Iolite's Fierce Start In The Denver Music Scene

By: Sierra Voss

2016 was a huge breakout year for Denver’s music scene. Nationally recognized artists with local roots including Nathaniel Rateliff and Trevor Rich have been doing their part to put the city on the music map. Will 2017 bring Colorado another local breakout artist?

Meet Iolite (Elina), born and raised in Arvada, Colorado. Iolite hails from a family of musicians who immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1996, and at only 17 years of age, this pop artist is already making a name for herself in Denver. In 2016, Iolite independently released her first single “Spinning.” She garnered some definite buzz for the track and placed in the top three finalists for Channel 93.3’s "Hometown for the Holidays" event this past December.

Iolite.

Iolite.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Iolite about her musical journey, and I came to learn it has been far from the the norm:

So when did you start writing your own music?

I started writing when I was about ten or eleven years old. Ever since then, I knew [music] was what I wanted to do. I was in a program called Two Roads, where you go twice a week [to their classroom] and the rest [of the program] you’re homeschooled. I graduated early mainly because I wanted to focus on my music and spend a lot of time writing.

Tell me more about your name Iolite- what does it mean?

Iolite is a gem stone. It was pretty random how I came up with it. I literally sat on Google and randomly generated words until I found one I loved. It just seemed to fit.

Take us inside your writing process.

My process is always developing. I think of a melody first and record it as a voice memo on my phone, then I sit down at a piano and really build it out. After that, I bring it into a studio and work with a producer to create the full track. It’s always a bit of a different process for each song, and I collaborate with a bunch of different producers. It’s an open, collaborative process.

What does an average day look like for you?

My normal day is waking up, doing some online college courses, and then I start writing. I always spend time every day playing classical piano too. My day is mainly based around my music.

We know your family is musical too. Tell us more about that.

My parents are both musical. My dad had thirteen brothers and sisters; all of them were very musical. I am one of six kids, am the second youngest, and am the only girl. My three older brothers had a band called Everfound growing up and a lot of my childhood was traveling with them on tour across the US. My family have been a huge inspiration for me and still are. It’s really awesome when you get to pursue something you love with the people you love, so it has been a blessing to have brothers interested in the same thing. One of my brothers is now a producer in Nashville, and is actually one of the main producers I work with currently. I’m sure once I go on tour, my brothers will come with me whether they are my band or are just holding the tour together.

What's your dream venue to play?

Red Rocks is definitely my dream venue.

What does 2017 look like for you musically?

I just started releasing music in 2016, so I will just keep writing and putting out a lot of music this year. I hope to play some shows throughout 2017 as well.

Keep an eye out for new music from Iolite on her Soundcloud, and in the meantime, take a listen to her latest single “Bloodstream” below:

-Sierra

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

Magpie & Dear Rabbit Tell Us Stories Of Life On The Road + Play Lost Lake This Tuesday

Zach Dunn of Denver's Magpie.

Zach Dunn of Denver's Magpie.

This Tuesday, January 3rd, Denver’s Lost Lake will be hosting two of Colorado’s road-worn artists: Zach Dunn of Magpie and Rence Liam of Dear Rabbit. Both call the state home, but both seldom play shows around the good ‘ol C.O. because of busy tour schedules. Dunn, who started playing in the mountains of Telluride followed by a stint in Denver, actually resides now in Moab, UT. He plays with various musicians around the country, bringing them together for shows under the Magpie moniker. And Liam, who has traveled solo (as R E N C E) and with a band (as Dear Rabbit), can occasionally be found in Colorado Springs when he isn’t on the road. Their Lost Lake gig next Tuesday is only $5 in advance, and together they’re ready to warm you up from any post-holiday blues! Grab tickets while you can, and in the meantime, learn how they got their start in the music world, and check out some of their crazy tour shenanigans:

How did you start touring?

Dunn: Myself and longtime Magpie fiddle player Luke Sivertson were living in this little back alley house in the Denver Five Points area. We were both pedi-cabbing, playing our first local shows, and sleeping on a bunk bed. We got kicked out of the house in the middle of the winter. I was pretty upset at the time because I had worked so hard to find some stability in the city. However, it was just the kick in the ass we needed to try out touring life and the two of us booked our first run out in the southeast where the weather was more kind.

Liam: It pretty much just fell into place. The story begins before I even wrote a single song of my own. I was playing bass, backing up my buddy Net Hua for various songs that he wrote and sang. One day, he felt the need to leave town, but he encouraged me to continue pursuing music on my own. He was the one who let me know that he believed in me even though he hadn't heard my [own solo] songs. Various places around Colorado were still asking for our band to play at shows, and I just confirmed under our newer moniker without telling them the full story. I initially had to "cover" Net Hua's songs while I was starting out. It was during this time that I was still learning how to sing, and I also was learning how to write my own songs. Eventually I came up with enough material of my own. About six months or so after my solo musical endeavors began, David Strackany (who performed under the moniker of Paleo at the time), reached out to me for a show at an art gallery.  I had been wanting to tour some, but David inspired me even further. In fact, a year or so later, he helped me book my first tour!

Rence Liam of Dear Rabbit.

Rence Liam of Dear Rabbit.

What's the most bizarre show you have played?

Dunn: I have played quite a few. Lately, it seems like we are all meeting up for just one big show in nobody's hometown which makes it hard to find a place to practice. We will find a secluded park or cemetery or bridge where we hope nobody is so we can work on the set without being interrupted. Always, a small crowd will show up out of the woodworks and we just end up playing an impromptu show for the random audience and forget about the whole practice thing. But probably the most bizarre was one time when somebody hired me to write a birthday song for their friend in Boulder. I barely knew her. I rang the doorbell singing telegram style, and sang this cheesy birthday song I made up. She loved it. I think.    

Liam: Many shows have been bizarre, but one that comes to mind is when we performed in a trench by the L.A. River. I had just finished writing "Don't Let South Dakota Spiders Eat You," so I recorded it for my own personal criticism for further improvement. But I liked the way my voice carried underneath that bridge so much that I posted the recording to SoundCloud (along with a completely different, plugged in version performed in Phoenix).

Magpie.

Magpie.

What's the craziest place you have slept?

Dunn: The van was always great ‘cause you could sleep comfortably anywhere; in the countryside or on most any city street. Pre-van days are a different story. One time, three of us were traveling in this tiny car that barely had enough room for our gear. We had a day off and wanted to check out the Grand Coulee Dam up in Washington. We pitched a tent right above it.  There were all these spooky owls flying around. The clouds started to build and we were really in for it. It poured so hard that it drowned our tent. We ran for the campground bathrooms and found a ratty, longhaired terrier dog crying by the entrance. Someone had abandoned it and it had this disgusting eyeball that was protruding out of its socket. We were actually kind of afraid of it. We ended up bringing it into the bathroom with us and we all slept on the floor that night. We didn't know what to do with the dog ‘cause we had shows coming up. Luckily, the very next day we found a lady to take in the pup. She named it Magpie.

Liam: I will admit that some sleep options can seem sketchy at times. I am really thankful for my strong network of friends, throughout the states and in Canada, who are usually able to find me better options when I run into those situations. But during one of my touring gaps, I was looking for a free campsite, and I wound up in the vicinity of this northeastern Montana town called Fort Peck. The town seemed weird to me, as it had no gas station and no grocery store; yet it had a coffee shop, a tourist center for the dam, and a fully functioning theatre amongst a couple or so other sparse attractions. I arrived in town too late for the theatre performance, but I really wanted to grab a drink there, and I had just two options. One was this cowboy-type of bar that reminded me of Texas Roadhouse or something. The other was the lounge area of an older hotel; it had this Twin Peaks vibe. Obviously, I chose to enjoy my glass of beer at the hotel lounge, but I still camped out, and the summer heat and wind were not to my liking!

Rence Liam.

Rence Liam.

What do you like about each others' live set?

Dunn: I remember the first few times [I watched Rence] he had this old plastic classical guitar plugged into a really tiny distorted amp and was kinda yelling. It was really jarring at first sight. Then I started to watch and listen, and I saw him expressing himself truly, which is rare these days. I laughed and I cried. I realized he doesn't really care much about what anyone else thinks.  I've seen him progress tremendously as a musician since those first few shows. The heart of it is still there. Rence is good at being himself and makes it ok for everyone else to be who they are.  

Liam: I especially like how [Magpie] sing songs about friends, and I personally like how the instrumentation, as well as voices, can vary from show to show. It evolves and brings a fresh and new interpretation of Zach's songs. It has been a year or so since we have shared the stage, which gets me excited and curious to see what he brings to the table on Tuesday night!

Get yourself to the Lost Lake too this Tuesday! Tickets here, and you can keep up with more adventures from Magpie and Dear Rabbit on their websites.

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

Your Guide To Colorado Shows For New Year's Eve

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s time to pop bottles Colorado! Here are our picks for New Year’s Eve shows this weekend:

Berthoud

Jeremy Mohney at City Star Brewing in Berthoud 9PM-Close

Jeremy Mohney.

Jeremy Mohney.

Boulder’s Jeremy Mohney released multiple EPs this year, both of which definitely caught our ear. The jazz/swing artist is throwing down at City Star Brewery to welcome in 2017, and we definitely recommend getting your swing moves on at this one. Mohney will have your feet tappin’ in no time, and after a few celebration libations, you won’t want to sit still. Details here.

Boulder

Andrew Sturtz & Friends at The No Name in Boulder 10PM-Close

Andrew Sturtz.

Andrew Sturtz.

Soulful singer/songwriter Andrew Sturtz will be holding things down behind the big brown door tomorrow night for NYE. Known locally for his solo work and his performances with The Constellation Collective and other groups, Strutz will croon you into the new year in style. Plus, there’s no cover. What’s not to dig? Deets here.

Lady and The Gentleman at The Lazy Dog in Boulder 10PM-Close

Boulder’s Lady and The Gentleman have made some changes to their lineup this year, but they’re still bringing mad grooves to the Colorado scene. Tomorrow they’ll grace the stage at The Lazy Dog, and no cover means no excuses. Get to it! More info right here.

The Alcapones at Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub in Boulder 10PM-Close

The Alcapones.

The Alcapones.

If you want to be shaken up Boulder, here’s your chance! The minstrel show of The Alcapones will be taking over Conor’s to dance you into the wee hours of 2017. Come hang and get rowdy! There will be lots of funky horn playing for your listening pleasure. More info here.

Yonder Mountain String Band with The Railsplitters at The Boulder Theater in Boulder 8PM-Close

Yonder Mountain String Band.

Yonder Mountain String Band.

Nederland’s Yonder Mountain String Band are holding down the BT for NYE. The five-piece bluegrass band well-known around these parts will share the stage with Boulder’s The Railsplitters. Get over to get down! Tickets here.

Denver

Flobots with Nahko and Medicine For The People at The Ogden Theatre in Denver 8PM-Close

Flobots

Flobots

Denver’s Flobots members have been locally active in several awesome events this year, including Denver’s “Our Neighbors, Ourslves” refugee benefit and the Rock Against The TPP event. Tonight, the crew will swing you into the new year with Portland’s Nahko and Medicine For The People at The Ogden. Tickets here.

Fox Street & Friends with Tiger Party at The Bluebird Theatre in Denver 9PM-Close

Dever’s Fox Street & Friends will be rolling in the new year tomorrow at The Bluebird with a 12-piece band and double sets, which will include music from the movies Boogie Nights and Blow, and tracks by Rick James, David Bowie, and Prince. The band’s frontman Jonathan Huvard is relocating to NYC in 2017, so this show is your chance to catch this crew together in what may be their last local performance for awhile. Tiger Party will open the night with songs by LCD Soundsystem. Tickets for this dance party here!

Itchy-O with Total Unicorn at Summit Music Hall in Denver 8PM-Close

We actually spent our NYE with Denver’s Itchy-O last year, so we’re here to tell you this show is going to be a magical time! The mysteriously masked band will have you boogieing all over Summit Music Hall; Total Unicorn is opening. Enter the dark. Tickets here.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club with Kid Congo Powers at 3 Kings Tavern in Denver 10PM-Close

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club will be laying out their ‘Commandments’ for you tomorrow evening at 3 Kings Tavern, and we’ve actually got a whole interview with Slim himself for you here. This show will be one crazy ride into 2017, so take it! Tickets here.

The Yawpers with The Other Black at The Oriental Theater in Denver 7PM-Close

The Yawpers. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

The Yawpers. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

We love The Yawpers. And we love The Other Black. And both of them are sharing the stage tomorrow night at The Oriental for NYE! The Moved and Evan Holm & The Restless Ones are opening the show, making for a full lineup of Denver badassery. Get to this gig- seriously. Tickets here.

Winehouse Masquerade Ball with Judge Roughneck at Mercury Cafe in Denver 930PM-Close

Winehouse.

Winehouse.

Denver’s Amy Winehouse tribute band Winehouse are ringing in the new year at Mercury Cafe with plenty of sultry, soulful vibes. Presales are only $20 and Judge Roughneck is opening the night, so grab tickets while you can! This will be an awesome show. Deets here.

Durango

Nappy Roots with Jerney at Animas City Theatre in Durango 9PM-Close

Jerney.

Jerney.

Nappy Roots are closing out the year in Durango tomorrow, and Denver’s Jerney is opening the gig. Jerney has been dropping new music like crazy this year, and this is one of his last Colorado shows, so make sure to get to it! Tickets here.

Greeley

The Burroughs with Bryce Merritt at The Moxi Theatre in Greeley 8PM-Close

The Burroughs.

The Burroughs.

Greeley’s The Burroughs dropped some sweet new music this past year, and they’ll be playing that for you tonight + more tunes at The Moxi. The nine-piece soul pop outfit will be joined by Bryce Merritt for good measure. Wicked. Tickets here!

Fort Collins

Rose Hill Drive with The Velveteers at Hodi’s Half Note in Denver 9PM-Close

The Velveteers. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Denver’s The Velveteers are arguably one of the most successful acts coming out of Colorado right now. Fronted by Demi Demitro, the heavy rock two-piece will make you headbang all the way up until Boulder’s Rose Hill Drive takes the stage at Hodi’s. Go get yourself hypnotized. Tickets here.

Rollinsville

Jaden Carlson Band at The Stage Stop in Rollinsville 10PM-Close

Jaden Carlson.

Jaden Carlson.

Teenage musical prodigy Jaden Carlson has had quite the year in the Colorado music scene. From impressive opening slots for bands like The Revivalists to her own headlining performances at The Fox, Carlson has proved she knows how to break. things. down. Head out to her last performance of the year tomorrow at The Stage Stop! We guarantee it will be an impressively good time. More info here.

That’s it for us for NYE Colorado! See you in 2017!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

"Let's Build An Album Together!": Riley Ann's Latest Project Is All About Fem Rock

By: Claire Woodcock

Colorado's Riley Ann is ready to release her latest batch of songs. There’s just one problem:

“I want to move forward with not only recording this project, but also my whole music career. But when there are so many bands willing to play for so little, it’s hard to make a living as an artist. If you turn down a non-paying gig, there’s someone else behind you who’s willing to play for exposure. It undercuts everyone else and it really has a negative impact on the entire music community.”

Riley Ann’s path from fiddling folk in Illinois with The Matriarchs to her dynamic one-woman folk rock band paved her route to Colorado. Since her move in the fall of 2015, her presence and drive have initiated various collaborations, like her Old-time duo The Darling Ravens, and a new bluegrassy pop trio, DJ Meow Mix & the Grabbers.

“Although I have several musical projects going, this album is my passion project. Now that I’m back from tour, I’m getting an all-female rock band together. My new tunes need a full band, and that’s the perfect way to showcase them live.” she recently told me.

Riley Ann.

Riley Ann.

Her story of how, in a year, she became a vocal advocate for musicians to get paid a living wage for their art, is a story that many music transplants in Colorado’s bumping scene have had to grapple with.

“Artists deserve to get paid for their art. Playing simply for exposure devalues the music,” she said. “And when that mentality spreads, how do musicians make a living? It’s not going to be through album sales or digital sales. On Spotify I get one-tenth of a cent per listen. You can’t make a living on that.”

Riley Ann launched her Kickstarter campaign in November, teasing her first single “Bloodhounds,” which was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jay Elliott (IntroVertigo Recording) and Dominick Maita Mastering, both of whom are based in Boulder, Colorado. The single is an authentic sample of Riley Ann’s new sound from the forthcoming album, which features a full rock band.

“Bloodhounds” is dark and gritty, with roots in Old-time and a heart in rock’n’roll. Riley Ann’s single was recently featured on Colorado Sound as part of Chris K’s Colorado Playlist. Her vocals are vibrant, carrying the same electric currents in the realm of female frontwomen like Angel Olsen, St. Vincent or Mount Moriah.

“I’m excited to get these songs out into the world and I don’t want to risk having to record them one at a time as I can afford them,” she reasons. “Because the longer I wait, the longer they’re going to sit, and the more dated they’re going to sound. They sound current, they sound contemporary, and they just fit right now within this renewed appreciation for the fem rock scene. It’s kind of like when Mumford & Sons came out. Everyone tried to sound like Mumford & Sons, but by the time everyone began to sound like Mumford, it was too late.”

Riley Ann’s presence in the Boulder music scene is remarkable. Not only has she founded the Coalition of Women Songwriters organization, where she’s connecting female musicians with jam and performance opportunities, empowering them to tour, write, and negotiate a living wage for their art. She also volunteers with Girls Rock Denver, a nonprofit camp that helps teen girls find their voice and form bands and collaborations. Riley Ann has proven herself throughout the past year to be a musician dedicated to building up the community around her.

“I don’t want to nickel and dime this album, I want to do it right,” she says. “And using crowdfunding is the way for me to expedite this whole process and get these songs out into the world as soon as possible.”

Riley Ann’s Kickstarter campaign ends in just a few days, so make sure to give it a view to see her rewards and show support. Donating to a local artist means you’re donating to the Colorado music scene! More about Riley Ann and her music can be found on her website.

-Claire

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

Watch Our Chat with Amy Kress About Her Upcoming Album, "Fly"

By: Jura Daubenspeck

On Sunday, we sat down with Amy Kress at The Spot Studios and discussed her upcoming album, Fly. Amy’s story is undeniably powerful, and she’s not shy about sharing her tale. While some may falter at the feat of countless chemotherapy treatments, Amy decided to pour herself into her music. Her words are a reflection of her resilience, strength, and passion. She has already released one single and music video from Fly titled, “Oh No”, where she belts it out and spills her soul for all to hear:

Overall, Fly is a testament to what it means to endure, but also to bounce back as a stronger being. You can expect heavier electronic influences in this album, so move the living room furniture aside and get ready to dance to some Amy Kress. The album is set to be released Friday, July 29th so stay tuned! Keep in touch with Amy on her blog to get the latest scoop on her upcoming performances and releases.

Watch our exclusive chat with Amy Kress about her upcoming release, "Fly": 

-Jura

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

BLDGBLKS Supports Healthy Lives For Happy Kids at the Frank Shorter RACE4Kids Health 5K and Health Odyssey Expo

By: Jura Daubenspeck

On Sunday, April 10th Colorado's Longmont United Hospital and Whole Foods teamed up with Healthy Learning Paths to host the 7th Annual Frank Shorter RACE4Kids' Health 5K. The race started bright and early, and was held at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, CO. By 7:30am, the venue and its surrounding area were teeming with bright green racing shirts, laughing children, and vendors promoting healthy and happy lifestyles.

BLDGBLKS Music Company had the opportunity to be a part of the event, accompanying the fantastic weather and smiling faces with some equally awesome music. Sam Hozdulick, Amy Kress, and Mawule (Ebenezer Yebuah) took to the stage, each performing their own respective sets.

BLDGBLKS artists pre-performance.

BLDGBLKS artists pre-performance.

After the race, runners and supporters alike were gathered in the main arena, and Sam Hozdulick opened up the afternoon entertainment with her live performance. She started with a upbeat mashup of well-known hits such as Kanye West's "Heartless", Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song", and Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning". She then closed her performance with "Music Speaks", an original song that perfectly highlights both her vocal talent and guitar work.

Sam Hozdulick.

Sam Hozdulick.

Amy Kress took the stage next, showing off her skillful piano playing and soothing vocals with original songs, including "Numb", "Bright Lights", and "Your Love". Even with no accompanying band, Amy's music spoke for itself, and she had athletes of all ages dancing along.

Amy Kress.

Amy Kress.

Mawule closed out the series of performances, bringing up the energy of the room even more with his incredibly catchy rhythms. He took the stage with his DJ and good friend, Zenas Willard, and almost immediately, their music had ears perked and bodies moving. Mawule opened with "Mirror Mirror", followed by "Simple" and "Get Your Name", both of which are featured on his newest album Chosen (to be released June 2016).

Mawule.

Mawule.

Sunday's vibe was positive, and the sense of community was felt throughout the venue. And getting a chance to listen to some of the musical creations of a few of BLDGBLKS' artists made waking up before dawn on a Sunday totally worth it.

-Jura

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

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). 

KT Homes Plays BIFF This Friday + An Update on Her New Album, Her Artwork, & More

By: Hannah Oreskovich

KT Homes plays Boulder International Film Festival this weekend and so we needed a good 'ol fashioned catchup.

Local musician and artist KT Homes.

Local musician and artist KT Homes.

We first got in touch with local artist Katherine (KT) Homes when she played Denver’s RAW event last November. Back then we introduced her as one talented musician- she’s been referred to as as “the female version of Bob Dylan” and has opened for acts including Trampled by Turtles and Nathaniel Rateliff. But what we liked most was KT’s strong intent to “shed light on environmental and social issues” with her music. And after chatting with her, we learned a lot more about that intention, her upcoming album, and her artwork. Check it out:

So KT! We know you were in the Boxcar Daisies prior to your focus on a solo album. What’s that transition been like?

It’s been an incredibly creative and overwhelming process. When Elli, the second half of Boxcar Daisies, and I played gigs we were both all in 100%. We came to the table and co-wrote songs, split the work of sending out our EP and setting up gigs, and so on. We were incredibly dedicated and I think that made us really successful, really quickly, in getting shows. It was also the only thing we really had to throw ourselves into. Now, I’m juggling two different jobs and trying to relaunch my music and art career at the same time and sometimes I wish I wasn’t solo. But working on a solo album has also been amazing! Going out on my own has forced me to make friends with myself and not rely on someone else to stand next to me in order to feel comfortable on stage. I only have to answer to myself for this [next] album. That is a challenge but also really rewarding.

Homes laying down a track. 

Homes laying down a track. 

That’s great! Give us the deets on your upcoming album- what studio are you working with? Do you have a producer? When are you planning its release?  

I was working with a wonderful studio, but it wasn’t quite the right fit. Since then, I’ve been waiting almost 6 months to hear back from someone I really want to work with. It looks like it’s going to happen, but I’m keeping it a secret until I’m actually sitting next to him recording. Lets just say it’s going to be brilliant if this talented and incredibly chill producer fully commits. My lips are sealed until it’s a done deal though!

Fair enough! So we know that activism is a big part of your songwriting and musical process- talk to us about how that started, why you have that drive, and what current events are inspiring you to take your position and express it through music.

Wow, where do I even start? I’m fascinated by other cultures- mostly the remote or the forgotten. The wisdom in their history and their connection with nature; the way they live in harmony with the natural world... I’ve seen things and heard stories that are straight out of a children’s fairytale, but are very rooted in their way of life.

While I was traveling through West Kalimantan working as a photojournalist with an incredible non-profit, my family members lost a child to gun violence. In that moment I wanted to do something much bigger than the path I was on. I had no idea how or what I would do, but the answers just kept showing up in my music and I knew I wanted to share these songs because they are so much bigger than myself. I’ve always believed that a song has the power to change people. It’s my way of feeling like I can help shift things by writing about these issues and possible solutions, and singing about them.  

What I have also found while I’ve traveled is that two things quickly connect me to the local people: music and being a woman. There are often language barriers, and they quickly show up, but as soon as I start singing or playing the guitar, it’s incredible how quickly these walls  evaporate. It doesn’t matter what I’m singing about. Music is the universal language. And being a woman, well, as soon as you get in the kitchen, or hold someone else’s baby you are immediately a part of someone’s family. The song, “Put Down Your Gun”, which the [new] album was almost named after, is about a war being fought in Afghanistan and a woman speaking to another woman about what that war means for her and her family. This conversation happens in the kitchen, while they are both bouncing babies and cooking for their families. Their conversation quickly turns into a dialog about disarming anger and to instead to really hear one another.  

I’ve also been incredibly passionate about the environment from a young age. I’m obsessed with plants and wildlife. I’m very committed to bringing awareness to environmental issues through art, music, and my non-profit work. I’m a big believer that the natural world provides most of the answers to some of our biggest problems. I think if we could just sit and feel and listen to the silence and songs of the natural world, we could know what to do to generate more love and steer away from hate. Fear and hate are created because we don’t understand something. Anger is generated from feeling unheard, unloved, and sad. Right now we see that with the overwhelming destruction of the natural world and I think that is a direct reflection of how we are treating ourselves and each other. This [next] album really focusses on sharing these thoughts.

Wow. Thanks for sharing your powerful motivations with us. That’s awesome. We also know you paint- any art that you’re currently working on?

I absolutely love to paint. It is my down time. I can get lost in the world of color for days. It’s quiet. Painting is peaceful and healing. It’s kind. I know that’s a funny word to use, but I use watercolor on wood and it is so fluid and beautiful; it’s those moments when I feel like everything is right in the world. Painting is also something I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember, so it’s never left me. It’s a great way to really see the world you are in. It’s so slow, and for me that’s a really good thing. This past year, I’ve created paintings for two organizations that are doing really incredible work: Project WOO and Health in Harmony. I love creating paintings to help fundraise and raise awareness for projects that I believe in.

One of KT's paintings. 

One of KT's paintings. 

Sweet. Beyond your 2016 release plans, what else will you be up to this year?  

The album is full-on for sure. At the start of the year, I was asked to sing on a children’s book, which I’m excited about! I’m also launching my own art website. My life is pretty fun. I feel like everytime I turn around something new comes crashing into it. But really, this year I want to focus on getting my music and my message out into the world to as many people as possible, so that will be my primary goal.

We can’t wait to hear more from you- thanks for sharing your message with us KT.

Check out the multi-talented KT Homes at her Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) performance this Friday. Details on more live shows, her current art projects, and more can be found on her website here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

A Review of Greg Corcione's Debut EP "Believer"

By: David Landry

Greg Corcione sure has us believin' something. 

Greg Corcione’s debut EP Believer is something I have been waiting for with a lot of anticipation. I met Greg years ago as the drummer of Fleedami, which was the experimental jazz group that played every Wednesday at The No Name, and parts of them still do. Corcione spent some time traveling, and when he got back, he told me he wanted to work on a solo project.

When my band Whiskey Autumn started working with producer Robbie Stiefel, we found out Robbie was working with Greg on his new project too. I soon learned that Greg actually came to the studio with only rough demos of all of his songs. Greg and Robbie arranged and recorded all of the instrumentation to the songs together with help from Bill Douglass on the board. With each song on Believer, Corcione shows his love for all styles of music; overall there is a major blues undertone.

Robbie Stiefel (left) and Greg Corcione (right).

Robbie Stiefel (left) and Greg Corcione (right).

Corcione comes in battling a demon with “Holy Water”. The heavy distorted guitar welcomes you to this haunting voice that is reaching out. The thunderous drums and crashing cymbals fill the empty space and bring you this dark sermon of blues, with a Morrison-like preacher confiding in a higher power for help.

When I first listened to the record, “Mother’s Poem” grabbed me before finding out the deeper meaning to this song. Greg paints this image of a rainy evening in the summer with the quiet fingerpicking guitar. The piano and the warm bass sound like the steam off the streets. And then there’s a little girl in her room alone, missing her father, wishing that he would walk up the stairs just like the night before. “Mother’s Poem” was written by Greg’s mother about her father passing away when she was only ten.

“Blame it on Love” enters with this R&B blues backbeat and guitar; a swelling organ brings in the obsessive vocal groove. The lyrics go along with the music, and it makes you want to be “standing there naked”. Corcione sings about big decisions he made while being in lust and love.

Corcione in action. 

Corcione in action. 

“Tango Women” stays with the sexiness of “Blame it on Love”, but with this great Spanish flare. The women in the song must be the only ones in color in this black and white affair. The whispering guitar fills; the rhythm is like tap shoes to the hardwood.

The EP’s closer and title track, “Believer”, brings you to the sea of the spirit, with his arms open wide singing to the heavens. Filled with claps and stomps from the congregation, and Greg’s slightly distorted voice, this one feels like it’s his last call.

Overall, Corcione’s Believer is a great debut, and I can’t wait to hear more from him.

Listen to Believer below: 

-David

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

Amy Kress Has One Hell of a Story- and She's Not Afraid to Share It

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Amy Kress has a story you need to hear and she's not afraid to share it.

BLDGBLKS   Artist Amy Kress.

BLDGBLKS Artist Amy Kress.

Once in awhile, you stumble across someone whose story truly moves you. Amy Kress is one of those people. Her tale is one of immense resiliency and creativity in the face of life’s unexpected obstacles. Yet, it is not a tale that calls for pity, because Amy’s story and character indicate nothing but strength and authenticity.  

The contemporary electronic/pop artist was born in Canada, but grew up in Saudi Arabia and traveled often. She moved to the United States in 2001 and now calls Lakewood, CO her home, along with her two children and pets. Music has been an integral part of her life since she was young; she was active in high school choir, jazz band, and was skilled at the piano and french horn. Only until recent years, music remained a private aspect of Amy’s life.

Kress at a live performance for a secret show.

Kress at a live performance for a secret show.

In 2011, Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. While she had always exhibited musical talent, this was a turning point.

“We all have those things that we say to ourselves ‘One day I’ll do it. One day, one day.’ But with that diagnosis, I realized that ‘one day’ needed to happen now.”

And with that, her mission became clear: to tap into her passion and record music. She began working with The Spot Studios and within five months, the entire 14-track album Secret Music was recorded. The album is a delicious blend of songs that showcase her vocal talent. Her music holds the stellar combination of rhythms you can get down to both on a dance floor and alone in your living room.

Kress croonin'.

Kress croonin'.

September 2014, just as Amy began co-writing and recording her second album, she was diagnosed with cancer again. Yet what some may call a setback only further propelled Amy to continue her success with creating music. Since then, she has released the song ‘Iceland,’ with a gorgeous accompanying music video (which BolderBeat covered here). ‘Iceland’ has a melody that elicits emotion. What that emotion may be for you, I cannot say, but it’s a song that I’ve played on repeat, and that, I think, says something.

Amy’s music cuts to the root of the emotional experience. It places you in vulnerable situations where you lose yourself, where you are unmasked, and where you come out on the other side stronger. What I appreciate about her the most is, on top of her incredible talent, she tells her story with such candor and sincerity that it’s hard not to admire the hell out of her. She is an individual who has approached some of life’s most difficult experiences and said, “Screw thisI’m doing what I want to do. Now.”

Be on the lookout for Amy’s upcoming music, as she anticipates another full length album to be released later this spring. You can check out her website for the latest news, music, videos, and merchandise. And for an even closer look into Amy’s musings, take a peek at her personal blog.

Listen to Amy's Secret Music:

-Jura

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

Let BB Sponsor Your Show + Volunteer Info!

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Want to work with us? Let us know!

Contact Us to Sponsor Your Show!

Contact Us to Sponsor Your Show!

Hey franz! We've had a lot of interest and exciting opportunities pop up since The Fall Showcase and we want to share some of those with you!

Many of you have approached us about volunteering with BolderBeat and we would love to work with you! We have opportunities in writing, photography, event planning/promotion, social media management,  and more! The sky is the limit. We welcome all creative interests. Working with us is also a really great way to network within the Boulder/Denver music scenes.  Please feel free to contact us at bolderbeat@gmail.com and let us know if you'd like to be a part of our team!  And if you happen to be a CU student, you can find us on CU's Community Media Opportunities list here.

And hey hey bands and solo artists! We loved working with our lineup for The Fall Showcase and we'd love to work with you too! If you want us to sponsor a show, hit us up and let us know what's going on! We can coordinate a promotional timeline with you, connect you with media opportunities (radio/video production), and create a badass show together. We'd love to hear from you.

Keep making art. 

-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.