1998 Articles

by Tim Van Schmidt


Put on the new album by seminal power-punk band All, “Mass Nerder” on Epitaph Records, and it becomes clear what it is that makes this band tick- unflagging, unbridled energy.

“Mass Nerder” begins with a barrage of guitar and driving drums and never loses its frenetic pace through the course of16 tracks. It’s like downing a double shot of espresso and then joining a high-speed car race. And it’s all by design.

“For us, 99.9 per cent of the game is energy. In fact we made it a priority on the new record,” said drummer Bill Stevenson recently.

The band comes by its energetic music naturally, not only from songwriting by all four members of the group, but also from the audiences the band has played for on one of their many far-ranging tours.

“We get an awful lot of energy back from the people who come out to see us. It keeps us interested in making more of it, not less. It has a multiplier effect to it,” Stevenson said.

Of course, there’s more to All’s music than just the energy. Within a framework of quick, electricity and rhythm-laced pop songs, are catchy, dramatic melodies and lyrics that challenge the listener with a streetwise honesty. In All’s world, there isn’t room or time for slackers. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t romance or distraction as the band sings just as easily about relationships as about the condition of the world.

Add up energy, melody and honesty and you have the elements that have kept All at the forefront of the independent punk scene for more than a decade. Since recording their first album, “Allroy Sez,” in 1988, All has released nine more albums and has also established a reputation for recording other bands in their handmade Fort Collins recording studio, the Blasting Room.

“Bands come from all over the place in the US, as well as from places like Holland and Japan,” Stevenson said. “It started out as a hobby and it became a business. I think it’s become successful because our intentions were pure when we started- we didn’t want to make millions of dollars, we just wanted to make good records. I guess our reputation preceded us.”

All has its roots in the burgeoning punk scene in Los Angeles in the 1980’s. Stevenson was the founding member of the Descendents, whose quintessential punk album, “Milo Goes To College,” established the group as an influential force sticking up for “the little guy.” During a hiatus for the Descendents, Stevenson also drummed for Black Flag, one of hardcore punk’s most important bands, featuring Greg Ginn and young vocalist Henry Rollins.

All was then formed when the Descendents broke up in 1987. After a brief move to Brookfield, MO, the group relocated to Fort Collins in 1994 to build the Blasting Room and to set up their “world headquarters.” They have since collected a mailing list of more than 25,000 fans and still tour constantly. They also keep up that high level of energy that audiences have come to expect.

“We’re old farts by punk rock standards, but really I think this new record has some of the best playing we’ve ever done,” Stevenson said.

All, which also features Karl Alvarez on bass, Stephen Egerton on guitar and Chad Price on vocals, will be at the Starlight tonight.

Bob Purcell: The end of the trail is coming up soon for Bob Purcell and the Outriders. The popular regional country band will be calling it quits as a performing unit after completing only a few more dates. After ten years of playing together, the group still features original members Bob Purcell, Jim MacDonald, Jeff Bidwell and Ron Steockel, and they will be retiring from performing in order to concentrate on recording.

Bob Purcell and the Outriders have shared the stage with such artists as Suzy Boggus and Asleep At the Wheel and will be releasing a new album of original music, titled “Just A Whisper.” The band’s last appearance is scheduled for the Gambler in Greeley on June 27. You can also see them at the Sundance Saloon tonight and on Saturday. They are also booked for dates at the Sundance on June 17-20.

Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie’s life has been one long adventure.

From being a counter culture icon to concerned citizen activist; a troubadour to an actor; a spiritual seeker to a business man, Guthrie has lived fully and inspired millions with his work.

But, of course, all of this is hardly over.

When Guthrie takes the stage at the Lincoln Center on Sunday, he brings with him the vigor of an artist who not only has a long and creative career under his belt, but who also still likes to tell a good yarn and make people feel good with his music.

That has always been Guthrie’s main strength- the very human stories and emotions that come out of the songs he delivers with warm looseness. Who better than the son of legendary folk songwriter Woody Guthrie to craft a musical style that has ended up touching people of all ages?

It was Guthrie’s song “Alice’s Restaurant,” a rambling story of hippies, police and the military in 1967, that established his good-natured take on writing and performing. The song has since served him well by opening up the doors for a series of albums- including “Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys,” “Amigo,” and “Outlasting the Blues”-that showed the depth of his understanding of American musical traditions and his friendly personality.

Maybe Guthrie has remained a strong and respected artist because he has come to live the kind of social idealism that has often been expressed through his music. Guthrie is the founder of the Guthrie Center, a not-for-profit inter-faith church foundation designed to meet local community needs and the Guthrie Foundation, another not-for-profit organization concerned with environmental, education and health issues.

But more likely it’s because the music is just in his blood. And Guthrie’s co-production work with his son Abe on his “Mystic Journey” album and his many performances with the rest of his family on tour and on radio makes it clear that Guthrie is passing that kind of heritage on to another generation.

Whatever the reason, however, Guthrie remains “America’s favorite troubadour” by sharing his music with a long lasting charm and style. That means that Guthrie’s adventures can only continue to provoke thought and entertain.

Daniel Market: Singer-songwriter Daniel Market is another troubadour who likes to tell stories and paint pictures with his lyrics.

Market is a native of Indiana and his most recent album, “Afraid of What I Wear,” was recorded in Nashville, revealing a keen sense of writing. But Market’s songs come from the world of the common man. They’re written in diners, about “superstores” and Laundromats, and about old instruments and times gone by.

Within that landscape, however, Market takes the time to play with the words and question ideas. His lyrics become finely crafted meditations on love and life, all told with a wise insiders view and a poet’s flair.

“Afraid of What I Wear” is Market’s third album release and represents only a handful of his more than 100 original songs. Market will be showcasing tunes from his new recordings on Saturday at Avogadro’s Number.

Hot dates: Tonight, Loveland singer-songwriter Barbara Rose will be playing the “Musique chez Bas Bleu” series at the Bas Bleu Theatre.

On Saturday, the Sno-Core Tour brings Primus, the Long Beach Dub All-Stars, the Aquabats and Blink 182 to the Mammoth Events Center in Denver, TR3 is at the Aggie Theater, and Texas guitar slinger Ian Moore is at the New York Cafe.

Also on Saturday, the Mark Sloniker Group and Our Mothers’ Daughters will be at the Rialto Theater in Loveland, Celtic women’s music group Cherish the Ladies will be featured at the Mile High Hooley at the Temple Events Center in Denver, and Lord of Word and the Disciples of Bass will be at the Starlight.

On Sunday, Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai will be giving a solo performance at the Temple Events Center. Rap pioneers the Sugar Hill Gang will be at the Aggie on Tuesday. And Jupiter Coyote is at the Aggie on Thursday.

Celeste Krenz

She doesn’t quite know what it is about a song that grabs her, but when Denver-based singer-songwriter Celeste Krenz hears one that’s just right for her, she knows it.

For example, Krenz knew she wanted to record Fort Collins keyboardist John Magnie’s song, “Like A Ghost,” the first time she heard it- even before the demo recording was done playing.

“I knew I wanted to sing that song even before I knew what he was talking about,” Krenz said recently. “I don’t know what it was, but I felt an immediate connection to it and that I would have no problem making it meaningful.”

That’s the theme of Krenz’s new independent album release, “Wishin'”- songs that are meaningful and reach deep into adult issues and emotions. The new recordings take a departure from the “new country” format of Krenz’s previous work for a more intimate, soothing approach. It’s mature music for an audience that may be looking for more than just the latest love song.

“There are a lot of songs about the first stage of love-like ‘ooh baby, I love you,’- but I’m not at that stage anymore,” Krenz said. “I’m at a stage where I’m trying to make the relationship last and to keep love fresh and alive. Most of the people I know are either married or divorced and none of us are 17 years old anymore.”

From Magnie’s “Like A Ghost” and “If Wishin’ Made It So”to Iris Dement’s “When Love Was Young,” along with Krenz’s own compositions and collaborations with others such as singer Mollie O’Brien and Krenz’s husband, guitarist and producer Bob Tyler, the songs make a gentle and easy-listening journey into the heart of human relationships.

“These are songs that didn’t quite fit into the format we were writing for in the past, but during the shows, they’re always the ones that seem to reach the audience and they’re the songs people ask about the most afterwards,” Krenz said.

Krenz will be celebrating the release of “Wishin'” at the Rialto Theater in Loveland tonight. Magnie as well as other musicians playing on the album, including percussionist Steve Amedee and bassist Rich Moore, will be joining Krenz at the Rialto and at a show at the Boulder Theatre on Thursday.

Michelle Cross: Classically-trained keyboardist Michelle Cross turned to contemporary musicians such as pianist George Winston and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell for inspiration when a succession of piano teachers and the technicalities of classical music left her unsatisfied. As a result, Cross has crafted an emotional and expressive original music. The keyboards softly roll and swell like Winston’s playing style and Cross’ voice is pure and smooth like Mitchell’s. Meanwhile, Cross’ lyrics tell stories filled with vivid characters and their lives.

From the Chicago area, Cross released her first independent recordings in 1993 and became a popular solo performer in area coffee shops. After a stretch of writing in San Diego in the summer of 1995, Cross returned to Chicago, joined a band, became the front person and performed at area nightclubs. By 1997, Cross decided to play solo again and began recording her most recent album project with guitarist and producer Joe Cramer, titled “My Name is not Cinderella,” which is due for release this month. Cross will be performing at Avogadro’s Number tonight.

G. Love: It’s hard to tell what it is that makes the music of G. Love and Special Sauce work so well on their recent release on Okeh-Epic Records, “Yeah, It’s That Easy.”It could be the funky grooves that fall somewhere between hip hop and a rollicking urban blues. Or maybe it’s G. Love’s flat, smooth vocals. It could also be the soul-drenched style of the songs, the sassy lyrics, or even the spicy Hammond organ playing by special guest Dr. John. It becomes obvious- it’s all this stuff swirled together into one hot, kinetic party music. For a real good time, check out G. Love and Special Sauce at the Starlight on Thursday.

Howard Levy: Harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy has appeared on more than one hundred albums, won a Grammy and appeared on the Tonight Show six times. Add that to being a pivotal member of the groundbreaking contemporary jazz group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones as well as plenty of Hollywood soundtrack work and touring with musicians such as Kenny Loggins, Ken Nordine and Dolly Parton, and you are starting to get the picture of this musician’s status. Levy will be joining bass maestro Kai Eckhardt, known for his work with John McLaughlin and Al DiMeola, and Boulder tabla player Ty Burhoe at the Cameron Church in Denver on Saturday and at Boulder High School on Sunday.


Summer is almost here and that means plenty of great outdoor activities to choose from, including concerts under the stars, at lunchtime, by the river and more.

The Concerts Under the Stars series, presenting free performances in Old Town Square each week, gets under way on Thursday, June 4 with one of Fort Collins’ favorite local bands, Kenny Cordova & the Olde Rock Band. Taking a fresh and lively approach to the traditional sounds of rock and roll, Cordova and band make the music of Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Little Richard come alive. The group was voted “Best Local Band” in 1997 in the Coloradoan’s Best of Fort Collins readers’ poll and they have recently released their first CD, “Under over,” a 13-song collection that plays like an encyclopedia of rock and roll styles.

Mark Sloniker and the Abyssinian Church Choir will be opening the Lincoln Center’s “Out to Lunch” concert series on June 19. Sloniker, of course, is also one of Fort Collins’ favorite musicians and is best known for his jazz keyboard music. He’ll be performing a variety of gospel and instrumental songs, however, with the Abyssian Church Choir. Occurring on Fridays throughout the summer, the concert series is held from noon to 1 pm on the Terrace Sculpture Garden stage, and will also feature the Lionel Young Trio on June 26, the Jazz Wailers on July 10, Jubilant Bridge on July 17, and Pete Wernick’s Live Five on July 24.

Also, a summer season would not be complete without a ride up the Poudre Canyon to the Mishawaka Amphitheatre. The1998 Poudre River Concert Series at Mishawaka is already in gear, continuing on June 7 with Diana Castro and the Big Time. There’s plenty more to come though, including dates with Firefall on June 14 and the Liz Barnez Band on June 21. Also coming to Mishawaka will be Commander Cody, the Marshall Tucker Band, Tab Benoit, Leo Kottke, Jerry Jeff Walker and David Grisman.

Kids: Kids can also join in the outdoor concert fun with the 1998 Summer Children’s Series at the Lincoln Center. Scheduled from 11 am to noon on Wednesdays during the summer, the series will feature performances by local and regional acts offering music, storytelling, comedy, theater and more. The series begins on June 24 with Berg & Prince Comedy Theatre Company. With fast-paced physical transitions, Berg &Prince present “glimpses of life with a comic flair, interpreting the world both real and fanciful.” Also scheduled is High, Wide & Handsome on July 1, the Debut Theatre &Company on July 8, award-winning entertainer Ken Lonnquist on July 15, and the Colorado Youth Pipe Band on July 22. Admission is free.

Students looking for something to do indoors this summer can check into the Bas Bleu Theatre Company’s Make Art With an Artist series beginning on June 16 with didgeridoo player and storyteller Paul Taylor. Also in June will be drummer Christine Stevens and creative writer Steve Miles. Specifically geared for ages 8-12, the series occurs on Tuesday mornings, from 9 am to noon and will offer a wide diversity of activities including pottery, wire sculpture, acting, face painting, “stage combat” and much more. Enrollment is limited

Theater: Summer weather also gives theater-lovers a chance to get outside with the Cafe Theatre at CSU. Located in the plaza area just south of the “a” wing of the Clark Building, the Cafe Theatre provides an informal atmosphere, offering a selection of drinks, snacks and deserts before the shows and during intermissions, and light, family-friendly plays. This year’s season begins on June 23 with Curses, Foiled Again! a new script based on melodrama tales complete with familiar “boo and hiss” characters. Also playing will be Table Manners, by popular British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, and Moliere’s classic farce, The Miser.

Dave Beegle

If only guitarist and producer Dave Beegle could put some clones to work.

Not only does Beegle perform in several different formats- in bands and as a solo artist- but he also produces and engineers recording projects for a wide range of regional bands and singer-songwriters. Add in teaching guitar and his own compositional work and you have a demanding creative schedule.

“I don’t sleep much sometimes,” Beegle said recently.

Just look at Beegle’s output. In the last year, he has either produced and/or engineered seven albums for artists as diverse as Loveland singer-songwriter Keith Rosenhagen and wild, frenetic progressive rock band Liquid Playground. He currently has four more projects in the works and when those are completed, Beegle has a project of his own in mind.

“I’m going to be working on an acoustic record. I’ve been talking about it for over a year, but there just hasn’t been much time,” Beegle said. “Half of it will be the more simple solo acoustic music I’ve been playing around with in the last couple of years. The other half is still developing, but it will be part ensemble work- trying to include flamenco and Middle Eastern influences.”

Besides producing and recording, Beegle keeps busy as a performer, playing as a solo act or with various groups presenting very diverse music. The Guitar Rangers, for instance, is a duo act with Rosenhagen, playing original songs and classic rock. An extension of that group is the Jussasicasters, which is a full-fledged dance band.

Beegle’s seminal electric rock band, Fourth Estate, continues to play its innovative and powerful instrumental music on an occasional basis. Also add gigs with the Beegle-Olson-Quist Trio- a group that takes the talents of three accomplished musicians and turns it into a challenging and exotic acoustic-based sound.

The Trio, which is scheduled for a show tonight at Avogadro’s Number, is not only performing together, but also recording together in an effort to “move the art forward.”

“In the process of taking things that we’ve developed onstage apart and orchestrating them for recording, we’re finding out more about what we could sound like with more time. We’ve just barely scratched the surface of what this group can do,” Beegle said.

Besides the Beegle-Olson-Quist gig at Avo’s tonight, Beegle will also be playing a solo show at Avo’s on Friday, January 23, the Guitar Rangers will be at Lucky Joe’s on Wednesday, January 28, and Beegle will be joining regional flamenco great Rene Heredia at the Sunset Night Club on Saturday, January 31.

Leo Kottke: There’s no mistaking that syrupy slide in Leo Kottke’s guitar playing. Between his full-bodied acoustic guitar style and his deep. low-key vocals, Kottke has carved out a unique place in American music without flash or pomp.

Wisely, producer David Z, known for his work with Prince, Fine Young Cannibals and Kenny Wayne Shepard, didn’t try to force Kottke into being particularly flashy on his most recent album on the Private Music label, “Standing in My Shoes.” Funky, yes, especially in the case of Kottke’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s song “World Turning,” but for the most part the record is true to that special groove that Kottke has become a master of- a smooth slide over the guitar strings while keeping a solid beat underneath it all.

“Standing in My Shoes” is Kottke’s 23rd album and he’s celebrating with a new U.S. tour which stops at the Boulder Theater tonight.

Hot dates: Tonight, the Chicago Rhythm and Blues Kings, now featuring guitarist Creighton Holly, are at Linden’s and the Rockhounds are at the County Cork.

On Saturday, Deborah Henson-Conant joins the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra at the Lincoln Center, the Steve Crenshaw Band is at Linden’s and Runaway Express is at the Cameron Church in Denver. Also on Saturday, the Swallow Hill Music Association presents a “Zydeco House Party” with the Zukes of Zydeco at the Mercury Cafe in Denver.

The Psychodelic Zombiez are at the Starlight on Sunday. Tim Wahler and Joe Sparks are at Lucky Joe’s on Wednesday. On Thursday, Mark Van Ark is at the Bar Bazaar and the Johnny O Band is at Linden’s.

Fat Sow

For over 100 Mondays in a row, Fort Collins blues band Fat Sow has kept a local tradition alive. The tradition is called “Blue Monday.” But it’s not a sad event, it’s more like a celebration.

“Some people have the mistaken idea that blues is a sad music,” said Fat Sow harp player and vocalist Rob Wilson. “But you don’t often see people who are watching a blues band playing a good song who aren’t tapping their feet and getting a smile on their face. Blues can be about sad things, but mostly it’s just such a wonderful expression of music.”

“Blue Monday” is a weekly blues gathering that has been occurring in varying Fort Collins venues since 1980. Fat Sow has been hosting Blue Monday at the Bar Bazaar since January 1996 and thanks to the opportunity for such a steady gig, the band has become a better group for the experience.

“We rehearse every Sunday, and then on Monday, we can tryout the new stuff. That kind of cohesion really has helped the band,” Wilson said.

New vocalist Nicole Zentveld has recently been added to the group’s line-up that also includes Chris Jackowski on guitar, Scott Oakland on drums, Ron Wright on keyboards and John Kenslie on bass. The music the band plays is all blues-based, but also reflects each of the individual member’s other musical influences in the way they approach arranging their own original material.

“Rob generally writes lyrics for a 12 bar blues. But since we feel that most of the traditional 12 bar blues songs have been written already, we kind of mess with it. It’s still pretty bluesy, but we might throw in some unusual chord changes just to do something a little bit different,” Kenslie said.

Fat Sow begins each Blue Monday session with an hour band set. Then the rest of the evening is set aside for making music with guest players who range from rank amateurs to experienced area musicians like guitarists Jay Clear and Mark Van Ark. There’s no telling what will happen during the Blue Monday jam session.

“It all depends on who’s there,” Kenslie said. “We let all levels of players perform and sometimes it gets pretty outrageous.”

Fat Sow has recently been in the recording studio, working on their first full-length CD project. Players hoping to jam during Blue Monday are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis on the night of the show.

Louise Taylor: New England singer-songwriter Louise Taylor developed her worldly sense of songwriting on the road-literally. At the age of 16, Taylor left her native Vermont home to become an itinerant musician, laborer and single parent. Now resettled in Vermont, Taylor crafts these real life experiences into songs that are both emotional and evocative.

Taylor’s debut album, “Ruby Shoes,” was produced by Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman and thrust her into the national spotlight in 1996. Her second release, “Ride,” has already earned Taylor rave reviews, extensive airplay and six weeks on the Americana charts.

“Ride” still offers Taylor’s poetic sense of storytelling, lyrically carrying listeners from experiences with the shrimpers of Texas to the street teens of Vermont. But the addition of musicians such as Chris Smither and Kelly Joe Phelps adds a new, fuller sound that helps give texture and groove to Taylor’s already well-crafted material.

The Timberline Music Society will be presenting Taylor in her first Fort Collins appearance at Avogadro’s Number tonight.

Ying Quartet: Three brothers and a sister from Winnetka, Ill. make up the Ying Quartet. The group began playing together while studying at the Eastman School of Music and went on to win the International Cleveland Quartet Competition in 1989. Since then, the quartet has toured extensively in the major cities of North America and in Japan, Germany, England, Estonia and Taiwan. The New York Times praised the Ying Quartet for their “blazing commitment” and they will be continuing the Lilla B Morgan Classical Music Series at the Lincoln Center on Thursday.

Neil Haverstick

Warning: if you’re going to listen to Denver guitarist Neil Haverstick’s new music, you are going to have to be prepared. This is not normal stuff.

You see, most of Western music is written in a 12-tone system, and has been since Bach’s time. Haverstick purposely goes far beyond the 12 tones to introduce music written for 19- and 34-tone system instruments. This produces a sound that bends the ear and stretches the boundaries of the guitar.

“Music based on 12 tones is getting pretty worn out in my opinion,” Haverstick said.”We keep using the same system only because we’ve been told to. There are a lot of other tuning systems, but in the western world, the 12-tone just won out.”

Haverstick has just released “Acoustic Stick,” an album of acoustic 19- and 34-tone music that certainly sounds strange to the ear. Accompanied by percussionist Ernie Crews and bassist John Starrett, Haverstick offers energetic and challenging guitar compositions that purposely seek out and play around in the musical holes usually left by 12-tone music.

“You can get some truly new effects with these tunings,” Haverstick said. “When people first hear this stuff, they think it sounds out of tune. Actually, the 34-tone system is more in tune than the 12. It vibrates more closely to the mathematics of the universe. The 12-tone system is too limited and, really, it’s way out of reality.”

On “Acoustic Stick,” all you have to do is hear the song “Birdwalk,” and you begin to understand that something as basic as a blues song structure becomes fuller and wider thanks to an extra 7 tones. The long Middle-Eastern-flavored tune “From the West” becomes not just exotic, but also completely authentic while making the most out of an extra 22 tones.

“Acoustic Stick” is like a journey to a different country, where everything seems new and unusual at first. Then, after a while, the surroundings start to become familiar and what had once seemed so strange becomes natural. That’s the effect Haverstick’s music has on a growing number of listeners.

“When I first started this, I never thought this would be as accepted as it has been,” Haverstick said. “It’s not as weird as it seems at first.”

Haverstick teaches workshops on his music and the special guitars developed just to play it. Haverstick also produces the annual “Microstock” events in Denver, which showcases other “microtonal” musicians from around the country.

Crews and Starrett will be joining Haverstick for a CD release concert for “Acoustic Stick” at the Houston Fine Arts Center in Denver on Saturday.

Steve Gillette: Since singing duo Ian and Sylvia recorded his song “Darcy Farrow” in 1966, singer-songwriter Steve Gillette has amassed a long list of credits. Artists such as Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers and Tammy Wynette have sung Gillette’s songs, and he has also written material for some other more unusual characters, such as Jiminy Cricket, Dumbo, Rainbow Brite and Winnie the Pooh.

Gillette’s film credits, his recording career- which includes an album produced by Graham Nash- and songwriting credits on other artist’s albums all reflect the long-standing respect Gillette has maintained in the music industry over a 30-year career.

Since marrying singer Cindy Mangsen in 1989, Gillette and Mangsen have been performing and recording together. Gillette also teaches workshops and seminars based on his book “Songwriting and the Creative Process.”

Gillette and Mangsen will performing on Saturday at the Cameron Church in Denver and at Avogadro’s Number on Sunday.

Hot dates: On Friday, Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group- playing originals and songs gleaned from the rich country music heritage of performers such as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family- will be at the Rialto Theater in Loveland. They will also be opening for Gillette and Mangsen at the Cameron Church on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, David Wilcox brings his poignant yet gentle songwriting to the Lincoln Center and the Nylons will be at the Boulder Theater.

Iris Dement will be at the Bluebrid Theater in Denver on Monday.

“Hawkeye” Herman

The blues is more than just music, it’s a tradition-the kind that inspires musicians to take years of their lives to learn. California-based guitarist Michael “Hawkeye” Herman is one of those musicians who has not only learned about the blues, but has worked hard to keep it intact.

In a 30-year music career, Herman has played with and learned blues from greats such as Son House, Brownie McGhee, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Charles Brown. As a sideman and as a solo artist, Herman has toured extensively in the US, Canada and Europe. His live shows are often full of tributes to the classic blues styles of artists such as Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy and Mose Allison and his original songs echo those styles with rootsy, down-to-earth lyrics and fluid guitar accompaniment. In between songs, Herman educates his audiences with anecdotes about an art form he calls the “watershed of American music.”

Herman’s recordings have been included on several CD compilations of blues and folk. His most recent album release, “Blues Alive!”, was recorded in Fort Collins at the Bas Bleu Theatre and garnered rave reviews from national blues publications.

For his efforts, Herman has just recently been honored with the Blues Foundation’s 1998 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award as part of the annual Handy Awards weekend in Memphis, TN. The award recognizes Herman’s achievements in blues education through his “Blues in the Schools Program” but also spotlights a musician who believes that “blues is the real deal.” Herman will be performing in Fort Collins on Saturday at Avogadro’s Number. He will also be teaching a guitar workshop at Osprey Guitars on Sunday.

Daddy Rab: If you combined all the years of experience the three members of Fort Collins-based rock band Daddy Rab have put into music, the number would total over 75. Guitarist Brandon Roeder is a Fort Collins native and has played with jazz great Stan Kenton. Bassist Eric Sunness is from New York and has jammed with members of Toto. From South Carolina, drummer Keith Byers has interacted with members of Chicago and the Scorpions.

Together as Daddy Rab, the group creates an energetic good-time music that makes the most of a wide diversity of talent. All three members of the band write songs and all three take on both lead and back-up vocal chores. During a typical set, the musicians will also switch off and play each other’s instruments while maintaining a stage show complete with special effect lighting.

Original songs such as “Same Old Addiction” and “Simple Life” are rock-based, but Daddy Rab also plays blues, reggae, alternative and country. Thanks to the group’s versatility, they have become popular area performers, playing everything from private gigs to featured slots at the New WestFest. Daddy Rab is scheduled for tonight at the County Cork and on Saturday at Archer’s.

Fopeano and Sabatella: Jazz fans will be gathering this weekend for the annual Estes Park Jazz Festival. Fort Collins vocalist Wendy Fopeano and keyboardist Marc Sabatella will be featured on Sunday, and they will be bringing with them not only a rhythm section made up of bassist Dwight Kilian and drummer Paul Romaine, but also some brand new music.

Fopeano and Sabatella have been performing together for the last six months and have recently been writing original songs to include in sets also featuring other Sabatella compositions as well as a selection of jazz standards. Sabatella has also been working on new music with trumpeter Hugh Ragin for recording sessions in New York in June.

Fopeano and the Marc Sabatella Trio are scheduled to perform on Sunday at 1:30 pm. The Estes Park Jazz Festival will also be hosting bands throughout the rest of Sunday and on Saturday. Events occur in downtown Estes Park.

Samples: Contrary to popular belief, the Samples, one of Colorado’s best known pop-rock bands, did not break up. Yes, there were some line-up changes, but vocalist and songwriter Sean Kelly has not only kept the band together, but they are busy writing a new chapter to the group’s history.

Last year’s What Are Records? release, “Transmissions from the Sea of Tranquility,” was a live recording that proved the Samples were still a working unit out on the road. But now, the band is in the studio putting the finishing touches on their first studio album together since the line-up changes. The album is titled “Here and Somewhere Else” and is scheduled for release in July. Meanwhile, the Samples will be returning to the Starlight on Saturday.

Hot To Go

Fort Collins dance band Hot To Go doesn’t mind being “rhythmically challenged.” In fact, that is one of the band’s goals when it is either writing or choosing material for its live shows.

“We play primarily dance music and the material that fits us best is that which is the most challenging rhythmically,” said songwriter and guitarist Bob Djokovich.

This is why a Hot To Go set will not only feature original R & B flavored tunes, but also songs by a wide diversity of artists ranging from Aretha Franklin and Little Feat to Steely Dan and the Talking Heads.

But Hot To Go, which also features vocalist Colleen Crosson, drummer Oscar DeZoto, bassist Barb Jones and keyboardist Ken Stockton, offers more than just a good beat. There’s also a strong vocal factor to contend with in the band’s make-up.

“One of the main characteristics of our group is a lot of vocal harmonies. Sometimes, we’ve got four harmonies filling in behind the lead singer and it’s a real challenge to find your part,” Stockton said.

Fortunately, all of the musicians in Hot To Go are area music veterans and are up to the rhythmic and vocal challenges the band meets with a fresh enthusiasm.

“The energy is good, the harmonies are great and we love the variety of the music we play. It’s fun to sing and the audiences seem to love it,” Crosson said.

Hot To Go will be playing tonight at the County Cork, which has established itself as a regular venue for music that crosses over the lines between rock, R & B and folk rock. Every Saturday, the County Cork also hosts an acoustic music open stage, featuring singer-songwriting duo Hendercroft.

Dub Syndicate: From helping create the dancehall reggae sound with the band Roots Radics to turning dub into a multi-textured art with his solo project, Dub Syndicate, drummer Style Scott has been at the forefront of contemporary reggae for nearly two decades. Jamaican-born, Scott has pioneered new territory for reggae dance music with vocalists such as Gregory Issacs and Eek-A-Mouse, and without.

The new Dub Syndicate release is “Fear of a Green Planet,” on Shanachie Records, and shows what the “masters of21st Century dub” can do. That is, lay down a bed of compelling rhythm tracks and then create a mesmerizing swirl of vocals and sound effects on top of it all. Scott and the Dub Syndicate make an atmospheric rhythm music custom designed to dreamily weave in and out of listeners’ consciousness. Dub Syndicate will be at the Starlight on Sunday.

Lord of Word: After years of funky grooves, blasting horns and heavy raps, Lord of Word and the Disciples of Bass are breaking up. The Colorado band helped energize the regional scene with a full horn section and music that skillfully balanced hip hop, funk, soul and jazz. The group’s final show is scheduled for Thursday at the Fox Theatre in Boulder.

Also at the Fox, see English art-groove band Morcheeba on Monday. The group has just recently produced nine tracks for David Byrne’s new album and they count Drew Barrymore, Val Kilmer and Ozzy Orbourne as “huge fans of the band.”

Insane Clown Posse: Their shows are considered “thematic riots” as the Insane Clown Posse spread comic-book prophesies of evil with Halloween-style theatrics. Rappers Violent Jand Shaggy 2 Dope have become self-proclaimed “ministers of the street,” creating their own mythology called the Dark Carnival and bringing with them horrific stage settings and a reputation for showering their audiences with gallons of soda.

Originally the Inner City Posse, the group started in 1989in Detroit, but splintered when the band’s first album, “Dog Beats,” attracted gang violence and vandalism. Left to themselves, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope had their first” epiphany of the Dark Carnival,” donned rubber noses and lots of make-up and became the Insane Clown Posse. Since then, other artists, such as Alice Cooper, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and Slash of Guns ‘n’ Roses, have lined up to record with the group and join in the band’s irreverent, nightmare spirit.

The Insane Clown Posse will bring the Dark Carnival to the Aggie Theater on Tuesday. Also at the Aggie this week is Zulu Spear, melding township music of their South African homeland with American rock ‘n’ roll and R & B.

Jazz is Dead

The legendary San Francisco band the Grateful Dead will be remembered for creating an earthy fusion of American musical styles that included bluegrass, folk, blues, Motown and rock ‘n’ roll.

But more importantly, the Grateful Dead took their music on the road with an unusually creative approach. With abroad musical palette, a taste for long performances and a willingness to experiment with how their concert sets were constructed, the band made each show a unique experience. As a result, the Grateful Dead overcame “mediocre” record sales to become the highest grossing concert attraction in rock ‘n’ roll touring history.

Part of the Grateful Dead’s legacy is the inspired improvisation that would inevitably occur during their concerts. Often, the band would weave instrumental segues in between vocal songs, or take instrumental breaks during the songs, traveling into unexpected musical territory for a music of the moment. That’s the jumping off point for the “Jazz is Dead” tour featuring an all-star line-up of jazz and rock musicians playing hand-picked music of the Grateful Dead, custom-made for musical exploration.

The band includes drummer Billy Cobham, best known for his work with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, guitarist Jimmy Herring, from the Aquarium Rescue Unit, bassist Alphonso Johnson, of Weather Report, and keyboardist T Lavitz, from the Dixie Dregs and Widespread Panic. The group plays Grateful Dead songs such as “Blues for Allah,” “Dark Star,” and “Eyes of the World.”

From there, however, the musical heading is “unknown”-just like the wildest moments of a classic Grateful Dead show. The group promises “inspired improvisation and new discovery” and will be appearing at the Aggie Theater on Tuesday.

Carrie Newcomer: On her latest Philo Records release, “My True Name,” singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer makes a world-wise and rootsy music. Steeped in the traditions of rock, country and gospel, Newcomer’s songs define moments of personal clarity and emotion with carefully-crafted writing and a rich, deep voice.

The worldly nature of Newcomer’s music comes from real experiences- from being a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Ricato being a single mother, a truck-stop waitress and a van decorator. She has also owned her own record company and put220,000 miles on her car, traveling the country and establishing a solid fan-base for her original music.

Since signing with Rounder Records in 1994, Newcomer has released five albums. “My True Name” was recorded in her hometown of Bloomington, Indiana and fits easily into the progressive acoustic country genre pioneered by artists such as Rosanne Cash and Lyle Lovett. Newcomer’s music, however, depends less on glossy production and slick arrangements and more on her spirited delivery and intimate song-writing style.

Newcomer recently has toured both the US and Europe with Alison Kraus and Union Station and will be at the Sunset Night Club on Saturday. Special guests will be the Mudheads, featuring Colorado musicians Liz Barnez, Pamela Robinson and Greg Long.

Funky Meters: They became the “funky Meters” in 1994, but the history of this prime New Orleans band stretches back decades. Keyboardist Art Neville formed the Meters in 1967 with bassist George Porter Jr, drummer Zigaboo Modeliste and guitarist Leo Nocentelli, and went on to not only rule the New Orleans music scene, but also to record top ten R & B hits like “Sophisticated Cissy.” The Meters also became studio musician favorites and recorded with Dr. John, Robert Palmer and Paul McCartney, as well as earned an excellent reputation as a live band, touring with the likes of the Rolling Stones.

Following a ten year hiatus, the Meters reformed in 1989.Drummer Russell Batiste replaced Modeliste, and when Nocentelli left in 1994, Neville Brothers guitarist Brian Stoltz joined to keep the Meters funky grooves alive. Now officially the “funky Meters,” the group is one of the country’s hottest club bands and will be at the Aggie Theater on Thursday.

Upsidasium!: Light, energetic and pleasantly melodic, the music of Denver-based trio Upsidasium! is uplifting and satisfying. On their recent release, “Falling Up,” the group combines elements of classical, folk and new age music with jazz and blues in an eclectic, upbeat production. Featuring Scott Bennett on guitar, Gordon Burt on violin and Deborah Schmit-Lobis on piano, Upsidasium! will be performing at Unity of Fort Collins tonight.

John Gorka

The title of singer-songwriter John Gorka’s new High Street Records release, “Between Five and Seven,” does not just refer to the fact that this is Gorka’s sixth album release. It also refers to the scientific theory that the average person has between five and seven dreams a night.

That seems to be what is affecting the people in Gorka’s songs- a wealth of dreams that are difficult to make come true. In the twelve songs on “Between Five and Seven,” Gorka paints a rich portrait of rootless and confused Americans, caught up in the incongruities between what they feel inside and what really happens.

Gorka finds inspiration in this because despite the imbalance between dreams and reality, the characters continue to move on to do the best they can with what they’ve got. Gorka reveals his sympathies for their struggles with his wry personal tone and deep, resonating music.

To tell these stories, Gorka enlisted some expert help, including fretless bass virtuoso Michael Manring, acoustic guitarist Dean McGraw (recent winner of the NAIRD instrumentalist of the year award,) vocalist Jennifer Kimball, and the members of Mary-Chapin Carpenter’s band, including Carpenter’s longtime collaborator and producer John Jennings. The album was recorded in only three, two-day sessions but like all of Gorka’s work, it sounds mature and finely crafted.

“Between Five and Seven” continues Gorka’s reputation as a progressive artist, pushing the singer-songwriter genre into new territory while dealing with some of humanity’s timeless problems- like figuring out what to do with too many dreams. Gorka will be returning to Fort Collins for a show at the Sunset Night Club on Sunday.

Fat Mama: It takes no time at all for the new jazz fusion of Colorado-based band Fat Mama to get revved up on their 1997 album “Mamatus.” The record starts with a blast of horns, picks up a driving rhythm and then spins off into a jamming groove that seems to last for the rest of the record. There’s a minimum of vocals on “Mamatus” and plenty of instrumental wildness- from waves of rolling keyboard chords to honking saxophones and dead-on percussion. Weaving together influences including Miles Davis, Sun Ra and Frank Zappa, Fat Mama has created an original music that has garnered them gigs at places like New York City’s Knitting Factory and with progressive music notables like John Zorn. Fat Mama will be at the Aggie Theater tonight.

Deborah Henson-Conant: National Public Radio said it best when they described harpist and composer Deborah Henson-Conantas “the talented love-child of Andre Previn and Lucille Ball.”As a performer, Henson-Conant skillfully balances Previn’s refined musical sensitivity with Ball’s madcap, frenetic energy for a stage show that is both captivating and wildly entertaining.

Henson-Conant has appeared on NBC Today and CBS Sunday Morning, toured as a guest artist with the Boston Pops Esplande Orchestra, and taught master classes in such venues as the Paris Conservatory. Her birthday song, “Congratulations! You Made It This Far!” was also recently released as a CD-single in a greeting card. Henson-Conant will be performing a solo concert at the Rialto Theater Center in Loveland tonight.

Steve Eulberg: Award-winning songwriter and instrumentalist Steve Eulberg has seen the power of music work up close. As a pastor of an inner city church in Kansas City, Missouri, he found that music became the “primary organizing tool” in bringing together a diverse congregation made up of African-Americans, Latinos and European Americans.

Eulberg still uses music to provide “musical leadership” for retreats with people of all ages, but he also performs, playing a wide variety of acoustic music while accompanying himself on guitar, hammered and mountain dulcimers, mandolin and piano. Eulberg is scheduled to play Casa de los Amigos on Saturday and will be a featured “Noontime Notes” performer in Oak Street Plaza on July 28.

Laborfest: Texas singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker is bringing his annual Laborfest show to the Mishawaka Ampitheatre on September 5 and 6. Just announced in Walker’s nationally distributed newsletter, the Rocky Mountain Laborfest will not only feature Walker and his Gonzo Compadres, but also Todd Snider and Jack Ingram. Denver Radio personality Michael Floorwax will emcee the event. The Laborfest crowns a summer season at Mishawaka that begins this Sunday with Brethren Fast.

Keith Erskine

Multi-instrumentalist Keith Erskine was inspired by a master.

While living in California, he happened to go to a concert by Ali Akbar Khan, India’s master of the sarod, and was awe-struck with what he heard.

“It was a magical event,” Erskine said. “I knew that if I ever got the chance to pick up a sarod, I would.”

Luck was with the long-time classical, rock and jazz guitarist. Not only did Erskine find a sarod- a medium-sized instrument with multiple layers of tuned strings and a metal playing board- but he also found a sitar.

The sitar is a long, large and graceful instrument with fretted playing areas exciting sympathetic vibrations in other strings. Both instruments came to Erskine thanks to a friend who went to India to buy instruments for himself.

“He was a Beatles nut and because of what they did with the sitar in their music, he had always wanted to have one. He bought two sitars and a sarod. When he got back he decided to get rid of one of the sitars, which I snapped up. Eventually he decided to give up the sarod, too” Erskine said.

Erskine’s luck held and he received his first sarod lesson from another Indian master, Amjad Ali Khan.

“He’s one of the best in the world. He’s a millionaire and very famous in India. It was amazing that he would take the time to work with an absolute beginner,” Erskine said.

Playing sarod and sitar means learning brand new things about music- like new scales, new time signatures and a new language. The “tala,” for instance, is the rhythm cycle in the “raga,” a particular composition form. The “sam” is the downbeat.

Everything about the Hindustani music that he has learned, in fact, is completely different from Erskine’s training as a guitarist from North America.

“If you play in the proper style, the music is not at all related to playing guitar in the western traditions,” Erskine said. “It’s a whole new challenge.”

Erskine is currently entertaining diners at the Star of India Restaurant with sarod, sitar and classical guitar instrumental music on Fridays. Erskine is also currently working on a CD scheduled for release this summer.

Radiators: New Orleans rock, rhythm and soul favorites the Radiators have just celebrated their 20th anniversary as a band in style- by releasing a brand new live album on the brand new High Sierra Records label. The album, “Live at the Great American Music Hall,” was recorded last September during a sold-out, four-night stand at the famous San Francisco venue and features mostly previously unreleased songs. Of course the Radiators are following up with plenty of live dates including a show on Sunday at the Starlight.

Rialto: The Rialto Theater Center in Loveland is celebrating their second anniversary with two shows by “sizzlin’ hot” rhythm and rock band After the Fire.

With 17 members, a wall of sound and a set list drawn up from the classics of rock and soul, After the Fire delivers a fully powerful and danceable music. The group donates its performance time to benefit community causes and will be performing at the Rialto tonight and on Saturday.

Hot dates: Tonight, Daddy Rab is at the County Cork and the Starlight will be celebrating reggae legend Bob Marley with a special “Bob Marley Birthday” show.

On Tuesday, 18-year-old slide guitar phenomenon Derek Trucks brings his band to the Front Range area for three dates, starting at Herman’s Hideaway. Trucks, nephew to Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks, will be at the Fox Theatre in Boulder on Wednesday and at the Starlight in Fort Collins on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, Fat Sow is at Linden’s and Mission 19 is at the New York Cafe.

Kenny Cordova

Everybody knows the music that Kenny Cordova and the Olde Rock Band plays. And that’s part of what makes the band one of the area’s most popular performing groups.

Cordova and the Olde Rock Band were voted Best Local Band in the Coloradoan’s Best of Fort Collins readers’ poll in1997. Their appearances in Old Town Square for the summer Concerts Under the Stars series and for New West Fest have drawn record crowds. And the group has managed to hold long lasting regular gigs at a number of area venues.

At the base of it all is a fresh and lively take on rock and roll- a music that has become not just popular, but a part of the cultural heritage of America.

“This is the original rock and roll- what started it all,” said Cordova, who acts as the unit’s front man and bandleader. “There are people out there playing all kinds of music that they call rock and roll, but this is the true, traditional stuff.”

The music is defined by an era and its artists. Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis are just some of the musicians that created the goodtime dance music that became known as “rock and roll” in the 1950’s. This is where Cordova and the Olde Rock Band, featuring Jan Murphy on bass, Ian McCargar on drums, Bruce Bertea on guitar and Tim Hughes on keyboards, plant their roots.

The band also draws from the next generation of rock and rollers in the 1960’s, including songs by the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and the Spencer Davis Group, as well as some chestnut hits from the 1970’s and later. But what unites the material is a certain timelessness that spans generations.

“This music hasn’t lost any of its popularity,” Cordova said. “I often see kids at our concerts that are 5, 6 and 7years old, up dancing and singing all the words right along with everybody else. Then there are the grandparents that maybe sitting in a lawn chair, but their toes are tapping to the music.”

Cordova has been steering the Olde Rock Band for fifteen years. What began as a weekly gathering of friends playing music for fun has turned into a professional show band playing concert venues, nightclubs and private functions all over the northern Colorado, southern Wyoming region. The group is currently the “house band” at the Duke of Windsor nightclub in Windsor, and they served the same function for three and a half years each at the Fort Collins Marriott and the University Park Holiday Inn.

The band has also recently released their debut CD, “Under Cover.” The 13-song collection plays like an encyclopedia of rock and roll, including classics like Chuck Berry’s “Rock & Roll Music,” Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up, “Little Richard’s “Lucille” and Sam Cooke’s “Twistin the Night Away.” The group adds luscious three and four-part harmonies and Bertea updates the guitar parts with some modern fusion licks, but for the most part, the original rock and roll is left intact. And it’s the stuff that keeps listeners feeling young.

“People of the baby boom generation, which I’m a part of, maybe have a fear of growing old. This is the same music from when we were in junior high and high school and it helps keep youth alive for us,” Cordova said.

The other thing the music does is to keep alive a lifelong dream for Cordova of being a successful entertainer.

“I am living the dream I had so long ago,” he said.”Loading and unloading equipment is work, but when I step onstage, I am living in a dream world, with all the lights and the excitement of making people happy with our music. It’s exactly what I have always wanted to do.”

Cordova and the Olde Rock Band maintain a song list of over 100 tunes, which also includes some choice country material. In the works are some original songs that will follow in the traditions of rock and roll, while expressing the experiences of a generation.

“I’m writing about our age group, the experiences of a 50year old growing up. But it’s all being written to a rock and roll beat,” Cordova said.

Cordova and the Olde Rock Band will be in Old Town Square on Thursday. They will also be appearing in Old Town on July30 and will be performing during the New West Fest on August 15.

Latif Bolat

In the world of the Sufi religion, music isn’t just entertainment. Rather, it is a shared experience meant “to bring those present closer to God.”

So say the liner notes to Turkish folk musician Latif Bolat’s most recent album release, “Infinite Beginning.” The music on the disc bears out the statement with long compositions that rise and fall with mesmerizing rhythms and Bolat’s hypnotising vocals all applied to traditional songs dating back to the 13th century. The material is mystical in nature, weighing the differences between an earthly life and the spiritual concerns of being in “the family of Muhammed.”

Bolat is a native of the Turkish Mediterranean town of Mersin and he received a degree in folklore and music at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey. He went on to teach traditional music in Turkey as well as managed a musical theater company, which performed traditional musical plays.

Since relocating to California, Bolat has established himself as one of the most distinguished Turkish musicians living in the US, giving lectures at numerous universities, making live appearances on television and radio, and touring with the San Francisco-based Latif Bolat Turkish Music Ensemble. Bolat also serves as musical director for the Mevlevi Association of America, a renowned Sufi organization which stages performances of dance movement with Turkish classical music.

Accompanying himself on the baglama, a long-necked lute, Bolat creates a timeless music on “Infinite Beginning.” With Iranian musician Emam on tabla and Gary Haggerty on oud and other instruments, Bolat swirls together ancient traditions and takes listeners on an exotic journey into the heart of Sufi music.

For his upcoming appearance at John 23rd University Center, Bolat will be joined by Boulder musicians Jesse Manno, on cura- a small lute- and frame drum, and Ty Burhoe on tablas.

This will be Bolat’s first performance in Fort Collins, and only his second visit to Colorado.

Zakir Hussain: Classical tabla maestro Zakir Hussain has become known as not only one of the masters of his instrument, but also as “one of India’s most renowned cultural ambassadors.” As a child prodigy, he began his professional career at age 12 and was touring internationally by the age of 18.Since then, he composed the opening music for the 1996 Summer Olympics and has received a Grammy for his part as performer, composer and co-producer of the group Planet Drum.

But when Hussain takes the stage with the Masters of Percussion, he is not the only musician who is worthy of the spotlight. Also in the Masters of Percussion is Sultan Khan, considered one of the foremost players of the sarangi- a difficult Indian stringed instrument. Khan has toured globally including work with ex-Beatle George Harrison and Ravi Shankar during their famous “Dark Horse” tour. Drummer Sivamani has not only shared the stage with such Indian greats as Hussain and Alla Rakha, but also Western artists such as Billy Cobham and Terry Bozzio. And tabla player Fazal Qureshi is an honored soloist and accompanist in India.

Together, these musicians combine a great reservoir of talent, knowledge and experience to make the music of India come alive. Hussain and the Masters of Percussion will be performing at the Unity Church in Boulder tonight. Tickets are available through the Boulder Theater box office.

Cabaret Diosa: They call their music “Hi-fi Latin exotica,” and while they play classic tunes from the 1930’sthrough the 1960’s, the Colorado-based musical ensemble Cabaret Diosa provides more than just a blast from the past. They also offer theatrics during their shows, that includes costume changes, props and skits, as well as fun stage settings that includes green foliage and even tiki torches.

Combining romantic theater and comedic improvisation with hot, passionate Latin music and a “real big sound,” the10-piece band aims to leave audiences “sweating and starry-eyed.” Cabaret Diosa will be at the Aggie Theater on Saturday.

HR: His full name is Ras Hailu Gabriel Joseph I, but most music fans know him as HR. HR is best known as the lead vocalist for the Bad Brains, the band that pioneered the fusion of metal, punk and reggae. Human Rights is HR’s side project and he will be performing in Fort Collins for the time at the Starlight on Sunday.

Merl Saunders

Composer and keyboardist Merl Saunders’ music not only grooves, but it heals. That’s the reaction the West Coast music veteran has received over and over again since the release of his 1991 album success, “Blues From the Rainforest.”

“Of all the albums I’ve recorded, that one has inspired people from the ages of four to eighty-four to write to me and tell me that they were healed by the music,” Saunders said. “They tell me that it helped them walk again, that they play it when they’re having surgery, or when they’re getting married or having a baby.”

“Blues From the Rainforest” expresses a deep empathy for nature through powerful, emotional melodies and exotic musical soundscapes. The album was so successful- charting in the top ten on Billboard magazine’s New Age charts- that fans have begged for more. With his 1997 release on Summertone Records, “Fiesta Amazonica,” Saunders has given them what they wanted.

“It meant a lot to me to make another album with the same elements as ‘Blues From the Rainforest,'” Saunders said.”But this time I went to the Amazon and spent 20 days right in the jungle. It was unbelievable.”

Besides echoing the emotional beauty of “Blues From the Rainforest,” “Fiesta Amazonica” also reflects human celebration and a reverence for the departed. The title song, “Fiesta Amazonica,” for instance, recalls a night of partying with a native tribe. The album also features a tribute to the late Jerry Garcia, titled “Nostalgia for Jerome,” and the entire production is dedicated to the memory of Garcia and Saunders’ late cousin Eddie Moore.

Of course, there’s more to Saunders’ long music career than just “Blues From the Rainforest,” and to prove the point, Fantasy Records has just released a compilation of vintage recordings titled “Keepers.” The album was produced by Saunders and includes recordings made with such musicians as guitarist Michael Bloomfield and the band Old and in the Way.

Saunders is currently in the middle of a string of Colorado dates including an appearance tonight at the Starlight.

Spencer Bohren: Bluesman and singer-songwriter Spencer Bohren has recently relocated from his previous home in Casper, Wyoming to New Orleans. Since then, Bohren has toured Europe twice, produced a new album by singer-songwriter Inda Eaton and snagged new management and a new record label in Europe.

According to Bohren, the move to New Orleans was to get “closer to the well” in “the cradle of all great American music.” Bohren will be at Avogadro’s Number tonight, along with keyboardist and songwriter John Magnie.

Guster: Boston band Guster has taken a fiercely independent route to achieve their growing national following. Not only have they independently recorded their first two albums, but they have also created a fan-based promotion campaign called the “Rep Program.” Guster Reps readily volunteer to distribute band flyers and visit retail stores to help spread the word about the band’s products.

The campaign seems to be working. The band’s 1997release, “Goldfly,” has just recently been re-released by Sire Records and the group has garnered multiple awards including “Independent Record of the Year” at the Boston Music Awards in1998. The group offers a melody-based music that bristles with a fresh, original energy. Guster will be at the Aggie Theater tonight.

The Antidote: A funky, soulful world music is what Brooklyn, NY band the Antidote offers as their cure for tension and stress. On their recent Exile Recordings release, “Universal Language,” the lyrics encourage love and awareness in a confusing, violent world, while the music is full of sinuous grooves and thick layers of instruments. On top of this vocalist and songwriter Ari Ben Moses croons soulfully and with a convincing spirit.

The Antidote will be at the Starlight on Saturday, along with Dub Continuum and Genesis HiFi International.

Hot dates: Tonight, Diana Castro and the Big Time begin a two-night stand at Linden’s and Leftover Salmon begins a two-night stand at the Fox Theatre in Boulder.

On Saturday, bluegrass legend Peter Rowan and friends will be at the Aggie Theater. Atoll guitarist Cary Morin opens.


Welcome to the Music City of the Rockies Festival ’98! Read on for complete details of this year’s exciting events. But first, here’s an idea of what it’s all about. Rather than tell you just in words, however, we’d also like to show you in pictures. Here are some images from Festival ’97 that will help tell the story.

Winner: It’s the aim of the Music City of the Rockies Festival to showcase- and recognize- regional musicians because we have such a rich and diverse musical talent pool. During Festival ’97, rhythm and blues bandleader Walter Jenkins was presented with the annual Choice Music Award for his longtime contribution to the Fort Collins music scene.

Performers: The music is as diverse as the players- from bluegrass to blues to rock. Vocal group Our Mothers’ Daughters sang with spirited harmonies during Festival ’97 and will be returning to Avogadro’s Number on Saturday, April 18.

1996 Choice Music Award winner John Magnie has been a longtime supporter of the Festival, always providing a rootsy and soulful music. Magnie will be featured this year at the Aggie Theater on Friday, April 17.

Fun: The number of acts playing over the three day span of the Festival makes music fans smile. Although it can be mind boggling trying to choose which show to go to first.

Festival patrons usually know how to take advantage of a good time.

Volunteers: The Festival has become an annual event in Fort Collins as a benefit for community public radio. Since 1996, proceeds from Festival earnings have been donated to Public Radio for the Front Range, a group working to bring public radio to the Fort Collins community. The Festival would not be possible without the help of super volunteers like PRFR member Carolyn Sharkey, who helped collect ticket sales at Avogadro’s Number during Festival ’97.

Fort Collins singer-songwriter Lloyd Drust not only performed during Festival ’97, but he also volunteered to be a show MC. This year Drust will be featured at the Bar Bazaar on Sunday, April 19.

Surprises: Part of the Festival fun is an atmosphere full of surprises, from once-in-a-lifetime groupings of musicians and special guests to appearances of strange characters like “Bunny Boy,” who mysteriously wandered through the crowd during Festival ’97.

Pride: Talented area musicians like Pamela Robinson know that having a strong music scene is essential. Here she demonstrates the kind of attitude that helps make Fort Collins the Music City of the Rockies.

Grant Proposal

The purpose of this request is to seek the amount of$2750.00 for funding for the Music City of the Rockies Festival ’98, a Fort Collins community-wide event that promotes local and regional musicians as well as community public radio.

Our goal is to bring as much music as possible to music-lovers of all ages, tastes, and moods. The festival occurs in a variety of Fort Collins-area live music settings and over the course of three days in April presents music from a wide diversity of contemporary genres, played by artists from our own community. The annual event is a benefit for public radio so that the spirit of the festival can go on all year long on the airwaves.

The need for the event was best expressed by Fort Collins Mayor Ann Azari, who said, at the opening reception for the festival’s second year, “Music is the soul of the community.”Since the festival began in 1993, it has become an event that both artists and audiences have come to look forward to as a focus for regional music. The festival has maintained a reputation for innovative showcasing of artists- from children’s entertainers to nightclub performers- and, with the publication of its annual program guide, as a source for information about local musicians. The event is upbeat, inspires participants and provides a vivid glimpse into the “soul” of our community.

The need for public radio in our community is even more vital. Public access to the airwaves is essential to provide anon-commercial outlet for community news, information and opinion. That includes being a much-needed outlet for local and regional music. Hundreds of area musicians have seen this need over the years and have played in the festival for minimal cost or for free. Dozens of venues have willingly participated and dozens of other businesses have donated resources to help keep the dream of public radio alive in Fort Collins. They have all invested in this important community link because they know that public radio can only improve our quality of life.

What the festival is working to accomplish is to make our community proud of one of its great cultural treasures. Fort Collins is the home to an unusually diverse and talented number of musicians and live music is a city staple at our cultural centers and in coffee houses, bars and restaurants. Music is an important resource in our region and that’s why the event was renamed the Music City of the Rockies Festival in 1997. It simply needed to be said right up front: this city is a music center. The pride, though, doesn’t come from just a name, but from the hard work of a long list of participants and volunteers who have helped over the years to make the festival a long lasting success. Supporting public radio, of course, has always been a part of this effort, knowing that community public radio will help bolster that pride even more.

The Music City of the Rockies Festival ’98 is already being scheduled. The dates are April 17-19, 1998. Festival founder and journalist Tim Van Schmidt is acting as Executive Director. Editor, writer and artist Pat Hartman is the Festival ’98 Booking Director. The Planning Committee, which meets regularly to discuss festival issues, includes Festival founder Deni La Rue and Public Radio for the Front Range Board of Directors members Gail Mueller and JoAnn Hedleston. Meetings have been occurring since August 1997 and venue booking began in December. Band booking has begun in January 1998. Band booking and other venue booking will be completed by the end of February 1998. A regional publicity campaign will begin in March. The festival program guide and poster will be produced by the end of March. The first part of April will be used to schedule technical needs for the performers. Then it will be time for our town to sing.

The way we will measure our success will certainly be reflected in the numbers of passes and show tickets that we sell. Success can also be measured by the number of dollars we are able to raise for the public radio cause. But the real success of this event will come from those magic moments when the musicians and the audiences find that common ground of sound and emotion that makes music such a vital part of our being. That’s when people take the time to say “That was great. Let’s do it again next year!” That’s when it becomes worthwhile.

Sponsorship Proposal

The purpose of this request is to seek sponsorship support for the Music City of the Rockies Festival ’98, a Fort Collins community-wide event that promotes local and regional musicians as well as community public radio.

Our goal is to bring as much music as possible to music-lovers of all ages, tastes, and moods. The festival occurs in a variety of Fort Collins-area live music settings and over the course of three days in April presents music from a wide diversity of contemporary genres, played by artists from our own community. The annual event is a benefit for public radio so that the spirit of the festival can go on all year long on the airwaves.

The need for the event was best expressed by Fort Collins Mayor Ann Azari, who said, at the opening reception for the festival’s second year, “Music is the soul of the community.”Since the festival began in 1993, it has become an event that both artists and audiences have come to look forward to as a focus for regional music. The festival has maintained a reputation for innovative showcasing of artists- from children’s entertainers to nightclub performers- and, with the publication of its annual program guide, as a source for information about local musicians. The event is upbeat, inspires participants and provides a vivid glimpse into the “soul” of our community.

The need for public radio in our community is even more vital. Public access to the airwaves is essential to provide a non-commercial outlet for community news, information and opinion. That includes being a much-needed outlet for local and regional music. Hundreds of area musicians have seen this need over the years and have played in the festival for minimal cost or for free. Dozens of venues have willingly participated and dozens of other businesses have donated resources to help keep the dream of public radio alive in Fort Collins. They have all invested in this important community link because they know that public radio can only improve our quality of life.

What the festival is working to accomplish is to make our community proud of one of its great cultural treasures. Fort Collins is the home to an unusually diverse and talented number of musicians and live music is a city staple at our cultural centers and in coffee houses, bars and restaurants. Music is an important resource in our region and that’s why the event was renamed the Music City of the Rockies Festival in 1997. It simply needed to be said right up front: this city is a music center. The pride, though, doesn’t come from just a name, but from the hard work of a long list of participants and volunteers who have helped over the years to make the festival a long lasting success. Supporting public radio, of course, has always been a part of this effort, knowing that community public radio will help bolster that pride even more.

The Music City of the Rockies Festival ’98 is already being scheduled. The dates are April 17-19, 1998. Festival founder and journalist Tim Van Schmidt is acting as Executive Director. Editor, writer and artist Pat Hartman is the Festival ’98 Booking Director. The Planning Committee, which meets regularly to discuss festival issues, includes Festival founder Deni La Rue and Public Radio for the Front Range Board of Directors members Gail Mueller and JoAnn Hedleston. Meetings have been occurring since August 1997 and venue booking began in December. Band booking began in January 1998. Band booking and other venue booking will be completed by the end of February 1998. A regional publicity campaign will begin in March. The festival program guide and poster will be produced by the end of March. The first part of April will be used to schedule technical needs for the performers. Then it will be time for our town to sing.

he way we will measure our success will certainly be reflected in the numbers of passes and show tickets that we sell. Success can also be measured by the number of dollars we are able to raise for the public radio cause. But the real success of this event will come from those magic moments when the musicians and the audiences find that common ground of sound and emotion that makes music such a vital part of our being. That’s when people take the time to say “That was great. Let’s do it again next year!” That’s when it becomes all worthwhile.


Expect more than just a concert by one of Ireland’s leading traditional-contemporary bands, Nomos, for the “St. Pat’s Party” set for the Sunset Night Club on Saturday. Expect a “hooley.”

“‘Hooley’ is an Irish term for a kind of celebration. It includes music and dancing, but mostly it just means ‘goodtime,'” said Pat McCullough, whose company, Celtic Events &Entertainment, is producing the event.

True to the term, Celtic Events has planned a “hooley” that begins right when you enter the door. Step dancers will be performing, pipers will be playing and videos will be showcasing Irish bands and comedy.

Then, Nomos takes the stage with their blend of traditional and contemporary Irish music.

“The basis is traditional music because that’s what we all play. When we started out, we were playing traditional instrumental music for dances and such. Then we met up with John Spillane, a singer-songwriter from Cork. He was in a band called the Star Gazers, but he wrote his own songs and wanted to try them out in a more traditional setting. That gave us the opportunity to explore the contemporary side of music alongside what we were already doing,” Nomos concertina player Niall Vallely said by phone from a tour stop in Dallas, Texas.

As a result of their collaboration, Nomos and Spillane have created a music that has earned both the band and the singer critical kudos in Ireland and audience appreciation in America. The most recent Nomos album, “Set You Free,” on Green Linnet Records, is a collection of songs that are based in Irish traditional music, but do not shy away from new challenges like Spillane’s bass playing and contemporary songwriting.

“A lot of traditional musicians get precious about what they’re doing,” Vallely said. “But in reality, we hear all kinds of music and can’t ignore that they influence us. We try to let our music be as natural as can be and let different kinds of music and different flavors come through.”

Nomos will also be headlining the “St. Pat’s Party” tonight at the Bluebird Theater in Denver.

Alan Anderson: Fort Collins singer-songwriter Alan Anderson doesn’t mind admitting that his first tendency was to over-produce the tracks going on his debut CD release, “Clay Machine.” After all, he considers adding layers of vocals and instruments to his original songs a natural part of his music making.

“My first name, Alan, means harmony and as a singer, that’s what I hear in my songs- vocal harmonies,” Anderson said. “When I started working on the album, there were so many things happening in my head that I wanted to put into the music, but I discovered that to get to what was really important about the songs, I had to leave a lot of that out.”

Anderson credits co-producer and engineer Steve Mayone with helping make the arrangements that ended up on the album uncluttered and all the more powerful.

“Steve helped me realize that less is more, that a hole, or silence in a song can speak just as loudly as a good lead line or lyric,” Anderson said.

As a result of Anderson and Mayone’s creative partnership “Clay Machine” is a well-balanced production that not only pares expression down to just a voice and a guitar on songs such as “Too Late to Be Kind,” but also indulges some of Anderson’s inclinations toward harmonies with songs like “Long Gone,” which features a full chorus of harmony vocals.

Anderson is celebrating the release of “Clay Machine” at Avogadro’s Number on Saturday, with special guest Steve Murray.

Hot dates: Tonight, Daddy Rab is at the County Cork and Colorado songwriter Karen Capaldi joins singer, actor and social activist Holly Near at the Boulder Theater.

On Saturday, David Wilcox will be returning to the Lincoln Center with his expressive vocals and poignant songs. Wilcox’s most recent album, “Turning Point,” was recorded in a log cabin behind his home in Asheville, North Carolina.


With a unique, distinctive vocal style and a love for performing, Lou Rawls has been entertaining audiences worldwide for decades. He is best known for hit tunes such as “Love’s A Hurtin’ Thing” and “You’ll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine” and he won a Grammy for his recording of “Dead End Street.” But Rawls continues to record and has released four albums in the last six years, including the Grammy-nominated “At Last.”

Rawls is also an active live performer and will be continuing the Lincoln Center Showstopper Series, May 20-23.Also coming up at the Lincoln Center is a special Mothers’ Day appearance by The Wilsons, World’s Greatest Illusionists. Greg and Lyuda Wilson have been treating audiences in Europe, Australia, Japan and America to their own exciting production that recently won them the Mandrake ‘de Or award in Paris. They’ll be performing at the Lincoln Center on May 10.On May 31, the Front Range Chamber Players will be presenting a program of duets and a Schumann piano quartet in the Lincoln Center Mini-Theater.

Music: If you’re missing this month’s regular appearance by the one of the region’s most popular nightclub bands, the Atoll, it’s because guitarist, vocalist and bandleader Cary Morin will be out of town. In fact, he will be out of the country, joining Native American traditional dance group the Red Willow Dancers for performances in Japan. From Taos Pueblo, the Red Willow Dancers have been invited by the Kodo Drummers to participate in a week-long Earth Celebration festival in Ogi, Japan. Morin, an accomplished dancer as well as a musician, will be joining the group as they perform a new production titled “Legend of the Fire,” both at the festival and in concert in Tokyo. The Atoll will return for a gig at Linden’s on June 5.

Auditions are fast approaching for this year’s Young Composers/Songwriters Concert, set for June 13 at the CSU Music Building. The event has been created to “reflect the music of the Poudre School District” and will showcase work by composers between the ages of 11 and 21. Auditions will be held on May 23 and applications are available in the office of the Music Building.

Kids: The Lincoln Center Super Series for Kids continues on May 7 and 8 with performances by the Chinese Acrobats. Featuring acrobatic displays, feats of daring and balance, Kung Fu, brilliant costumes and comedy, the Chinese Acrobats carry on 2000 years of tradition of graceful athleticism. Gymnasts, jugglers, cyclists and tumblers present a show in the spirit of a Chinese carnival. Also at the Lincoln Center for kids will be the Canyon Concert Ballet’s production of “The Jungle Book, Stories of Mowgli.” That’s right, timeless characters such as Mowgli, Baloo and Bagheera come alive for one show on May 5 and two shows on May 16.

Theater: So maybe you thought “interactive” meant communing with a computer screen? OpenStage Theater & Company thinks it means making drama lovers get involved in the middle of the plot- literally. On May 16, OpenStage presents “Death in Stages,” an “interactive murder mystery” that occurs in the Opera Galleria and throughout downtown Fort Collins. Patrons will be involved with collecting clues and solving the crime in this fund-raiser to celebrate the company’s 25th season. Call 484-5237 for reservations and info. OpenStage will also be presenting “You Can’t Take It With You” in the Lincoln Center Mini-Theater starting on May 30.

Opera: In its 16th spring season, Opera Colorado presents a double bill of “Gianni Schicchi” and “I Pagliacci” at the Boettcher Hall in Denver. “Gianni Schicchi” is a one-act farce about greedy relatives searching for an old man’s will and the rascal who appears to help them. “I Pagliacci” contains a passionate play-within-a-play about traveling harlequins carrying out their real life misfortunes on stage. There will two special student matinees an evening performance on May 7as well as shows on May 8 and 1.


Magnie: Keyboardist and songwriter John Magnie is ready to make his second transformation since the breakup of the subdudes in the fall of 1996. Last year, Magnie became a bandleader, heading up the funky, percussion-driven Circus Morales and playing festivals and Rocky Mountain club dates. This year, Magnie has returned to his solo performing roots with a fistful of new, soulful songs and a brand new CD release that explains why other artists are starting to lineup to record his material.

The album is titled “Magnie” and features 11 Magnie originals, as well as a spirited version of the traditional tune “Clementine.” The music is diverse- with soul, blues and folk styles mixing freely- but what remains constant is the meaningful expression Magnie applies to each performance. Guest artists such as Liz Barnez, Celeste Krenz, Steve Amedee and Eric Meyer help fill out the arrangements, but the emphasis here is on songs that resonate with a warm sense of melody and genuine emotion.

“Magnie” not only signals Magnie’s return to recording, but also helps launch a new partnership between the songwriter and producer Tim Cook. Their music publishing company is called Sleeping Elephant and the CD release begins their bid to get Magnie’s songs into other artists’ repertoires. It’s working, too. Regional artists such as Krenz and vocalist Mollie O’Brien are recording Magnie songs. Added to this, scores of national artists, producers, record labels and other publishers are also considering the material.

Meanwhile, Magnie is gigging solo, opening for other artists such as Keb Mo and Marcia Ball and looking forward to a full festival schedule. Magnie and Sleeping Elephant will be hosting a special Fort Collins celebration for the release of “Magnie” on Saturday, April 4 at the Aggie Theater. There’s a reception at 7 pm, followed by the “Magnie” CD show, featuring guest artists, at 9. A “wild dance party” follows with the music of Foco Loco at 10:30.

Kids’ stuff: The Dallas Children’s Theatre brings the magical fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk” to the Lincoln Center on Thursday, April 2 and Friday, April 3 for two shows on each day. The performances are a part of the 1998SuperSeries for Kids and tell the familiar story of a boy and some magic beans. This comical adventure climaxes with sword fighting, chase scenes and a courageous confrontation with a giant.

The Arvada Center for the Arts will be presenting a musical based on the classic story of CS Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” on Saturday, April 4. The inspirational tale follows four children who enter a magical land and not only help the inhabitants battle evil, but also learn lessons of courage, unselfishness and wisdom. There will be two performances on April 4, as well as special tours behind the scenes with a performer. Other weekday shows are scheduled.

Ying Quartet: Four siblings from Winnetka, Illinois formed the Ying Quartet in 1988 while studying at the Eastman School of Music. The Quartet won the International Cleveland Quartet Competition in 1989, debuted at the Lincoln Center in New York in 1991 and began touring professionally in 1992.Since then, the group has become known for their “blazing commitment.” Their active touring schedule has included performances across North America, as well as in Japan, Germany, England, Sweden, Austria, Estonia and Taiwan. The Ying Quartet will continue the Lilla B Morgan Classical Music Series at the Lincoln Center on Thursday, April 16.

Art of Music: Local artists working in a variety of media will interpret a single theme for the “Art of Music” exhibit going up at the In the City Cafe beginning on April 6.Featuring such Fort Collins area talents such as Pat Hartman, Theresa Rose, Juel Grant, Mike and Kim Butts, Shaun Horn and Randy Yeates, the show will try to express the artists’ individual connections to music through painting and photography. The show was planned to coincide with this year’s Music City of the Rockies Festival, a local music event scheduled to occur in Fort Collins venues from April 17-19.The “Art of Music” exhibit will then remain on view until May 2.

National art show: The Northern Colorado Artist Association’s 7th annual national juried exhibition and sale is scheduled for April 10-May 8 in the Lincoln Center Galleries. The NCAA received over 900 slide submissions for the exhibit, from which 155 works of art were selected to represent 28 states. More than $5000 in cash awards will be given away for this show juried by internationally known painter Joseph Bohler. The public is invited to attend the gala opening reception on April 18 in the Canyon West Room.

Rene Heredia

If music is a language, then contemporary flamenco music is a quick, strong and passionate one.

That’s what is reflected in the flamenco of internationally acclaimed guitarist Rene Heredia. On his most recent CD release, “Flamenco in the Americas,” Heredia uses his native flamenco roots to make a vibrant “world music” full of rhythm, emotion and instrumental flavor.

Featuring songs from South America, Mexico, the Caribbean and the United States, “Flamenco in the Americas” places Heredia right in the middle of a new era in popularity for flamenco.”

It goes in cycles, but right now flamenco is starting to become really popular,” Heredia said.

Thanks are due, in part, to the popularity of music by guitarist Ottmar Liebert, who uses flamenco influences in his own version of an acoustic world fusion music, and to more traditionally-oriented music by guitarist Paco de Lucia.

Based in Denver, Heredia adds to the flamenco movement by performing solo, with his “fusion” group and his popular flamenco dance troupe. Of course, he also records, and he teaches a growing number of guitar students who are looking for something new and challenging.

“I ask people why they want to learn to play flamenco guitar, because its very hard to learn. They say that they like the feeling and the energy of the music and the percussive quality of it,” Heredia said.

“Many of them are wanting to learn more about music. A lot of the students are cross-overs, guitarists from heavy metal and rock who just want to learn more about expressing themselves on the guitar in a different way.”

Flamenco is a guitar music played with the fingers, not with a pick, and Heredia uses his teaching opportunities to pass on the traditions of a music he has played since he was ten years old.

“I was born into it. There was no indecisiveness about what I wanted to do- which was play the guitar. The guitar took me by the hand and brought me along to where I am today,” Heredia said.

Heredia plays for royalty- like a recent gig for the prince of Saudi Arabia. He has toured world-wide with famous Spanish dance troupes and with innovative musicians such as former Police drummer Stewart Copeland. Heredia performs at festivals and has been “seeding” the Rocky Mountain region with young flamenco guitar players for years.

This is the result of a passionate music that holds an incredible power over musicians who yield to its sway.

“I am a slave to my instrument,” Heredia said. “People say to me, ‘You really dominate your instrument.’ But I’m thinking that it’s really the instrument that is dominating me. It’s an addiction, both emotional and physical. And it’s a tremendous release.”

Heredia will be performing songs from “Flamenco in the Americas” as well as new tunes from his upcoming solo recording, “One Gypsy,” at the Sunset Night Club on Saturday. Dave Beegle opens.

Hot dates: Tonight, Loveland singer, musician and actress Mary Zimmerman will be performing two shows at the Rocky Mountain Coffee Connection. At 8 pm, Zimmerman will be doing a special presentation of a Tina Turner impersonation that has resulted in featured spots in several “Motown Extravaganzas” in Denver. Her “regular” 2-hour show then begins at 9pm.

Also tonight, Chris Daniels and the Kings begin a two-night stand at Linden’s, Ben Wah and the Blue Balls are at the County Cork, and multi-instrumentalist Keith Erskine plays Hindustani sarod, sitar and classical guitar at the Star of India Restaurant.

Sleeping Elephant Publishing Company

In today’s music industry, it takes more than just talent to succeed.

It also takes a clear sense of direction and a keen business mind.

That’s what years of experience has taught music veterans Tim Cook and John Magnie. And that’s what has lead them to form Sleeping Elephant Publishing Company, a new song publishing business aimed at giving local songwriters a fair shake in an often-times confusing industry.

“We’re inspired by Motown in the old days,” musician and music manager Cook said. “They offered creative management to their artists. They had creative songs. They made sure their artists got the necessary royalties and they even provided the record company.”

With ambitions as big as a full-service music company like Motown, Sleeping Elephant partners Cook and Magnie are starting with a music publishing effort that pools decades of work within the national music industry.

Magnie is best known as accordionist and keyboard player for the subdudes. The rootsy Louisiana rock band entered the national music spotlight in 1988 when they became winners in Musician magazine’s list of top bands without a recording contract. The group was living in Fort Collins at the time and quickly became local and national favorites. Magnie’s songs were a big part of the subdudes’ success and has earned him a solid reputation among music industry insiders.

Cook is a former Indiana night club owner who moved to Fort Collins in 1979, ran a recording studio and wrote advertising jingles for local companies such as Recycled Cycles, the Freight Broker and Markley Motors. Also a musician, Cook served as road manager for the subdudes for three and a half years as well as produced the group’s final album, “Live At Last.”

Together, the pair have formed a team that in only two months has already nationally marketed one song and recorded a ten-song CD of material Magnie has written since the subdudes broke up in 1996.

“The first project was John’s song “Deepest Fear,” which has kind of a gospel feel to it. We sent it out to producers, artists like Amy Grant, record labels, entertainment lawyers and management companies. We wanted everybody to know what we were doing,” Cook said.

While they are waiting for national music industry reaction to Magnie’s new work, regional artists are already lining up to record Magnie’s songs. Blues vocalist Mollie O’Brien is set to record Magnie’s tune “Biding My Time,” and “new country” singer Celeste Krenz is recording three more songs, as well as a piece written by Magnie and Krenz together, for her new album on Curb Records.

That kind of action has Cook and Magnie, along with musical friends such as former subdude Steve Amedee and singer-songwriter Liz Barnez, working in the recording studio.

“Magnie,” a ten-song independent CD scheduled to be released in March, is Sleeping Elephant’s second project and will arrive just in time for some prime showcase gigs for Magnie at this year’s Jazzfest in New Orleans. The CD will follow up the marketing effort for “Deepest Fear” with a guarantee that there is plenty more great original songwriting coming from the Colorado region.

“Right now, John is the man,” Cook said. “But around here there is a lot of really gifted musical talent and a lot of it is in songwriting. Our hope is that John’s songs will open up the doors and we’ll be able to work with a lot of the writers in the area.”

Along with becoming partners with Cook in the Sleeping Elephant Publishing Company, Magnie has also resumed his solo performing career and will be opening for bluesman Keb Mo this Saturday in Aspen and on Sunday in Beaver Creek. A CD release event for “Magnie” is scheduled for March 27 at the Cameron Church in Denver.

Susan Tedeschi

Blues is just the beginning for vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Susan Tedeschi. Even though she is being touted as a “bright, new blues star,” Tedeschi is a musician whose voice crosses over into many other kinds of music.

“I’m a blues singer at times, but there are so many other things that I do as a vocalist,” Tedeschi said recently by phone from a tour stop in New York City. “A lot of the music is geared towards the blues, but my style of singing isn’t always just blues.”

A Massachusetts native, Tedeschi “grew up” singing and was playing in her first band by the age of 13. Playing rock, folk, pop and country, her early band experiences introduced her to “everything.” While she was attending Boston’s famed Berklee College of Music, she studied big band arranging and found the blues in the choir.

“The blues came into the spotlight more when I was singing in the gospel choir in college. That was where I learned about soul and blues,” Tedeschi said. “I didn’t start playing it though, until after college. I was playing out, doing country, rock and some pop stuff, but I didn’t have a huge repertoire of blues at first.”

Chicago blues influences such as Big Mama Thorton and Koko Taylor, however, weighed heavy on Tedeschi and inspired her to not only sing their songs, but also quickly become a part of the blues family. As a rising performer, Tedeschi’s talent has been recognized and supported by many blues and R & B legends.

“We just opened up for Irma Thomas and she got me up to sing with her. She had seen our set and was impressed,” Tedeschi said. “That’s probably one reason why I play blues because people like Irma and Otis Rush and Buckwheat Zydeco have been so supportive. Blues people are so wonderful and friendly.”

With the release of her first album on Tone-Cool Records, “Just Won’t Burn,” Tedeschi has taken what she has learned onstage and turned it into a scorching-hot collection of recordings. “Just Won’t Burn” certainly does burn thanks to a healthy dose of traditional blues sounds, as well as some unexpected touches.

The album is instantly ignited by the opening track “Rock Me Right,” a raw, bluesy rocker written by producer and drummer Tom Hambridge. From there, Tedeschi steers through some sultry soul, blues swing and some strange new sounds. The sinuous fiddle solo in the song “Looking For Answers” matches the slow-burning mood of the piece with an eerie, mesmerizing quality. And the guitar solo on the song “Found Someone New, “played by guitarist Sean Costello, is anything but normal for a blues song.

“On that song, we recorded my piano and vocals and the drum track live and then we flipped the tape so that it would play backwards. Then, as it was playing backwards, Sean laid on the guitar solo. He was reacting to the chord changes in reverse and it sounded pretty cool,” Tedeschi said.

Add in some blues torch songs that set Tedeschi’s wildest vocal ambitions free and a smooth, countrified version of John Prine’s song “Angel From Montgomery,” and you’ve got an interesting and diverse production. This makes “Just Won’t Burn” an exciting and progressive album based in the blues but unafraid to go further.

Receiving accolades from other artists and critics for both her performances and her recordings, and being on a record label distributed by Rounder Records has succeeded in raising Tedeschi’s profile to a national status. That means plenty of new exposure, expanded touring and lots of hours in the band van.

“We usually drive 6 to 8 or even 12 hours to get somewhere,” Tedeshi said. “Once we’re there, we sleep some, then do interviews all day. We go to sound check, get something to eat, maybe sleep a little more, then go play. Then we do it all over again. It’s a hard schedule, but it’s still really fun.”

Tedeschi and band will be making their first appearances in Colorado this week, including a date at the Sunset Night Club on Thursday.

Tab Benoit

How do you want your blues?

Tab Benoit serves it up raw and loud on his most recent release, “Tab Benoit Live: Swampland Jam.” And that seems to work just fine for the audience you can hear in the background letting loose with shouts and cheers every time Benoit lets loose with a stinging guitar solo or sings a particularly poignant phrase.

Recorded in Lafayette, LA, “Swampland Jam,” on Justice Records, not only showcases the hard line blues attitude that has made Benoit a contemporary favorite, but it also reflects the deep south music traditions that his blues are a big part of.

From the down and dirty delta blues standard “Crawling Kingsnake” to the funky zydeco of “Hot Tamale Baby,””Swampland Jam” is a thick slice of Louisiana-style fun. Guest artists like Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone and Chubby Carrier make Benoit’s fourth album a jam indeed.

As a veteran touring artist, Benoit has skillfully constructed the recording like a great live set, starting with the insistent shuffle of “Let Love Take Control” then raising the tension level a little with the bravado of “Too Many Dirty Dishes.” Benoit sizzles and burns on “Heart of Stone” and rocks hard on “Garbage Man.”

Sansone straps on an accordion for the tough and tender slow dance piece “Louisiana Style” and then it’s time to rock with guest Tabby Thomas on “It Takes A Long Time.” The last thing you hear on “Tab Benoit Live: Swampland Jam” is the crowd calling for more.

That’s great party music and Benoit will at Linden’s on Saturday for those wishing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a blasting blues party.

Eek-A-Mouse: From songs about shopping to songs about men who batter women, it’s a wild ride on Jamaican reggae artist Eek-A-Mouse’s latest release, “Black Cowboy.” But that’s what you would expect from a character who, over most of the 1980’sreleased albums such as “Mousketeer” and “Eek-A-Nomics.”

“Your Mousey, Eek-A-Mouse” himself explains it this way in his own self-penned publicity release: “On ‘Black Cowboy,’ the Mouse is at the controls- Executive Producer, Producer, Arranger and Writer. In order for me to remain the Mouse that you know and love, I refused to release any music that wasn’t what my fans love and know the Mouse to be. The Mouse will not be controlled!”

“The Mouse” has never been controlled and has carved out a colorful reggae career which started in Kingston, Jamaica and now rambles around the United States from his base in San Diego. The artist named himself after a horse he bet on at a racetrack and likes living in California “because it is very sunny and has lots of race tracks.”

Meanwhile, he’s unleashing his own “original Jamaican reggae sound” wherever he goes and that includes an 18 and older show at the Starlight on Tuesday. Call 484-4974 for info.

Bluegrass: The Mid-Winter Bluegrass Festival has moved to Northglenn this year, but will still feature fine bluegrass entertainment and the usual workshops and special events

Headlining the festival this year is Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. Stanley is celebrating over 51 years in the music business and continues to make music based on the ballads, banjo and fiddle tunes brought from England, Ireland and Scotland to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. With a high tenor voice and a rich musical heritage, Stanley has recorded over 150 albums and has remained an influential figure in bluegrass.

Many other groups including the James King Band, Southern Exposure, the Bluegrass Patriots, the Velveeta Sisters and New Tradition will also at the Mid-Winter Bluegrass Festival scheduled for today through Sunday at the Northglenn Holiday Inn and Holidome.

Hot dates: Tonight, the Rock Hounds are at the County Cork and hammered dulcimer player Steve Eulberg starts a two night stand at Deja Vu Coffeehouse.

On Thursday, the Wailers will be at the Fox Theatre in Boulder and jazz keyboardist Marc Sabatella will be at Roberto’s.

Ty Burhoe

From an early age, Boulder musician and producer Ty Burhoe was trained not only on wind and string instruments, but also in sculpting and painting.

Unfortunately, the young artist wasn’t prepared for what it took to get his creations out into the world.

“There was a discrepancy for me as a younger person between doing art- being drawn to it and letting it be an inspiration- and then having to deal with money,” Burhoe said.”There were all the critical comparisons that would go on and the competition was cutthroat. As soon as I saw it, it shocked me and I withdrew.”

It then took an exotic instrument- the Indian tabla- and lessons from a master teacher to turn Burhoe into an artist once again.

“The tabla was a stronger inspiration for me. I learned to deal with the business world because of my appreciation for the instrument. It was like ‘I’m going to do this no matter what,'” he said.

Burhoe’s longtime teacher is Zakir Hussain, considered by many to be a world master of the tabla. For the last eight years, Burhoe has regularly traveled to study with Zakir at his home in San Francisco. In the process, he has learned more than just the complicated nuances of traditional Indian playing.

“Zakir is one of the few maestro teachers who would say ‘Go explore. Play with a piano, play with a guitar. Play jazz. Do what you want to do most.'” Burhoe said.

Burhoe has taken this advice to heart and has applied his skills on the tabla to collaborations with such diverse musicians as Bela Fleck, Peter Rowan and Kitaro. He has also recorded and toured with the flamenco-flavored band Curandero.

What Burhoe has learned from these experiences has made him a versatile player and explains why he will be joining jazz veterans Art Lande and Paul McCandless tonight for an evening of “world jazz” at the Rialto Theater in Loveland.

LJ Booth: Wisconsin singer-songwriter LJ Booth has taken a life of travel experiences and crafted a songwriting style that respects the details of everyday life. Born in the Philippines, Booth hitch-hiked across North America and Europe and has lived in India and Idaho. Along the way, he developed a keen eye for the common experiences that make up the human story.

With succinct, nearly cinematic lyrics, warm melodies and a gentle finger picking style on the guitar, Booth entertains with songs that other artists such as Chuck Pyle and David Wilcox find a need to record. Booth will be at Avogadro’s Number on Saturday along with singer-songwriter Johnsmith, a winner of the prestigious Kerrville New Folk award and a perennial finalist at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s Troubadour competition. Both musicians will also join Louise Taylor for a “Writers in the Round” concert at the Swallow Hill Music Hall in Denver tonight.

Celtic Celebration: The Rialto Theater will be presenting a “Celtic Celebration” on Saturday, featuring regional fiddle player Loretta Thompson and premier bagpipers Phil Burk and John Wharrier. Loveland Irish harp player Claudia Bunker will also be providing music for an evening that will also include dancing by the Denver Ceili Club and Irish poetry by Veronica Patterson and Kathy Willard.

Austin and McKenzie: Singer Wendy MacKenzie does more than perform. She also creates a whole personality with each song by giving “vocal impressions” of music figures such as Joan Baez, Cher, Janis Joplin and Barbra Streisand. MacKenzie’s music career also includes album credits with the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, the Archies and Joe Cocker as well as soundtrack work on films such as “Play Misty for Me” and “Heat Wave.” MacKenzie will be making her Front Range debut on Saturday and Sunday at the Bas Bleu Theatre along with master improvisation teacher Gary Austin and keyboardist David Wohl.

Roy Hargrove: Jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove got his first big break at age 17, sitting in with Wynton Marsalis at a concert in Fort Worth, Tex. Only a few months later, Hargrove found himself touring Europe with musicians such as pianist Ronnie Mathews and bassist Walter Booker. Since then, Hargrove has achieved a reputation as a master of be-bop and blues styles and has won over jazz fans with soulful, expressive playing and innovative arrangements. Hargrove will be at the Aggie Theater on Wednesday.

Victor Wooten

For bassist Victor Wooten, high praise, like being called a “bass guitar hero for the 90’s” by Musician magazine, not only feels good, it means more work.

“When I hear things like that, it feels great,” Wooten said by phone from his home in Nashville, TN. “But it also makes me want to practice more because people start expecting something new every time.”

Wooten’s reputation comes from his groundbreaking work as a member of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, featuring progressive banjo ace Bela Fleck, Wooten and percussionist Futureman. The group has created an innovative fusion of jazz and bluegrass that garnered them a Grammy award in 1997 for “Best Pop Instrumental,” landed them a number one spot on Billboard magazine’s jazz charts, and makes them a popular touring act.

Wooten has also drawn critical acclaim for his solo work. His first album, “A Show of Hands,” won the “Record of the Year” award in Bass Player Magazine’s 1996 readers’ poll, as well as the Gibson Award for “Best Male Bassist of 1996.”

Wooten’s new release on Compass Records, “What Did He Say?”, has not only expanded his vision of recording a bass-oriented album by including such guests as Fleck and reedman Paul McCandless, but it has also begun to ring up its own rave reviews.

“I just do what I do,” Wooten said, reacting to the positive response to his music. “I just try to make records that I like and others have the freedom to choose what they think about it.”

In fact, brushing aside the compliments and concentrating on the music is all a part of the job for a conscientious musician like Wooten.

“The biggest challenge is to able to lay back and assume the role of the bass player, which is to help other people shine,” Wooten said. “You have to help hold up and support the soloist. You have to be able to stay in the background and make sure you play only what makes the music better and not for the ego.”

In between touring and recording with the Flecktones, and pursuing his solo career with percussionist and touring partner JD Blair, Wooten also teaches bass workshops, clinics and master classes. For these events, Wooten again takes the spotlight off of himself and turns it back on other musicians.

“I get to learn as much as the people taking the classes,” Wooten said. “Everybody plays differently and everybody has something to offer. My goal is not really to teach them, but to give them ideas. I try to make them think. I want them to use their minds.”

Wooten certainly practices what he preaches. Despite the fact that he already has a career that has helped reset the boundaries for contemporary instrumental music, he is not at a loss for new ideas for his own music.

“I can see much further ahead than where I’m at right now. There’s so much I want to do. It’s not that there are other players I want to make music with as much as there are other ways of playing I want to try,” he said.

Wooten and the Flecktones have just finished recording anew album that should be released by June. Meanwhile, Wooten and Blair will be at the Aggie Theater on Saturday.

The Meditations: Reggae is widely known as a music with an irresistible beat. But thanks to groups such as the Meditations, it has also become a music featuring fine vocal leads and harmonies.

In fact, the Meditations became so well known for their vocal prowess, that reggae legend Bob Marley used the group as his full-time harmony trio on classic tunes such as “Rastaman Live Up,” “Blackman Redemption” and “Punky Reggae Party.”Of course, the Meditations are better known for their own classic reggae recordings like “Message from the Meditations” and “Wake Up.” Songs such as “Woman is Like a Shadow” and “Do Mama Do” not only showcase the group’s close-knit vocal style but also lyrics that consistently offer insightful and eloquent social commentary.

The original members of the Meditations, Ansel Cridland, Danny Clarke and Winton Watson, continue to tour together and they will be at the Starlight tonight in support of their latest album, “Reggae Crazy, a hand-picked anthology of early works released by Nighthawk Records in October 1997.

Blinddog Smokin’
…live at Slocum’s Underground

Hapi Skratch Records

Prepare to meet “the tough new breed of blues artist.” That’s what the editor of the King Biscuit Times Blues Journal calls gritty, exciting and original Wyoming blues quartet Blinddog Smokin’. But you don’t need an editor to tell you that. Just spin the band’s latest album release, “…live at Slocum’s Underground,” and you’ll have all the evidence you’ll need. Recorded in Casper, Wyoming, this collection of classic blues re-workings may as well have been recorded in Chicago, Kansas City, or in the Delta region itself. The guitars are hot, the rhythm section is hard-driving and vocalist Carl Gustafson growls and howls like a man possessed by the blues all the way down to his DNA. Also featuring Colorado super-guitarist Dave Beegle as a special guest, this album makes songs as familiar as “Born Under A Bad Sign,” “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Goin’ Down” brand new again. Pity the crowd that witnessed this ferocious display of what the band calls “body droppin’ blues,” though, because they probably couldn’t get any rest for a week after the show- such is the energizing power of Blinddog’s performance.

But it isn’t just the music that makes Blinddog a “tough new breed.” Without the benefit of a major record label, or a national booking agency, this group has already released three full-length albums- including their two previous studio efforts, “Start Packin’” and “Ain’t From Mississippi,” which showcase Blinddog’s arsenal of original tunes- and tours constantly. Playing well over 200 gigs a year, including slots at legendary blues events such as the King Biscuit Festival in Helena, Ark., Blinddog is arguably one of the best-known “unsigned” bands on the blues circuit. They gross over $100,000 a year in gig fees and sales of merchandise that includes CDs, t-shirts and custom-made women’s panties. But “toughest” of all is Blinddog’s resolve to play the blues just the way they feel it. They aren’t trying to copy Chicago blues or Texas blues or any other kind of blues, and yet they end up playing it all. Blinddog Smokin’ is a pack of blues artists in the true sense of the word. They’re tough enough to make the music the way they want to hear it and tough enough to take it everywhere music fans love the blues.

Blinddog Smokin’ is: Jason “Twelve Fingers” Coomes, guitar; “Chicago” Chuck Gullens, drums; Carl “Big Guns” Gustafson, vocals and harmonica; Andy “Maddog” Miller, bass.

Beth Quist
Shall We Dance

Hapi Skratch Records

With a four-octave vocal range and a taste for spicy world music, Colorado composer and vocalist Beth Quist makes music that travels far and wide. On her newest release, “Shall We Dance,” the adventure goes even further. The album features nine compositions originally written as commission pieces for choreographers in her hometown of Boulder. But these pieces stand solidly on their own, mining the rich depth of progressive instrumental music- akin to the music on Peter Gabriel’s benchmark recording “Passion- and then heightening it with a voice that easily transcends language and borders. Just listen to the opening track, “Survival,” and you will find yourself not only caught up in the strong rhythms, but also entranced by Quist’s otherworldly vocal expression. Appropriate for AAA, Public Radio and even College Radio airplay, “Shall We Dance” has much more substance than most New Age music and starts where most World Music ends.

Of course, this kind of musical exploration is nothing new to this artist who started playing music at age 2 and began performing at age 6. Besides being a songwriter, composer and vocalist, Quist is also an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, playing a diversity of instruments that include the hammered dulcimer, the doumbek, flute, guitar and piano. Quist released her debut album, “Lucidity,” in 1995. Besides creating a regional stir with album art featuring nude photographs of the artist, she also established herself as a musician with a unique and powerful musical vision. Stand-out tracks on “Lucidity” include opening track “Crazy,” the Middle-Eastern flavored “American Giver” and the lighter, airy “Mourning Dove.” Quist’s considerable musical skills, of course, have not gone unnoticed. Besides becoming one of Colorado’s most respected performing and recording artists, Quist was also tapped by famed vocalist Bobby McFerrin to record with him on his recent album release “Circlesongs” as well as to tour in the U.S. and Europe as part of his Voicestra performing group. Whether singing in a group, creating music for dance troupes and film soundtracks, or recording her own exciting music, Quist is an artist of the first caliber- well worth a trip around the world.

Pamela Robinson

“I hear voices from the past
Telling me I’m there at last
Bring your guarded heart on home
Get yourself out of the storm”
-“Angels” from The Exit

There’s a shining light that comes through in the music of Colorado songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist Pamela Robinson. That light heals the wounds of human torment and reveals what it is that keeps life worth living- passion and hope. This is what makes Robinson’s first solo recording, The Exit on KIVA Records, a fresh and startling debut album by a veteran musician. The Exit features nine original songs that explore the loss of love and self-confidence, then the gathering of the kind of strength it takes to redeem a vibrant, artistic heart. By the end of this deeply reflective and intimate cycle of songs, the question and pain turns into possibility and celebration, fully becoming an affirmation of the triumph of the human spirit. The Exit does much more than just mark Robinson’s new identity as a solo artist. It announces this new chapter in Robinson’s musical career with a mature clarity and vision that does not fail to touch the soul.

The strong and artful expression of The Exit comes after more than 35 years of musicmaking. Born in Indiana and living in varying locations throughout the Midwest and the West, Robinson formed an early affinity for music that was underscored by the support of her loving father. When Robinson was 12 years old, her father passed away, but her love of music continued and grew. Learning a wide variety of instruments, including soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, keyboards, guitar and percussion, she attended Fort Lewis College in Colorado on a full music scholarship. Then she began a performing career that would take her on three world tours, playing everything from folk and country music to rock ‘n’ roll for armed services personnel. For a large part of her life, however, Robinson would call Colorado home and it was while she was living in Denver that she would play music with a reggae band named Rude Culture as well as write and record a special song for the mayor of the city. In 1987, Robinson’s concert performance at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, titled “No More Midnight Waltzes,” was filmed and aired on Denver cable television. Even more than ten years later, the program remains a favorite request of Colorado viewers and continues to be shown.

Robinson then joined the Liz Barnez Band, based in Fort Collins, Colorado. More than just a side player, Robinson became an essential element to the band’s success, accentuating original songs by Barnez, a Louisiana singer-songwriter, as well as adding music of her own to the group’s repertoire. Robinson’s songs were included on both of the band’s album releases and became feature spots during performances. Playing a rootsy mixture of R & B and a flavorful acoustic-based rock, the Liz Barnez Band not only became a Colorado favorite- winning band contests and working regular gigs throughout the region- but also performed more than once at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. That popularity led to other opportunities for Robinson, including membership in the quintessential women’s folk collective, the Motherfolkers, as well as plenty of session work on albums by numerous Colorado artists. Robinson also became a music teacher, offering her wide-ranging musical skills to both kids and adults.

For the Music City of the Rockies Festival ’97 in Fort Collins, Robinson stepped away from her role as a member of the Liz Barnez Band and performed as a soloist, playing her deep, new songs for a full house. From there, The Exit evolved through several recording sessions in local studios and at an intimate bed and breakfast inn nestled up against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The results are clear- a collection of recordings that defies the usual escapism of most pop music while retaining a fine sense of melody and lyric craft. Listening to The Exit is a personally rewarding and ultimately uplifting experience. It also heralds the beginning of a new time for a passionate artist. Whether writing her own songs, playing in a popular band, or sharing her musical knowledge with others on a private basis, Robinson has plenty to offer- as a musician and as a human being.

Fourth Estate
See What I See, Finesse and Fury

There was a time when guitar wasn’t king. But that time is gone forever, thanks to rock ‘n’ roll and bands like Fourth Estate. Featuring Dave Beegle- “one of the most renowned underground guitarists of our time” according to Great Guitar Sites on the Web- Fourth Estate has created a progressive, guitar-based music that fuses red hot riffs, deep, rumbling rhythms and exploratory compositions that challenge the ear and boil the blood. On their most recent release, “See What I See,” the music goes beyond the usual flash guitar work of most of their contemporaries and takes rock into another world- literally. Listen to “Kara Kum,” a three-part electric suite, and find out where Western guitar sounds meet Bulgarian folk melodies and rhythms. “Crazy Ivan” is a heady musical journey across a broad, brawny soundscape that may as well be the endless expanse of the Russian steppes. Not to ignore influences at home, of course, “The Hammer Song” turns blues-rock end for end into a rollicking blast of Western adrenaline. But Fourth Estate not only creates innovative music, they are also masters of innovative instruments. On “See What I See,” witness Beegle’s expert use of the Transperformance Automatic Tuning Guitar, employing the futuristic Digital Tuning System that creates a whole new universe of tunings with just the touch of a finger. Other guitarists like Jimmy Page, Joe Perry and Pat Metheny also play this groundbreaking instrument, but none of them have turned it into an album full of music like this.

Of course, Fourth Estate, based in Colorado, has been making their genre-expanding rock for years. Formed in 1987, the band released their debut album, “Finesse and Fury,” in 1992 and quickly established themselves as leaders in progressive music. From the clarity and beauty of tracks like “Joy” and “Routier’ (the first-ever recording featuring the Automatic Tuning Guitar) to the energizing, raw drive of “Mason Street Shuffle” and the two-fisted punch of “Juggernaut,” “Finesse and Fury” was a worthy predecessor to “See What I See.” A trip to perform in Bulgaria in 1994 for the International Festival of the Arts provided new musical inspiration and when the group returned to studio, these influences helped them create an exotic and powerful world of sound. Originally released in 1995, “See What I See” remains a benchmark recording in contemporary instrumental music and Fourth Estate continues to stretch the boundaries of rock ‘n’ roll- where the guitar is most certainly king!

Mike Lucas All We Live For
KIVA Records

With the simple, spare sound of a single acoustic guitar, singer-songwriter Mike Lucas makes an expressive and inspiring music that combines a reverent respect for nature with a powerful, soaring voice. Lucas finds equal strength in both Christian traditions and Native American influences and sets his songs within the wide, open landscapes of the American West. Most riveting is the title song, “All We Live For,” a passionate echo of spiritual yearning.

Steve Eulberg Holy Mountain
Owl Mountain Music

Award-winning acoustic musician, songwriter and spiritual music leader Steve Eulberg uses a light, easy-listening approach to lift up the spirits while teaching Christian values. Appropriate for all ages, this collection of gentle, melodic songs is full of joy and praise, along with a few surprises- like rap songs based on psalms and a gospel music-based version of the Lord’s Prayer. Eulberg’s music encourages a light heart and the celebration of life.

Mary Stribling Combo Amazo
Mondo Blondo Records

Smooth and jazzy, vocalist and bassist Mary Stribling’s music is an acoustic fusion sound with flair and spice. Folk, bluegrass and Celtic influences swirl around together with jazz to keep this production cool and lively. Joining Stribling (also a Motherfolker) is Eric Weber on mandolin, Alan Singer on guitar and Harry Grainger on sax, clarinet, piccolo and flute. Imagine Dan Hicks’ Hot Licks jamming with the David Grisman Quintet.

Barbara Rose Everyday Glory
All Thumbs Records

Voted the top female vocalist in northern Colorado- twice- Loveland singer-songwriter Barbara Rose makes an acoustic-based music that finds meaning and emotional wealth in the world around her. A warm comfort comes through these stories about family and spiritual strength, while Rose’s voice swells and fills careful arrangements with a sweet, emotional release. Like Kate Wolf’s early recordings, “Everyday Glory” is beautiful for its gentle approach and lyrical clarity.

Lalla Rookh
Magophonic Records

Opening with Ashley Hutchings’ “A-Calling-On Song,” Celtic-influenced acoustic band Lalla Rookh’s debut CD is full of spirit and passion. From the lively, full-band sound of the opening track to the full-blooded, a cappella vocal harmonies of “My Johnny Was A Shoemaker,” this production succeeds with all the drama and energy of the English folk revival bands (think Steeleye Span.) Jigs and reels mix with ballads and saucy bits of attitude. Book One- Tales and Tradition

Pamela Robinson The Exit
KIVA Records

Co-founder of the Liz Barnez Band, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Pamela Robinson has gathered together a striking and emotional collection of songs for her debut solo release. “The Exit” combines a lyrical soul-searching with creative, innovative tracking for a production that flows slowly and easily from self-question to celebration. Poetic and personal, Robinson is joined by a royal host of Fort Collins area musicians including Liz Barnez, Marty Rein, Kevin Jones and Gregory Long.

The Atoll World Groove

Hot dance grooves mix with messages of strength and unity on the Atoll’s newest release. With guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Cary Morin still at the helm, the Atoll has updated their reggae rock sound to include influences that range from Native American drum music and African dance beats to psychedelic electricity. Most startling is the song “Lacrosse” that is most certainly roots music- heavy reggae rhythms underscored by the singing and drumming of Montana powwow group Black Whistle. This is a deal- 17 tracks of irresistable grooves and a lot of soul.

Broken Heart Singers Powwow Songs
KIVA Records

The music of the Broken Heart Singers is meant to be shared- at powwows and Native American gatherings. Made up of Colorado State University students, alumni and Fort Collins area community members, the group regularly travels to sing and play their original songs for dance events throughout the country. This recording is a rare glimpse into the power and strength of Native American drum music- the voices of the Broken Heart Singers weaving in and out of a consistently driving drum rhythm. Striking and uplifting, “Powwow Songs” features 12 pieces that encourage the feet to move and the pulse to quicken.

Various Artists Skratch Trax 1 ½
Hapi Skratch Records

Featuring everything from world folk music to highly electric rock, this compilation of mostly Colorado music covers a lot of ground. Blinddog Smokin’ plays the hard-hitting blues while Liquid Playground makes a manic, tongue-in-cheek rock. Fourth Estate churns up a progressive instrumental fusion music while Beth Quist sings in a Middle Eastern reverie. Other artists include the Indica Gypsies, Jonathan Tiersten and more. Total time over 16 tracks: 73 minutes plus.

Introduction to Hapi Skratch

So you’re a musician and you’ve got some chops. You’ve got some great songs and your band rocks. Now what? You can play a hundred gigs, make a few bucks, and hear the applause of all your friends and local fans. If that’s enough, then you probably don’t need any more help. If it’s not, then you should introduce yourself to Hapi Skratch Records.

More than just a record company, Hapi Skratch is a full-service marketing company that offers professional-level assistance to the independent artist. From recording in the studio to creating the final piece of product, from distribution deals to booking services, Hapi Skratch is in the business of making the artist’s dream come true. You can learn it all yourself- and spend a lot of your music time on the phone or on the computer- or you can keep writing songs and practicing with your band while experience and knowledge takes over.

What experience? Just check out the Hapi Skratch compilation disc “Skratch Trax 11/2” for a full overview of the Hapi Skratch universe. This collection of fresh, new contemporary music, spanning many different genres, features fifteen artists, from juggernaut rock bands like Fourth Estate to innovative vocalist-composers like Beth Quist. Compare the manic intensity of Liquid Playground to the acoustic sincerity of Keith Rosenhagen. There’s the blues of Blinddog Smokin’ and the energetic new pop of Martha’s Wake. There’s hardly a kind of music that Hapi Skratch hasn’t already helped record and release, so what kind of music does your band play?

Making a good record, however, isn’t all there is to being a musician. How about making a living? That’s why Hapi Skratch provides all of the essential services an artist needs to succeed. This includes designing and laying out CD artwork, arranging for promotion pictures, creating an effective website as well as writing professional biographies and press releases. Hapi Skratch can help market products through national distributors such as Valley Media, Alliance Entertainment, Baker and Taylor and V & R, as well as directly through an on-line store, a bi-annual printed catalog and regional consignment deals. But more, Hapi Skratch also offers booking services, using an innovative approach to not only get your group hired for nightclub gigs, but also for company parties, conventions, fairs and festivals.

Whatever kind of music you play- folk, Celtic, salsa, blues or rock ‘n’ roll- Hapi Skratch is here to help you. In fact, Hapi Skratch now boasts not just one, but three record labels to serve you, including the general Hapi Skratch imprint as well as FenderBender Music (for the college new-music scene) as well as Avant-Acoustic Records (for the folk and acoustic-based market.) Founded by music industry professional Morris Beegle in 1995, Hapi Skratch has already become the Rocky Mountain region’s most ambitious music marketing company. Are you ambitious too?

Live Music

There’s a tradition among local musicians that should be applauded. That is, when a community member is in need, Fort Collins musicians are often willing to help. Benefit performances are reoccurring events in area venues indicating that music and social causes remain a strong mix.

For instance, check out the array of talent gathering together today at Avogadro’s Number to benefit a Fort Collins woman who is battling lymph node cancer. Starting at 4 pm, the Poudre River Irregulars, Fort Collins’ popular Dixieland jazz band, leads off a program of internationally flavored entertainment. Following the Irregulars will be “family style” belly dancing by Nouveau Nomad Tribe and then the Celtic folk rock of Lalla Rookh. All proceeds from the event will go to the Becky Trujillo Medical Fund. Trujillo is a 21-year old mother of two stricken with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Acoustic-based Lalla Rookh has just recently released their debut album, “Book One- Tales and Tradition” on their own Magophonic Records label. Opening with Ashley Hutchings’ “A-Calling-On Song,” the CD is full of spirit and passion. From the lively, full-band sound of the first track to the full-blooded a cappella vocal harmonies of “My Johnny Was A Shoemaker,” this production succeeds with all the drama and energy of the English folk revival bands- like Steeleye Span and Pentangle. Here, jigs and reels mix with ballads and saucy bits of attitude.

Bio Ritmo: East coast salsa band Bio Ritmo has it all- quick rhythms, layers of bright, clear horns, precision arrangements and a full, big band sound. On their current Triloka Records release, “Rumba baby Rumba!”, there are also some surprises. The song “Call Me Up,” for example, begins with some salsa spice, but then develops into a cool, rockabilly-influenced party song. Bio Ritmo also demonstrates that it has a sense of humor, especially on tunes like “You Killed My Love,” a song that wryly tells the story of a clear case of “romanticide.” Add these unexpected flavors to the group’s more traditional salsa base and you have a fresh and lively music. Lead by vocalist and trombonist Rene Herrara, the eight members of Bio Ritmo will be bring their “modern escapist” music to the Starlight on Saturday.

Tish Hinojosa: As a child growing up in Texas, singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa entered school speaking only Spanish. Of course, she then learned English and the result of her strong bilingual experience has made her a master of a seamless blend of Tejano and Anglo music styles. Hinojosa has built a solid reputation over the years as a singer who can handle lush, romantic ballads as well as catchy, uptempo tunes with ease and her eight album releases are full of traditional Tex-Mex conjunto, Latin cambia, Texas honky-tonk and a gorgeous hybrid of folk, soul and country.

Singer-songwriter Sara Hickman is also a Texan who writes songs of insight, power and hope. Dumped from the Elektra Records label just before the release of a newly finished album, Hickman now records for Shanachie Records. Her latest album is titled “Two Kinds of Laughter” and Hickman will be joining Hinojosa for a special “Double Divas” concert at the new Swallow Hill Music Hall in Denver.

Swallow Hill, Denver’s non-profit folk music organization, is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year with several other projects besides moving into larger facilities. This includes putting together a book of memories and a history of the group. Also watch for a benefit CD featuring music by the teachers at Swallow Hill’s music school. Teachers are donating tracks for the CD in order to help Swallow Hill’s “capital campaign.”

Live Music

Has the cold weather got you down? Maybe what you need is some hot salsa- and I’m not talking about the kind you put on your burrito. I’m talking about the spicy, simmering Latin music called salsa, with its sensual rhythms and passionate melodies.

Thanks to local record label Hapi Skratch Records, there is a new Colorado salsa artist recording and performing in the area with just the stuff to turn a cold night into a hot one. Juliana Munoz has recently released her debut recording on Hapi Skratch, a four-track collection of original material that introduces this Colorado native as “la nueva princesa de cumbia, salsa y rumba.”

Along with her band, Ritmo Caliente, Munoz offers a music that mixes traditional Latin sounds with a few more contemporary touches- such as a taste of hip hop and some glossy pop. Even though the arrangements are full and infectious, however, the main thing that comes through is Munoz’s strong and expressive vocals. Whether singing a torch-burning ballad or a drum-driven pop tune, her voice is masterful and in control.

Perhaps her mature singing ability can be attributed to her eight years of studying music and performing arts at the Colorado Academy of the Arts. By the time she was 12 years old, she had already competed in talent contests on a state and national level. At 13 she won the title of Grand National Miss Teen Talent America that took her to a professional level, singing at rodeos, country nightclubs, weddings and conventions nationwide. At a performing arts school in Summit County, Munoz became attracted to musical theater and not only starred in school productions, but also went on to tour nationally in a musical version of “The Prince and the Pauper.” Proud of her Spanish/Mexican heritage, Munoz eventually returned to performing music, singing with the Mariachis and presenting several tributes to Selena at fiestas and Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Her self-titled four-song CD features not only a variety of Latin musical stylings, but also the help of producers Manuel Molina, Taylor Mesple and Mark Sloniker. Guest musicians include Denver jazz player Nelson Rangell and Fort Collins musicians such as John Olson and Jason Hollar. Together with Munoz’s band, they create a full-bodied sound, but not enough to overpower Munoz’s vocal strength. Her musical skills coupled with progressive, original writing makes Munoz a colorful and welcome new figure on the area music scene.

Prasada-Rao: If you’re an acoustic music fan, there’s certainly several names you are probably familiar with, like David Wilcox, Janis Ian and Ani Difranco. If you aren’t familiar with the name Tom Prasada-Rao, however, you are missing one of the genre’s gentle giants. With smooth, easy vocals and a highly rhythmic guitar style, Prasada-Rao weaves some acoustic music magic

This isn’t to say that what goes on in Prasada-Rao’s songs is so easy-going. On his most recent release on ISG Records, “Hear You Laughing,” he is just as comfortable singing about making a wish as he is musing about the meaning of Jesus being nailed to the cross. Relationships break up in a mire of confusion and death comes to even timeless figures such as Ella Fitzgerald. This is, however, part of the beauty of Prasada-Rao’s music- the ability to sing with a clear, strong voice despite adversity

Prasada-Rao came to national attention in 1992 with his debut release, “Incoming.” Since then he has won the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk song contest, received five Wammies (Washington Area Music Association awards) and performed with the likes of Peter Yarrow and Michael Hedges at festivals throughout the United States. He also performs with Tom Kimmel and Michael Lille in a critically acclaimed group known as “Sherpas,” called “the first acoustic singer-songwriter supergroup” by the San Antonio Express News. Prasada-Rao will be performing on Thursday at Avogadro’s Number. Tickets are available at Osprey Guitars.