any body groove. The show is free to industry folks; if you’re not one of those get your hands on some tickets here.

Tuesday 10/31: Snakehips make their return to Fox Theatre for Halloween, where we expect to see lots of fun costumes groovin' to their bass drops. Tickets here.

Denver

Marilyn Manson.

Marilyn Manson.

Saturday 10/07: The Mile High City has big things on the agenda throughout October in almost every music venue. The spirit of the season starts with thousands of living dead wannabes at Denver’s Zombie Crawl, and the city will no doubt be bustling with dark spirits from then through the end of October.

Thursday 10/19: Marilyn Manson will bring his tour to the Fillmore Auditorium, as long as he’s healed up from his recent stage injury. While not a Halloween weekend event, it’s close enough, especially since he’s known for having the most disturbing Instagram account around. Enjoy. UPDATE: This show is rescheduled for 01/20/18 - details here

Friday 10/20: The Gasoline Lollipops are bringing you one scary hoedown at Denver's Lost Lake tonight. Hosted by 105.5 The Colorado Sound, Grayson County Burn Band and Whipperpool will join Colorado's favorite alt-country outfit on good 'ol Colfax for an eerie time. 

Friday 10/27: Lost Lake Lounge is throwing their Terrified Halloween party with Modern Suspects, a “popternative trio,” Optycnerd, an electo-indie-pop beats duo that bring the heat to the dance floor, and Vynyl, an electronic hip-hop pop duo. This one’s set for a full house of Denver-based musicians and beat-makers bound to terrify you into dancing the night away.

Friday 10/27: Syntax Physic Opera will host an early event starting at 7PM called Hell Toupee, A Lounge Night in Hell, which is a comedy and variety show. Then starting at 9PM, you can check out Lillian’s album release party.

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: The Oriental Theater will have a weekend packed full of halloween celebrations. Friday night is the Third Annual Monster Ball with Alice in Chains and KISS tribute bands. Need I say more? Saturday night is reserved for a costume contest event called MORTIFIED, an international storytelling event where adults share their most embarrassing and hilarious childhood artifacts in front of total strangers. Dare I say terrifying?

Optycnerd.

Optycnerd.

Saturday 10/28: Bar Standard/Milk Bar will host a Colorado HELLoween Ball with TR/ST. It's the biggest event of the year from promoters Ritual Noize. TR/ST is considered a popular goth/industrial/dark electronic artist and HELLoween is a party for just such fans, so it should be a hell of a time if you’re into that scene. According to Ritual Noize, “HELLoween has always been about mixing club culture, the Halloween tradition and live musical performances with a horror theme attached.” This year the decor will be Psycho-themed; hurray for Hitchcock fans!

Saturday 10/28: Halloween Hootenanny at The Bluebird Theater will feature Denver DJ Wesley Wayne and a costume competition that can score you year passes to some of Denver’s most beloved venues. Click on the Hootenanny link above for details and if you plan to attend, you’d better come in your best costume yet.

Saturday 10/28: Gothic Theatre is throwing Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery party with Deer Tick and special guest Chris Crofton, who will open up the event with, hopefully, a very funny set before things get groovy and ghosts begin to apparate. Deer Tick hails from Providence, Rhode Island with a rebellious take on alternative, folk, rock’n’roll, and country vibes.

Saturday 10/28: Larimer Lounge is hosting their Halloween Edition of Dance Yourself Clean with DJs inspired by the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Grimes, Blood Orange, and more. Shake off the sugar with this one.

Estes Park

14612436_10154010558277423_8409265057604872078_o_1_.jpg

Saturday 10/21: The Shining Ball at the Concert Hall of the famous Stanley Hotel will have yet another yearly Halloween staple with Denver’s beloved Gasoline Lollipops. We imagine the band will truly bring the spirit of Halloween to life, with growls from frontman Clay Rose and howls from the audience over the band’s poignant lyrics and dark, stompy tunes.

Saturday 10/28: The legendary Masquerade Ball at the Stanley Hotel will conclude the Halloween events at the haunted property with live music by Jonny Mogambo backed by a full band.

Fort Collins

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Friday 10/13: Mishawaka Amphitheatre will host a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening all its own with a troupe of actors, games, and trivia. There will also be a costume contest and drink specials. Practice your time warp now.

Friday 10/27: Hodi’s Half Note is getting metal with Skinned, A Flood Foretold, Inficier, and Voracious Souls. Headbang until witching hour.

Greeley

21731399_1707445302601793_8471734089881918703_o.jpg

Friday 10/27: Sweaty soul outfit The Burroughs are headlining Moxi Theatre’s 4th Annual Halloween Extravanganza, and chill wave beach band Slow Caves are opening. No word on if the bands are dressing up yet, but fingers crossed.

Sunday 10/29: The Moxi is also throwing a purely metal Halloween show this weekend with Bash, Skinned, Last Word, Infinited Conscious, and Cyber Zodiac. Go get weird.

Jamestown

The Alcapones.

The Alcapones.

Saturday 10/28: If it’s in your interest to get away from all the debauchery and chaos of city life during Halloween, then the quaint town of James has something for you. They are hosting The Alcapones at the good ‘ol Merc. A ska/reggae band with a mountain flare, The Alcapones will definitely bring the house down and set this mountain roof on fire.    

And finally, for those of you wanting to see and hear live music without all of the Halloween hype, here’s what’s good:

Friday 10/27: Tonight at the Hi-Dive in Denver is Jocko Homo, an event to pay tribute to 90s and 2000s alternative rock bands like Incubus, Weezer, and Modest Mouse, with cover bands honoring all three respectively. Sidenote: Actual Incubus and Weezer play Red Rocks this month.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: Denver’s The Ogden Theatre will host two nights of The Infamous Stringdusters this weekend. Party down.

Saturday 10/28: Red Rocks Amphitheatre will be abuzz with Russ, an American hip-hop singer/songwriter, recording artist, and producer.

Tuesday 10/31: Dream pop four-piece Alvvays  are ringing in actual Halloween night at Denver's Bluebird Theater with Jay Som.

Tuesday 10/31: Denver's own Itchy-O play Summit Music Hall on Halloween, which is fitting for this avant-garde and experimental marching band. The show is sponsored by Meow Wolf, so expect to get weird. 

See you out there somewhere Halloweenies.

-Mirna

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

Have something to add to this list? Let us know here.

Festival Of The Muses Set To Cultivate The Feminine Spirit Through Music, Workshops, & More

By: Mirna Tufekcic

It’s called the Festival of the Muses, but more than just a festival in the general sense of the word, it is an intentional gathering of like-minded people meant to cultivate the creative, feminine spirit through music, skilled workshops, meditation, and oh- soaking in hot springs.  

17951742_757632661073070_8746396716097377451_n.jpg

The idea for such a gathering came to Mackenzie Page, the frontwoman of Gipsy Moon, a couple of years ago. Her and I sat down this summer to talk about her idea as it was coming to fruition.  

After spending a lot of time on the road with her bandmates, predominantly surrounded by men in the van and at music venues across the nation, Mackenzie would longingly meet the occasional female artist in passing, wishing she could keep that energetic field with her longer.  After awhile of witnessing the overtly masculinized music scene, Mackenzie felt how much she missed the feminine energy around her while being on the road. She realized the lack of female artists and the feminine spirit in the music scene. Eventually it became obvious to her that the feminine goddess is missing in many ways from our modern, Western way of life- and that it needed a reawakening. So, about a year and a half ago, she decided to bring the idea of the Festival of the Muses into reality. With the help of a very supportive, active, and visionary community, the event is set to take place this weekend at the Joyful Journey Hot Springs near Crestone, Colorado.  

18237849_766025630233773_7177361872321745934_o.jpg

Spearheaded by three powerful women, Bonnie Paine and Bridget Law of Elephant Revival and Mackenzie herself, Festival of the Muses is welcoming men and women to shift away from patriarchy and a masculinized way of being in the world and experience what it feels like to approach an art form and skill through the feminine lens. The workshops at the festival are intended to awaken creativity within each person and empower the feminine nature of equality and non-competitive aspirations. The workshops range from bookbinding, painting, and tarot readings to meditation and making medicine through movement and herbs. Each is led by skilled men and women who have cultivated their craft over the years through a dedicated practice, and by honoring the divine feminine. The evenings at the fest will fill the air with music by various local artists, including the power trio of Mackenzie, Bonnie, and Bridget. The Joyful Journey Hot Springs spa will have open doors throughout the day to soak in the springs and, depending on your lodging and ticket purchase, even extended hours into the evening.

18156719_765175566985446_1137500442213266500_o.jpg

I would wager a weekend of intentional and powerful immersion with the feminine is likely something most of us need, whether we want to accept it or not. So, if you’re one of those people who reads this and immediately dismisses it as hocus-pocus stuff, then you should definitely attend. And if you’re one of those alternative peeps looking for something less mainstream, less focused on external highs and intoxication and more focused on an intentional and purposeful gathering of beings, then go spend the weekend with these muses to fill your cup.  A happy journey and transformation to you all. It is surely going to be a fulfilling experience.

For more information on the festival, tickets, lodging, and everything you need to know before you attend, click 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.

GoGo Penguin Bring Their Jazz Electronica To Boulder Theater

By: Mirna Tufekcic

It’s always such a rush to find new music and get excited about the prospect of hearing it live. Are you into jazz? If so, you’re in luck! The UK’s GoGo Penguin trio are playing the Boulder Theatre this Wednesday, September 6th.

GoGo Penguin.

GoGo Penguin.

To music lovers and musicians alike: these guys are about to blow your musical brains out. Trippy, jazzy, trip-hop, and classical melodies meshed with modern beats and deep bass jives, concocted into a potion that gently pushes the envelope and makes your ears perk up- that’s GoGo Penguin. Just listening to them on Spotify made the hair on the back of my neck stand tall.  

Check out GoGo Penguin:

If GGP are anywhere as playful live as they are on record, Wednesday’s show is bound to be a sonically bountiful evening for your ears to feast on. Get tickets while you can, folks! Who knows when this talented crew will cross the pond again.

-Mirna

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

Review: Ben Hanna's 'Kick Your Legs Out' Will Make You Do Just That & More

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Boulder’s own Ben Hanna launched his second album, Kick Your Legs Out earlier this month. Much like his first record, We Were All Like Whatever, his sophomore release taps into the apathetic human condition and loneliness of shallow human connections with a post-suburban Americana feel.

Listen to Kick Your Legs Out:

Kick Your Legs Out continues Hanna’s characteristic angsty, satirical lyrics, this time accompanied by a blend of various instruments, from solo guitar strumming under poignant lyrics (“Duct Tape Wallet”) to a full band backing Hanna up in most of the songs on the record. “Outlaws Last Draw” features mandolin, while "Nobody Really Knows Me” sprinkles horns and a pedal steel guitar. And then there are songs like "Growling at the Wall” and "Baby Bumble Bee,” which have a very rock’n’roll vibe.

The album art for  Kick Your Legs Out .

The album art for Kick Your Legs Out.

With thirteen songs on the record, there’s plenty to listen to and ponder. The opening track "No Romance” throws you right into the present dating scene of shallow people, with shallow connections, and shallow expectations (thanks Tindr). “Growling at the Wall” tells of a loner’s experience with anger and loneliness after a broken relationship. My personal favorite on the record is “Duct Tape Wallet” for its simplicity, yet lyrically clever delivery. The song tells a story of a boy trying to win the affections of a rather apathetic girl who cares none for his efforts and gestures of love. But on a more upbeat side of Hanna’s work, the title track "Kick Your Legs Out” will make you literally do just that, while providing you with various anxiety-inducing scenarios which merit kicking your legs out and not giving a f*ck. Be careful with this one, though, it’s catchy and you will definitely find yourself singing it at random after you have a listen!

Ben Hanna.

Ben Hanna.

Kick Your Legs Out is not an album for the faint-hearted. Every song Hanna writes has a message and a story, delivered in his uniquely sarcastic, discomforting way, while still being melodic and musically engaging. So have a listen to it when your ears are truly open, after you’ve used some Qtips.

-Mirna

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

Strings & Wood Bring Live Music To Your Living Room Or Garden And Keep The Indie Spirit Alive

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Keeping the intimate, indie, and low-key spirit of music concerts alive, Strings & Wood is a curated concert series led by Art Heffron, a steadfast lover of music with undying appreciation for singer/songwriters. Over the years, Strings and Wood has featured artists like Ark Life, Covenhoven, Rob Drabkin, and Anthony Ruptak, and in 2015 was voted best concert series by Westword.

Dusk at the Masala Co-Op Show.

Dusk at the Masala Co-Op Show.

Last Tuesday evening, Strings and Wood featured Anna Tivel from Portland, Oregon and Joe Johnson from Manitou Springs, CO at an outdoor garden concert hosted by Boulder’s Masala Co-op, one of the first co-ops in the city and most beloved homes on The Hill. Cosmic Collective, an artist collective in Boulder that seeks to harbor community and creativity for conscious artists, provided the gear and sound for the show. It was a splendid, collaborative affair.  

Anna Tivel.

Anna Tivel.

The garden concert opened up with Joe Johnson’s storytelling of “true stories” like that of Rattlesnake Kate and odes to great boxers like Muhammad Ali. His stories engaged the crowd, who sat on blankets in the green grass as the sun slowly began to sink behind the Flatirons.

Joe Johnson.

Joe Johnson.

As dusk turned to night, Anna Tivel serenaded the crowd. Opening up with a statement, “Living in Portland, Oregon where the sun doesn’t shine very often and people keep their heads down, rarely looking you in the eye, I write one happy song a year,” she played a happy-ish tune before taking us on a journey of beautifully written songs and melodies that had everyone in the crowd quietly attentive and introspective.  

The garden concert closed with Joe and Anna playing a John Prine cover, with the crowd singing along.

The crowd.

The crowd.

It was a lovely evening of music and art. Concert series like Strings and Wood truly have a magical way of bringing a community together where music lovers and musicians alike enjoy and respect each other’s company in art. Among the large venues and high-brow artists that come through Denver and Boulder, it’s refreshing to see a uniquely curated, intimate concert with up and coming artists as they cultivate their art and share it with the most respectful of spectators. Acknowledging these spectators, Anna turned to the crowd in the garden Tuesday night and said, “You guys should teach lessons in listening.”

If you’d like to see the last Strings and Wood concert series before it moves out to Portland, Oregon, you can check out The Backyard Shindig on July 28th and 29th presented by Strings and Wood and Mountain to Sound alongside The UMS in one of the neighborhoods in Denver on Broadway, where the UMS takes over.

-Mirna

All photos per Art Heffron & Skye Hughes. All videos and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat. 

Review: Andy Palmer's 'The Switch' Explores History of American Racism While Remaining Hopeful

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Not too long ago, I wrote about a singer/songwriter showcase at The Walnut Room in Denver and mentioned Andy Palmer. I may or may not have mentioned that he is a beacon of light, radiating positive vibes from his guitar and pure feelings from his vocal cords, and if I hadn’t, I have now. Recently, I had the privilege to listen to his upcoming album The Switch.

Andy Palmer.

Andy Palmer.

My first introduction to Palmer was nothing short of pleasant. Before turning to music full time, Andy was an attorney in New York. After witnessing the weight of the law firsthand, he took an exit and moved to Denver, Colorado where he’s been establishing his musical roots ever since. Even so, much of Palmer’s music and lyrics are influenced by his past experiences as an attorney, making Palmer’s The Switch both provocative and sensitive.

Listen to Palmer’s debut single "Black Moses":

Throughout his new record, Andy addresses America’s convoluted and dark history of racism. The single "Black Moses" honorably nods at humanitarian and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Palmer also talks about the inevitable contradictions of aspiring to help others in this world, while also trying to live one’s own life. Overall, The Switch is smooth with easy listening melodies, uplifting tracks that are easy on the soul, and full of hopeful tones.   

Very recently, Palmer was selected as one of eight finalists nationwide to compete at the NewSong LEAF Festival singer/songwriter competition, proving Palmer’s planting those musical roots with a strong foundation. If you’re curious to hear and see what Andy Palmer is all about, then you’re in luck! His CD Release Show is happening at The Walnut Room this Friday, May 19th. Be sure to snatch a copy of the album and keep up with Andy Palmer on his website. Tickets to his release show are 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.

The Alcapones Are Gangsters of Love On Their New Record 'Mountropolis'

By: Mirna Tufekcic

One time at Boulder’s staple, and sadly now defunct, Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub, I spent an evening dancing the night away with friends to a band that was really keeping the heat going despite the winter weather outside. And that band was The Alcapones.

The Alcapones. 

The Alcapones. 

The Alcapones are gangsters of love, and they’re expressing and sharing that love through some good vibes of reggae and ska with a mountain flare. They call their music folkadelic, an infusion of folk, psychedelics, and jazz/jam sprinkles. In essence, they’re a group of happy, high-vibin’ musicians out to make you dance and have a good time.

The Alcapones recently released their new album, Mountropolis, as an ode to mountain living and moving your body to stay warm. The record features both songs and instrumentals for your listening and dancing pleasure.

Listen to Mountropolis:

So if you’d like to get yourself moving until the music stops, then go ahead and check out this crew at The Fox Theatre this Thursday, May 11th with Amoramora and The Jive Tribe. Tickets here, and more Colorado tour dates on their Facebook.   

-Mirna

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

I Went To A Weed Party & Watched Marco Benevento Rock Out Because Denver

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Some might say that weed and music go together like wind and fire: one sets the other ablaze. Partaking in smoking the herb while enjoying music is by no means something novel; it’s something many music lovers and showgoers know to be a staple of the scene since days of past. And Denver, being the hip, progressive city that it is, has companies and entrepreneurs taking this idea a step further by bringing some class and sophistication to the concept.  

Marco Benevento at Cultivated Synergy.

Marco Benevento at Cultivated Synergy.

Recently, I was invited to a private event at Cultivated Synergy, a co-working space for entrepreneurs in the RiNo district of Denver. Marco Benevento, the psych-jazz guru who BolderBeat just wrote about here, played the party. I met Marco via a Lyft ride in Boulder the weekend he played The Fox Theatre. We got to chatting, and after learning that I write for BolderBeat, he invited me to the event in Denver the following Monday. I agreed I’d come check it out, but I had no idea what I was about to witness.

Binske's Samplings.

Binske's Samplings.

When Monday night rolled around, I showed up at Cultivated Synergy around 8PM. Walking through the door, the first thing that hit me was the sweet aroma of a very familiar scent. The people congregating held joints between their fingers, puffing and passing them along, filling the venue with a smoky, hazy vibe.

The full spread.

The full spread.

As I walked around trying to get oriented as to what it was I just walked into, I came upon a table spread of honey, olive oils, chocolates, and joints. The person behind the table greeted me with a very friendly attitude and proceeded to explain that these foods in front of me were a Binske product, a Colorado-based edibles company with a conscientious ethos and a very artsy character. The friendly gentleman offered a taste of any and all of the products on display, making sure to point out they were not medicated, except for the joints obviously. Smart move on their part keeping the food untreated, or else everyone would have been on the floor drooling before the music even started.

The evening was essentially a Binske tasting party, and since they sponsored Marco Benevento’s tour, he eventually took the stage. Once the music started, people got to dancing and having a great time. Marco Benevento’s band is a trio of bad-asses. As Marco put it, “We use our time for fun!” and that fun radiated from the stage. Marco’s piano skills are sophisticated and playful, Andy Borger on the drums nailed the beat, and Karina Rykman’s bass shredding skills whilst holding a perma-smile on her face kept us grooving.

Another thing that goes with joints? Cake. Duh.

Another thing that goes with joints? Cake. Duh.

After some socializing, I came to learn that the marijuana industry in Denver extends far beyond the dispensary and weed growing business-end you hear about. A space like Cultivated Synergy hosts weed parties, events, and even yoga classes frequently, and is known for doing just that. According to one of the attendees at the party who is himself on a quest to capitalize on the weed industry but wanted to remain anonymous, these kinds of events used to be raided and shut down. But, from the looks of it, after Initiative 300, these days that doesn’t seem to be a problem. So the potential, like the ganj, is growing. If you want to be hip like the cool kids in Denver and you’re 4/20 friendly or curious, then I highly recommend checking out Cultivated Synergy for yourself.

-Mirna

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

Na'an Stop And Their Gnar'V Are Headed To A City Near You On Upcoming Record Release Tour

By: Mirna Tufekcic

“Everyone thinks we’re a food truck. We’re driving through all these beach communities playing shows and people are like, what kind of food do you sell?” laughed Caton Smith, bassist of Boulder’s Na’an Stop, as he playfully acknowledged that their name does in fact have the name of the Indian bread we all love served as a side to our Chicken Masala. It sums them up in a way though- the Na’an Stop fellas are a bunch of goofy, fun-loving musicians out to have a good time as they make their dreams come true.

Na'an Stop. 

Na'an Stop. 

Na’an Stop stands for “never stopping the pursuit of your dreams.” This becomes obvious once you start to know their music. It’s the van that confuses people. Colorful and painted in graffiti, it’s easy to see how passersby would mistake it for a food truck. But Na’an stop will not sell you food from the vehicle they’ve dubbed “Gnar’V.” They may, however, sell you a lifestyle. If, that is, they’re selling anything other than tickets to their shows, which are always a riot of good, positive vibes as reggae and ska music should be.

The legend that is Gnar'V. 

The legend that is Gnar'V. 

The first thing you’ll learn about Na’an Stop is about their aforementioned lifestyle. Personally, I was intrigued and had to dig deeper into what that meant. Lucky for me I got to go to the Na’an Stop lair for aninterview and see NS in their true habitat to talk about their upcoming CD Release Show at The Fox Theater this Wednesday, April 26th.

Na’an Stop started six years ago as five college friends playing at The Lazy Dog and (now defunct) The Goose. One of the first times they played an impactful gig was opening up for Boulder’s West Water Outlaws, a beloved rock outfit from Boulder that fell apart some years back. That show took place at The Fox, and ever since then, the venue on The Hill has been their home. Naturally, it’s the perfect spot for Na’an Stop to make their next moves known.

NS at The Fox.

NS at The Fox.

Released in 2015, their album From the Deep won accolades, climbing to #2 on iTunes Reggae Charts and #5 on the Billboard Reggae Charts. Following that, the weight was on their shoulders to make something cohesive and whole.  

“For our From the Deep album, we had a great sound engineer, but no producer. Nonetheless, I think we did a great job on that one,” said Caton.

It’s the album that opened doors and platforms in the reggae music scene for the group, and though From the Deep is an impressive body of work coming from very young musicians, they knew that they needed to get a bit more professional after the record’s success. So the five-piece put together a Kickstarter Campaign for a new album. They met their goal and went to Virginia to record the self-titled record with producer Danny Kalb at White Star Sound Studios. Kalb has worked with other established reggae bands like The Green, The Movement, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, and Hirie who put out one of the best reggae albums of 2016. He’s also worked with artists like Beck and Ben Harper.

But don’t fret- the Na’an Stop guys are still keeping true to their fun roots, even as they grow their sound. When I walked into the NS crib, the boys were setting up to record a short dance video as a token of appreciation for their fans. That’s when Caton revealed what the Na’an Stop lifestyle means, “Time, practice, and dedication and having fun while doing it. The thing is, we’re all in this world trying to find our way and make a life for ourselves. Each of the members of Na’an Stop are giving their all, putting 100% of ourselves in everything we do, but also not succumbing to the pressures of American society to follow a cookie cutter career and climb ladders. It’s important for people to realize that you can do what you want to do if you actually take yourself seriously, but not too seriously, and have commitment. And we’re committed. We’ve made sacrifices in our lives to make Na’an Stop a priority, and that’s really what it takes to succeed in any career path you take.”

Life on the road. 

Life on the road. 

The “having fun while doing it” part is certainly true for these guys. Their video release for the single “Lazy Susan,” off the upcoming self-titled album, clearly shows the boys having fun. So does the video previously featured by BolderBeat for “Win a Bagel,” the single from From the Deep.  

Watch Na’an Stop’s video for “Lazy Susan”:

I asked Caton what else people can infer from their videos, because they’re pretty silly and have little to nothing to do with the actual song. His response was, “That we like to party. That we’re all friends. That it’s not a hard process for us to have fun on or off camera; on or off stage. We don’t want to follow any trend. We want to show our creativity and put out funny videos that haven’t been seen since The Foo Fighters crushed it.”  

The album art for the self-titled record.

The album art for the self-titled record.

Browsing around, I also noticed Na’an Stop’s upcoming self-titled album features a new logo for the group.

Said Caton, “We want to keep it fresh and show that we’re growing as musicians and artists. Each song that you record, looking back, shows you where you were and where you are now as a musician and as a group. ‘Win a Bagel,’ lacks harmonies in the recordings. It’s something we missed for being so green. But we definitely add them in our live sets now. Our new self-titled album shows how far we’ve come.”

You’ll definitely be able to notice the more refined, matured, and sophisticated rendition of the band with their new record available on all music platforms Wednesday, May 3rd. Hear them for yourself before the record drops as they kick off their spring tour at The Fox this Wednesday before heading west, where the people have “been really good to the band with legitimate fans and venues,” said Caton, “It’s a beautiful thing to watch the rise in our following and dedicated fans as they come out and support us. We’re really looking forward to it.”

Keep up with Na'an Stop here and make sure to wave hello if you see their Gnar'V in a city near you

-Mirna

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

Singer/Songwriter Dave Tamkin Drops New EP of Sophisticated, Easy Listening Tunes

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Dave Tamkin is a Boulder transplant by way of Chicago, and he’s taken the singer/songwriter scene in Colorado by the horns. Whether playing solo shows or rocking out with a full band, Tamkin brings a unique style of rhythmic-acoustic sounds, personal lyrics, and a high-energy percussive backbone. His music is sophisticated easy-listening.  

Give Tamkin’s new single “Hope, Love, Strength” a listen:

Tamkin’s new EP drops tomorrow, with a CD Release Party this Saturday, April 15th at Denver’s The Walnut Room. He’ll be accompanied for the evening by Kevin Mileski, Brian Allison, and Decibel Sound Company. If you haven’t been to The Walnut Room to check out some singer/songwriters, this is a great time to do it, and Tamkin’s set is bound to be a crowd pleaser.

Dave Tamkin. Photo Credit:  Kit Chalborg

Dave Tamkin. Photo Credit: Kit Chalborg

Tamkin has a couple of other Colorado gigs this month in support of his new release. Catch him at Boulder’s Rayback Collective April 22nd. Keep up with Dave on his website; Walnut Room 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.

If The Cold Don't Kill Ya, The Music Will Save Ya: My Winter Wondergrass 2017 Experience

By: Mirna Tufekcic

If you didn’t know, Winter Wondergrass took place in Steamboat Springs this year. I don’t know about you, but I don’t necessarily think, “Oh fun!” when I think of February nights outside on a mountain freezing my ass off just to hear some live music. But I sucked it up and ventured out this year to see what the hype was all about. As it turns out, WWG is absolutely fun and yeah, you are pretty much freezing cold the whole time. But there was a lot of string picking, a lot of banjo bangin’ and mandolin shredding, and a lot of beer and whiskey drinkin’ people having a blast.  

On the first night of the festival, people seemed a bit unsure and disoriented, as though they too were wondering what compelled them to come to an outdoor music festival in the middle of winter with temperatures dropping down to, yeah, just about zero degrees. I eased into it by heading for one of the three heated tents on the festival grounds. Gipsy Moon was scheduled to play at the Soapbox Tent, so I prepared myself for a musical journey around the globe while standing in three layers of clothing. They played two sets, so I stuck around for both and kept warm. For the final stretch of the first night I made my way to the main stage for Leftover Salmon. It was my first time seeing them live and I gotta say these dudes are a lot of fun to watch as they made sure to keep people moving.

I couldn’t feel my fingers after taking a few pictures in the photo pit during their set, so I went looking for heat. Right by the SmartWool Tent, there were a couple of propane fire pits, so I posted myself there, still able to see the main stage. You know what’s really cool about a freezing winter music festival? You’ll make room around the fire for your fellow freezing music lovers, meet their acquaintances, and realize you all probably met somewhere in a past life.

Saturday was freezing. It snowed the entire day and night, making for a very winter wondergrass- I mean wonderland- vibe. I got to the festival in time for happy hour beer tastings and Grant Farm on the main stage. I hung out sippin’ some Oskar Blues watching the main stage from the sidelines when my old friend Taj walked by. We chatted for a bit and he told me to check out The Deer, who were playing at the SoapBox Tent in a few minutes. He manages the band, as it turns out. Desperately wanting to find warmth again, I made my way there. The Deer started to play and I wasn’t disappointed. They call their music “transcendental Texas folk.” They’re from Austin, TX and though their lead vocalist Grace Park could front an indie band with her style, she was sandwiched between a mandolin player, Noah Jeffreys, and an upright bassist, Jesse Dalton, which brought the bigger picture back into focus. And that picture was of course bluegrass.      

Mimi Naja. 

Mimi Naja. 

Fruition played the main stage in the afternoon that day, by which time the snowfall gained momentum, crowding the space with fat snowflakes all around. It made for a cozy Fruition set, and by cozy I mean really cold but magical. My girl Mimi Naja (vocals/mandolin/guitars), greeted us on the mic, “What’s up Colorado! You guys are crazy!” And the band proceeded to rock out with all of us freezing fruity freaks.

After Fruition’s set, it was time to warm up a little. The Lil’ Smokies played a short set at the Soapbox Tent, so I hurried over there. Their mando was loud and clear. The crowd could barely move from all the bodies packed in, but I think everyone was in need of heat. Andy Dunnigan, the band’s main vocalist and dobro player, got the crowd going, and people swayed, heating up the tent even more.

Saturday evening rolled around quickly, and it was time for a short interview with Ben Morrison of The Brothers Comatose. They played two consecutive sets at the Pickin’ Perch Tent and I got to chat with him between them.

“We love to see the crowd get comfortable enough to get down and have a great time. It’s more fun that way,” said Ben, after I acknowledged that The Brothers Comatose are known for putting together sets resembling house shows. He went on, “My brother Alex, who’s the banjo player in our band, and I grew up with our mom and her band rehearsing in our living room. We would sit and watch, enamored at the beautiful harmonies they produced. That’s where we got our inspiration to play.”  

Ben Morrison.

Ben Morrison.

Alex and Ben didn’t really listen to bluegrass until later in life. In fact, they played punk rock when they started a band as teenagers. So what changed?

“It’s easier when you don’t have to carry a huge amp and drums and shit. There’s no room for that,” Ben laughed, and then added more seriously, “But really what I realized was that I liked to play the acoustic guitar anytime I was writing a song. And my parents always said I needed to learn to play a song on an acoustic guitar before playing it on an electric.”

We ended our chat with an update on the band- The Brothers Comatose are releasing a bunch of new videos and a mini documentary on the recent Horseback Tour they did back in September, and they’re working on some new music with yet to be revealed big names in the bluegrass music world.

Fruition.

Fruition.

The rest of my Saturday night involved finding the fire pit, chatting with the friends from another life, and then heading back to the condo for a hot tub session to defrost. Most of my crew, however, went to the late night afterparty shows that featured some of the main acts at the festival. I attended one of those on Sunday night.

Sunday was a bluebird, clear skies, mimosas-all-day kind of day, for me anyway, since I didn’t have a ski pass. I got to the festival right in time for The California Honeydrops, who played the main stage as the sun warmed up everyone’s spirit. It was beautiful and hopeful. Then the sun set and it turned back to freezing cold again. But it was ok because we had music to warm us up. Oh, and whiskey, lots of whiskey. I think next year (if I dare go) I’ll dress up as a St. Bernard and carry a barrel of whiskey around my neck.     

Ungloved hands are risky at WW.

Ungloved hands are risky at WW.

Elephant Revival hit the main stage next. The thing about the elephants is that they’re magical and they’ll suck you right into their fairytale. Their music is so airy and spiritual that you can’t help but stop and listen. The only problem with stopping at an outdoor music festival in freezing temperatures is that you get get- you guessed it- cold. By the end of Elephant Revival’s set, I found myself in the Jamboree Tent with Dead Horses hoarding the heat vent. It was the coldest night yet.

Railroad Earth closed the final evening of Winter Wondergrass on the main stage, but I was too scared of losing my recently warmed body heat to make it out there. Instead, my friends and I rode the gondola to Thunderhead to check out The Infamous Stringdusters’ afterparty. We were met with a warm, crowded room of festive folk. Feet were stomping, music was grassy and people were jolly. It was a great way to end the festival. The final songs of the night at Thunderhead had the Stringdusters playing with Mimi and Jay from Fruition, Andy Dunnigan from Lil’ Smokies and a few others. It was a celebration: we had all made it through yet another wonderful Winter Wondergrass, snow and all.

The author, prior to adding more layers. 

The author, prior to adding more layers. 

PS: Did I mention the festival was sold out this year? Yeah- people seem to really love bluegrass in the winter.  

Get tickets to Winter Wondergrass in Tahoe, which happens March 31st-April 2nd 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.

Bluegrass Outfit Mipso Hit Colorado With Four Shows & A New Record

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Mipso, the modern-day bluegrass band hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, have only been playing music together for five years, yet they’ve made a major splash in the world of indie Americana bluegrass. They’ve become a Colorado touring mainstay; this week they have shows in Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, and Nederland. In other words, people really dig them.

Mipso. Photo Credit: Sasha Israel Photography

Mipso. Photo Credit: Sasha Israel Photography

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Jacob Sharp, the mandolin player and vocalist of the band, so here’s the lowdown on Mipso:

Your last album, 'Old Time Reverie' (2015), climbed to #1 on the Billboard Charts. How do you feel about the amount of success Mipso has been receiving since then?

It feels really natural. We became a band five years ago, after meeting in college at Chapel Hill. We realized our harmonies and music tastes aligned, so we went for it, and it’s worked out really well so far.

Your next album, 'Coming Down the Mountain' (2017), really demonstrates a new direction for Mipso sonically. Although you have roots in bluegrass, drums are incorporated and even electric guitar, along with the traditional string instrumentation you’ve been known for. Where do you guys draw your sonic inspirations from?

We’re a group of musicians with different backgrounds in music, and what we listen to, man, you should hear all the stuff we play on the bus when we’re on the road, but we’re all open-minded and can relate really well as musicians [to different types of music]. I’d say our music is very much influenced by the people around us and the stories and journeys we experience on the road.

Watch Mipso's new video for their cover of "Colorado Girl":

Mipso has so many Colorado gigs lined up for the week, that it’s clear you have a loving Colorado following. Are you excited to be back here?

We love Colorado! The crowds are always super warm and welcoming. People like to chill there and we really like to play there because we know it will be a great time every time.

So what should us Coloradoans expect when we head to a Mipso show this week?

It’s going to be fun, at least I really hope so. I know it will be for us, because Colorado really is one of our favorite places to play. We have a new drummer, and Joseph [Terrell] will play some electric guitar, and I’ll play guitar for the first time [live] too.

Make sure to catch one of Mipso’s upcoming shows this week; Gipsy Moon will share the stage! 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.

Colorado's Gipsy Moon Announce New Record, 'Songs of Olde'

By: Mirna Tufekcic

“When you think of a mandolin, you immediately think bluegrass!” exclaims Mackenzie Page, the lead vocalist and tenor banjo and guitar player of Gipsy Moon, a constellation of five talented musicians hailing from Nederland, Colorado. She finishes her thought, “But when you hear our mandolin player, Silas [Herman], you’ll hear more Latin than South. The way he plays the mandolin is just different, and it really fits the overall sound we make.”

Matt Cantor, Gipsy Moon’s upright bass player joins in, “That’s totally true. When I joined the band, I was stoked to be able to write the kind of music I like and for it to fit right in. I listen to a lot of Eastern European stuff on my own, and I love to write some crazy-sounding minor stuff. That’s what I believe I added to the band.”

Gipsy Moon. Photo Credit: Hearts Alive Creative Media

Gipsy Moon. Photo Credit: Hearts Alive Creative Media

Gipsy Moon are unique and lovely. They definitely have a flavor of their own as they pull from multiple genres: traditional American songs, bluegrass and mountain top music, Eastern European folk, and, of course, gypsy music. In their upcoming album, Songs of Olde (2017), they’ve added in percussion as well, played by Omar Al Tbal. It adds a lot of Middle Eastern flavor to the band’s sound, further enriching their uniqueness and deepening their melodies.

Gipsy Moon’s first album, Sticks and Stones, will take you on a melodic journey, but their upcoming sophomore record, scheduled for release in April, will definitely make you travel across the globe, back in time, and still keep you rooted in the present. For Songs of Olde, the band experimented with dozens of old, traditional songs from around the world, adopting the melodies and lyrics to relate to more modern times. The single off their new album, “Clementine,” has already dropped, and it’s a great example of what they’re doing with these timeless pieces of music.  

Listen to Gipsy Moon’s “Clementine”:

Says Mackenzie, “[Clementine] sounds very different from what you’ve heard before because we [are] adding a lot of ourselves to it. But, even still, you’re able to identify it. The most difficult and the most fun part of making this album for me was re-writing the lyrics to some of the [traditional] songs and figuring out how to fit them into the notes and melody. I never thought I’d utilize my college degree in writing poetry so directly, but this was definitely the test. My father would be so proud!”

The “old traditional,” as these songs are referred to, are rich with allegory and history. These songs have traveled around the world, embedding themselves in culture and taking on the respective culture’s hue.

As Mackenzie says, “What’s interesting to me about these songs, which I noticed after playing them live, is that people from a different country, like Spain or Latvia for example, would come up to me and say, ‘Hey, you just played our traditional song!’ The whole time, I was under the impression they were traditional American songs!”

The polymorphic nature of the old traditional tunes make them ripe for experimentation, and Gipsy Moon tapped into this new well of creation like pros.

Says Matt, “You know, some bands, like The Motet for example, got to find out who they are as a band by playing a lot of covers, which allowed them to figure out what they’re best at. That’s kinda what our upcoming album is about. We’re figuring ourselves out as we go and learning what it is that we do best together. Come to find out, playing old traditional songs is something we’re really good at.”

Adds Mackenzie, “Yeah and I really think this album is the most representative of Gipsy Moon yet. Even though the album is basically all covers, they still very much sound like us. The essence of the songs is there, but we’ve made them our own.”

So, if you want to take a ride on an enchanted journey led by Gipsy Moon, check out one of the shows they’re playing in Colorado this week with bluegrass band Mipso. And stay tuned for Gipsy Moon’s upcoming record, Songs of Olde. We can't wait to hear more tunes like "Clementine."

Get tickets to one of Gipsy Moon’s Colorado gigs this week 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.

Drown Your Sorrows In Hartwick Pines' Sophomore EP 'Melancholia'

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Got the case of a heavy, blue heart? Hartwick Pines’ EP Melancholia is here to help.  

Hartwick Pines.

Hartwick Pines.

Cozy up to some indie, angsty rock by listening to Hartwick Pines’ latest EP Melancholia. It’s four songs sharp enough to rip through that heartache of yours, just enough for you to feel it, because you weren’t feeling it enough already. I don’t know about you, but when I’m sad and broken, this music fills my hollow heart and I crave it.

Listen to Melancholia:

Hartwick Pines, an indie rock duo comprised of Ryan Menghini and Brandon Buttner based in Los Angeles, released the sophomore EP late last year. It’s perfect for a somber day, preferably overcast and rainy. In other words, don’t listen to this when you’re ecstatic, ready to blow with expendable energy. It won’t work.

Purposefully titled Melancholia, this EP takes your hand and leads you to a place of solitude and introspection, conjuring up loneliness and heartache of love past. The ambient undertones and the airy vocals let you feel like you’re floating, giving you a sense of safety to let go and take up space so that you can experience and feel those uncomfortable places within, without getting claustrophobic.

Being an EP, it’s a short, four-song journey, but it leaves a mark nonetheless. Check out the band’s Facebook page to stay tuned on upcoming shows and such.

-Mirna

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

From Death to Dawn Comes 'Resurrection': Catch The Gasoline Lollipops at The Fox Theatre This Valentine's Day

By: Mirna Tufekcic

There’s a reason why a band gains momentum. Sometimes people connect through the language of music, and what comes of it, well, it’s undeniable. That’s kind of the story of Gasoline Lollipops, a band escaping genre confinement as they set every show ablaze with heart-forward, stomping, growling tunes.

Jeb Bows, an exceptional fiddler from the tiny town of Ward, CO, talked about this language of music with me recently, in an interview about his role in the Gas Pops.

“I was four years old when my eye caught a violin posted on the wall of the cabin I was born in.” Jeb told me, taking me back to the start of his music career.

Jeb Bows.

Jeb Bows.

“I learned to play music as someone would learn to speak their native language.” Jeb said, “It’s called the Suzuki Method, invented by Shinichi Suzuki, a Japanese violinist. The premise of the method is listening to sounds and figuring out how to produce the sounds you’re hearing, not unlike a baby learns to speak from watching and mimicking its parents… Music’s been my life path since.”

Jeb plays the fiddle with the Gas Pops, but he also dabbles in other music projects.  

As he says, “I stay really busy, but rarely do I say no,” when it comes to playing with other musicians and singer-songwriters. You’ll see him playing a sold out Red Rocks shows with Gregory Alan Isakov or in a local coffee shop swooning a small crowd with his violin alongside other, lesser known, but no less talented musicians. Bows has a keen ability to sync with anybody he plays with, a gift and a privilege he is very well aware of having.  

The Gasoline Lollipops. 

The Gasoline Lollipops. 

But not all of Jeb’s life was as smooth as the vibrations he creates on that fiddle of his. He spent a chunk of time in Los Angeles walking down a dark, dead-end road and lost himself in the process. He stopped playing music for a while. It took a few years of meandering in the dark for fate to finally come knocking. And she gave him a choice, “What’s it gonna be, Jeb Bows, music or death?”  

Right around the time Jeb was figuring out his way back to sobriety, Clay Rose, the frontman of the Gas Pops was fighting his own demons and self-destructive behavior. Clay grew up in the South, always an outsider bullied by other kids for being different. He was a rebel without a cause, maybe, but he was definitely someone who wanted to make himself stand tall… but not before hitting rock bottom first. As fate would have it, when Jeb moved from L.A. back to Boulder, and Clay moved to Boulder from Nashville, Clay started the Gas Pops and Jeb joined very shortly afterward, the two having met through a mutual friend.

Clay Rose (left) and Brad Morse of Gasoline Lollipops.

Clay Rose (left) and Brad Morse of Gasoline Lollipops.

When I asked Clay about his inspiration for Gas Pops he told me, “If you put a tin can over my chest and listen you would hear this… The [Gas Pops] songs are extremely personal. It’s where I come to play, to confess, for redemption, and where I flog myself.”   

Music for Clay is a way of coping with feelings that have no place in this world; it’s what saved him and gave him a purpose. Though his start in the language of music was admittedly a little different. One of his earliest musical influences was a random cassette tape he found in his mother’s closet with Leonard Cohen on one side, and Tim Buckley on the other.

“That’s when I started writing poetry, because I realized Cohen was writing about things I didn’t know you could talk about. I didn’t know there was language for it. He validated that these things exist and that they can be expressed.”

Clay went on, “There’s a lot of songs I write that I won't play for anyone for months, because I think, man, I can’t be that transparent. But, eventually, I’ll present it to the band and they’ll urge me to play it at our shows. So, I’ll play it and cringe for months.Then the people from the crowd will come up to me and affirm that that song means alot to them, and I start to feel better about it. And that’s when I remember the reason I’m doing this in the first place. My function, my validation as a musician, is to validate the lonely and suffering.”

And Jeb’s musical mission isn’t far from Clay’s.

“I’ve dedicated my life to sharing in the light and love and connecting with everyone who wants to play and listen, because, in the end, we’re all better for it.” Bows smiled.

The truth is, if you get the Gas Pops in a room, the whole crowd will undoubtedly perk their ears and pay attention. The band taps into something others can relate to, whether through the language of hardship or love, and they prove time and again that their music is something to get down and dance to no matter your life experiences.

Gasoline Lollipops’ music has been called alt country, gypsy folk, and punk rock among others. Even the guys themselves can’t quite tell you what genre they sound like. But really, who cares? If we can connect through the language of music itself without having to confine it to genre, then I think times are ripe with progress. These days you’re a good musician if you can pluck from the tree of knowledge and make it into something totally your own. Sometimes it takes a group of people to create a special work of art, and sometimes trials and tribulations to show you the way. That’s the Gas Pops.  

16300081_1201932179876177_5767260207913162127_o.png

The Gasoline Lollipops just finished their new album Resurrection, the final piece of their Lucky 7 Trilogy, and are celebrating this Valentine’s Day with a CD Release Party at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado. Foxfeather and Kid Reverie will share the stage. Explore the Gas Pops’ language of music for yourself on a night where we could all use light and love- get your 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.

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.