Slim Cessna's Auto Club with Halden Wofford and the Hi*Beams & Andy Thomas' Dust Heart

Slim Cessna's Auto Club with Halden Wofford and the Hi*Beams & Andy Thomas' Dust Heart

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

Colorado Concert Series Presented by Bonfils Blood Center

SLIM CESSNA'S AUTO CLUB
with
HALDEN WOFFORD & the HI*BEAMS
and
ANDY THOMAS' DUST HEART

Levitt Pavilion Denver officially opens its doors on Thursday July 20, 2017. The festivities begin at 6pm and include the official ribbon cutting ceremony of Denver's next great concert venue. Pack your dancing shoes and a blanket for this special night under the stars. 

The Commandments According to SCAC biography In September 2016, Slim Cessna's Auto Club is releasing its new album The Commandments According to SCAC. It has been twenty-four years since Slim Cessna parted ways with The Denver Gentlemen, that grand progenitor of the peculiar strain of Gothic Americana unique to the Mile High City, to form Slim Cessna's Auto Club with a group of talented peers. 

Many bands with a long and successful run  like that would stick close to its roots.  But rather than res  on well-earned laurels, the Auto Club challenged itself to break with well-worn modes of operating for the new record. 

Wallace Stenger may have captured the spirit of the west in his 1971 novel Angle of Repose. Jim Thompson surely exposed the lurid underbelly of the Western experience.  Cormac McCarthy definitely evoked the conflicted, tortured spirit of small town life on the frontier.  William  Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor informed all of them with a humor and soulfulness. It is that literary tradition that imbues the harrowing and celebratory sound and riveting stories of Slim Cessna's Auto Club. And for a full twenty years it was largely in that realm of art that the Auto Club reveled and garnered a loyal cult following well beyond the boundaries of The Queen City of the Plains.

But no band can be satisfied with treading the same territory that it helped to define forever.The Commandments According to SCAC, will be the first full length album of  original material released on the Auto Club's own imprint, SCACUNINCORPORATED. 

The title evokes the themes of cosmic punishment and redemption that have served the band's songwriting engine so well in the past. But this set of songs sounds more hopeful and expansive, a quality that was always there but this time out the brighter sides of the songwriting are emphasized. Hints of this saw early full-flown expression on 2008's Cipher and Unentitled from 2011. 

With The  Commandments,  however,  the  Auto  Club  seems  to  step  forward  into  the  promise  of  its  own possibilities. It remains capable of the heady darkness and celebratory intensity with which it made its name. 

Now that charmingly dusky and spare sound breathes with a color and delicacy of feeling that perhaps sat in the  background  in  times  past.  Maybe  it's  partly  due  to  the  greater  creative  contributions from longtime collaborator Rebecca Vera and The Peeleror the inclusion of upright bass player Ian O'Dougherty. But the  core  of  the  band's  songwriting and sound is anchored firmly in the vision of Slim, Munly Munly and Lord Dwight Pentacost. 

Whatever the true source of this transformation, The Commandments According to SCAC sounds like a band marshalling its creative inspiration to mark out a new chapter of its existence. When you get to see the Auto Club tour following the album's release, you'll get to see an already mighty band reinvigorated by this new spirit as well as by the fire that has long burned in its collective belly

 

HALDEN WOFFORD & the HI*BEAMS  

Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams ride out from the cutting edge cowtown of Denver, Colorado. Rootsy and real, neither revivalist nor retro, the Hi-Beams’ brand of country music is as boundless and electrifying as America itself.

Equal parts Hank Williams and Johnny Depp, front man Halden Wofford pours forth a potent mix of rocked-up honky tonk, western swing, Dylanesque originals and spaghetti western epics. There is no creative limit to the songwriter, illustrator, author, storyteller and singer. But Halden has met his match in the Hi*Beams. Each outrageous tale he spins is met by the whine and wail of the steel guitar, the furious double-neck electric guitar and mandolin, and the relentless thump of the upright bass and drums.

From Red Rocks to rodeos, the Fillmore Auditorium to the back of a flatbed truck, Prairie Home Companion to performing arts centers, Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams deliver an unforgettable and original night of American music.

 

ANDY THOMAS' DUST HEART

"Intense literary Americana murder balladry from the former Tin Horn Prayer front man turned wisened storytelling,troubadour. The “Reckless Abandonment” EP is a broody meditation that has taken Andy across the seas including joining the Flogging Molly Salty Dog Cruise."

 

*Doors open at 5pm festivities start at 6pm.  Please check our Rules and Regulations page to see what you can bring with you and what you should leave at home. 

Levitt Open House

Levitt Open House

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

Levitt Pavilion Denver
Open House

Now that you've seen Levitt Pavilion Denver in action join us for our open house to see what goes on behind the scenes. Tours of the facility starting every 30 minutes from 3:00pm - 6:00pm.

MORE DETAILS COMING SOON! 

The Stone Foxes with The Outfit

The Stone Foxes with The Outfit

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS 

THE STONE FOXES
WITH
THE OUTFIT

THE STONE FOXES are San Francisco's rock band. They bear the torch of their predecessors with the knowledge that rock 'n roll can move a new generation. They’ve played in front of thousands at festivals like Outside Lands and Voodoo Fest, they’ve headlined the legendary Fillmore Theater in their hometown and they have supported acts like The Black Keys, Cage the Elephant and ZZ Top.  Now, with the release of their fourth album, Twelve Spells, they have solidified a place in their City's rich rock 'n roll history.  

 

THE OUTFIT

The Outfit is a rock band from Denver, CO. The words “indie” “garage” and/or “punk” are sometimes applied.

Whiskey Shivers with Garrett Lebeau and R.L. Cole & His Angels

Whiskey Shivers with Garrett Lebeau and R.L. Cole & His Angels

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

WHISKEY SHIVERS
WITH
GARRETT LEBEAU
AND
R.L. & HIS ANGELS

Barefoot, sleeveless and sweaty, Whiskey Shivers frontman and fiddle master Bobby Fitzgerald never stops smiling on stage. "All right! Let’s kick this thing in the face!” he barks, as the band tears into their stringed instruments at breakneck speed.  

It's almost impossible to watch him perform more than a song or two without cracking a smile yourself. His exuberance is contagious, and it bleeds through into the music. Whether they're playing at a backyard house party in Texas, a punk-rock dive bar or a sprawling country music festival, crowds take notice. People put down their phones, pick up their drinks and start dancing.

“Whiskey Shivers isn't just the five of us on stage, it’s everybody in the room," Fitzgerald says. "We try to bring everybody into the moment and get them to realize there's no wall between us and the crowd. We're all in this together, and we're all here to have a good time. We'll do our best to facilitate it, but it takes all of us to make it happen. When you start to feel that, you can't help but feel a little attachment and become invested in the show. You realize, 'Oh, I'm here to have good time too!’” 

Despite their joyful demeanor, the guys in Whiskey Shivers aren't pretending that life is always easy. Far from it, Fitzgerald explains. Their new self-titled album, produced by fellow roots music boundary-pusher Robert Ellis, is heavy with traditional bluegrass themes and imagery lamenting universal struggles - work, pain, sin, regret and death.

It's in the contrast where Whiskey Shivers' music shines. They infuse their songs with punk rock energy and a darkly comical light-heartedness, stretching the bluegrass genre to fit whatever they feel is right. For them, being happy is a conscious choice, and making fun of life's struggles is part of their philosophy.

"We're all going through shit all the time. We recognize that life's tough," Fitzgerald says. "We try to write songs that recognize the hard times that we all share. When you put your problems out on the table where everyone can see them, it doesn't really have the same power over you any more, and you can start to acknowledge it, separate yourself from it, and go on with your life. Try to take a night where you can forget about your problems and just feel good, have a good time with your friends, make new friends, and be part of a little community for a while."

That sort of musical honesty is what brought together the ragtag group of string players from small towns around the country to Austin, TX, where Whiskey Shivers was formed when stand-up bassist Andrew VanVoorhees answered a dubious Craigslist ad from a man named "Bob" looking to form a bluegrass band. 

The full lineup now consists of Bobby Fitzgerald (vocals, fiddle) from Dundee, NY, Andrew VanVoorhees (bass, vocals) from Prineville, OR, Joe Deuce (washboards) from Vider, TX, Jeff “Horti” Hortillosa (vocals, guitar) from Middlesboro, KY, and James Bookert (banjo) from Georgetown, TX.

Fitzgerald admits that it can sometimes seem impossible to maintain such a high level of energy night after night on the road. “Well, it can seem that way, up until the moment the show starts,” he says. “We could have a really tough day, driving through bad weather on no sleep, feeling like shit, the sound is terrible, or whatever else is going on that day. And then as soon as we start playing, it all just kind of falls away. All of the sudden we’re having a good time again, and the momentum carries itself. That's why we're doing this, because we love it.”

 

GARRETT LEBEAU

Garrett Lebeau is a member of the Shoshone tribe, born and raised on the Wind River Indian Reservation near Lander, Wyoming.

His music draws instant comparisons to Boz Scaggs, Al Green or Van Morrison vocally with a sound that is completely and genuinely his own.

Garrett Lebeau heard very little music growing up. The Wind River Reservation is remote and isolated. Garrett was raised in an apocalyptic religious cult, one that keeps its members shunning the outside world. As a result, Garrett led a life sequestered from other people. Those experiences left their mark on his music.

On the Reservation, there was so much wide open space, and that, combined with his unorthodox upbringing, is abundant in Garrett's music. He gives his music space to breathe and develop. Garrett's music is at one moment gritty, then tender the next. He expresses a full range of emotions with his lyrics and music. 

Garrett is a self-taught musician who did not start playing the guitar until he was an adult. For Garrett, the process of learning to play was a slow one. He taught himself the notes and chords and then began writing songs. He is an accomplished songwriter and because he is not fettered by traditional music theory, his guitar playing is unique. 

Garrett's first record, Rise to the Grind, was well received and reviewed and Garrett has just completed his second record, Gone So Long.

Garrett enjoys playing live and prides himself on his ability to put on a show for the audience, as opposed to simply playing music. Garrett tours around the U.S. with his band and they have been privileged to share the stage with Mavis Staples, Boz Scaggs, Trombone Shorty, Joe Ely and others. 

Garrett Lebeau's words and music ranges from gritty to tender to funky-- genuine songs that are completely his own and draws instant vocal comparisons to Boz Scaggs, Al Green, Van Morrison, and Aaron Neville.

 

R.L. COLE & HIS ANGELS

Robert Louis Cole is a veteran of the stage, having performed both nationally and internationally with A. Tom Collins (Greater Than Collective), El Sinfin (Rambler Records) and now as a power-house solo performer. His first EP, "The Long Darkness of the Night" was released independently in 2013, followed by the release of a full length Folk-Blues album, "Live from Cherryvale" in 2015.

His sound and style draw heavily from early American music and push through the decades to include classic vocal stylings; intertwining Delta blues and Appalachian folk with a dark Southern Gothic influence- "[t]he songwriter breathes a pained gravel tone into his bluesy twang, a lo-fi experience that recalls a little [Tom] Waits and Robert Johnson in places..." (French Davis, YellowScene Magazine).

While his recordings and songs have been featured on radio stations from Colorado to Alaska, in independent films, local broadcast television and commercials, his highly-compelling, from-the-hip-aggressive shows and performances leave crowds stunned. "[One] of the absolute greatest musicians that I have ever seen!" (Kyle Pogue, KRFC 88.9 FM). He is equally comfortable singing and playing in honky-tonks and dive bars, city museums and country festivals.

Nominated for Best of Blues Denver 2015 by Westword publication. Recent works include a body of songs written for the Denver Art Museum's Untitled Program, pairing his writing styles with the vivid paintings of world-famous Native American painter Fritz Sholder.

Robert has shared the stage with the likes of Alabama Shakes, Junior Brown, Nathaniel Rateliff, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, Esme Patterson and Paper Bird,Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Soul Man Sam, The SubDudes, MarchForth, Possessed by Paul James (Konrad Wert), Charlie Parr, as well as many others.

For fans of Early American music, Robert Johnson, Tom Waits, Son House, 16 Horsepower, Slim Cessna, Hank III, The Handsome Family, Brown Bird, Delta Rae, Johnny Cash, J. Tillman.

Eufórquestra with We's Us

Eufórquestra with We's Us

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

EUFÓRQUESTRA
WITH
WE'S US

Eufórquestra (pronounced yoo-FOHR-keh-struh, think euphoria+orchestra) is energy and rhythm personified. An ever-evolving sound that has been influenced by music from all over the world with an emphasis on funk, pocket and groove. For over a decade the band has been igniting dance floors across the country, blending the roots of funk, soul, afrobeat, reggae and dub to create a sound that “explodes, dances and melts in your ear with sheer bliss"(Chris M. Slawecki; AllAboutJazz.com).

In 2015, EUF collaborated with many different featured guests and continued develop their reputation as a band of musical chameleons with the ability to adapt to a wide variety of different styles. Collaborators in 2015 included DJ Logic, Eddie Roberts (New Mastersounds), Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), Kyle Hollingsworth (String Cheese Incident), Kim Dawson (Pimps of Joytime), Ayo Awosika, Kevin Kinsella (formerly John Brown's Body), members of The Motet and more.

Eufórquestra’s fifth full-length record, FIRE, was produced by Kyle Hollingsworth (of The String Cheese Incident) and captures the passion and musical maturing of these road warriors. Over the course of 14 tracks, the band takes you on an hour-long adventure that will touch your heart and mind, and keep your fingers and toes tapping. A handful of special guests, including Elliot Martin (John Brown’s Body), Gabriel Mervine and Kim Dawson (The Motet) and Mr. Hollingsworth himself, put their own touches on the band’s already cohesive sound that is “tight and engineered to a fine, funky precision.” (Jeremy Frazier; Chicago Jam Scene) The result is a record that is distinctly modern, maintaining one foot in the future and firmly planting in the musical roots traditions of the past.

With almost 1,000 shows under their belt, Eufórquestra shows no sign of stopping. A perpetually heavy tour schedule keeps the band and fans happy, as performing live in front of an audience has always been the band’s top priority. As noted in a live show review by Grateful Web, “...the boys seem to play like the apocalypse will happen at any second and they want to die doing what they do best...”

 

WE'S US

We's Us is a Denver-based rock outfit consisting of Michael Weeze Dawald (Vox/Guitars), Blake Manion (Drums), Chris Crantz (Bass/Vox), Stephen Howell (Piano/Keys), and Nick Milano (Guitars). We's Us is a modern take on classic rock, infusing elements of funk, reggae, and musical exploration. The band has toured nationwide and shared the stage with acts ranging from Slightly Stoopid, Collective Soul, Fishbone, Thundercat, Matisyahu, Tea Leaf Green, to name a few.

We's Us' first two records were produced by multiplatinum producer Dave Aron (Sublime, Snoop, U2, Prince, Dumpstaphunk, Moe.) and received national and international airplay.

All members of We's Us enjoy long walks on the beach.

Making Movies with Jyemo Club

Making Movies with Jyemo Club

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LATIN CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY FIRSTBANK

MAKING MOVIES
WITH
JYEMO CLUB

When Making Movies performs live it is as though a spirit descends upon the room, entrancing audiences with the pulse of their Afro-Latino rhythms, psychedelic jams and rock'n'roll riffing. Armed with their ambitious and politically charged new album, I Am Another You, the band punches out one high-energy song after another, with theatrics and head-banging climaxes riding atop a bed of driving percussion. Their Latin American roots are placed front and center with moments where the front-man Enrique Chi trades his electric guitar for a folkloric Panamanian mejorana, and the Chaurand brothers hop off drums and percussion to instead supply the rhythmic pulse with a dueling zapateado huasteco, a traditional form of dance from Veracruz, Mexico.

The band's political idea is straightforward enough that they can express it in four words: “We are all immigrants.” In supporting that cause, a portion of all proceeds from their latest release I Am Another You will goes to the National Immigration Law Center.

The band has shared the stage with Arcade Fire, Cold War Kids, Los Lobos, Ozomatli, Tennis, Sergio Mendoza of Calexico, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and Hurray for the Riff Raff.

“... tough to classify into one genre, which ... makes them that much more appealing.” — CNN en Español

“the band synthesizes what’s happening in ... Latin music better than anyone else out there today.” — MTV

"(I Am Another You is) lyrically and sonically one of the best albums of the year" - NPR

 

JYEMO CLUB

Jyemo Club has arrived!

The new project from Denver, CO brings together musicians from 5 different countries, each serving up their own flavor to spice up the vibes. Music to dance to, music to celebrate life. Latin and Caribbean beats meeting with north American funk and rock, singing in english and spanish, Jyemo Club can jam the radios and sound systems of any country. 

Enjoy the music and join the club...Busta Music!!!

 

 

The Suffers with The Other Black

The Suffers with The Other Black

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT NATIONAL TOUR PRESENTS

THE SUFFERS
WITH
THE OTHER BLACK

The 2017 Levitt National Tour will feature the critically acclaimed rising stars, The Suffers. This 8-piece powerhouse of ‘Gulf Coast Soul’ celebrates the rich diversity of the band’s hometown of Houston—masterfully melding classic American soul with genres as wide-ranging as rock, Latin ska, Cajun, hip hop, country and R&B. When asked about the origin of the self-coined term ‘Gulf Coast Soul,’ lead vocalist Kam Franklin explained, “When I think of the Gulf, I think of good food, humidity, diverse cultures, and this is all reflected in The Suffers. We come from different backgrounds, but it all comes together in our band and we create a gumbo of music. It might not make sense on paper to put a Latin percussionist with a gospel singer with a classically trained saxophonist with a jazz drummer, but for us, it works.” This approach has already earned The Suffers a place on numerous ‘artists to watch’ lists, rave reviews from Billboard, NPR and The New York Times and a growing international fan base—and they’re just getting started!

The Suffers are frequently praised for their heartfelt, high-energy live shows. The combined force of the rhythm and horn sections’ contagious grooves and Kam Franklin’s soaring vocals has wowed audiences and critics alike in venues across the globe—from small, intimate settings like NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, to large-scale festivals like the Newport Folk Fest and Austin City Limits Music Festival and South by Southwest, to popular late night television shows like The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Along with pushing musical boundaries, The Suffers are dedicated to inspiring fans to live boldly and tap into their own potential. This dynamic band will move people of all ages and backgrounds, with their raw, fiery Gulf Coast Soul! 

 

THE OTHER BLACK

The Other Black, featuring Cosmic Slim (formerly of Air Dubai and Petals of Spain) is an experience unlike anything you have yet to observe in the Denver music market.

Formed in the late Fall of 2012, this dynamic group started with a mere 9members and has launched to upwards of 24. That's right, just about 30 musicians collaborating to bring you a unique sound and leave you with a smile in your soul. These are musicians that have already contributed successfully to the scene; from Birds Of A Feather, Bonnie & The Beard, Petals of Spain, The People's Abstract and more.

Needless to say, upon taking stage - this assortment of artistry commands it's presence. Their act has been compared to reading an old school Parliament comic book. In a nutshell, this crowd's get-up is wild, garish, & funky with fresh attire that makes you believe they MUST have a costume designer amongst them somewhere. In short, they are like watching a cartoon come to life.

The Other Black clearly simply loves what they do. Their soul-funk- do-wop mix with a modern squeeze endears them. People are on their feet when The Other Black hits the stage. If you haven't seen them yet, you will.

All songs are written and arranged by Cosmic Slim, with the exception of the few covers they perform honoring soul legends Sly & The Family Stone and Ray Charles.

John Fullbright with The Drunken Hearts

John Fullbright with The Drunken Hearts

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

 

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

JOHN FULLBRIGHT
WITH
THE DRUNKEN HEARTS

“What’s so bad about happy?” John Fullbright sings on the opening track of his new album, ‘Songs.’ It’s a play on the writer’s curse, the notion that new material can only come through heartbreak or depression, that great art is only born from suffering.

“A normal person, if they find themselves in a position of turmoil or grief, they’ll say, ‘I need to get out of this as fast as I can,’” says Fullbright. “A writer will say, ‘How long can I stay in this until I get something good?’ And that’s a bullshit way to look at life,” he laughs.

That plainspoken approach is part of what’s fueled the young Oklahoman’s remarkable rise. It was just two years ago that Fullbright released his debut studio album, ‘From The Ground ’ to a swarm of critical acclaim. The LA Times called the record “preternaturally self­assured,” while NPR hailed him as one of the 10 Artists You Should Have Known in 2012, saying “it’s not every day a new artist…earns comparisons to great songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Randy Newman, but Fullbright’s music makes sense in such lofty company.” The Wall Street Journal crowned him as giving one of the year’s 10 best live performances, and the album also earned him the ASCAP Foundation’s Harold Adamson Lyric Award. If there was any doubt that his debut announced the arrival of a songwriting force to be reckoned with, it was put to rest when ‘From The Ground Up’ was nominated for Best Americana Album at the GRAMMY Awards, which placed Fullbright alongside some of the genre’s most iconic figures, including Bonnie Raitt.

“I never came into this with a whole lot of expectations,” says Fullbright. “I just wanted to write really good songs, and with that outlook, everything else is a perk. The fact that we went to LA and played “Gawd Above” in front of a star­studded audience [at the GRAMMY pre­tel concert], never in my life would I have imagined that.”

But for Fullbright, it hasn’t been all the acclaim that means the most to him, but rather his entrance into a community of songwriters whose work he admires.

“When I started out, I was all by myself in a little town in Oklahoma where whatever you wanted, you just made it yourself,” he explains. “I didn’t grow up around musicians or like­minded songwriters, but I grew up around records. One of the most fulfilling things about the last two years is that now I’m surrounded by like­minded people in a community of peers. You don’t feel so alone anymore.”

If there’s a recurring motif that jumps out upon first listen to ‘Songs,’ it’s the act of writing, which is one Fullbright treats with the utmost respect. “When I discovered Townes Van Zandt, that’s when I went, ‘You know, this is something to be taken pretty damn seriously,’” says Fullbright. “‘This is nothing to do with business, it has to do with art and identity.’ You can write something that’s going to outlast you, and immortality though song is a big draw.”

But just as important to Fullbright as writing is careful editing. “I can write a first verse and a chorus fairly easily, and it’s important just to document it at the time and come back to it later,” he explains. “That’s the labor, when you really get your tools out and figure out how to craft something that’s worthwhile.”

Fullbright inhabits his songs’ narrators completely, his old­soul voice fleshing out complex characters and subtle narratives with a gifted sense of understatement.

“My songwriting is a lot more economical now,” he explains. “I like to say as much as I can in 2 minutes 50 seconds, and that’s kind of a point of pride for me.”

The arrangements on ‘Songs’ are stripped down to their cores and free of ornamentation. Fullbright’s guitar and piano anchor the record, while a minimalist rhythm section weaves in and out throughout the album. That’s not to say these are simple songs; Fullbright possesses a keen ear for memorable melody and a unique approach to harmony, moving through chord progressions far outside the expected confines of traditional folk or Americana. The performances are stark and direct, though, a deliberate approach meant to deliver the songs in their purest and most honest form.

“I’m a better performer and writer and musician now, and I wanted a record that would reflect that,” he says. “We tracked a lot of it live, just me and a bass player in a room with a few microphones. The basis is a live performance and everything else supports that. I think you just get as much energy and skill as you can into a take, and then start building from there. And what we found is that you don’t have to add too much to that.”

The songs also reflect how drastically Fullbright’s life has changed since the release of ‘From The Ground Up,’ which launched him into a rigorous schedule of international touring. “Going Home” finds him appreciating the simple pleasure of heading back to Oklahoma, which he likens to The Odyssey. “When you’re gone for so long, once you know you’re headed in the right direction to your own bed and your own home, that’s one of the greatest feelings you can have,” he says.

“I Didn’t Know” is a song he premiered live at concert hosted by Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, a story he tells still somewhat incredulously, while “When You’re Here” is a somber piano love song, and “The One That Lives Too Far’ is a raw account of the strain that distance can put on a romantic relationship. “All That You Know,” which features just voice and Wurlitzer, implores listeners to appreciate what’s right in front of them, and the finger­picked “Keeping Hope Alive” is a song of resilience through hard times.

To be sure, ‘Songs’ has its moments of darkness, tracks born from pain and heartbreak, but for a craftsman like Fullbright, there are few greater joys than carving emotion into music, taking a stab at that lofty goal of immortality through song. It makes him—and his fans—happy, and there’s nothing bad about that.

 

THE DRUNKEN HEARTS

“...An electrifying force of Americana music." 

From their humble inception as an acoustic trio, The Drunken Hearts have grown into an electric five-piece that is captivating audiences across the country. In those few years, the Colorado-based group has managed to make a name for itself in a state that is known for producing and cultivating world-class music. The band fearlessly bottles a tempestuous, yet honest brand of American music — infusing spirited vocals with electric and acoustic instruments, and crafting thoughtful songs that are resonating with crowds everywhere. 

The Reminders Co-Headline with Fed Rez

The Reminders Co-Headline with Fed Rez

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

COLORADO CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY BONFILS BLOOD CENTER 

THE REMINDERS
CO-HEADLINE WITH
FED REZ

The Reminders are a rare and remarkable musical duo seamlessly blending soulful sounds and roots music with insightful messages and thoughtful lyrics. The group consists of Brussels-born emcee Big Samir and Queens-born emcee/ vocalist Aja Black, a collective creative force that’s hard to beat. Big Samir weaves intricate rhythmic patterns with a bilingual French/English flow, displaying his street-smart credibility in both his lyrics and cool demeanor. This is beautifully complimented by Aja Black's confident delivery, diverse cadences, and unique vocal stylings. The two have an undeniable magical chemistry as they share more than lyrical abilities and stages; the couple shares a partnership in both music and life as Samir and Aja have been married for almost a decade.

Releasing their debut album 'Recollect' in 2008 and their latest “Born Champions” in 2012, the Reminders have been recognized and applauded for their work internationally through concerts, tours, music awards, TV and radio appearances, and their incredible and dedicated fan base. Having shared the stage with artists such as Les Nubians, Snoop Dogg, Fishbone, Barrington Levy, Nas, Mos Def, Big Boi, KRS-One, Rakim, K'Naan, and others, the Reminders have established a firm place in today's ever-evolving music scene, garnering international acclaim while paving a path all their own. Beyond performances and appearances, the duo is constantly and actively engaged with community organizations, schools, and universities delivering workshops, talks, and specially catered performances.

More than a shade of the same color that we see time and time again, The Reminders transcend the bounds of what is expected. Their stage presence and high energy shows leave crowds in awe the world over, allowing the duo to uplift and entertain all at once. Their unique mashup of razor sharp rhymes; raw, soulful vocals; and reggae-tinged hip hop beats form the perfect backdrop for their relevant and inspiring themes, leaving a lasting impression on listeners with audiences always wanting more. The Reminders take their hip hop foundation and move it beyond genre, time, and space to create a global musical experience that is classic and speaks to all those willing to participate.

 

FED REZ

Fed Rez is an Alternative Hip-Hop group that draws its thematic inspiration from the economically elite that influence world affairs via political allegiances, affluent lineages, media control, and the desire for world domination.  By humorously imitating the greedy actions of these individuals, Fed Rez implicitly maintains the socially-conscious spirit of true hip-hop without coming off as cliche or preachy.  With influences that range from Public Enemy and Big Daddy Kane to contemporaries such as Run the Jewels and Odd Future, Fed Rez combines superior live performances and lyricism with production that is curtailed to the modern audience.

Rocky Dawuni

Rocky Dawuni

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

ROCKY DAWUNI

International music star, humanitarian activist and GRAMMY nominee, Rocky Dawuni straddles the boundaries between Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S. to create an appealing sound that unites generations and cultures. With an easy-going charisma and reputation as a dedicated champion of social causes, Dawuni's infectious grooves and dance-inducing anthems have consistently excited fans across the globe. A galvanizing performer, Dawuni has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Jason Mraz, Janelle Monae and John Legend, among many others. Named one of Africa's Top 10 global stars by CNN, he has showcased his talent at prestigious venues such as The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

Dawuni's life began as the child of a cook on a military barracks in Ghana. His father’s innate intelligence and charm helped him quickly rise in his position to become the cook for the base's colonels and generals. During this time, his father – Koytau Dawuni, befriended many high-ranking officers and observed the deep pride they felt in sending their children to school.

Dawuni's father began to raise his own children with the same standards, investing heavily in education. The second born of eight siblings, Dawuni excelled at school and eventually his father decided to move him back to their home village where he could learn more about his cultural heritage. As it turned out, Koyatu’s humble employment belied his status as a member of the royal family of the Konkomba tribe, which ruled from a village called Bunbon Nayili in Northern Ghana. After retiring from the military, Koyatu returned to his native village to serve as the Chief, a role currently held by Dawuni's older brother, Chief Wumbe Dawuni.

Despite the isolation of the village and barracks life, Dawuni was exposed to the music of other cultures after his father was posted to Egypt with the United Nations forces. The multi-ethnic mix of Ghanaian tribes in the barracks also revealed to Dawuni the diversity of expressions found in his own country. "I was always looking for music," Dawuni remembers, "Whenever bands played, I would gravitate towards that. There was a band in the barracks called Hot Barrels, and I remember that every time they had rehearsal I would chill at their space and just listen to them play."

Throughout Dawuni's childhood music was always at the forefront of his passions. Dawuni's youth coincided with an era of political turmoil and frequent military coups in Ghana, and music provided the soundtrack for this tumultuous era. After moving to the capital city Accra to pursue a degree in philosophy and psychology at the University of Ghana, Rocky's spent hours mining his friend's record collections, discovering the Afrobeat of Fela Kuti from Nigeria, the African soul of Osibisa, as well as highlife groups such as the African Brothers, not to mention Jamaican reggae and American funk and soul. Through these inspirations and his own experiences he began to gravitate towards any music that articulated a message of unity and hope.

While at University he formed his first band, Local Crisis, with a group of friends. They had no real instruments except an acoustic guitar played by the bassist. The drummer created a kit out of cardboard and the keyboardist used a toy keyboard. Dawuni sang and performed his own original songs. They made their first demo by simply singing directly into a tape recorder. "It was the most low tech thing you can imagine," recalls Dawuni, "but there was just the fire and determination and we believed in what we were doing." Despite the lack of instruments and professional recording equipment, their music gained immediate success on campus. They decided to try to perform at a large Pan African event taking place in Accra, but with no prior knowledge about how to book concerts, the band just showed up at the promoter's office on the day of the event. The promoter, intrigued by this group of passionate yet clearly inexperienced student musicians, decided to let them play once the main concert was over. As spectators started filing out of the venue, Local Crisis picked up the instruments on stage, unsure of how to use such advanced equipment, and began to play their music with heart and soul. The audience eagerly returned back to the stage, the band was a hit, and Dawuni's musical career took off.

It was during this time Dawuni met his eventual life partner and manager Cary Sullivan, a photographer and producer from Los Angeles. Dawuni wished to grow musically and to make art that could spread beyond the borders of Ghana. He felt he needed to travel and gain experience about other cultures first hand. He joined Sullivan in Los Angeles, although he continued to live part time in Ghana.

In 1996 he produced his first album, The Movement, backed by members of Local Crisis and other Ghanaian reggae stars. The Movement became a major success in Ghana with a number of hit singles including “What Goes Around” and “Sugar.” But Dawuni continued to believe that his music could serve as a bridge between Africa and the rest of the world. His first international exposure came through the 1998 Putumayo collection Reggae Around the World, which featured his song "In Ghana," alongside tracks by Lucky Dube, Burning Spear, Ernest Ranglin and others. In 2010, Dawuni contributed a cover of Bob Marley's "Sun Is Shining" to the Putumayo album Tribute to a Reggae Legend.

In 1998, Dawuni released his second album Crusade, followed by Awakening in 2001, Book of Changes in 2005 and Hymns for the Rebel Soul in 2010. Each album brought him greater acclaim and wider recognition both in Ghana and abroad. Today, Dawuni is a household name in his native land, and widely considered one of Africa's most recognized international stars.

Dawuni's music has been featured in numerous television programs, including ER, Weeds and Dexter. In 2010, Dawuni's song "African Soccer Fever" was included on the FIFA World Cup South Africa video game from EA Sports, one of many times Dawuni's songs have been included in EA video games. Dawuni's cover of John Lennon's "Well Well Well" appeared on the digital bonus version of the Amnesty International benefit album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, which was released by Warner Brothers in

2007 and featured appearances by U2, R.E.M., Aerosmith featuring Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, Black Eyed Peas and others. Dawuni has also participated in the 2009 Playing for Change album, singing along with Bono on "War/No More Trouble" and Keb Mo' on "Biko."

In 2003, Dawuni teamed up with Sullivan and KCRW DJ Jeremy Sole to create Afro Funke', a regular musical event in Los Angeles dedicated to African music, culture and art and it's far-reaching legacy around the world. Afro Funke' presents international guest DJs, live performances, guest musicians, dancers, cutting-edge films, record release parties, fundraisers, fashion shows, art installations, crafts and more. It has built a dedicated following, attracting celebrities such as Prince, India.Arie, Queen Latifah and Stevie Wonder.

Rocky’s recent performances include appearing in front of 18,000 people in Toronto, Canada alongside Somalian superstar K’Naan and at the Freedom Awards in Los Angeles with pop sensation Jason Mraz. In July 2011 he performed at the prestigious Hollywood Bowl with the legendary Stevie Wonder during a night of "Global Soul” and appeared at France’s Les Estivales de la Perriere in August of the same year with Shaggy, Monty Alexander and Diana King where they joined together on a magical rendition of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry." In March 2012, Rocky headlined the Balispirit Festival in Bali, Indonesia for the second time in three years and received a glowing feature in Rolling Stone Indonesia. In July 2013, Rocky appeared at Switzerland's renowned Montreaux Jazz Festival.

Dawuni's eloquence, cultural diplomacy and successful melding of music and activism have led him to become a passionate spokesperson for various global causes. He has joined forces with Product (RED), UNICEF, the Carter Center, and the UN Foundation. He has worked on campaigns focused on Guinea worm eradication, environmental issues, women's health and education, HIV Aids advocacy, peace building and clean water. In 2012, Dawuni was appointed the Tourism and Cultural Ambassador of Ghana and World Ambassador for the Musicians Union of Ghana. The same year, he was named a United Nations Foundation Ambassador for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an initiative launched by Hillary Clinton, alongside actress Julia Roberts and chef José Andrés. In 2013, Rocky performed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCC) in Warsaw, Poland in front of the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and delegates from around the world. He also has served on a Brookings Institute think tank on cultural diplomacy (Timbuktu Action Group) as part of the efforts to restore Mali's famed Festival Au Desert and was invited by Aegis Trust and the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center to Rwanda to meet the Minister of Youth and Culture and visit the Gihembe refugee camp in order to highlight Rwanda's shinning efforts to heal the wounds of the past.

Dawuni released his 6th album Branches of the Same Tree with Cumbancha on March 31, 2015 to rave reviews worldwide The album landed on Billboard’s Top 10 Reggae Chart. He has since toured the world with memorable performances in Canada, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Iceland, Greenland, the UK, and across the USA, as well as taking part in prestigious performances at the Grammy Museum’s “Concert For Social Justice” with David Crosby, Melissa Etheridge, Tom Morello and Jackson Browne and the “Under One Sky” concert (with ONE.org) during the UN General Assembly 2015 to celebrate the announcement of the Global Goals in New York City.

On the heels of this high profile year, Dawuni was invited to join the Leadership Council of The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights. In this role, he joins other esteemed members including former US President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Quincy Jones, and Harry Belafonte to advance the cause of the organization's human rights initiatives. Dawuni also serves as a UN Foundation Ambassador for the Global Alliance For Clean Cookstoves amongst other social responsibility endeavors.

Branches of the Same Tree was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Reggae Album. Dawuni is the first musician from Ghana to ever receive a GRAMMY nomination. He is also only the second African to be nominated in this category. Rocky Dawuni was nominated alongside modern Jamaican music greats Luciano, Barrington Levy, Jah Cure and Morgan Heritage, who took home the award. Dawuni stated, "Much like the blues, reggae is the root of so much popular music. I am proud to contribute to its grand tradition and legacy. As my album title states, we are all 'branches of the same tree' and I am honored to represent Africa and stand alongside my Jamaican brothers." 

 

Hippo Campus with Slow Caves and Corsicana

Hippo Campus with Slow Caves and Corsicana

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

HIPPO CAMPUS
WITH
SLOW CAVES

CORSICANA

Doors at 5:30pm

"There's a moment in growing up when it becomes clear that the road you walk is your own to cultivate."

A surprisingly profound sentiment for a band of 21-year olds. Nevertheless, it's a sentiment that animates much of landmark, the debut album from Minneapolis' Hippo Campus.

From the resplendent "Way It Goes," a guitar led gallop about the Instagram-filtered church of cool, to the propulsive "Boyish," a horn-kissed rumination on children of divorce, landmark is shot through with a woozy dissonance between precocious wisdom and old-as-time coming of age stories. The result is a messy, brave, and earnest whole -- not to mention, a tectonic shift forward for a young band still discovering itself.

Of course, that should come as no surprise. Hippo Campus -- comprised of vocalist/guitarist Jake Luppen, guitarist/vocalist Nathan Stocker, bassist Zach Sutton, and drummer Whistler Allen -- have done their fair share of growing up since forming in late 2013. Their pair of 2015 EPs, Bashful Creatures and South, catapulted a freshly-formed band onto sold out tours, radio airwaves, late night TV stages, timelines, feeds, and glowing screens the world over. After a 10-month stretch of work informed by their surprising ascent, Hippo Campus' first full-length showcases not only their trademark ear for ringing melodies and impeccably constructed pop frameworks, but a desire to dig deeper -- both into their talent and in their selves -- for inspiration.

landmark's recording, helmed by BJ Burton (Bon Iver, Sylvan Esso, etc.), primarily took place at Sonic Ranch, with finishing touches applied at Pachyderm Studios in the band's native Minnesota. The ranch, a residential studio located on a 2300-acre pecan farm near the border between Texas and Mexico, represented a big shift for four young men from the northern Midwest's cooler climes. "You're just in the middle of the desert, and there are these pecan trees for as far as you can see," says Stocker. "It's pretty surreal -- kind of like a dream."

Dreams are where the mind's deepest desires manifest, so it's fitting landmark is rife with up-close lyrics that reflect the struggles of crash-landing into an always-on world. "It's our most honest release yet, but it didn't start that way at all," says Luppen. "There are two halves to the record -- the first half represents our first stage of writing, where we're showing off our ironic side and criticizing the culture of social media, and the youth culture that we're a huge part of now. It's a world we've been forced to plug into, whether we want to or not, and we talk about our qualms with that world."

Perhaps nowhere on the album are those qualms more evident than on "Western Kids," one of landmark's most upbeat numbers, but also one of its most contemptuous: "I just love this, I swear I'll go viral, from the burbs to the streets now it's a revival," sings Luppen, tongue firmly planted in cheek. "The spirit is found in the idealistically idle, the age of excess."

Meanwhile, "Sun Veins," the distortion-heavy track that opens the record, is a direct response to the expectations heaped upon the band as they grew: "'Sun Veins' represents an intense period in my life when I wanted to burn everything down, and it represents this moment of absolute clarity," says Luppen. "I'm talking about a person, but at the same time I'm talking about myself and us as a band. Throughout the past year, I thought that I had to be different and that the band had to be different, but it turned out that we had to look more inward and find ourselves again."

Indeed, landmark invites introspection and close listening -- even its most upbeat songs are rich with details, like the whistling break that lands in the middle of the galloping "Simple Season" or the spangles of guitar that slice through the clamor of "Tuesday." Elsewhere, the second half of landmark is dominated by a somber stretch that includes the lush "Monsoon," which slowly blooms into a quiet freak-out of reverb and synth, a revelation in the context of the band's catalog. "It was a breakthrough -- we could use the studio and make something transcendent," says Luppen.

Transcendence doesn't come easy. It's usually the payoff to a long journey. And while Hippo Campus' journey is still being written, with landmark, the band has never seemed more confident in the road they're walking.

 

SLOW CAVES

Listening to Slow Caves, one is reminded that being sonically interesting doesn’t mean that a band must sacrifice having old fashioned hooks or pop sensibilities. Danish born brothers, Jakob and Oliver Mueller, provide the vocal and guitar backdrop for Slow Caves, a band (rounded out by childhood friends David Dugan - guitar/bass, and Jackson Lamperes – drums) who offer a relaxed and surf-y update on 80’s synth, 90’s jangle, and early aught’s indie rock.

Formed in Ft. Collins, CO in 2014, Slow Caves quickly gained a reputation as a must-see local attraction. Soon the band was making an impression in Denver’s vibrant music scene, earning slots at tastemaker clubs such as The Hi Dive and Lost Lake Lounge. In 2015, the band showcased their music at SXSW in Austin and CMJ in New York. Then in late 2016, the band signed with Cincinnati-based Old Flame Records (Cloud Nothings, Dead Confederate), performed at Boise’s lauded, Treefort Festival and Austins' SXSW (March 2017), and released their Old Flame debut (Desert Minded-EP) on March 10, 2017.

Since their album release, the band has been touring all over America playing shows in Colorado, Utah, California, New Mexico, Kansas, Texas, Idaho and Arizona. Slow Caves will continue to tour throughout the USA in 2017.

 

CORSICANA

Corsicana is the indie/ambient music project of 19 year old Denver musician Ben Pisano.

Corsicana writes and performs music that is as lyrically intimate as it is universally relatable, and melds folk and indie rock influences with atmospheric soundscapes commonly found in ambient, post­rock, and shoegaze, while also incorporating many of the percussive elements of electronic music.

Inspiration found in the likes of bands like The Antlers, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, and SufjanStevens is equally found in the likes of acts like Tycho, Darkside, the XX, and Glass Animals.

The Dustbowl Revival with Charley Crockett

The Dustbowl Revival with Charley Crockett

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

THE DUSTBOWL REVIVAL
with
CHARLEY CROCKETT

Founded in 2008 in the bohemian enclave of Venice Beach, The Dustbowl Revival has become known for their free-flowing and joyous live shows, combining their funk rhythm and brass section with a fast-picking stringband section. They've opened for bands as diverse as Lake Street Dive, Trombone Shorty and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and last year toured China as a guest of the state department in addition to headlining festivals like Delfest, Floydfest, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and recently Bergenfest (Norway) and Tonderfest (Denmark). 

While bluegrass, gospel, New Orleans swing and blues were what brought the gang together, (a fateful Craigslist ad got it all started), after touring over two hundred dates a year for the last four years, the band realized as it began to collaborate more on the road, that it was never content to be a throwback band recreating lost eras. When they recorded their soul-dipped new single “Busted” it was like a door opening. As they charge into 2017 with their new studio album, helmed by Grammy-winner Ted Hutt (Old Crow Medicine Show, Dropkick Murphy's), Dustbowl is ready to bring their newest  sound - the place where funk and folk meet - to a bigger audience. 

 

CHARLEY CROCKETT

Growing up with a single mother in San Benito, Texas, the hometown of Tejano star Freddy Fender was not easy for blues singer Charley Crockett. Hitchhiking across the country exposed Crockett to the street life at a young age, following in the footsteps of his relative, American folk hero Davy Crockett, who also lived a wild life on the American frontier. After train hopping across the country, singing on the streets for change in New Orleans’ French Quarter, busking in New York City and performing across Texas and Northern California, Crockett set off to travel the world and lived on the streets of Paris for nearly a year before searching for home in Spain, Morocco, and Northern Africa.

The blues artist returned home to Texas and released his debut solo album titled A Stolen Jewel in 2015, receiving critical acclaim in Dallas and ultimately landing him a Dallas Observer Music Award that year for “Best Blues Act”. A record “rich with Southern flavor, a musical gumbo of Delta blues, honky-tonk, gospel and Cajun jazz,” Jewel proved that Crockett, born into poverty in the Rio Grande, had come home to make his musical mark on the South. Crockett, who is self-described as elusive, rebellious and self-taught, has been compared to legends like Bill Withers, Merle Haggard, and Gary Clark Jr. 

He released his sophomore record In The Night, an admirable nod to his Texas country and Louisiana blues roots, on June 4 and ended 2016 having played over 125 shows. “In the Night”and Crockett’s song “I Am Not Afraid” received international recognition from top tastemakers after being picked by NPR Music as one of the "Top 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing”and selected by David Dye to be featured on World Cafe in late July. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram called it “an impressive calling card, full of Crockett's plaintive soulfulness and swinging tempos" and Central Track noted the artist as having "the well-rounded songwriting capabilities of Van Morrison and a vocal approach that finds common ground between Bill Withers and early Dr. John." Crockett graced the cover of Buddy Magazine in May 2016, who called him “the archetype of the new American vagabond.”

He has shared the stage with artists like Turnpike Troubadours, Leon Bridges, Justin Townes Earle, Citizen Cope, Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely, Sean Hayes, Tab Benoit, Ace Enders and others. 

The Band of Heathens with Blake Brown & The American Dust Choir

The Band of Heathens with Blake Brown & The American Dust Choir

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

THE BAND OF HEATHENS
WITH
BLAKE BROWN & THE AMERICAN DUST CHOIR

THE BAND OF HEATHENS

duende – [duen-de] (noun) 1. a quality of inspiration and passion 2. A heightened sense of emotion, expression and authenticity 3. a spirit

Duende, the title of The Band of Heathens’ fifth studio album (and eighth overall), marks their tenth anniversary as a group, and it certainly applies to its overall theme about the collective search for connection and communion in a technology-fueled world increasingly splintered, distracted and lonely. As band co-founder Ed Jurdi, who first learned of the term, explains, “It’s the essence of the artist,” or as partner Gordy Quist says, “It’s a word we don’t have an equivalent for in English, Artistically, that’s where we tried to set the bar, to do what this band does best.”

Indeed, Duende lives up to those high ideals, a stylistically diverse effort that takes a leap beyond their last, more acoustic, introspective effort, 2013’s Sunday Morning Record, with an eclectic batch of material that shows where The Band of Heathens has been, but more importantly, where they are going.

There are high-energy rockers like the Keith Richards-Chuck Berry guitars and barrelhouse piano in “Trouble Came Early” as well as the Grateful Dead-by-way-of J.J. Cale Oklahoma boogie in “Keys to the Kingdom,” The Band-meets-New Orleans honky-tonk blues of “Sugar Queen,” the British Invasion harmonies laced through “Deep Is Love,” the south-of-the-border flavor of “Road Dust Wheels” and the New Riders pedal steel country twang of “Green Grass of California,” an ode to the more potent strains of sensimilla on the dispensary shelf and a fervent plea to “legalize it.” Duende also touches on some of The Band of Heathens’ favorite topics, from the sacrifices of a life lived on the road (“All I’m Asking”) to the limits of materialism (“Keys to the Kingdom”), social media absorption (“Cracking the Code”), and a moving depiction of Mexican immigration in an age of increased discrimination (“Road Dust Wheels”).

“Road Dust Wheels” is particular timely, dealing specifically with the migration of workers from Mexico and Latin America. “It’s not about the politics of the situation,” explains Jurdi, “but a meditation on people trying to get together to find their own slice of the American Dream, which has been our greatest export to the outside world. Unfortunately, we’ve got leaders trying to divide us, spitting venom and vitriol, trying to get elected by pitting us against each other rather than realizing, almost without exception, we create the same felling of community and connection, regardless of religion, race or immigration status.”

Similarly, according to Quist, “Keys to the Kingdom” is a portrait of someone who falls prey to the consumer culture of more, unable to enjoy the present because she’s obsessed with wanting more in the future... and it doesn’t end well. “Sugar Queen” is its sequel, the same character as a newly divorced cougar looking for love in a younger man, told from the perspective of that younger man, another song about the thirst for real connection.

Thematically, Quist’s “Cracking the Code” comes closest to reiterating the album’s desire to reconsider the value of relationships and priorities in a world of virtual reality and social media.

“While modern technology has certainly allowed us to stay in touch over vast distances – something a band that lives on the road certainly appreciates – it doesn’t really provide the authentic connection we crave,” says Gordy. “We’ve created a portal through which we lose ourselves and miss what’s really going on right in front of us, hiding the fact our supposed connected culture can be a really lonely place.”

“Deep Is Love” is another song about loneliness on the road, according to Quist. “At the time, I felt like I had all these tools to stay in touch with my family – from Facetime to Skype – but all the while we were missing the deeper connection that comes from being physically present in one another’s lives.”

Likewise, Jurdi describes “All I’m Asking” as a song about “missing his wife... lost opportunities, second chances and getting back to the place where it’s just about two people in the same room having a special moment together without outside interference.”

Armed with almost 40 songs all together, the group recorded in a variety of different locations, the majority in the Texas Treefort, a studio in their own Austin backyard, where they took advantage of the vintage broadcast tube equipment to create the album’s warm, inviting sound. All the tracks were initially laid down live in the studio by the full band, making an effort to keep the music infused with its “analog” elements as well as the communal feel.

“I feel the album brings together all our influences, everything we’ve done over the years as a band,” explains Jurdi. “We’ve touched on every part of our career... our roots, some singer/songwriter contemplative stuff, some high-energy rock ‘n’ roll. It’s all us, the record we were supposed to make. Ten years later, that’s what keeps us coming back.”

“We really opened ourselves up to the collaborative process this time,” adds Gordy. “The trust we have between us enabled us to chase down our individual ideas wherever they take us. That’s the beauty of being in a band.”

Engineer/co-producer Jim Vollentine (Spoon, White Rabbits, ...And You’ll Know Us by the Trail of Dead) helped the album’s diversity sound coherent, adding unique touches such as mellotron and drum machines to the loping rockabilly of tracks like “All I’m Asking.”

“It’s amazing how getting the right sounds just brought the songs to life,” adds Ed. “Hearing it come back at us through the speakers was really inspiring.”

Gordy explains: “We based the album’s eclecticism on our live shows, where texturally, we go through peaks and valleys. We have this library of music in our heads and at our fingers, and when we go into the studio, the challenge is how to go from that into making something new.”

The term “Americana” was practically invented to describe The Band of Heathens’ approach, which has mutated almost as much as the genre to which they’re identified. And while the Rolling Stones and The Beatles remain touchstones on songs like “Sugar Queen” and “Deep Is Love,” respectively, influences as diverse as Sly and the Family Stone (in the psychedelic fuzz-tones of “Daddy Long Legs”) and Latin music (“Road Dust Wheels”) also rear their heads. Literary inspirations also come into play, ranging from a character in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar depicted in as a strutting cougar in “Sugar Queen” (“She even talks dirty/When she’s on her knees to pray”) to Tom Standage’s A History of the World in Six Glasses, which recounts how beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and Coca-Cola have shaped culture and civilization to modern times (“Trouble Came Early”). “Green Grass of California” – with its praise of today’s strong strains of bud and a fervent plea for legalization -- was recorded in Nashville and supposed to include harmonies by Tim Easton, who ate a marijuana cookie and inadvertently lived out the song’s lyrics (“When your eyes are red/Spinning in your head/Remember it’s only in your mind)”), unable to continue.

Duende is The Band of Heathens playing to their strengths, unapologetically constructed as an old-school 10-track, two-sided vinyl album (which it will be released as, with a second disc encompassing four songs from their Green Grass EP released earlier this year).

For co-founders Jurdi and Quist, the album represents a new beginning.

“Our goal is always to make the best record we could make,” says Jurdi. “We’re taking our influences and pushing them into different sonic territory. I feel the band is in a great place to take that next step. More than ever, people need to feel connected. Just like Paul Revere or the town crier, we’re messengers trying to spread the good word and tap into the communal spirit that is created in the wake of music and song. To make your way through the world via inspiration and ultimately, creation, is truly a gift; it’s something we never take for granted. The singular purpose is always to bring our best stuff to the table, whether making a record or playing a show. The hope is that it both resonates with our long-time fans and strikes a chord with people who are just being introduced to the music.”

“We just try to keep writing songs that mean something to ourselves and others,” concludes Gordy. “The challenge for us as artists, in these disturbing times, is how can we change things? Music is fun and an excuse to get out with other human in a room together, but you also hope the songs will mean something when someone is all alone in their room listening to the record. This band is better than it’s ever been.”

With Duende, the proof is in the results. Let them change your mind. 

 

BLAKE BROWN AMERICAN DUST CHOIR

Blake Brown is an American singer-songwriter.


His music is rooted in acoustic sounds and characterized by his simple, yet complex melodies and heartfelt lyrics; giving his audience a stark satisfaction in every note. Marked by a strangely captivating subtleness, Brown’s music and haunting stage presence leaves bystanders with something to think about and wanting more. 

 

The Haunted Windchimes and Edison

The Haunted Windchimes and Edison

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

COLORADO CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY BONFILS BLOOD CENTER

THE HAUNTED WINDCHIMES
CO-HEADLINE WITH
EDISON

The Haunted Windchimes sound draws from traditional folk and American roots music. The songs have a vintage quality, as if they might have been written yesterday or 75 years ago. Grounded in honeyed harmonies and spirited pickin’, it lies in a nowhere land between distinct styles: It’s not quite bluegrass or blues or country. Still, there are elements of all those in songs that paint pictures of empty train stations and nights of passing a jug of moonshine around. It’s the vocal harmonies that really set them apart, a three-headed juggernaut of Desirae Garcia (ukulele), Chela Lujan (banjo) and Inaiah Lujan (guitar). “When their voices blend, it is nothing short of beautiful,” writes Bill Reed of The Colorado Springs Gazette. The sound is often moody and melancholy, but it is always deeply affecting. That sound is embroidered by the instrumental mastery of Mike Clark (harmonica, guitar and mandolin).

On the group’s 2006 debut EP “Verse/Visa”, The Haunted Windchimes presented what Denver Post journalist, Eryc Eyl, called “a beautiful chamber pop sound.” However, with 2010’s “Honey Moonshine,” the band “perfected an old-timey hoedown sound, executed with passion and precision.” May 2011, the band released “Live at the Western Jubilee,” a celebration of its career so far. Recorded in December 2010 at the Western Jubilee Warehouse, a legendary Colorado Springs venue, the record’s 13 tracks capture the five musicians in peak form in front of an appreciative audience. Their latest album, Out With the Crow, awarded album of the year by The Colorado Springs Independent in 2012, reflects “a barrel-aged maturation that punctuates their moonshine roots. The album and the band’s public performances make clear that The Haunted Windchimes aim to rekindle the flames of Americana music for generations to come,” writes Angus Edward (No Depression).

 

EDISON

 EDISON - singer/guitarist Sarah Slaton, multi-instrumentalist, Dustin Morris, and Grammy-nominated guitarist, Maxwell Hughes (formerly of The Lumineers) - is an indie rock trio from Colorado which has quickly emerged as a musical force. Although they've only been a band since late 2014, they've already built a substantial national fan base thanks to their high-energy live shows and tireless touring efforts. In addition to countless club gigs, they've earned attention at such music industry conferences as SXSW, CMJ Music Marathon and Folk Alliance International. "We've been on the road nonstop for over a year", Slaton notes. "We didn't have a lot of releases out there so we decided to hit the road and meet as many people as we could and foster those relationships." That strategy worked, winning the band a devoted national audience as well as support slots with the likes of Iron & Wine, Langhorne Slim and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats. Edison released their debut LP "Familiar Spirit" (09-16-16) after signing with Rhyme & Reason Records. 

"Though it’s a proper studio release, the nine-track effort in a way captures exactly what the band’s been doing the last 12 months: bringing music to life." - Consequence of Sound

My Body Sings Electric and Chemistry Club

My Body Sings Electric and Chemistry Club

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

COLORADO CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY BONFILS BLOOD CENTER

MY BODY SINGS ELECTRIC
CO-HEADLINE WITH
CHEMISTRY CLUB

My Body Sings Electric’s music resonates with a sense of playfulness and lust for life. When you meet them in person, it’s easy to see why. Call their music indie. Call it pop. Call it what you will. But when you connect with the music from this band of love-able misfits, you’ll feel as if you just met your five new best friends.

Pop-sensibility can be a taboo in the indie world, but MBSE does not leave you wanting more. With introspective lyrics, danceable rhythms intricate instrumental work and dynamic
live shows, they’ve crafted a fresh, energetic take on indie, pop and alternative rock.

 

CHEMISTRY CLUB

Chemistry Club is a Colorado-native sci-fi/electropop band with work including music, video games, and comics. Formed in 2012, the band has worked to bring pop music and nerd culture together in a blend of synthesizers, guitar, and SCIENCE.

Their first single, "Bend to Colors", earned them a Top Ten spot in KTCL's Hometown for the Holidays and was hailed by The Knife Fight as “so undeniably catchy that it is almost impossible not to play at full volume.” Their 2014 and 2015 releases, “Miranda” and “Cleanup Crew", also scored awards from KTCL and a spot at Big Gig 2014. They have been nominated three times by the Westword Music Awards, including a 2015 win in the Dance Pop category. Chemistry Club has appeared three times at Comic Con and has played alongside Twenty One Pilots, Neon Trees, Panic at the Disco, and Walk the Moon.

Their newest project, Copia, is a science fiction story told across four concept albums, beginning with "Copia: The Electric Hush", released in December 2014. This year, with the help of Colorado artist Patch Silver, Chemistry Club is expanding the Copia universe with a comic book series. The first two issues, "Copia: Landfall" and "Copia: The Undertow", are available now. New albums and comics in the Copia series will be available soon at www.chemistryclubmusic.com.

Members: Jeff Wiencrot, Dylan Camacho, Micah Daby, Jake Euler

 

Smooth Hound Smith with Anthony Ruptak & the Midnight Friends

Smooth Hound Smith with Anthony Ruptak & the Midnight Friends

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

SMOOTH HOUND SMITH
WITH
ANTHONY RUPTAK & THE MIDNIGHT FRIENDS

Smooth Hound Smith is a foot stompin' American roots duo comprised of "one-man-band" Zack Smith (guitars/vocals/foot drums/harmonicas/banjo) and Caitlin Doyle (vocals/percussion).  Established in 2012, and currently based in East Nashville, TN, they record and perform a varied and unique style of folky, garage-infused rhythm & blues. Using primal foot percussion, complex, fuzzed-out, finger-picked guitar patterns, warbled harmonicas, tasty harmonies and A LOT of tambourine, they are able to create something rugged and visceral- a modern interpretation of early blues, soul, and rock 'n' roll music that harkens back to the traditions of hazy front porch folk songs as well as raucous back-alley juke joints.
 
The duo has traveled over 100,000 road miles, playing over 500 shows in over 30 states in the last two-and-a-half years. Their eponymous debut album garnered attention from media outlets such as Nashville's independent radio, WRLT Lightning 100, as well as publications like American Songwriter and RELIX Magazine. They were also selected over thousands of other bands to perform at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, headlined by Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, and more. In addition, the music of Smooth Hound Smith has been featured on ABC’s Nashville, MTV’s The Real World and the Esquire Network. 
 
Smooth Hound Smith's second full-length album, Sweet Tennessee Honey, was released January 15th, 2016, and they will be touring heavily in support of it for the foreseeable future.

 

ANTHONY RUPTAK & THE MIDNIGHT FRIENDS

Anthony Ruptak has never been content with doing things the way they should be done. Or rather, the way people expected him to do them.

Leaving his home at age seventeen with few possessions and a zealous drive, Ruptak began his journey into professional musicianship. He started by busking on the streets of Denver for enough cash to make it through the night, and soon migrated to the open-mic scene -- where he played six to seven nights per week, often doubling down on local mics in a single evening, for over a year. Once he began booking his own shows, Ruptak found himself at the point of no return and committed to persevering on his musical path.

Since then, Anthony's brother, Matt, enlisted himself into the group as an atypical percussionist in 2014 and joined in following the invisible glow that only the brothers could see.

Raised in the high mountains of Bailey, Colorado, Anthony Ruptak evolved from a junior high youth group singer to a studded-belt- wearing hardcore screamer, and then to a finger-picking folk artist and eventually an interpreter and manipulator of his own emotive sound. The songs he fashions are unique in their own right, but have been compared to the colors of Connor Oberst, Modest Mouse and Fionn Regan.

Ruptak performs with an ever-shifting cast of characters ranging from a stark and gripping solo performance to an ensemble of 10 or more musicians. At the root, there is Anthony and his brother. From playing the stickiest bar-corner gigs imaginable to some of the country's great concert halls and amphitheaters like Red Rocks, Ruptak's momentum harbors no hesitation. And he intends to take that train as far as it goes -- in continuing to run his songwriter open mic, in cultivating a welcoming, progressive musical spirit in Denver, and in his growing connection to the world and the people around him. 

 

 

Gaby Moreno with Vanessa Zamora

Gaby Moreno with Vanessa Zamora

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LATIN CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY FIRST BANK

GABY MORENO
WITH
VANESSA ZAMORA
 

Since moving to Los Angeles from her native Guatemala, singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno has achieved remarkable success as a musician. She has been nominated for an Emmy and won a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist. She has released four albums, toured with singers Tracy Chapman, Ani DiFranco, Punch Brothers, Hugh Laurie and Calexico, and has shared the international stage with pop music luminaries such as Bono, Andrea Boccelli and Van Dyke Parks.

In 2006, her song, “Escondidos,” took the top prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, the first contestant in the Latin category to win Song of the Year. (She’s now a judge.) That opened many more doors.  Her first album, “Still the Unknown” , produced independently was released in 2008.

Moreno’s career started moving quickly. She co-wrote the theme song of the television series "Parks and Recreation," which was nominated for an Emmy in 2010. That same year, she recorded the classic song “Smile,” by Charlie Chaplin, for the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove.”  And she performed “Toast to Freedom,” a song commemorating the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International, first with Kris Kristofferson on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, then in Dublin where she shared the stage with Angelique Kidjo and Bono. 

She released her second album, “Illustrated Songs” in 2011, followed by “Postales.” in 2012,  her first release entirely in Spanish and with Metamorfosis, the label founded by her compatriot Ricardo Arjona, one of Latin America’s most prominent singer-songwriters. . That year, Moreno and Arjona released a duet, “Fuiste Tu,” which was nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year in the 13th Annual Latin Grammy Awards. 

By the time Moreno was named Best New Artist in the 14th annual Latin Grammy Awards of 2013, the “newcomer” had already almost spent half her life in the music business. 

When it came time to record her latest album, “Ilusión” (due for release September 9th), Moreno decided it was time to harken back to beginnings. Musically, the new album captures the pure spirit of the aspiring immigrant artist who made her way in a new country with just her guitar, her gifted voice, and a pocketful of songs she was eager to share.

“I wanted the record to sound as authentic and as close as possible to what the band sounds live,” she says, referring to her longtime collaborators. “I said, ‘Okay, let’s go back to the sound when I put out my first album, when it was just a few musicians in a room together, and it was about having fun and capturing performances. I wanted something human. I'm not a robot. I wanted to embrace the imperfections. That’s human. Maybe in the moment, I'm feeling something that's making my voice break. It's raw emotion. I wanted to keep that."

And she succeeded. The new collection of 13 songs, most of which she wrote or co-wrote, reflect the organic mixture of her wide array of influences, from the blues to boleros. The record’s natural sound reflects the analog philosophy of producer Gabe Roth, co-founder of Brooklyn-based Daptone Records, the independent label specializing in what it calls the “New Sound of Old Soul.” 

That’s a slogan that happens to suit the singer to a tee.

“I don’t want to sound like an old record, but there’s something about those old records that I love, especially that warm sound,” says Moreno. “This is why I wanted to go into the studio for this new record with Gabe Roth. Because of his minimalist approach. He doesn't use any computers, it’s all his ears. We did it all to tape, using these beautiful old vintage microphones, and playing all together in the same room. So you don’t have the luxury of doing 20 takes for every song. We do three takes and choose the best one out of the three. It was kind of nerve-racking... but it sounds so real.”

The album includes separate Spanish and English versions of the first single, “Se Apagó/Love Is Gone,” a song of heartbreak with a twangy guitar, a bright brass section and a feel of Southern soul. Nashville-based R&B singer Jonny P joins her on their English duet, a couple’s dialog. 

Moreno’s uplifting, hymn-like “Fronteras,” which means borders, reveals a theme of hope in the midst of darkness. In a time of persecution of immigrants, the song extends a hand of camaraderie for those who leave everything behind to pursue their dreams. The bilingual refrain captures the essence of “Ilusión” and the composer’s confident, mature state of mind when she created it: “And I laugh and dance. It’s in my blood. And I dream free. This is where I belong.”

 

VANESSA ZAMORA

Vanessa Zamora’s emotive vocals coupled with her personal lyrical style has captivated audiences in her native Mexico.

Only in her early 20’s the Tijuana, Baja California native has already created the aura of an artist who has been around for quite some time.  She’s quickly positioned herself as a steadfast interpreter of alternative pop who has two feet firmly planted in the Indie DIY world.

Vanessa’s debut album "Hasta La Fantasia"  Released on Cosmica Records—has created a buzz amongst key tastemakers.  For this project Zamora teamed up with Alejandro Jimenez (also known as recording artist “Jandro” and producer/engineer for Carla Morrison) to create a fresh, relevant yet melancholic record. Songs such as “Correr” (Run), and “Te Quiero Olvidar” (I Want To Forget You) reel you in with a distinctive voice and stirring tones that go beyond the acoustic guitar vibes. The lyrics possess a candid realness that makes you feel as Vanessa is singing about you, the listener.  “Hasta La Fantasia” ushers you into her fantastical world of love, hope, despair and the universal desire to be loved and love back hard.

Vanessa was recently nominated for multiple IMA’s (Indie Music Awards)in Mexico, and has created a touring circuit for her in Mexico which has garnered more and more attention for the talented singer-songwriter.

Zamora has recently shared the center stage with the likes of: Natalia LaFourcade, Ceci Bastida, La Santa Cecilia, and Ely Guerra.  Vanessa will be returning to the U.S. this spring to perform at SXSW, Albuquerque’s National Hispanic Cultural Institute Latin Diva’s Series, El Paso and more.

Vanessa has now completed her new record set for a mid October 2017 release. Her first single “HBLS MUCHO” is slated for a June 23rd release date. Recorded in both Mexico City and the legendary Sonic Ranch just east of El Paso, Zamora is once again poised to realize further her status as one of Mexico’s freshest voices near the border.  

 

Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra with Fiesta Colorado Dance Company

Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra with Fiesta Colorado Dance Company

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LATIN CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY FIRSTBANK

MARIACHI SOL DE MI TIERRA
WITH
FIESTA COLORADO DANCE COMPANY

Mariachi Sol De Mi Tierra was formed with the idea to show people something fresh and unique from the already existing musical groups in Denver, CO. On Aug 6, 1999, four young music enthusiasts, Oscar Vaca, Jesus Ramirez, Raul Romero, and Vicente Romero, gave complete trust and hope to the leader of the group, Juventino Romero. With a lot of determination, practice and hard work, they decided to plan an exciting musical adventure. Throughout the years, more musicians joined, which lead to the eight musicians who are a part of the group today.

Mariachi Sol De Mi Tierra enjoys a prestige that they have gained over the years. In the past 12 years, they have been a part of various events associated with the National Western Stock Show. For the past 9 years, they have shared the stage with the Colorado Symphony in the festivities for Cinco de Mayo at Boettcher Concert Hall. The group has also performed with some great Mexican singers in Denver. With a firm belief to keep demonstrating a beautiful part of the Mexican culture, Mariachi Sol De Mi Tierra is now more and better than ever, offering to their audience dedication, love, and passion for their music.

 

FIESTA COLORADO DANCE COMPANY

Fiesta Colorado Dance Company is the premier Hispanic Dance Company in Colorado. It has presented the highest quality performances of Mexican Folkloric, Flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance shown in Colorado for over 30 years. The Founder and Artistic Director is Jeanette Trujillo-Lucero.

Fiesta Colorado Dance Company is a non-profit organization with a mission to present and preserve the Hispanic dance arts. Since its inception, every performance with its magnetic energy and vivacious choreography has been a demonstration of how these dances embody the richest artistic manifestations of culture and tradition.

Fiesta Colorado Dance Company is the proud recipient of the 2006 Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the highest award given to an arts organization in the City of Denver.

Jeanette Trujillo-Lucero was also a recipient as an individual of Mayor’s Award For Excellence in the Arts in 1997 for her contributions to the Hispanic arts in Denver.

KARL DENSON'S TINY UNIVERSE

KARL DENSON'S TINY UNIVERSE

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

KARL DENSON'S TINY UNIVERSE


Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe concert follows the Levitt Pavilion Beer Festival on August 26. This event is all ages and is open to the public and beer festival attendees. 

Doors at 7:00PM | Show at 7:30PM

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe is back in action with a run of shows giving fans the experience what is highly regarded as one of the best live bands on the planet. Karl, who now serves as the saxophonist in The Rolling Stones, is fresh off a tour with the legendary rock band that included the highest grossing concert festival of all time, Desert Trip. With KDTU, he’ll be showcasing material from his forthcoming studio album, due in early 2017, as well as previous acclaimed KDTU recordings like 'New Ammo' and ’The Bridge.' The current KDTU touring lineup is comprised of Richmond guitarist DJ Williams, Soulive drummer Alan Evans, Greyboy Allstars bassist Chris Stillwell, Crush Effects keyboardist David Veith, Seattle trumpeter Chris Littlefield and ace slide and lap steel guitarist Seth Freeman.

New Breed Brass Band with Denver Municipal Band

New Breed Brass Band with Denver Municipal Band

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

NEW BREED BRASS BAND
WITH
DENVER MUNICIPAL BAND

New Breed Brass Band lives and breathes the culture of New Orleans, infusing funk, rock, jazz, and hip-hop into a custom-made enhancement of second-line brass band tradition.

“That’s what we came up under,” says snare-drummer Jenard Andrews of second line bands like the ReBirth, Dirty Dozen and Lil’ Rascals Brass Bands. “Now we’re trying to take that sound and bring in some new stuff and expand it. We bring outside influences like Earth Wind & Fire and Brass Construction, trying to interpret a different song for every genre, and make it all our own sound.”

With a founding core of five New Orleans natives, New Breed Brass Band made its street debut as a nine-man unit in November 2013 at the Nine Times Second Line. Since then, they have showcased their originality opening for such diverse bands as The Fray, Red Baraat, Dr. John, The Waterboys, and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, as well as competing in the Red Bull Street Kings brass band competition in 2013.

Most of the members have been playing music since they were toddlers and count such New Orleans legends as James “12” Andrews, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Topsy Chapman, Karl Leblanc, and Bruce “Sun-pie” Barnes as family members. Honing their childhood experiences playing music with their families, and on through high school marching bands and concert ensembles, the nine members of New Breed are united to one cause: rocking each show and entertaining audiences to the maximum degree possible. The band’s strong desire is to be the next heavyweight contender among internationally-known New Orleans brass bands.

Whether performing in their hometown or on the road, New Breed will forever bring the vibe of the New Orleans second- line with them. “We can’t wait,” Andrews says of bringing the New Breed sound to stages and festivals around the world. “It’s a new breed of music that we’ll be bringing to our culture, and we hope to create a new sound for our city in the process.” 

 

DENVER MUNICIPAL BAND

The staple of DMB activity remains the "century plus" tradition of summer concerts. Presented in accessible parks settings, these performances encourage family gatherings and are performed by the area's leading professional players. Many of the musicians also play with other fine ensembles such as the Colorado Symphony, Colorado Ballet, Opera Orchestras, Denver Brass, and the Queen City Jazz Band.

The Denver Municipal Band is re-establishing the year round activity it enjoyed in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to the full forty-piece concert band, the DMB family of ensembles includes a 17- piece jazz band, jazz combo, brass band, plus woodwind and brass quintets. These smaller groups regularly present concerts in schools and community centers.

Ripe with Chris Daniels & the Kings with Freddi Gowdy

Ripe with Chris Daniels & the Kings with Freddi Gowdy

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONERT SERIES PRESENTS

RIPE
WITH
CHRIS DANIELS & THE KINGS
WITH
FREDDI GOWDY

Ripe is a Funk/Pop band out of Boston, MA that was born as a result of its seven members' uniting over one belief: with enough passion and honesty, music can still make the earth shake. With one eye looking back to the inceptio. Ripe is a Funk/Pop band out of Boston, MA that was born as a result of its seven members' uniting over one belief: with enough passion and honesty, music can still make the earth shake. With one eye looking back to the inception of both funk and psychedelic music, and the other looking forward with a modern concept of what makes people move, Ripe seeks both to honor musical history as well as to make it. The perfect fruit is equal parts past and present, and this is the approach of the Ripe sound.

With a strong devotion to consistently creating an unforgettable live experience, Ripe has kept the groove going touring nationally from coast to coast. With a recently released sophomore EP, Hey Hello, and plans to start recording a full-length album in the coming year, Ripe is shifting into overdrive with every intention of taking this to the stratosphere. The Ripe family asks you to get loose, get down, and get ready. The party is just getting started.n of both funk and psychedelic music, and the other looking forward with a modern concept of what makes people move, Ripe seeks both to honor musical history as well as to make it. The perfect fruit is equal parts past and present, and this is the approach of the Ripe sound.

With a strong devotion to consistently creating an unforgettable live experience, Ripe has kept the groove going touring nationally from coast to coast. With a recently released sophomore EP, Hey Hello, and plans to start recording a full-length album in the coming year, Ripe is shifting into overdrive with every intention of taking this to the stratosphere. The Ripe family asks you to get loose, get down, and get ready. The party is just getting started.

 

CHRIS DANIELS & THE KINGS WITH FREDDI GOWDY

Chris Daniels & the Kings (and now with Freddi) do more than 120 dates per year touring over two continents and have been invited to appear in such diverse places as The Down Home Blues Festival in South Carolina, The Bob Hope Chrysler Desert Classic, The Curacao Swing Festival (South America), and all over Europe. Chris has appeared with the B.B. King, Uncle Cracker, Blues Traveler, The Neville Brothers, Delbert McClinton, Sister Hazel, Sheryl Crow, Robert Cray, Taj Mahal, Al Kooper, Bonnie Raitt, Ziggy Marley, The Fixx, to name only a few. They are headliners on international festivals, like Ribs & Blues Festival with their buddies THE B-MASTERS, at Marktrock, Berchem Blues, and the Lokeren festivals in Belgium, and the Kings have toured as the back up band for Sonny Landreth, David Bromberg, Al Kooper, Bo Diddly, Francine Reed and Dutch guitarist Jan Rijbroek in places like Paris and Amsterdam, and for Bonnie Raitt, members of Little Feat, and Was Not Was at the Roxey in LA to name only a few of the shows. Die hard fans from Italy to Holland rocked with this remarkable artist who has appeared on HDnet all High definition TV, VH-1, TNN, Much Music/Canada, NIppon TV/Japan, Crooked River Grove, KUSA, and on Onhe Filter, AVRO, KAVRO, Paris MTV, and Brussles 1, in Europe, and on Swing TV in Buenos Ares, Argentina.

Inspector with Special Guests

Inspector with Special Guests

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LATIN CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY FIRSTBANK

INSPECTOR
WITH
SPECIAL GUESTS

The band Inspector (from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon) fuses classic Jamaican rhythms with the feel of Mexican pop.

Their style is a blend of ska, reggae, nostalgia for the 1960s rock-n-roll and the great romantic groups of the 1970s, in addition a romantic style of their own. They are part of the musical movement called the Avanzada Regia.

Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 with Reason the Citizen and Povi

Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 with Reason the Citizen and Povi

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

CHALI 2NA OF JURASSIC 5
WITH
REASON THE CITIZEN
AND
POVI

Charles Stewart (born June 26, 1971, in Chicago, Illinois), better known as Chali 2na, is an American rapper and hip hop artist, associated with the groups Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli.

 

REASON THE CITIZEN

Reason the Citizen is an American hip-hop artist based in Denver, CO. Born and raised in southern California, his musical style was heavily influenced by the cultural landscape of his hometown, Oceanside, in the late 90's and early 2000's. The San Diego hip-hop environment, specifically the North County independent scene, significantly shaped his musical foundation, citing emcees like Blame One as early influences. A sharp and linguistically skilled performer, his live set has been critically acclaimed and he has shared the stage with a number of notable hip-hop acts.

His 2006 debut album, Survival Plus, is widely considered an underground classic among early "internet hip-hop" releases. Although still a young and relatively inexperienced emcee at this time, the independent effort gained him local credibility and resulted in dozens of live performances throughout California and the southwestern US. Thematically, it tackled the up and coming rappers difficulties with adapting to a quickly changing environment, spoken truthfully over sample-heavy production. Survival Plus is the definitive starting point of a promising emcee's career.

Broke For Free, his 2009 sophomore album, quickly became a fan favorite and landed Reason the Citizen on Denver based hip hop collective Fameless Entertainment. The duality of witty self realization and somber self deprecation throughout the album deals with themes that range from disastrous tour experiences, to balancing a professional identity with a growing family. Its success lead Reason the Citizen to performance opportunities at SXSW, X-Games, and opening spots for acts like Macklemore, Ghostface Killah, and Raekwon. 

In 2011, shortly after releasing World Hunger Volume One, a 19 track free mixtape, Reason the Citizen teamed up with San Diego rapper Ch@ng3 to develop a unique live performance that blended live hip-hop with outlandishly off-kilter vaudevillian style stage antics. Unofficially dubbed The Greatest Shit Show On Earth, their live set routinely featured burlesque dancers and unruly food fights, which earned the duo a loyal San Diego fanbase. They would go on to share the stage with artists like Mac Miller, Dizzy Wright, Action Bronson, Wax, and Chief Keef.

Not long after moving to Denver in 2013, Reason the Citizen released a 6 track mixtape entitled The Adventure Continues. It featured the song Unlikely, which would eventually become the up and coming emcee's debut music video produced by The Other Guys Films. Since his relocation, Reason the Citizen, along with his dj and regular collaborator Almighty IZ, have been regular live performers at the legendary Denver hip-hop venue Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, and have landed performances with the likes of Nas, MGK, Curren$y, Grouch & Eligh, Grieves and more.

Reason the Citizen is set to release his 3rd studio album, Finding Success Through Failure in 2016. It features production from UK super producer Handbook, notable for his uncanny style as well as his contributions to Rootnote Collective, a worldwide group of diverse and unique musicians. FSTF focuses heavily on the repercussions of failure, and reveals its necessity in a creatively hazardous environment. Ranging in intensity, it stands out as a testament to the ever improving emcee's ability to combine razor sharp double-time, with thought provoking perspective and insight.

 

 

POVI

Meet the Colorado native soul-pop singer POVi. Her motivation lays in her love of soul music and her genuine desire to uplift whoever is listening, whether it be on the sidewalks of Los Angeles or the basements in New York. Her music spreads where ever it is needed while being playful but honest lyrics about her own personal experiences.

POVi's style is a blend of old soul and pop which she enhances with her authentic vocals and all girl squad. The idea of loving yourself and those around you is a theme POVi constantly revisits. She wants her fans to know that no one has to fit into a mold they were not made for, hoping they leave the show feeling proud to love themselves.

Cumbia Festival featuring La Tropa Vallenata, Tropical Kaoba, Los Chavos Dun Dun and special guests

Cumbia Festival featuring La Tropa Vallenata, Tropical Kaoba, Los Chavos Dun Dun and special guests

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LATIN CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY FIRSTBANK

CUMBIA FESTIVAL
FEATURING LA TROPA VALLENATA, TROPICAL KAOBA, LOS CHAVOS DUN DUN AND SPECIAL GUESTS

La Tropa Vallenata is a grouping of the vallenato genus. Founded in Mexico initially for 1984 by Alfonso Rios and conformed by Alonso Ibarra, Elias Moreno, Javier Miranda, Jose De Jesus Silva, Arnulfo Elizondo, Jorge Zavala, Manuel Silva, José Luis Elizondo, Fernando Nuñez.

 

TROPICAL KAOBA

This young talent organization was originally founded as TROPICAL KAOBA in 2000 in the city of Denver, USA by Gustavo Nava who was the main founder supported by Oscar Mendoza, Juan Islands all coming from Iztapalapa on the CD from Mexico. It is noteworthy that they were members of a group with a great trajectory in Mexico and the USA in the late 80's and 90's but decided to try their luck in the American Union and this is how, based on a lot of effort and sacrifice began this organization. Later they invited six young people with a lot of talent to be able to give the authentic sound to tropical music. This is how this group has formed that has managed to reach the taste of people and has been placed as a favorite of the music guapachoza.

LOS CHAVOS DUN DUN

The dun dun boys of the region lagunera mexico the group was formed in the year 2001 radican in denver co usa. Are 8 elements in the majority of the lagunera region. 

 

 

 

 

Pandas & People with Chimney Choir

Pandas & People with Chimney Choir

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

COLORADO CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY BONFILS BLOOD CENTER 

PANDAS & PEOPLE
WITH CO-HEADLINER
CHIMNEY CHOIR

Pandas & People may call Colorado home, but the music transcends geological borders. Since the band’s inception, founding member Joshua Scheer has carried the torch, attracting the attention of famed artists, diehard fans, and national radio, all in a matter of a couple years. With a unique sound blending traditional folk and hook laden songwriting, P&P’s recorded material continues to become more eclectic with each release. 

Their latest single, “Find You,” showcases a new venture into the alternative rock realm, crafting an earnest and personal blend of sound, with gripping melodies, moving lyrics and edgy rhythms sections, or as 9 News in Denver describes it, “music that actually makes you smile….and dance with your iPhone as if you’re starring in an Apple commercial”. Currently working with Warner/Chappell producer and songwriter, Zac Maloy, the excitement is building for their debut album release set for the fall of 2017. 

The group’s blend of indie pop and folk bridges the subtle gap between energy and introspection, with lyrics that are warm, uplifting and joyful, yet personal and insightful. Pandas & People debuted in late 2013 with their single “On My Way”, and went on to play shows frequently, including opening for well-known acts like Twenty One Pilots, The Doobie Brothers, The Oh Hellos and more. The band also received several accolades, including being named “Best New Artist” by the The Colorado Sound, “Best Folk Band in Colorado” by Westword Magazine in 2016 and have placed in the top 3 for 93.3 KTCL’s renowned competition “Hometown for the Holidays” in two of the past three years. With singles “On My Way” and “Find You” hitting the top 10 in the Denver Metro Shazam charts, they’ve also found their way to regular airplay from iHeart Radio stations in both Colorado and New Jersey.

The live band is accompanied by Conrad Marshall, Tucker Ewing, Dave Brown and Adam Haag, bringing an energetic and moving live performance to the stage, urging their audience to experience “the moments in between”. As a whole, the band continues to thrive not only in the Colorado music scene, but all over the country, with fans latching on to that unique energetic folk music with a twist.

 

CHIMNEY CHOIR

Chimney Choir combines folk harmonies, ambient electronics, and swirling textures of rhythm and melody into a style of music that is not easy to define. They began in 2011 with a guitar, banjo, mandolin, and suitcase drum and have since toured the country extensively, recorded and released five recordings, and developed layers of electronics, live looping, and percussion. They still remain fascinated with folk music and traditions while they constantly evolve and experiment - their performances often take on a theatrical quality that has incorporated puppetry, ritual, dance, storytelling, interactive video and even a sci-fi mini-drama. Chimney Choir has earned several consecutive nominations for Westword's 'Best Avante-Pop' band, and was awarded Best CD Release Show (Westword) for their four-part thematic album release of the critically acclaimed (compass) album in the summer of 2013. In collaboration with Denver's cutting edge ballet company, Wonderbound, they created the full-length ballet 'BOOMTOWN', which debuted in April 2015 to rave reviews and several encore performances. They are currently recording the (dream) album, funded by crowdsource fundraising and a grant from Colorado Creative Industries, set to be released in the spring of 2016. The album deepens Chimney Choir's ever-evolving remix-collage technique, combining acoustic and electronic instrumentation, sampling, and evocative vocal and string arrangements with theatrical songwriting, intricate percussion and ambient drones.

 

Jonathan Tyler with School of Rock

Jonathan Tyler with School of Rock

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

JONATHAN TYLER
WITH
SCHOOL OF ROCK

Jonathan Tyler did the rock star thing.
He played Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Hangout Fest and the Voodoo Experience. His 2010

LP Pardon Me for Atlantic Records reached No. 8 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. It was everything he thought he’d wanted. But it wasn’t really him.

“I knew what I was getting into,” Tyler says now, removed enough from that whirlwind to have gained some perspective on it. “I knew what would happen when we signed with Atlantic. Then I got over it.”

Holy Smokes, his newest LP, finds Tyler shed of major-label constraints, bearing his soul as songwriter who’s seen the top of the mountain and now seeks a different kind of climb.

“I’m in this for the long haul,” he says now with certainty -- and Holy Smokes, filled with songs that fill every emotional nook and cranny, plays out like a testament to this fact. 

 

SCHOOL OF ROCK

The School of Rock Denver House Band is comprised of the top students from School of Rock Denver, who have a reached a high level of musicianship and are selected to represent SOR Denver at events and shows throughout Colorado. The House Band brings a high­energy mix of popular classic and modern rock songs to a variety of public and private events and fundraisers. Past performances have included sets at Red Rocks, opening for the Blue Man Group at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the Rocky Mountain Air Show, the Hard Rock Cafe Denver, Denver Comic Con and the KBPI Rock & Roll Car Show. For more information on School of Rock Denver and its unique music education for students from age 3 to adults, please visit Denver.SchoolOfRock.com! 

Humming House with Treehouse Sanctum

Humming House with Treehouse Sanctum

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS 

HUMMING HOUSE
WITH
TREEHOUSE SANCTUM

Humming House is a quintet that embodies modern day Nashville’s blend of edgy, independent artistry with its legacies of folk, soul, and bluegrass. Formed out of informal Irish music jams and the songwriting of Justin Wade Tam, the five musicians have worked together on a sound that balances passion and energy with thoughtful arrangements. They’ve played major festivals and prestige music venues. They’ve released two studio albums and one live recording since 2011, the latest being Revelries. 

 

TREEHOUSE SANCTUM

Treehouse Sanctum is an alternative folk rock band from Denver, CO. Fronted by duo, Sam & Danya Lynn and backed by Andrew (drums), Ben (Bass), Jeremy (lead guitar), & Dewayne (Trumpet); the band is an “Americana orchestra” creating an illuminating fused sound of folk rock soul.

The band’s newest release, Vivere, which means “to live” in Latin, was released 05/05/17.  Recorded at The Keep in Denver, CO, the album was co-produced by Grammy nominated engineer, Nick Sullivan and mastered by Grammy winner, Jonathan Russell in Nashville, TN.  Having recently shared the stage with: Mumford & Sons, The Flaming Lips, Dawes, Miner, Whiskey Shivers & The Dustbowl Revival; the band has been compared to: Needtobreathe, Lord Huron, Drive By Truckers & Of Monsters & Men.

The band’s name is a nod to childhood’s eternal creativity and wisdom.  Treehouse Sanctum songs possess intelligent, emotive lyrics covering heroism, love, hope and faith.  Driving groove-filled rhythms meet intricately layered instrumentation and harmonies to create a complex and dynamic sound.   These “vibrant & wounded” songs can be heard through the rough planks and weathered lines of Treehouse Sanctum’s latest creation, Vivere.

Mexican Independence Day Celebration with Ceci Bastida and more!

Mexican Independence Day Celebration with Ceci Bastida and more!

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LATIN CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY FIRSTBANK

MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION
WITH
CECI BASTIDA
AND MORE!

Ceci Bastida was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico where as a teenager she was a founding member of Mexican ska-punk pioneers Tijuana NO. After joining the band of Julieta Venegas as keyboardist and back-up singer, she went solo and has now released two critically acclaimed full length albums, Veo la Marea (featuring contributions by Diplo, Tim Armstrong, & Rye Rye) and La Edad de la Violencia (produced by XXXChange and Luke Top). Her song “Cuando Vulevas a Caer” was nominated for a Latin Grammy and her mix of beat and horn blasted songs with political and social commentaries on everything from immigration to the drug war has been featured on NPR, The Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone Mexico, among others. Currently, she is also a member of Mexrrissey and is collaborating with South African musician/producer Spoek Mathambo. 

Katastro with Mouse Powell and Forgotten Roots

Katastro with Mouse Powell and Forgotten Roots

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

KATASTRO
MOUSE POWEll
AND
FORGOTTEN ROOTS

Katastro formed in 2007 in Tempe, Arizona by Andy Chaves (Vocalist) Andrew Stravers (Drummer) and Tanner Riccio (Guitarist). Later on Ryan Weddle (bassist) joined the band to complete the current lineup. Katastro gained a quick following by creatively blending elements of rock, funk, blues and hip hop. The release of No Mud No Lotus helped widen their fan base and has been their most successful album release to date. The album has received over 1.5 million plays and their hit single, Runaway has over 1,036,000 plays and 35,000 downloads on SoundCloud.

There is no sign of the band slowing down anytime soon as they recently signed with LAW Records, which is owned and operated by the members of the music group Pepper. Katastro just completed recording their new album, “Strange Nights” which was produced by Kaleo Wassman (Pepper) and Mike Sutherland and will be released September 30th. The first single off the new record is titled, “Waste The Night” and features Jared Watson of the Dirty Heads.

Katastro’s first release was their 2007 EP entitled, “The Wonderful Daze” and was followed by their 2008 release, “The Facts.” In 2009, Bob Hoag (The Ataris, The Format, Gin Blossoms) produced the EP “Poking Holes in A Pattern” and in 2011 released their 4th studio album “Gentle Predator.” Katastro’s most recent release was their 2014 album “No Mud, No Lotus” which features their highly acclaimed song, “Runaway.” Katastro’s new album, “Strange Nights” will be available for pre sale on August 1st and the single, “Waste the Night” will be available upon purchase of the pre sale. Katastro will also be releasing more tour dates in the near future, stay updated by visiting Katastro.com. 

 

MOUSE POWELL

Mouse Powell is the world’s most reluctant rapper. Mouse Powell loves dogs, and has been making music accordingly since 2011. His debut album “Where It’s Cloudy” surely pleased some people, but his follow up album “These Are The Good Times” was at least twice as effective. After taking a blood oath with Tempe based producer, The Ref, the duo have been making genre bending and life altering music ever since. As the two gear up to release another project they will continue their award winning formula of whiskey and friendship to bring the world an album that truly reflects their life long commitment to reluctantly being awesome. Mouse Powell is for you. Mouse Powell is you. Mouse Powell.

 

FORGOTTEN ROOTS

Forgotten Roots Is a brand new Dub / Reggae Rock band based in Northern Colorado and Denver. Made of 4 members, joining from different bands around the country, include Tim Fierro (Guitar) John Buttitta (Keyboard), Matt Pintauro (Drums) and Karl Robison (Bass Guitar). Weve Recently shared the stage with up and coming bands Pacific Dub, and Project 432, with more to come! Our sound incorporates new and old reggae rock concepts, deep drum and bass drops, plus spacey guitar and piano rhythm. We are currently working to refine our sound through recording A studio EP.

SHEL with Megan Burtt

SHEL with Megan Burtt

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

LEVITT FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS

SHEL
WITH
MEGAN BURTT

The billowing curtains of sound on Just Crazy Enough, the second full length album from virtuoso indie-folk band SHEL, will be both familiar and far-out to fans of the exciting sister quartet. The classically inspired mandolin, violin and piano are there, along with the band’s glowing vocal harmonies. But we also hear dense, ethereal textures that hover between the digital and the analog. Grooves are deeper, emboldened with electronic ambience and beat-boxing. The overall effect sheds light on their broad collection of influences, from the daring rock bands of the 60s to the contemplative composers of the 18th Century, and even the waves of modern electronica. Because or in spite of this effervescent mashup, Just Crazy Enough is a masterful move for SHEL. It’s the integral, front-to-back album statement the band has been preparing to make since they began making music.

Dynamic change and self-searching was inevitably going to be a big part of SHEL’s story in these early career years. Sisters Eva, Hannah, Sarah and Liza Holbrook are, after all, twenty-something women, born in a five-year span and raised in a bohemian, art-loving family in Fort Collins, CO. Each found an instrument to master early on, studying classical music while composing and arranging unique works for their anomalous instrumentation, violin, mandolin, piano and drums. They gained performing experience working with their songwriter father, and soon had festival promoters and media figures championing their fresh, intricately drawn sound.

SHEL is now touring and creating relentlessly in the hothouse environment of the 21st century music business. "We've always made our living playing music,' says Sarah Holbrook, "I dropped out of two different colleges, before it finally sank in that I was supposed to be playing music with my sisters full time. We signed with Republic Records early on, but escaped the 'artist protection program’ and we’re prouder than ever to be waving our indie banner."

They are united in their musical vision, yet doggedly possessive and respectful of their evolving individual identities, including the growing pains and struggles of young adulthood. “I remember having a distinct realization that we'd finally grown up, followed by the terrifying thought that we had more questions than answers about life.” Says Eva Holbrook about writing the album. “Sharing these songs has shown us we're not alone.”

SHEL music is many things sonically, but its coherence and distinctiveness comes from the sisters’ commitment to making every song an honest four-way collaboration. That said, every artist profits from outside perspective, and circumstances aligned in recent years to work with Eurythmics co-founder and world-renowned electronic music creator Dave Stewart, whose production credits include albums with Stevie Nicks, Joss Stone and Ringo Starr. SHEL arranged and recorded tracks in Nashville with long-time producer Brent Maher. Then Stewart, in his Los Angeles studio, sculpted sounds and beats to complement each track. The mandate was to uphold the soul of the songs, the acoustic musicality of the sisters as players, the subtlety of Eva’s lead vocals and the colors of the four-way harmonies.  

The other priority for Just Crazy Enough was to capture the intensity of SHEL’s live performance. The answer lay in fully mining the sisters’ wide-ranging talents. Hannah Holbrook says, “We were all instrumentalists long before we learned to sing, and telling a story through melody and arrangement is the part of our work that we bond over most.” 

Opener “Is The Doctor In Today” begins quiet with reflective lyrics, but swells with emotion and harmonies as a theme of searching is established. Liza’s drumming and percussion throughout the record is exciting and creative, from the irresistible groove in “You Could Be My Baby,” to her expert beat boxing on “Rooftop.” Hannah plays a hooky Moog synthesizer in “Let Me Do,” which glides around Eva’s voice with an organic inevitability. And after covering Zeppelin on their debut, SHEL risks sacrilege against the Rock Gods once again with their version of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” a 180 degree flip on the original, with whispered vocals and almost churchlike solemnity. Near the end of the album comes the unexpectedly vigorous and marching “Moonshine Hill,” featuring a shot of Sarah’s lively fiddle in a slice of pop music heaven. The album wraps with “Stronger Than My Fears,” which grows from intimate folk to unearthly beauty, evoking a heath on the Irish coast or the moon of a nearby planet.

The group’s passion for art of all kinds and irrepressible creativity has been central to their inventive music videos. All contribute to the engaging productions. “We're living our art every day” says Eva Holbrook, “turning our rooms into staging studios, filming on rooftops in Amsterdam, moving pianos into a river. But Sarah is the key to all of it. Her ability as a director, videographer and editor conveys our collective vision.”

Conspicuous in those visuals is an evolved esthetic that transforms thrift store fashion finds into an Alice-In-Wonderland British romanticism. The title of a workshop they offer on the road, “I’m A Weirdo…Are You a Weirdo Too?” tells you some of what you need to know about their self-awareness in a world of mass consumerism. SHEL’s album art features the band with and without makeup -- an expression of their views on individuality and natural beauty. “We love to wear makeup for fun,” says Liza Holbrook. “But we don't believe that makeup or expensive clothing are the things that make a woman beautiful."

In a new music scene that’s crowded, genre-twisting and attuned to mastery in live performance, SHEL is a must-know young band for anyone who wants to keep up with tomorrow’s greats. Their spellbinding live performances tap deep skills as instrumentalists and total trust to generate improbable power on stage. They share some contemporary musical DNA with Americana bands, Punch Brothers and Crooked Still, but just as surely with adventuresome artists such as tUnE-yArDs, St. Vincent and Alt-J.  The future belongs to artists who go beyond mere genre blending by focusing on their inner music and the four powerful personalities of SHEL do just that.

 

MEGAN BURTT

“I’m not really a pop singer,” Megan Burtt says. “I just want to make music that’s accessible, while still being true to myself. When I started writing songs, I didn’t know the shapes the fingers were supposed to make on the guitar, so I made up my own chords. I think that’s why I have a unique way of hearing and composing.”
The music on The Bargain is bright and uplifting and, while it does have the inviting sheen of pop, Burtt’s distinctive melodies, poignant, soul-searching vocals and profoundly insightful lyrics deliver a message informed by sorrow and uncertainty. A few years back, Burtt fell prey to a potentially life threatening condition, but her faith in the healing power of music and her determination to become a performing artist brought her out of the shadows.

“These songs are about my struggle to recover my health,” she explains. “The word ‘bargain’ is provocative because we’re constantly bargaining, deciding how and when we should show up in our lives. Every day, decision, connection and relationship feels like an exchange of something for something else, things we may not be aware of until we’re dancing with mortality.”

That dance is the subtext of the music on The Bargain. Louis Cato (Bobby McFerrin, Marcus Miller, Snarky Puppy, Mariah Carey) a talented multi-instrumentalist, and long time member of Burtt’s backing band, produced the album, creating perfect settings for her gently passionate vocals.

The Bargain opens with the confident anthem “Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” Adam Tressler’s stirring guitar and propulsive bass line support Burtt’s stacked harmonies and a vocal that’s delicately balanced between vulnerability and self-assurance. Drummer James Williams provides a funky New Orleans flavored back beat for “Real Thing,” a song that portrays the struggle between the pull of carnal desire and the need for spiritual release. “I’m asking if it’s possible to love if you’re not letting people see the real you,” Burtt explains.

Tressler’s icy slide guitar and Williams’ tom toms lay down a sultry, swampy groove for “It’s My Time.” The ominous bluesy tune is full of subtle twists and turns that keep the tension high as Burtt’s unsettling, behind the beat vocal conjures up love’s redemptive force, even as she caresses the void at the edge of the grave. The title track locks into a four-on-the-floor rhythm with Cato’s spacey, stuttering keyboard pulse and distorted guitar fills giving the music a propulsive drive. Burtt’s defiant vocal conjures the picture of a woman rising from the ashes triumphant.

Cato and Burtt crafted the arrangements on The Bargain with a fine ear for sonic nuance and melodic detail. Their refined blend of rock, funk, jazz and blues pulls the music into interesting shapes, full of unexpected delights, songs that are accessible, while remaining true to Burtt’s inimitable lyrical vision.

Megan Burtt was born and bred in Denver, CO.  “I’ve always written songs,” she says. “I took piano lessons when I was young, but when I picked up my dad’s old classical guitar, things took off.”  Inspired by Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Burtt taught herself to play, dreaming of a musical career. “I didn’t know any girls who played music, but Blue, Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time and the women on the MTV videos I saw, let me know it was possible.”

After high school, she moved to Boston to attend the Berklee School of Music. There she made two EPs she calls her “practice records.” “As soon as I met other musicians, I put together a band and started playing. We took every gig we could get. I loved being on stage with such talented players. It developed my ear, made my guitar playing more solid and made me a confident bandleader and performer.”

When she graduated from Berklee, Burtt moved to Mississippi to investigate the roots of American blues music. While there, she contracted a potentially fatal disease, but she never stopped singing or performing, and eventually found her way to full recovery. She played music in Vietnam for a couple of months, then returned to the States to record It Ain’t Love, a 12 song collection she made with the friends that still make up the backbone of her recording band– Louis Cato, guitarist Adam Tressler and James Williams. One of the songs on the album, “Waiting for June,” won Best Song at the 2010 Rocky Mountain Folk Festival and the 2011 Kerrville New Folk Competition.

In 2013, Burtt began writing and preproduction on the songs that would become The Bargain and continued annual holiday tours of the Pennsylvania prison system with her band. “The maximum security inmates we play for are some of my favorite audiences. It’s incredible to perform for people who are truly grateful you’re there.”
After two years of careful production, The Bargain arrives to show off Cato’s creative production and Burtt’s bold vocals. “It’s more honest and evolved than my first album,” Burtt says. “I’m beyond excited to start sharing these songs with my fans. I’m tying a bow around this album, knowing that I put everything I had to give into it.”

Dragondeer and Strange Americans

Dragondeer and Strange Americans

Levitt Pavilion Denver (map)

COLORADO CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY BONFILS BLOOD CENTER

DRAGONDEER
CO-HEADLINE WITH
STRANGE AMERICANS

Dragondeer is a psych-blues band from Denver, Colorado whose singular, reverb drenched take on old school blues and soul coupled with inspired improvisation has the band making fans in roots circles as well as indie clubs across Colorado and beyond.

Dragondeer recently recorded with producer Mark Howard (Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Tom Waits, Anders Osborne) in California's storied Topanga Canyon and will be releasing music from those sessions throughout 2017.   

Dragondeer has shared the stage with Shakey Graves, Drive By Truckers, Futurebirds, The Entrance Band, The Bright Light Social Hour, Hot Buttered Rum,  Murder City Devils, Anders Osborne, Jerry Joseph, Sonny Landreth, J Roddy Walston, Linda Perhacs, Jarekus Singleton, Leon Russell, Steel Pulse, and Wovenhand + 

The band has performed all over the United States and abroad with performance slots at festivals including: Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, Nacarubi Music Festival in Big Sur, California, Tour De Fat, South Park Music Festival, SXSW 2014-2015, The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase (The UMS),  Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival, T-Bois Blues Festival in Louisiana, Arise Music Festival, The 24th Annual Grolsch Blues Festival in Schöppingen, Germany, and an appearance at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater.  

"Dragondeer is great for day drinking and fishing next to the swamp while gators sunbathe near you and your ex-boyfriend is blowing up your phone with angry texts you’re ignoring in between pulls of whiskey. It’s music for wandering down South Broadway in the summer, sticky with sweat, searching for the nearest party. Really, though, it’s bluesy and forceful, and you’ll wonder why you don’t have Dragondeer in heavy rotation after hearing Eric Halborg’s vocal chops." 
-Westword

"Dragondeer delve into some swampy blues and reverb-drenched psych folk. You don't want to miss Dragondeer's cosmic blues"
- Westword

"Nestled somewhere between the quicksilver psychedelia of the '60s and bone-thumpin' blues from Mississippi's yesteryear, these Colorado cats have crafted a sound that is equal parts cosmic and grooving"
- Break Thru Radio

"To close the festival, the psychedelic blues band Dragondeer from Denver. For them also the first time in Europe and what a discovery. They have completely their own style that alternates between symphonic rockblues and psychedelics. Fantastic!! They turn the music into sound pictures, atmospheric, catchy. Very, very original. Casey Sidwell, bassist plays and grooved as if his life depends on it, he sends his bass lines to the whole band. Singer Eric Halborg has a beautiful voice and plays particularly well on the harmonica. This instrument has an important role, but does not dominate. Cole Rudy gets the most strange sounds from his electric mandolin and lap steel, plaintive and sometimes screaming. Although they occur at the end and many festival goers are tired (the festival began at 14:00), they keep everyone who hears them there till the very end. One of the most surprising bands of the entire festival. Hats off !!  
- Netherlands based BluesMagazine review of the May 2015 performance at Germany's 24th Annual Grolsch Blues Festival

"This record has a great old-school feel!"
- David Gans  (Musician and 30 year host of the nationally syndicated radio show The Grateful Dead Hour and co-host of Sirius-XM's Grateful Dead Channel "Tales from the Golden Road")

"Modern-edged bluesmen a la Jack White and Black Keys, this Denver-based quartet aren't interested in retreading the past; they put their own psych-folk stamp on it. "Don't That Feel Good" is a folk-blues outing with cool percussion choices that sound like spoons, shells, and tin cans. A cover of "Messin' With the Kid" spreads some psych-rock wah-pedal sauce, gobs of lead-vocal reverb and a dizzying guitar solo for a song that'd suit a Guy Ritchie trailer. "Castaway," with its husky vocal, convincingly channels a midnight hobo-camp intimacy. An excellent addition to any festival right now, it'll be interesting to see how Dragondeer builds upon its alternative "shot 'n beer (with a hit o' acid)" vision."
- Music Connection Magazine

“Don’t That Feel Good” intoxicates with reverbs that transport the listener to a funky, psychedelic bayou wonderland. The five songs overflow with a remarkable storyteller’s ability to draw a listener in, completely enraptured by the momentum of an energetic blues style."
- Telluride Daily Planet

 

STRANGE AMERICANS

It’s the kind of music that the Carhartt-wearing, hard-working, industrial beer-drinking, regular Americans would listen to — the ones who could end up on an episode of TV’s Dirty Jobs. It’s a little raw, a bit loud, unapologetic and honest. It’s Americana rock and roll and it’s something that Denver’s Strange Americans are crafting with both brawn and finesse, like a hot rod mechanic bringing back an old barn find.

In a sense, Strange Americans are rescuing something from the rust pile — straight-forward, no frills rock and roll, and a matching aesthetic that is heavy on songwriting and storytelling, but presented with reverb-drenched punch and passion — the way The Band or Crazy Horse would have done it.

Strange Americans have two full length records, Royal Battle (2012), and That Kind of Luster (2014), along with the 7″ Vinyl Places (2015).  Borrow You, Brother is the next full length album expected in the near future and recorded with Echo Lab engineer and producer Matt Pence (Centro-matic, Justin Townes Earle).