Colorado Blues PT 2 – 21st Century Award Winners and Future Legends

In my last post, Blues in Colorado – A Primer, I suggested that most of the blues bands that we see today are of the local garden variety – good enough to please the upper end of suburban GenZ and Boomers with their small kids and grandkids at parks and summer events, and local neighborhood bar and grills.

But that doesn’t really tell the whole story about the state of blues in the 21st century in Colorado and the award winners and future legends who have emerged, regardless of mainstream popularity.

The 21st century opens with Erica Brown emerging in the scene as the First Lady of Blues (Colorado Blues Society) and Denver’s Queen of the Blues (Altitude Network).

Between 1998 and 2008, the Erica Brown Band earned numerous awards, including; Best Blues Band (Westword Magazine) Best Underground Blues Band multiple times (Denver Post) and The Rocky Mountain News’ Best Of (Blues Category).

Among the many projects she appears on, Erica is featured on Big Head Blues ClubWay Down Inside: The Songs of Willie Dixon” (2016). She began appearing with Dan Treanor in 2008.

A Blues Foundation: Keeping the Blues Alive Award recipient, Dan Treanor is a Colorado original. Born and raised in Pueblo, Dan entered the blues world when he was sixteen, playing in the Steel City Blues Band.

In 2004, he got signed to the well respected independent blues label Northern Blues Music. Dan Treanor & Frankie Lee – African Wind (2004) was nominated Blues Album of the Year by the Independent Music Awards.  Dan has received three Independent Music Award nominations.

In 2013, Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band featuring Erica Brown took home 3rd Place Honors in the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis. In 2015 they released Born to Love the Blues, which also features Erica’s daughter MJ.

Lionel Young first appears on the scene in the early to mid 90s and is featured on Otis Taylor‘s 1997 debut When Negroes Walked the Earth.

It wouldn’t be until the 21st century, however, that the classically trained violinist comes to the attention of the blues world by making history at the International Blues Challenge (IBC), as the only artist to ever win twice, in the 2008 solo-duo competition and the 2011 band competition.

Cary Morin first showed up on stages in Fort Collins in the 1980s with his band the Atoll.

Now recognized as one of the nation’s leading acoustic blues artists, Cary has performed at renowned venues and festivals around the globe including the Kennedy Center, the Paris Jazz Festival and the Copenhagen Blues Festival to name a few.

Cary’s career in Colorado ranks among the most awarded. He’s been honored with the Fort Collins Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2014) and is a Telluride Blues and Brews Blues Champion (2019).

Cary has also earned Indigenous Music Awards for Best Blues CD for Cradle to the Grave (2017) and for When I Rise (2019) and an Independent Music Award for Best Blues CD for When I Rise.

Colorado Springs artist John-Alex Mason passed away at the age of 35, in October 2011, but not without leaving a lasting legacy as one of the state’s most celebrated bluesmen. In 2001 he won the Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition. He released five albums between 2000 and 2011.

The Informants / Kerry Pastine & the Crime Scene – Fronted by Kerry Pastine, the Informants fans voted the band as the winner of the Westword Music Award for Best Blues (2008-2010). Their album Crime Scene Queen won the International Blues Competition for Best Self-Produced CD of 2010.

Kerry and her husband Paul (guitar) spun off from the Informants to create the Crime Scene. They earned the 2019 Colorado Blues Society Members Choice Award for Band of the Year, Best Recording for City of Love, Best Female Vocalist, Best Songwriter and Best Live Moment for the City of Love CD release party.

With six albums to their credit since 2004, the modern electric blues inspired Mojomama has been a semi-finalist at the International Blues Challenge Memphis (2018, 2019) and won several awards from the Colorado Blues Society, including Best Self Produced CD and Favorite Female Vocalist (2015, 2018) and the Members Choice Awards for Best Band in 2019.

The acts I mentioned above represent only a handful of the many blues acts that have crossed the stages of Colorado, from the smallest pubs to the biggest festivals. Upcoming festivals include the Trinidaddio Blues Fest (Aug 22), and the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival (Sept 16-18).

Touring artists like Cary Morin and Lionel Young act as ambassadors of Colorado blues around the United States, and in other countries.

Erica Brown continues to play a major role in our blues scene today, as does Lionel Young who Erica has teamed up with in a new project called Blues Circus – that also features Erica’s daughter MJ along with John Magnie and Steve Amadee from Del Shamen that Erica participated in.

Time will tell when, where and how far the next group of blues artists in Colorado music history will rise up to claim their place – in Colorado Blues PT3 – Rising Stars and Future Promise.

To learn more about the blues in Colorado visit the Colorado Blues Society and Mile High Blues Society.

CP S16 EP23 2022

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

July 4, 2022 – Happy JULY 4th! We rolled in yesterday, just in time for me to compile this past week’s TOP 5 Colorado music spins. I’ll post up the June TOP 30 tomorrow.

Well, here I thought the Lumineers would drop off the TOP 5 for the week – but noooooo … they reappeared. Wouldn’t be surprised if they hang around another month or two. In the meantime, Alysia Kraft takes #1 away from Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats .. and Ryan Chrys & the Roughcuts move up to #3.

Don’t forget – your feedback in the MMMM below goes a long way to keeping songs in my rotation, and in what gets nominated for BEST of 2022 .. so please vote.

TOP 5 #COMUSIC WK END 7/02/22

Spin data pulled from the Colorado Playlist105.5 The Colorado SoundIndie 102.3, 88.9 KRFC  and ten other stations that use playlist generator Spinitron, designed to benefit community/public and college radio stations and offering advanced search functions for artists and agents.

  1. ALYSIA KRAFT – First Light LP
  2. NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHTSWEATS – The Future LP
  3. RYAN CHRYS & THE ROUGHCUTS – Tears and Blades LP
  4. DAVID STARR – Touchstones LP
  5. THE LUMINEERSBrightside LP

MONDAY MORNING MUSIC MEETING (MMMM)

I designed the Monday Morning Music Meeting (MMMM) as a way for you to let me know what you think of new music emerging from around the state. Results enter into which cuts stay in rotation, and which cuts make the final “best of” list.

HOUR 1

Arthur Gee Plain Talk – The Tumbleweed Records Story 1971 – 1973 (2017)
(D) Tyler Grant Guitars and Trains – Tryin’ To Have A Good Time (2022)

Gasoline LollipopsLady Liberty (radio edit) – All the Misery Money Can Buy (2020)
Float Like a Buffalo The Day – Back From Nowhere (2019)
Wellington BullingsFlame (2022)
Everybody Loves an OutlawStill Waiting (2022)
Carolyn’s Mother – Smile – Joy (1999)
My Body Sings ElectricStep Into The Light – Changing Color (2011)
(D) Mojomama Point of View – We Are One (2022)

ChurchillChange – Change EP (2012)
Blakk Mantra Choose Your High (2021)
Art LandeAll At Twice – Resist the Eel Panda (2020)

HOUR 2

Danny HolienColorado – The Tumbleweed Records Story 1971 – 1973 (2017)
(D) Edie CareyThe Chain – The Veil (2022)

Jack HadleyMy People – Daybreak IN Alabama: The Langston Huhges Project (2020)
The LumineersGloria – III (2019)
Zoe BermanSomething Better – Freezing Heat EP (2022)
Trash CatThe Only Person That I Like – The Tide (2022)
Born In The Flood Another night, another place – If this thing should spill (2007)
Acoustic JunctionStrange Days – Strange Days (2000)
(D) Cody Qualls Good Vibes (2022)

The Still TideChange of Address – Between Skies (2019)
Eddie Turner Dignify Me – Change In Me (2021)
2b3 Etched in Stone – Jimi (2021)

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CP S12 EP27 2018

Another week and another weekend of live music in Northern Colorado.  The main event this weekend was a benefit for Women In Blues held at the Armory Event Center in Brighton.

Event organizer Kyle Deibler (Memphis West Music) filled me in that W.I.B. is an aspiring national level non-profit (501C3) organization. Colorado women in blues owned the sparsely attended event from the first act on.

Unfortunately, I was not able to stay to see the non-Colorado talent headlining the bill, due to a scheduled show with my own band.

The biggest surprise of the day was a revamped Kerry Pastine & the Crime Scene.  Gone are Lance “Romance” Bakermeyer (bass) and Mad Dog Minnick (drums/vocals), who have gone back to the Hillbilly Hellcats with Chuch Hughes.

Lance and Mad Dog provided equal parts of the look, vibe and style to the original Crime Scene lineup – giving the band a unified and uniformed look and sound on stage – matching Kerry AND Pauly Six in performance intensity and style.  Wearing beards, caps, dark glasses and black shirts, the matching colorful fashion statement gone, a potentially darker and deadlier groove may be what we’ll get moving forward from the new rhythm section.

KPCS has a new album dropping very soon – I premiered a new track from the album (a Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood cover featuring Jim Dalton of the Railbenders) in the show this week .. it’s below in the MMMM.

Fresh off her album release show at the Walnut Room in Denver, Cass Clayton opened the show.  She and her airtight band showed considered homage to her obvious influences, that include Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt.

The Crime Scene and Cass Clayton Band were not the only ones appearing with new releases in hand.  Colorado Blues Society 2018 Band Champion, Mojomama, recently released their latest called Red, White and Blues.  Happily for me they included my favorite track on the album, Lazy RiverEef & the Blues Express rounded out the show, showcasing her formidable guitar chops, alongside the Colorado Blues Society 2018 solo/duo Champion Scott Hackler on keys.

The Brighton Armory is an exquisite small venue in our region capable of seating 300, or providing standing room only for 500.  They’ve been adding more and more shows there, produced either by the city of Brighton under the management of Gary Montoya or by independent promoters.

The sound system is more than adequate for the room, and stands out as among the best in the region – equaling those at venues such as the Armory in Fort Collins or the Boulder Theater or the Mishawaka Amphitheatre.  One criticism from me is that the room clearly needs additional baffling and sound absorption panels to knock down the boominess of a near empty room.

In a city that lacks even ONE non-public venue dedicated to live music, the Armory is a wonderful place to catch upcoming shows from the likes of popular regional acts like FACE Vocal Band, or national country acts like John Anderson (coming Oct 28) … and is EASILY accessible to Denver, Thornton, and other north metro communities.


VIDEO PICK OF THE WEEK

Every once in a while a new artist appears, seemingly out of nowhere.  I cannot even begin to say where or how I heard of Jackson Emmer from Carbondale.  He’s been getting mad praise from the likes of No Depression, POPMATTERS and Rolling Stone, which wrote “Americana songwriters are a dime a dozen these days, but few are writing songs like Jackson Emmer.”

At Bohemian Foundation, our focus is on building community …by coming together to create and enjoy music.


MONDAY MORNING MUSIC MEETING

What you’ll find below are new songs on the show this week … listen  and let me know which ones you think I should keep in the Colorado Playlist, and which I should delete.

NOTE:  In order to be included in the MMMM poll, the band/artist must have an embeddable file on Soundcloud, BandCamp, Reverbnation or YouTube.

PLAYLIST S12 EP27

(D) = debut of lp, ep or single
(N) = new cut from previously debuted lp or ep

HOUR 1

The Moonrakers “I’m All Right” from Anthology (2007)
Astronauts “Little Ford Ragtop” from Competition Coupe/Astronauts Orbit Kampus (1964)
(D) Jackson Emmer “Don’t Leave Me Blue” from Jukebox (2018)

Monocle Band “Sad-Eyed Girl” from The Clearing (2017)
Chris Daniels & the Kings “Joy” from Funky To the Bone (2015)
(D) Darren Garvey “First of the Year” from Heart Attack Sleeves EP (2018) 
Voodoo Kings “Eyes on You” from Faith & Whiskey (2018)
Churchill “Made a List” from Change EP (2012)
Fierce Bad Rabbit “Time Machine” from Maestro & the Elephant (2013)
The SIR Band “Wading” from So Cold (2018)
(D) Kerry Pastine & the Crime Scene “Summer Wine (feat. Jim Dalton)” from I Make My Own Luck (2018)  
Patti Fiasco “Blue Eyed West” from Saved By Rock And Roll (2016)
Big Head Todd & The Monsters “Glow” from New World Arisin’ (2017)
Paa Kow “African lady” from Cookpot (2017)

HOUR 2

Poco “You Better Think Twice” from Deliverin’ (1971)
Rick Roberts “She Made Me Lose My Blues” from Windmills / She is a Song (2010)
(D) Gregory Alan Isakov “Chemicals” from Evening Machines (2018)

Kyle Emerson “Post-Egomania” from Dorothy Alice (2017)
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats “Thank you” from Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (2015)
(D) Dierks Bentley “The Mountain” from The Mountain (2018)

The Railbenders “Hard Road” from The Medicine Show (2018)
SHEL “The Latest And Greatest Blueberry Rubberband” from SHEL (2012)
Paul Galaxy & the Galatix “White Train” from Slingshot (2004)
Francis and the Wolf “Call of the Wild” from Ladies & Gentlemen (2017)
(N) Blake Brown & American Dust Choir “Up In Arms” from Long Way Home (2018) 
Pan Astral “Gulf of Mexico” from Suburban Blues (2016)
Rose Hill Drive “Broken by the Storm” from Mania (2017)
Paul Mullikin Quintet “Minor Profits” from TIME IS NOW (2014)

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