You cannot imagine how excited I was to get some kind of message – via the Innerwebs or some otherworldly means – that Jeff Finlin, “Fin” as he’s known locally in Fort Collins, put out a new album. I mean, I was so excited my heart jumped. I immediately dived into the entire album and haven’t stopped listening since.

You can’t find this album on SPOTIFY – yet. The published release date is June 24. HOWEVER – the album was released on May 19 via Continental Record Services out of the Netherlands on Bandcamp.

Produced by Jeff Finlin.
Recorded By Darren Raddach at Stout Studios, Fort Collins, CO.
Jeff Finlin – Drums, electric and acoustic guitars, vocals, percussion, piano
Taylor Tessler – Bass
Joe V. Mcmahan – Electric guitars
Eben Grace – Electric guitars
Eric Straumanis – Electric guitars
Brian Keller – Horns, accordion

Jeff Finlin’s legacy goes back decades. In my case it’s two decades since I first heard his music. Ever since then I have anxiously and quietly pleaded, cajoled and otherwise stamped my goat hoofs for something new.

After all, for as prolific as Jeff as been in his career –  13 critically acclaimed records – I honestly thought another album would never come my way. Silly me; Jeff has basically put out an album every few years. The last, The Guru in the Girl (2017), was a measly five years ago – an eternity it seems in Jeff’s catalogue.

Soul On the Line doesn’t move far from Jeff’s established Americana trad folk-rock style that travels nicely in the car with the likes of John Hiatt, Levon Helm or Bob Dylan. A literary mastermind, Jeff’s songs have taken us on an journey of life filled with vivid imagery. In the lead single, “…we walk the line, years repeating all our tears and time. Compromise our patron saint …hangin’ out with our Soul On the Line.”

Throughout the album, Jeff touches on issues that as he’s said are about “…these extreme and harrowing times we currently live in. Everything about our existence seems to be hanging in the balance.”

In What Went Wrong he ponders, “We all get tired of waiting, waiting on ourselves, so then we go and settle, set our feet in something else and then wonder why we can’t feel nothing here at all; and we’re stuck here on the telephone …wondering what went wrong.”

The songs on this album are not about the hope for the future. Jeff’s reflections and voice are those of an aged muse, tired and worn out from the battering waves of the very life that has inspired so many of his greatest stories in song and verse.

Jeff’s Northern Colorado friends and worldwide fans will love and adore and cherish this album as yet another intimate chapter in our friend’s collection. I’d suggest first timers visit earlier albums like Epinonymous, his highly acclaimed fourth album, before diving into this one.


Colorado is known for world class jazz, strange as that might sound. Colorado is also known historically for world class vocal jazz. Denver native Dianne Reeves has earned five Grammy Awards and an honorary Doctorate from Julliard for her work in that genre.

Boulder based Rare Silk earned two Grammy nominations for their vocalese / vocal jazz in the early ’80s, and Lannie Garrett blessed area stages into the 21st century with her torch and big band jazz stylizations.

MaryLynn Gillaspie started out with Rare Silk, a vocal quartet that she, her sister Gaile and Marguerite Juneman formed in the late seventies as a trio to sing songs influenced by and in the style of swing-era acts like the Andrews Sisters. Their debut, New Weave, was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Jazz Vocal–Duo or Group category. Rare Silk ended their run in 1988.

MaryLynn Gillaspie wouldn’t be heard from again until 2012, when she began showing up with local Boulder/Denver musicians, sitting in for a song or two. That gave her the confidence to step into the studio, twenty-five years after Rare Silk ended.

Here’s a collection of songs MaryLynn has recorded since re-emerging in the scene a decade ago.

Secret Language (2022)

To be honest, with the exception of the standards, Dolphin Dance and Fly Me to the Moon, I knew almost nothing about the rest of the songs on the album. They could have all been self-penned for all I knew before opening it up and reading about it.

Fortunately, I listened without any real bias that way – it was a clean listen. And then I looked to see who wrote what.

It’s a shame really that I can’t find any liner notes. It would be nice to see who played what on each track. Based on the bits and pieces I have been able to collect, the notes read like a who’s who of Denver/Boulder talent, produced by Grammy winning Boulder composer and producer Kip Keupper at Coupe Studios.

Dophin Dance is a genuine joy. MaryLynn took the Herbie Hancock tune and wrote an original set of lyrics and a vocal melody for it. She also penned an original set of lyrics to Pat Metheny‘s (It’s Just) Talk. Not limited to being inspired by and influenced by jazz (old or new), MaryLynn turned to King Crimson‘s 1981 album Discipline for an utterly original retelling of Matte Kudasai.

As it stands now, on May 15 2022, MaryLynn’s return to full length “vinyl” (euphemistically speaking) is the stand out jazz album of the year from Colorado. It’s great to hear that voice again after more than THIRTY-FIVE years.


As a talent buyer, I yearn for a solid live representation of an artist or band. As a record “collector” and radio show producer, I LOVE and typically much prefer studio albums.

NOTE to musicians: Most people I chat with also prefer a solid live representation before deciding whether to spend money to see an unknown artist or band live.

Studio albums have detail and nuances not ordinarily evident in live records. Live albums are hard to produce, and often disastrous; without studio overdubs they often show every minute flaw in individual performances. Most live music video performances are often worse, for lack of proper professional video production among other things.

Kaitlyn Williams showed up on Denver’s open mic circuit about 2016. It wasn’t long before Denver’s Wes Watkins “discovered” her and invited her to be a part of his band, The Other Black. Seemingly, that’s all it took for the burgeoning pop/neo-soul songstress to gain the confidence she needed to go it alone with her own band.

Kaitlyn released her debut, Sunset, not long after in 2019. Songs like Rain and the title track Sunset revealed a songwriter and singer many years more polished and mature than the mediocrity that too often flows through my studio monitors.

Enter “Under These Lights,” the new LIVE album from Kaitlyn.

Kaitlyn walks a fine line between youthful pop and more sophisticated adult oriented neo-soul. She scores on both counts. Recorded live at the Lodge at Woods Boss Brewing in Denver, the intimate small room was the perfect space for the enthusiastic Kaitlyn and her fans (evidence fully displayed in the title track, the first full song in the show).

It takes some pretty major emotional fortitude to release a live album, especially one with music and performances as sophisticated and intimate as displayed Under These Lights. It may have felt great on stage, but what would the recording sound like? After all it was a live recording, which are often known for glaring deficiencies.

In this case Kaitlyn must have felt exuberant upon hearing it, because Under These Lights is a major league homerun among Colorado releases in 2022.

In a market crowed with potential pop/R&B/soul star power, Kaitlyn has more than earned her place with easily the best live album to come out of Denver in the past sixteen years of the Colorado Playlist.

NOTABLE TRACKS: #6 The Truth, #8 Don’t Blink

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