A Crash Course in Austin

You never know what kind of health your music market is in until you visit another place.  I can scratch off one more legendary music market from my list of never been to… Austin, TX.  I’ve been asked for many many years to visit, or it’s been suggested to me that I should.

The problem is I never wanted to let go of my fantazmagorical romanticism… I never wanted to see the truth behind the myth I conjured in my mind.  And, frankly, I just don’t like TX – the humidity, the heat or the politics.  So when I accepted an invitation from the owners of Nomad Sound to come down to visit them, it was as much a shock to me as those who know me.

There’s already an established connection between Nomad and Colorado.  They work with New Belgium Brewing on the Tour de Fat.  That and a few other things they’ve done in Colorado the past few years has tickled the owners’ interest in Colorado, and the possibility …high probability… they’ll set up shop in Denver this coming year.

My romanticism of Austin was not affected in any way by my visit.  I made the obligatory trip to the Continental Club, catching Dale Watson on a Monday night in what seemed a sold out show (I’m thinking about 250).  I was able to visit the as yet unknown new location for an unnamed legendary Austin music room, and listened as a new p.a. was being considered for install.

And I gorged myself on Austin fish, bbq, and Mexican food, to the point where Thanksgiving turkey seems not only anti-climatic, but almost something I want to avoid as I race back into the gym to shed 10 lbs I’ve gained since August.

What I learned is that legacy matters, because legacy builds names that people want to experience.  And that legacy has to be names that have mattered over time, and have developed as recognizable brands.  That could be the legacy established by a venue, as is the case with rooms like the Continental which has been open since 1957, or like Antone’s, which is set to reopen in a new location in 2015, after moving out of their old location a year ago now.

Names matter.  Dale Watson, a legendary Austin character, sells out on Monday nights at the Continental, and bands like Colorado’s Cowboy Dave Band headline the room at MIDNIGHT on a Thursday, not because the band can draw, but because the room draws because of its legacy in the market, and internationally among those who follow country music.

There is also a distinct difference in the way music is supported politically and financially in Austin.  It is a city that reaps many tens of millions of economic value from its industry and the city not only knows it but seeks to find ways to embellish upon it, to advance it.  As a result there’s an atmosphere of polished professionalism and historical sophistication in the look and feel of Austin, that I find lacking in our own scene.

We have an incredibly vast and differentiated music environment in Colorado.  We never graduated the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan or Willie Nelson, but we have graduated the likes of John Denver, Dianne Reeves, Philip Bailey, Big Head Todd & the Monsters and others.  That sense of history doesn’t permeate the atmosphere in Denver like it does in places like Austin.  As I was just reminded of by one of my hosts, we’ve sold more records by our artists than Austin has, by far, but by bands that are far more contemporary than those whose legacies drape over Austin like a well worn comforter.

Colorado TOP 20 Titles Jan, Feb, March 2014

About this time of year I begin pulling together all the spins data, so I don’t get too far behind by year’s end.  I also publish a mid-year report every July.  Here are the TOP 20 from Jan-March / Q1 2014

1. Big Head Todd & the Monsters – Black Beehive
2. Elephant Revival – These Changing Skies
3. Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore – Love Runner
4. Gregory Alan Isakov – The Weatherman
5. Pretty Lights – A Color Map of the Sun
6. Eurforquestra – Fire
7. The Railsplitters – The Railsplitters
8. Honey Don’t – Heart Like A Wheel
9. DeVotchKa – Live with the Colorado Symphony
10. The Motet – The Motet
11. Tennis – Small Sound
12. Mosey West – Bermuda
13. Paper Bird – Rooms
14. Mike Clark & the Sugar Sounds – Round and Round
14. Tallgrass – Better Than Medicine
15. 3 Twins – De Nada
16. Rob Drabkin – Little Steps EP
17. Dianne Reeves – Beautiful Life
18. Changing Colors – Joan & the King
19. Various – SpokesBUZZ Vol. IV Band Together

The Colorado Sound S8 EP07 FEB 2014

boninwf back stage nite 1 2012(Sunday, Feb 23, 11AM)  I’m slammed.  I have to get six projects done and out the door by the end of the week LOL.  Oy … shit happens, right?  So, let’s get straight to it.

Building an income from self-employment is a difficult task.  It’s vastly different than getting up and going to a job everyday because at least there (unless you’re on commission) you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to generate income.  Someone else is responsible for making sure there’s money in the bank to pay you.

As a musician we fret about work (no pun intended LOL).  We hate making cold calls to strangers asking for a gig.  We hate asking for money – all too often we don’t how much is reasonable to ask for, and all too often we settle even when we think the deal is not equitable nor reasonable.

It’s the same thing that keeps most people out of sales, and being self-employed.  It’s the hard part of the business that we wish we could do without.  I cannot recount those who have confided in me how much they hate that part of being a musician.   Twice this week a musician has said to me, “I want someone else to do that work for me.  I hate it.  I just want to play.”  The reality on the street is that for at least 95% of us it just doesn’t work that way.

The overwhelming percentage of those whose music we experience are doing this for the joy of it … of course, wishing we could do it as full time employment …which like most things in life gets more challenging the more people there are doing the thing we also want to do and make a living at.

The aspiration drives the effort we all put out, to do this thing we cannot live without; it is such an ingrained part of who we are as personalities.  Much love to those who are efforting to realize their dreams, whatever they are.

And thanks for supporting the working musicians and those who provide to them a place to play in our communities … it is truly and deeply appreciated.

VIDEO PICK OF THE WEEK

I love pop.  Always have.  I love cotton candy and sticky sweet chewy bubble gum.  I love ALT-country AND hip-hop … jam-bands and rap-bands.  I dj’d professionally in clubs and at dances from 74-86 in Colorado, Connecticut, and North Dakota.  I still get a big smile when remembering rockin’ the tables with some Sugarhill Gang and Curtis Blow for the first time.  Diversions … H*Wood speaks to me…  “This ain’t no dance song, but get your dance on. Take the time to celebrate where you came from.”  Right on H*Wood. Peace.  

PLAYLIST S8 EP7 FEB 2014

String Cheese Incident “One Step Closer” from One Step Closer (2005)
Acoustic Junction “Goodbye World” from Strange Days (2000)
(D) Young Ancients “Nobody Loves You” from Young Ancients (2014)
Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore “Sunday Street” from Love Runner (2014)
Mama Lenny and the Remedy “Loaded Gun” from Time (You’re Doing Fine) (2014)
My Body Sings Electric “Oceancrest” from Part 1: the Night Ends (2014)
(D) Eldren “We Just Want The World” [single] (2014) The Motet “Rich in People” from The Motet (2014)
Dubskin “Warrior Stomp” from Release from Fear (2011)
Monocle Band “Falling” from Monocle Band (2013)
The Jekylls “You’re Probably Right” from The Sweet Factory (2012)
Andy Rok & the Real Deal “Second Class Citizen” [single] (2014)
Ben Haugland “Lift” from The Point Of No Return (2012)
Jimmy Ibbotson “Saints and Sots” from More Than Mountains (2000)
C.W. McCall “Wolf Creek Pass” from Best of CW McCall (1997)
(D) Katie Herzig “Walk Through Walls” from Walk Through Walls (2014)

Whiskey Blanket “Blatto Nox” from From the Dead of Dark (2014)
(N) The Fray “Hurricane” from Helios (2014)
Kristina Murray “Rough Corners” from Unravelin’ (2014)
Matt Skinner Band “Ashes to Ashes” from Native Stranger (2013)
Rob Drabkin “Little Steps” from Little Steps EP (2013)
Devotchka “Curse Your Little Heart” from Curse Your Little Heart (2006)
(N) Dianne Reeves “I Want You” from Beautiful Life (2014)
Hazel Miller “Spider Web” from Coming To You Live…From KUVO (2011)
Adam Stern “Locked Up” from High Country Gentleman (2011)

News Notes and Spins – Nov. 1, 2012

Tia Fuller, Katie Herzig, Sera Cahoone, Corey Harris, Jill Sobule, Phillip Bailey, and India.Arie, among others, all have one thing in common… they are all original Colorado natives who moved to other places… Sera to Seattle.  Tia to NYC.  Katie to Nashville.  India.Arie to Atlanta, Philip and Jill to Los Angeles… Corey first to Maine and then to Virginia.  They’re not the only ones — artists move to or move from here all the time.  Dan Fogelberg, Joe Cocker, John Denver, Glenn Frey, John Oates, Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tommy Bolin, and countless others have lived here… some for a couple of years, others longer; some are still here.

No one has told the story better than legendary former local rock critic, radio dj, local music historian and author, and current Colorado Music Hall of fame director G. Brown, whose book “Colorado Rocks!: A Half-Century of Music in Colorado” is a must have for anyone even casually interested in what’s gone on here musically much of the past 60 years now.  Expect to pay a few times what it originally sold for however.  The book has been out of print for at least a few years now and very good to excellent condition editions can run you $50-75 +/- …I’ve seen wrapped editions listed for upwards of $125.

Occasionally, an album from one of these artists shows up on our monthly charts.  Most recently it’s been Tia Fuller’s wonderful new album “Angelic Warrior,” which features resident and native jazz great Dianne Reeves on one vocal track, “Body and Soul.”  Katie Herzig’s latest has shown up here and there as well the past year, as has the O’Brien Party of Seven release that features former Colorado resident Tim O’Brien with sister and current Colorado residents Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore and their kids.

Columbine High School (Littleton) graduate Sera Cahoone is an accomplished singer-songwriter on the Sub Pop label out of Seattle, where she moved when she was 21.   Her latest, “Deer Creek Canyonhas been picking up some spins at KUNC and KRCC and I have no doubt will continue to pick up spins throughout the state in the coming couple of months.

The question is always, do we include those who grew up here as kids, went to our local schools, and maybe our colleges and universities, and then moved on to other places?  KUNC’s music director, Benji McPhail, made it a point – when he emailed me that they had put Sera’s new album in rotation as a Colorado artist release.   Sera’s new album, “Deer Creek Canyon” is all about the place she grew up, and where her mom still lives.  Sera may have moved to Seattle years ago, as a young woman seeking her own life and stories, but has remained a much loved native Coloradoan with a great musical story of her own to tell – largely influenced by her life and experiences here.

Still, some folks contend that unless an artist is actually living here and contributing to the live music scene they cannot justifiably be considered a “local” artist.  IF that’s the case there are a lot of acts we would have to consider as long gone and no longer local… including the likes of the Apples in Stereo (Kentucky) or Slim Cessna (Rhode Island) or Todd Park Mohr (Chicago) … hmmmm … yeah, no.  😉

Speaking of Coloradoans who were not born here, but were raised here, went to school here, and are as much as part of who we are as anyone – legendary jazz guitarist, Denver East High School grad, and University of Northern Colorado alum Bill Frisell (born in Baltimore) has teamed up with local jazz trumpeter and Denver University alum Ron Miles (born in Indianapolis) for an exquisite album called “Quiver.”  As adventurous as it is, I expect it will do well with jazz djs around the state in November and December – watch for it.

STATION NEWS:

OpenAir 1340 on air personality and web director Brandee Castle has left her post at Colorado Public Radio.  CPR will be listing her open position on their employment page within the next couple weeks.  However, she will still be involved with OpenAir in some capacity in the future so it’s not a true goodbye.

OpenAir’s First Birthday Bash will take place at the Hi-Dive in Denver on November 9th at 9pm.  Meet the OpenAir hosts and catch live performances from A. Tom Collins, Flashbulb Fires, and Bonnie and the Beard.  Since OpenAir launched on Oct. 31, 2011, more than 80 bands, most of which have Colorado ties, have visited CPR’s Performance Studio to record their music and talk with OpenAir hosts, making them a leader in promoting music from here in Colorado on broadcast radio.

KBUT (Crested Butte) has hired a new general manager/executive director.

Okay — Time for an experiment.  I got served notice recently that it would be nice if I linked each entry to a website where folks could check out the music … that’d be a bit more time consuming than I’d prefer, so here’s a link to a playlist I have up on Spotify that features a lot of this month’s Top 40 most spun titles.  You will need a Spotify account for this to work.

VIDEO PLAYLIST This month’s video playlist begins with a classic from Victoria Woodworth, recorded at Caribou Ranch in 1980.  It also includes a new video and song from Jeff Finlin, a new video from Chris Daniels, along with Flobots, The Yawpers, The Epilogues, Churchill, SHEL, Sofie Reed, a live performance video from Leftover Salmon, Achille Lauro, and Petals of Spain.

TOP 40 TITLES OCTOBER 2012

(278 titles tracked / 159 titles reported as played)
(LM) TM Genre/format [added]
(D) = debut, first time on chart
(R) = re-entered chart

(2) 1. The Lumineers – The Lumineers (Dualtone) Indie/New Alternative [Mar-12]
(13) 2. Bop Skizzum – Coloradical (self) Urban Contemporary / Modern Rock [Sep-12]
(D) 3. Esme Patterson – All Princes, I (Greater Than Collective) Indie/New Alternative [Sep-12]
(4) 4. Chris Daniels – Better Days (self) Americana / AAA  [Jul-12] *
(12) 5. Chris Thompson & Coral Creek String Band – Forty Years (self) Americana / bluegrass [Sep-12] *
(14) 6. The Knew – Man Monster (self) Alternative Rock / AOR [Jun-12]
(3) 7. Leftover Salmon – Aquatic Hitchhiker (LoS Records) Americana/AAA [Apr-12]
(R) 8. Strange Americans – A Royal Battle (self) AOR / AAA [Jun-12]
(1) 9. The Yawpers – Capon Crusade (self) AOR / AAA / Alternative Rock [Sep-12]
(D) 10. The Epilogues – Cinematics (Greater Than Collective) Indie/New Alternative [Oct-12]
(22) 11. Achille Lauro – Flight or Flight (Hot Congress Records) Indie/New Alternative [Mar-12]
(16) 12. Churchill – The Change EP (A&M/Octone) AAA/adult alternative  [Mar-12]
(5) 13. Grant Farm – The Grant Farm (self) Americana/alt-country-rock [Mar-12]
(18) 13. Katie Glassman – Snapshot (self) Americana /country-swing [Jan-12] *
(15) 14. The Haunted Windchimes – Out with the Crow (Blank Tape) Folk/Americana [Apr-12]
(8) 15. The Swayback – Double Four Time (self) Alternative/Modern Rock [Mar-12]
(7) 16. Danielle Ate The Sandwich – {like a king} ( Youngest Daughter Records) Folk/Americana [May-12]
(27) 17. Tennis – Young & Old (Fat Possum) Indie/New Alternative [Feb-12]
(D) 18. Wovenhand – The Laughing Stalk (Sound Familyre) Indie/New Alternative [Sep-12]
(D) 19. I’m With Her – Songs We Said Goodbye To (Boss Koala Records) Americana/AAA [Oct-12]
(D) 20. Beats Noir! – Where the Sun Goes Down (self) Urban Contemporary / Modern Rock [Oct-12]
(25) 21. Flobots – The Circle In the Square (self) Urban Contemporary / Modern Rock [Aug-12]
(9) 22. Sofie Reed – Simplicity Chased Trouble Away (self) Blues [Aug-12] *
(D) 23. Tia Fuller – Angelic Warrior (Mack Avenue) Jazz [Sep-12]
(10) 24. Ending People – Fill Your Lungs (Cash Cow Productions) Indie/New Alternative [Aug-12]
(R) 25. Robert Cline, Jr. – All the Right Reasons (Mockingbird Records) Americana/country-folk [May-12] *
(R) 26. Longest Day of the Year – Turn Into the Ground (self) Americana/alt-country-rock [Nov-11]
(R) 27. The Congress – Whatever You Want (self) AAA/AOR [Apr-12]
(D) 28. Chris Malley and Bob Schlesinger – Split Shot (self) Jazz [Oct-12]
(21) 28. Jeff Brinkman – Strange (self) AAA/AOR [Aug-12]
(20) 29. Chimney Choir – (ladder) (self) AAA/Adult Alternative [Mar-12]
(6) 29. O’Brien Party of 7 – Reincarnation, The Songs of Roger Miller (Howdy Skies Music) AAA/Americana [Jun-12]
(22) 29. Raincheck – Raincheck (Dazzle Recordings) Jazz [May-12]
(31) 30. Petals of Spain – Late Night Visitor (self) AAA [Sep-11]
(R) 31. Flashbulb Fires – Gasconader (self) Indie/New Alternative [May-12]
(11) 31. Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams – Live at Hodi’s (self) Americana/alt-country [Jan-12]
(23) 31. SHEL – SHEL (Moraine Records / Mad King Records) Folk/AAA [Aug-12]
(R) 32. Mama Lenny & the Remedy – Punches and Hugs (self) Rhythm and Blues (Apr-12)
(D) 33. Science Partner – Rocky Mountain News (Hot Congress Records) Indie/New Alternative [Sep-12]
(R) 34. Head for the Hills – Live (self) Americana/bluegrass [May-12]

ADDED: OCTOBER 2012
Beats Noir! – Where the Sun Goes Down
Boa & the Constrictors – Married to the Blues
Bonnie and the Beard – Cascavel
Bronze – Snake Oil
Calder’s Revolvers – Steady By Your Side
Chris Malley and Bob Schlesinger – Split Shot
Elephant Revival – It’s Alive
Gasoline Lollipops – Dawn
Greyweather – Greyweather
I’m With Her – Songs We Said Goodbye To
Jill Brzezicki – The Horizon
Jonny Barber & the Rhythm Razors – Golden Plates
Leslie Brown – Tenderly
Meet the Giant – The Polymer EP
Polarity – King of Hearts
Prettymouth – Satan in Clothes
Rich With Friends – One Step Closer
School Knights – FRE​(​EP)
Shawn Waggoner – Goodbye Raven
Stray Grass – Written in the Stars
String Cheese Incident – Can’t Wait Another Day [single]
Ten Pound Elephant – Ten Pound Elephant EP
The Babysitters – Have A Seat
The Epilogues – Cinematics
Trichome – Trichome EP

FELL OUT OF TOP 40 OCTOBER 2012
7. Bad Weather California – Sunkissed
13. Coles Whalen – I Wrote this for You
17. El Toro De La Muerte – Dancer These Days
19. Otis Taylor – Otis Taylor’s Contraband
20. The Moetones – Lowbrow
24. The Royal – Forever
26. Mosey West – Merica
28. John Oates Band – The Bluesville Sessions
29. Bonnie & The Clydes – Wrong Side Up
30. Katie Herzig – The Waking Sleep
30. Susannah Thompson – Watch Me Fly
31. Great American Taxi – Paradise Lost
32. Carbon Choir – Sakhalin
32. Fred Hess Big Band – Speak
32. Lindsay & the Lost Caravan – You Don’t Know Me

STATION BY STATION

KAFM (Grand Junction)
1. Leftover Salmon – Aquatic Hitchhiker
1. The Lumineers – The Lumineers
2. Grant Farm – The Grant Farm
3. Chris Thompson & Coral Creek String Band – Forty Years *
4. 4H Royalty – Where UFOs Go To Die

KBUT (Crested Butte)
1. Chris Daniels – Better Days *
2. The Lumineers – The Lumineers
3. Halden Wofford & the HI Beams – Live at Hodi’s
4. Katie Glassman – Snapshot *
5. Grant Farm – The Grant Farm

KDNK (Carbondale) HOT SPINS
Grant Farm – The Grant Farm
Leftover Salmon – Aquatic Hitchhiker
O’Brien Party of 7 – Reincarnation, The Songs of Roger Miller
The Haunted Windchimes – Out with the Crow
The Lumineers – The Lumineers

KDUR (Durango) HOT SPINS
A Shoreline Dream – “333”
Air Dubai – Be Calm
Euforquestra – Let Us In
Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams – Live at Hodi’s
The Moetones – Lowbrow

KGNU (Boulder)
1. O’Brien Party of 7 – Reincarnation, The Songs of Roger Miller
1. The Lumineers – The Lumineers
2. Grant Farm – The Grant Farm
3. Chris Daniels – Better Days *
3. Danielle Ate The Sandwich – {like a king}

KRCC (Colorado Springs)
1. Leftover Salmon – Aquatic Hitchhiker
2. Mango fan Django – Indigo Dreams
2. The Haunted Windchimes – Out with the Crow
2. The Yawpers – Capon Crusade
3. Chris Daniels – Better Days *

KRFC (Fort Collins)
1. Esme Patterson – All Princes, I
2. The Lumineers – The Lumineers
3. The Yawpers – Capon Crusade
4. Bonnie & The Clydes – Wrong Side Up
4. Robert Cline, Jr. – All the Right Reasons *

KUNC (Greeley)
1. The Lumineers –    The Lumineers
2. Danielle Ate The Sandwich – {like a king}
2. Zach Heckendorf – The Cool Down
3. Catch Bees – Newman’s Open Choir
3. Churchill – The Change EP

KUVO (Denver)
1. Tia Fuller – Angelic Warrior
2. Fred Hess Big Band – Speak
3. Eric Gunnison – Trios
3. Polarity – King of Hearts
4. Raincheck – Raincheck

KVNF (Paonia)
1. The Haunted Windchimes – Out with the Crow
2. Grant Farm – The Grant Farm
2. The Swayback – Double Four Time
3. Andy Thorn – Fire In The Sky
3. The Lumineers – The Lumineers

OPEN AIR 1340 (Denver)
1. Esme Patterson – All Princes, I
2. Wovenhand – The Laughing Stalk
3. Flobots – The Circle In the Square
4. The Yawpers – Capon Crusade
5. The Lumineers – The Lumineers

The Colorado Sound
1. Bop Skizzum – Coloradical
2. Strange Americans – A Royal Battle
3. Chris Thompson & Coral Creek String Band – Forty Years *
3. I’m With Her – Songs We Said Goodbye To
4. Beats Noir! – Where the Sun Goes Down

BY GENRE/PROGRAM FORMAT

Americana/Alt.country/Alt.country-rock
1. Chris Daniels – Better Days *
2. Chris Thompson & Coral Creek String Band – Forty Years *
3. Leftover Salmon – Aquatic Hitchhiker
4. Grant Farm – The Grant Farm
4. Katie Glassman – Snapshot *

Blues/Rhythm & Blues
1. Sofie Reed – Simplicity Chased Trouble Away *
2. Mama Lenny & the Remedy – Punches and Hugs
3. Eef – Bluesalicious
4. Otis Taylor – Otis Taylor’s Contraband
5. John Oates Band – The Bluesville Sessions

Dance/Funk/Hip-Hop/Urban Contemporary
1. Bop Skizzum – Coloradical
2. Flobots – The Circle In the Square
3. Rebel Tongue – Movin’ On
3. Ten Pound Elephant – Ten Pound Elephant EP
4. Air Dubai – Be Calm

Folk/folk-rock/singer-songwriter
1. The Haunted Windchimes – Out with the Crow
2. Danielle Ate The Sandwich – {like a king}
3. I’m With Her – Songs We Said Goodbye To
4. Chimney Choir – (ladder)
5. O’Brien Party of 7 – Reincarnation, The Songs of Roger Miller

Indie/New Alternative
1. The Lumineers – The Lumineers
2. Esme Patterson – All Princes, I
3. Achille Lauro – Flight or Flight
4. Tennis – Young & Old
5. Ending People – Fill Your Lungs

Jazz
1. Tia Fuller – Angelic Warrior
2. Chris Malley and Bob Schlesinger – Split Shot
3. Raincheck – Raincheck
4. After Midnight – Hit the Jive Jack
5. Fred Hess Big Band – Speak

Pop/Adult Contemporary
1. Petals of Spain – Late Night Visitor
2. Coles Whalen – I Wrote this for You
3. Places – No More Wasted Days
4. Petals of Spain – Lady Luck [single]
5. The Royal – Forever

Rock/AAA/AOR/Modern Rock
1. The Knew – Man Monster
2. Strange Americans – A Royal Battle
3. The Yawpers – Capon Crusade
4. The Epilogues – Cinematics
5. Churchill – The Change EP

* = serviced to radio by Rocky Mountain Music Network