Here’s The Colorado Sound TOP 5 for July, since I won’t have the time to pull spin data from across the entire network this month. The rest of my week is now devoted to a) producing the next episode of The Colorado Sound, and b) getting ready for The 7th Annual Carbon Valley Music & Spirits Festival. I hope you’ll join us this weekend.
THE COLORADO SOUND TOP FIVE FOR JULY 2014
1. Richie Furay – Hand in Hand — New album due out in September. Easily a contender for BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2014 (Colorado releases).
2. Fierce Bad Rabbit – Living Asleep — New release Sept 23. MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED contender to break out from Colorado, FBR has been diligent in their approach to more national exposure and acclaim. This record follow up on the highly critically praised album Maestro and the Elephant.
3. Pandas & People – S/T — I don’t typically get calls about music heard on the show. This time, KUNC music director Benji McPhail called to let me know he had received calls requesting this band on KUNC after they heard a cut on my show. BEST NEW BAND 2014 consideration.
4. String Cheese Incident – Song in My Head — The “Incident” has managed to convey their live show into an enjoyable romp in the studio with the help of producer Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads). This will likely go down as their most successful and popular studio records.
5. Katey Laurel – Periscope — Colorado is blessed with an abundance of great female singer-songwriters. I would not be surprised one bit to see this record become the launching pad for greater successes – in much the same way as Katie Herzig’s “Apple Tree” was for her in 2008.
I realize it isn’t about Colorado music, but as I get my day going today (Sunday) while the show airs on Radio 94.9 Colorado, I’m learning that one of my radio idols has passed away. RIP Casey Kasem. 82 is a long life lived. Thank you for your inspiration. I miss you. Long live American Top 40. Salute. “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”
My first video editing learning curve mistake bit me, as I worked to edit down the Young Ancients video shots I took Thursday night. #bigfail. I lost everything, including the source video. Too bad too, as I told John Magnie that in all the years I’ve known him, Steve, and Cary this was the best night of music I’d ever heard from them. And I mean it. If you have not experienced Young Ancients, you really deserve the treat. Absolutely remarkable.
COMING IN JULY: The Colorado Sound Expands Statewide. KUNC, the nation’s TOP 20 ranked public radio station, has picked up hour 2 of The Colorado Sound, bringing the show into Denver, Boulder, and many other cities and towns in CO.
We’ve been working on this opportunity for a long time now, and I would like to personally thank program director Kirk Mowers, music director Benji McPhail and my pal Robert Leja for their never ending support of the show, and my efforts to bring Colorado’s best music to a statewide audience.
Here’s a look at the newly expanded coverage coming in July.
Basalt, Redstone 88.5
Buena Vista 89.9
Down Valley 105.5
Eagle Valley 99.7
Estes Park 90.7
Front Range (KUNC) 91.5
Front Range (KRFC) 88.9
Morgan County 96.7
North Park 90.7
Northern CO 94.9
Steamboat Springs 88.5
Wet Mountain Valley 95.9
Looks like the only place left uncovered is Colorado Springs. What this does mean for the show is an increase in the number of hours on the air, from the current 27 (hours x days x frequencies) to 47. Sponsorship opportunities are available for the broadcast portion, as well as the new podcast portion of the show. Day and time details will be announced the week of July 7. Stay tuned.
VIDEO PICK OF THE WEEK
PLAYLIST S8 EP23 JUNE 2014
Hazel Miller & the Caucasians “Gimme Back My Life” from Live at the Fox (1995) Hazel Miller Band “Moon Was Right” from Coming To You Live…From KUVO (2011) Big Head Todd & The Monsters “It’s Alright” from E-Town Live (1996) (D) Calder’s Revolvers “Tell Me True” from Sunday Morning (2014) Ryan D White “Love Story” from Something Brilliant Is About to Happen (2014) (D) Magician In the Machine “Resurrection” [single] (2014) Broken Tongues “Does Hip Hop Remember the Jazz?” from Crooked Skyline (2012) Gipsy Moon “Walk In the Sky” from Eventide (2013) Mosey West “Old Stone” from Bermuda (2014) Ivory Circle “We Will Run” from Equilateral (2014) Joshua Novak “Infomaniac” from Ephemeron (2013) Jim Stranahan Little BIG BAND “Blues and a Half” from MIGRATION TO HIGHER GROUND (2014) The Apples in Stereo “Glowworm” from Fun Trick Noisemaker (1995) The Apples in Stereo “Look Away” from Look Away (2000) The Czars “Paint the Moon” from Goodbye (2004) (D) Kramies “Antiquarian (feat. Grant Wilson)” from The Folklore Sessions (2014) Ian Cooke “Fortitude” from Fortitude (2011) Good Gravy “Isn’t It Funny” from Good Gravy (2010) Halden Wofford & the Hi Beams “Zombies!” from Rocky Mountain Honky Tonk (2013) Megan Burtt “It Ain’t Love” from It Ain’t Love (2010) Katey Laurel “Thanks for Loving Me” from Periscope (2014) Better Than Bacon “Texas Tune” from Spokesbuzz Volume 4 (2013) Jeff Finlin “Is This Love” from Ballad Of A Plain Man (2008) Brad Goode “Reverse the Charges” from Tight Like This (2010)
SUPPORT FOR THE COLORADO SOUND PROVIDED BY
Colorado Case Company: Colorado made insulated soft cases, gig bags, case covers and rigid cases for all musical instruments. This premium, professional grade, brand is designed, engineered and tested to provide incredible thermal and physical protection for your valuable musical instrument. We specialize in unusual and hard to fit instruments. Info at www.coloradocase.com
SpokesBUZZ, a Colorado 501C3 with a mission to AMPLIFY THE COLORADO MUSIC SCENE, DEVELOP OUR PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS, PROMOTE COLORADO AS A PROGRESSIVE CULTURAL DESTINATION, and GROW LOCAL ECONOMIES. Please visit the website for information on bands that SpokesBUZZ supports, as well as shows and more. www.spokesbuzz.org.
You ever stop and think about how you perceive and personally define styles or genres of music? What does AAA mean? Americana? Rock? Pop? Can you articulate the difference between Rhythm & Blues and contemporary R&B? Neither can most people – even those we’d think might or should know …such as event talent buyers.
So, I’m on the phone this week – doing what I do – consulting on matters related to music in Colorado, and I get asked “how do you define singer-songwriter?” My immediate off the cuff answer was “everyone in music is a singer songwriter if they sing songs they write.” That’s true. If you sing songs you write you are in fact a singer-songwriter. But the definition goes well beyond that.
The question came about because the person I was consulting had gotten push back from event buyers for being a singer-songwriter. For many people in the scene – event buyers especially – the term brings a less than likable meaning – that of solo (or duo) act that sings soft wimpy ballady acoustic “folk” type songs – the type you hear in coffee shops and many brew pubs regionally today.
According to Allmusic.com, “…the term Singer/Songwriter refers to the legions of performers that followed Bob Dylan in the late 60s and early 70s. Most of the original singer/songwriters performed alone with an acoustic guitar or a piano but some had small groups for backing. Their lyrics were personal, although they were often veiled by layers of metaphors and obscure imagery. Singer/songwriters drew primarily from folk and country, although certain writers like Randy Newman and Carole King incorporated the song-craft of Tin Pan Alley pop. The main concern for any singer/songwriter was the song itself, not necessarily the performance.”
Examples of singer songwriters also include: Simon & Garfunkle, Billy Joel, Elton John, John Lennon, Van Morrison, and James Taylor from the 70’s and from the more contemporary listings, Elvis Costello, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, and Sara Bareilles to name a few.
This point is worth repeating; “The main concern for any singer/songwriter was the song itself, not necessarily the performance.”
So why does it matter? It is the performance issue that drives many buyers away from so called singer-songwriters. Many buyers don’t see the singer-songwriter as a performer – as an ENTERTAINER (despite the Billy Joels and Elton Johns, who few think of as singer-songwriters, but rather pop and/or rock acts).
I made a few calls to verify that my thinking was in line with realities on the ground. I wondered why “singer-songwriters” need not apply in most cases. The answer was “energy.” What I took from that was not “energy” but FAMILIARITY. Bring an Elton John or Bob Dylan tribute band to the party and you’re in. Bring in Bob Dylan performing solo songs on an acoustic guitar that no one has yet become familiar with and he’s out. Why? FAMILIARITY = ENERGY and ENERGY = FAMILIARITY.
It’s not that folks expect to hire cover bands …and tribute bands fall into a different role in the scene – accepted as something more than a cover band. It’s that folks who put on events desire music that the average attendee can “move along to” (read: “sing along to”) even if they’ve never heard the song before.
If you avoid using the term singer-songwriter, as an artist what do you say you do musically? Americana? What’s that? What’s different between pop and rock? Is country “country” if it doesn’t sound like what’s on commercial country radio – or is that even country to begin with and when is it “too country?” How bout the differences between Rhythm & Blues (R&B) in the classic context, and R&B in the contemporary context?
One event buyer/planner this week asked me to find them “Colorado sounding” acts. When pressed, I came away with an answer that what was meant was acts in the bluegrass, jam-grass, jamband, reggae. jamband oriented funk and hip-hop, and “Americana” (read: non Nashville sounding country) styles of music. At no time was I asked for singer-songwriter, folk, rock, pop, blues, soul, jazz, or country.
My best advice? Leave the genres to those who care (uh … hello?) and define based on comparatives, on “if you like so and so you’ll like _____________” … choose “__________ compliments so and so in a mix,” NOT “_________ sounds like so and so.”
And even if you are, don’t call yourself a singer-songwriter … most singer songwriters I know can do solo, duo, trio, quartet, or even orchestra shows – and are not simply a gal or guy with a guitar …or Bob Dylan without a band …a “folk” singer.
When we think of great Colorado singer-songwriters, here are a few I think are definitely worth mentioning …we do love singer-songwriters in Colorado. Turns out they’re among our most revered treasures.