The Denver Folklore Center News http://www.denverfolklore.com Sun, 25 Feb 2024 13:41:38 +0100 FeedCreator 1.7.2 Meet Big Richard! http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Big Richard is a &ldquo;neo-acoustic supergroup&rdquo; </span><span>who sing &ldquo;bluegrass with a side of lady rage</span>&rdquo;. The band is <span>made up of Colorado musicians Bonnie Sims (mandolin), Joy Adams (cello), Emma Rose (bass, guitar) and Eve Panning (fiddle). We asked them to participate in a little Q&amp;A about the band and here&rsquo;s what they had to say.</span></p> <p><strong><span><img width="250" height="167" src="" alt="big richard band" align="left" class="img-responsive" />What/who inspired you to start playing music?<br /></span></strong>All of us grew up in musical families and started playing and singing as children.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Who are your musical influences?<br /></span></strong>We all grew up steeped in different varieties of traditional music: folk, bluegrass, classical, old-time. We have a variety of personal influences ranging from New Grass Revival, I&rsquo;m With Her, Gillian Welch and Joni Mitchell to Kendrick Lamar, Adrienne Lanker, Crooked Still and Hillary Hahn.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Did you take music lessons or are you self-taught &ndash; or a combo?<br /></span></strong>We all grew up with a mixture of taking formal lessons and learning through playing music with our family and jamming.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>How did the band get together?<br /></span></strong>Eve got a call from a private bluegrass festival in Colorado that realized they had booked an all-male lineup that year and wanted Eve to put together a female group to help rectify that. Eve gave each of us a call and we jumped at the chance to collab as a group. It ended up being so fun that even though we were supposed to have just one gig we couldn&rsquo;t quit this band, so we booked more, most notably WinterWonderGrass and RockyGrass, and then we couldn&rsquo;t stop.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Who are you enjoying listening to these days?<br /></span></strong>We all have pretty different musical tastes but I&rsquo;m (Bonnie) digging the new Nickel Creek record, Sam Bush&rsquo;s new John Hartford record, and love listening to my friend&rsquo;s bands and music: Alysia Kraft, Gasoline Lollipops, Madeline Hawthorne, Megan Burtt, Jake Leg &mdash; Colorado does not lack for kick-ass bands.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>What do you like most about performing in front of an audience?&nbsp;<br /></span></strong>This band really connects with the audience through the music but almost equally as powerfully through humor and our personalities. We just have a genuinely good time&nbsp;and the audience can&rsquo;t resist having a good time with us.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>What&rsquo;s your songwriting style?<br /></span></strong>We have just started co-writing as a group and tend to need to carve our specific dates/times to jump into a new song together. We still have a good balance of folks bringing songs they worked independently on too.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><span>You can catch&nbsp;<strong><a href="" target="_blank">Big Richard</a></strong> at the <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Boulder Theater on April 8<sup>th</sup></a></strong> with AJ Lee &amp; Blue Summit. They&rsquo;ve also just spent a week in the studio making their first Big Richard album. The band released <em>Live at Telluride</em> from a recent set at Telluride Bluegrass. We&rsquo;re excited to see what happens next with the band.&nbsp;</span></p> Colorado Dulcimer Festival 2023 - May 4-6 http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>The Colorado Dulcimer Festival is back and in-person May 4-6 at Saint James Presbyterian Church, 3601 West Belleview Avenue, Littleton, CO 80123.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Festival highlights include</a></strong>:</span></p> <ul> <li><span><span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span>Hammered dulcimer workshops for all levels of players</span></li> <li><span><span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span>Mountain dulcimer workshops for all levels of players</span></li> <li><span><span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span>Jam sessions</span></li> <li><span><span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span>Pre-festival workshops on Thursday, May 4 (additional fee)</span></li> <li><span><span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span>Open stage where anyone can sign up to perform</span></li> <li><span><span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span>Saturday afternoon dance</span></li> <li><span><span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span>Evening concerts</span></li> <li><span><span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span>Social time during lunch and dinner</span></li> <li><span><span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span>And much more!</span></li> </ul> <p><span>This festival brings you great musicians and teachers that play a wide variety of music and teaching styles.&nbsp;This year two of the featured teachers and performers are <strong>Bob Elieson (</strong></span><strong>Mountain Dulcimer) and Tina Gugeler (Teaching Hammered Dulcimer, Bodhran)<span>.</span></strong></p> <p><span>Bob began playing mountain dulcimer at 50 years old, after purchasing a dulcimer at a pawn shop. He taught himself how to play and was hooked after attending his first Colorado Dulcimer Festival in 2012. Bob plays multiple instruments including dulcimer, old time banjo, guitar, ukulele, bass and mandolin. </span></p> <p><strong><a href=""><img src="" alt="tina gugeler dulcimer" align="left" width="300" height="290" class="img-responsive" />Tina Gugeler</a></strong><span>&nbsp;first heard a hammered dulcimer in 1986 while living in Ketchikan, Alaska, and it quickly became her passion. Since moving to the Denver, CO area in 1990, Tina has become a full-time musician, performing solo and in small combos with fiddle, guitar or piano and in several local contra dance bands. Along with her busy performance schedule, she teaches students on the dulcimer and bodhr&agrave;n.</span></p> <p><span>Over the years, Tina has won many local and regional competitions and in the years 2000 and 2015 she won the U.S. National Hammered Dulcimer Championship. She appears on recordings with John and Sue Reading as the Grandview Victorian Orchestra. John, Sue and Tina also play local contra dances under the name Balance and Swing. Read more about Tina </span><strong><a href="">HERE</a></strong><span>.</span></p> <p><strong>We spoke with Bob and Tina about their involvement with the Colorado Dulcimer Festival.</strong></p> <p><span>Tina got started with the festival early on. &ldquo;<span>Steve Eulberg</span> and Bonnie Carroll, another multi-instrumentalist who plays mountain and hammered dulcimer, had put together a little one-day mini festival and invited me to teach. There was enough interest that Steve started putting on the festival. It started in Ft. Collins at a church where his wife was a pastor, I believe.&rdquo; </span></p> <p><span>Bob had been playing mountain dulcimer for a little while and was looking for a teacher. He found the festival on Steve Eulberg&rsquo;s website. &ldquo;I think I attended the ninth or tenth annual festival and really enjoyed it. Then I got involved with doing a contra dance with Bonnie Carroll and helped out on the planning committee. I&rsquo;ve been doing the festival five or six years.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span><img width="250" height="334" src="" alt="bob elieson" align="right" class="img-responsive" />There&rsquo;s all sorts of learning and fun to be had at the festival. As Bob explains, &ldquo;you primarily get to play with other people, and that&rsquo;s really important on improving your musicianship. You&rsquo;re networking and find people that have like interests and have jam sessions. The festival is really focused on playing together. It sure beats sitting at home playing by yourself.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Tina: &ldquo;You take workshops and a lot of people say there&rsquo;s so many Zoom classes now, why don&rsquo;t I stay home and do it via Zoom. There&rsquo;s some validity to that. But what you miss is the real personal interaction. With Zoom you can&rsquo;t really play all together because of the delay. I don&rsquo;t care what platform you&rsquo;re using, none of it&rsquo;s perfect. And playing physically in person together is such a wonderful learning experience.&rdquo; </span></p> <p><span>Jamming together also teaches people how to listen. Tina hosts a monthly music jam in Lafayette, CO. &ldquo;I encourage people that if they don&rsquo;t know a tune, listen to it a few times and then start plucking it out. This is the most nonthreatening environment when you&rsquo;re learning. Try something, and if it doesn&rsquo;t work, when that tune comes around again, try something else, and eventually you&rsquo;ll learn. That&rsquo;s kind of learning by ear. These in-person sessions, playing together, that&rsquo;s safety in numbers, because if you don&rsquo;t know the tune, you&rsquo;re covered. Or you can just dance!&rdquo; </span></p> <p><span>Bob: &ldquo;One of the things I think is really cool about the festival is we bring folks in from out of town who you may have seen on YouTube or teaching online. You get to meet them knee-to-knee and get instant feedback. You get to know those folks and play with them in informal situations as well and that&rsquo;s just fulfilling and a lot of fun.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>This year Bob will be teaching a beginner&rsquo;s workshop and Friday night he may perform and play a bluegrass song. Tina will be teaching a beginner&rsquo;s class and an intermediate class. She&rsquo;ll also be teaching a <span>bodhr&agrave;n class, which is an Irish frame drum and you hit it with a stick called a tipper. &ldquo;I bring recorded music and you get to practice against real folk music like jigs and reels. And one of the classes I&rsquo;ll be teaching is how to listen in a jam, how to participate in a jam when you know nothing, how you don&rsquo;t have to just sit like a bump on a log. Little tips to break the ice and get you to start playing for real. Also, if you go to a class and find it&rsquo;s way over your head, sit near the door and sneak out. You don&rsquo;t have to stay in the class.&rdquo;</span></span></p> <p><span>Tina will also be one of the core members of the dance band and be performing on Friday night&rsquo;s concert, which is open to the public. There&rsquo;s a small fee, but if you don&rsquo;t want to learn how to play dulcimer, you can support the festival and musicians by coming to the concert. There&rsquo;s a concert on Friday and Saturday night from 7-9pm. They&rsquo;ll bring up all the headliners and there&rsquo;s also a singalong.</span></p> <p><span>If you play something other than the dulcimer, you&rsquo;re encouraged to bring other instruments as well and play in jam sessions. There&rsquo;s a mini showcase for folks who want to show off and do a mini performance. The festival is Friday and Saturday, but on Thursday there&rsquo;s an optional extra teaching session, totally separate from the festival with the money going to the artist. The trainings on Thursday are several hours and you can sign up on the website for that too.</span></p> <p><strong>For more information and to register for the festival, visit their <a href="" target="_blank">WEBSITE</a>.</strong></p> Bill Frisell - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Guitarist and composer Bill Frisell has been making music for forty-plus years. He&rsquo;s collaborated with artists like Elvis Costello, David Sanborn, film director Gus Van Sant and Bono (on the soundtrack for the film <em>Million Dollar Hotel)</em>. Bill&rsquo;s been called &ldquo;the most brilliant and unique voice to come along in jazz guitar since Wes Montgomery&rdquo; by <em>Stereophile</em>. (You can read more about Bill&rsquo;s musical career and all of his awards and accolades on his website </span><strong><a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a></strong><span>.) He spoke to us about growing up in Denver, hanging out at the Denver Folklore Center, how his guitar saved him during the pandemic and his latest album <em>Four</em>.</span></p> <p><span><img src="" alt="bill frisell four" align="left" width="200" height="234" class="img-responsive" />Bill grew up in Denver, Colorado. His musical journey began in fourth grade at Teller Elementary School. The folks at the school&rsquo;s music program would come around and ask if anyone wanted to play an instrument. Bill&rsquo;s father thought the clarinet was a good instrument so he ended up playing it in the school band. He played clarinet all the way through high school and into college. &ldquo;I took to it and did well. It was serious and I had to practice every day, but my heart was never really in it.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>A few years later in the early &lsquo;60s, Bill&rsquo;s friend got a guitar and he started fiddling around with it and fell in love. Soon after that the Denver Folklore Center opened. &ldquo;I would take the bus to the store. There was a guitar teacher Bob Marcus, a family friend, and he showed me stuff on the guitar. Later I would just go to the store and hang out. It was amazing - a record store, guitars on the wall. I would hang around and listen to what people were doing. If I thought it was cool I would check it out. I heard my first Frank Zappa record there. I was just a kid, so I wasn&rsquo;t really in on everything, but I soaked it up.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>A few years later Bill studied with jazz guitarist and educator, Dale Bruning. &ldquo;He would do gigs at the Denver Folklore Center and he&rsquo;d invite me and I got to play there. It was awesome - they had a concert hall, record store, guitar shop all together. I just played a gig with him in Boulder and he still blows my mind. He does things I didn&rsquo;t think was possible on the guitar.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Bill&rsquo;s latest project <em>Four </em>is a new combination of music for him. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s been floating around in my imagination. And <img width="200" height="201" src="" alt="bill frisell four" align="right" class="img-responsive" />then during the pandemic I was writing all this music and it sort of came together and I put together this band. </span><span>Johnathan Blake (drums), Gerald Clayton (piano) &amp; Greg Tardy (clarinet and saxophone). <span>It&rsquo;s been a little more than a year ago since we recorded it and it just came out recently. When we play in Denver it might be our second gig. It&rsquo;s the beginning of playing live together.&rdquo;</span></span></p> <p><span>It was also during the pandemic that Bill reconnected with his guitar. &ldquo;I had all this blank space, and my guitar and the music is what saved me. There were no deadlines - I can&rsquo;t remember the last time I wasn&rsquo;t rushing from one thing to another. I didn&rsquo;t have any real project in mind or anything. It was amazing to reconnect with my instrument that way, just play for no reason other than playing. I never doubted that I loved playing but it was in a sort of extreme different circumstance. I could just go in whatever direction I wanted to go and just follow it.&rdquo;</span></p> Tray Wellington - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span><img width="250" height="167" src="" alt="tray wellington banjo" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and bluegrass banjoist, Tray Wellington got into music when he was young, listening to his grandpa play. Then, around fourteen years old, he began playing electric guitar. &ldquo;</span><span>I was originally interested in learning rock guitar from listening to a lot of classic rock albums but then transitioned to also wanting to play bluegrass flatpicking in the style of Doc Watson. I heard banjo for the first time in middle school and instantly fell in love with the sound. From there I studied traditional bluegrass music and eventually started to branch out to more eclectic&nbsp;music forms and exploring new styles.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Tray was heavily influenced by </span><span>music ranging from bluegrass to rap and musicians like </span><span>B&eacute;la</span><span> Fleck, Roy Hargrove, Cory Henry, Childish Gambino, Kid Cudi and John Coltrane. Today he still listens to those artists and listens to progressive bluegrass, jazz and blues.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Still in his early twenties,&nbsp;Tray has already received a number of awards and accolades, including two awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) &mdash;&nbsp;</span><em><span>2019 IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year</span></em><span>&nbsp;and&nbsp;</span><em><span>2019 Momentum Band of the Year</span></em><span>&nbsp;(with Cane Mill Road).</span></p> <p><span>He released his first solo record <em>Uncaged Thoughts</em> (produced by banjo great Scott Vestal) in 2019, then started his own band. They have toured and played festivals all over the country. Tray says he &ldquo;loves the connection between the crowd&nbsp;especially when they are into it. I personally would rather play for a hundred really excited people, then a thousand people that aren&rsquo;t&nbsp;interested.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><img width="250" height="210" src="" alt="tray wellington black banjo" align="right" class="img-responsive" />Tray is also an experienced banjo teacher and has taught at music camps like Midwest Banjo Camp and B&eacute;la Fleck&rsquo;s Blue Ridge Banjo Camp.&nbsp;He says that he likes teaching &ldquo;because I personally know the benefit of a great teacher as I had multiple and love to share my ideas on playing with others so they don&rsquo;t&nbsp;ever put themselves in a box musically.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Visit Tray&rsquo;s <a href="" target="_blank">website</a> where you can listen to and buy his latest album <em><a href="" target="_blank">Black Banjo</a></em> and see his upcoming tour dates, including March 3<sup>rd</sup> at the WinterWonderGrass Festival in Steamboat Springs.</span>&nbsp;</p> Buying Online is Here to Stay http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted American businesses including retail musical instrument stores like the Denver Folklore Center. However, the roots of some of these changes can be traced back a decade or more.</p> <p>It was 2010 when the automobile industry first introduced online buying. Seven years later Zillow began using e-commerce to buy and sell houses sight unseen. If you can buy houses and cars through e-commerce there really are no limits to what consumers can acquire without ever leaving home.</p> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic, by restricting people&rsquo;s in-person options and messing up supply chains, probably did more to increase the number of people buying online than anything GOOGLE, Meta or Amazon could ever do. To this day I have no idea why people were hoarding toilet paper but not water and food.</p> <p>Among the lasting changes are that more people now work from home, Zoom and Google Meet are routinely used in place of meetings in offices, conference rooms and hotels, doctors examine their patients remotely, restaurant food is now routinely delivered and many people found the time for improving relationships, fixing up their homes and taking up new hobbies. Which brings me to the impact COVID-19 had on the musical instrument world.</p> <p>Online sales of guitars and other instruments didn&rsquo;t start with the pandemic. Guitar Center, founded in 1959, and Sweetwater, which opened in Indianapolis in 1979, started out as brick and mortar stores but eventually evolved into America&rsquo;s largest online instrument retailers. Today virtually anyone selling musical instruments, small or large, has some level of online presence. Here at the Denver Folklore Center that side of our business took a big step forward during the years of the pandemic.</p> <p>I personally believe in buying local whenever possible. But I was easily caught up in the online buying frenzy where during 2020 I made over 100 purchases through Amazon Prime. So no surprise to learn that more people are buying guitars and other instruments online than ever before. More than 100,000 businesses permanently shuttered in 2020 and one of our vendors let me know that 14 brick and mortar stores they had been supplying closed their doors.</p> <p>While the online buying experience will never match the in-person experience when it comes to musical instruments, there are some things you can do to maximize the results if you choose to buy online.</p> <p>First, do your research &ndash; about the brand, specific models and the dealer selling you the instrument. Ask lots of questions. Most online retailers prefer selling to an educated buyer - it makes for a happier outcome. Check online for video demos of the models you are considering. Read reviews especially if they come from a reputable source like <em>Consumer Reports, Forbes, Music Inc.</em> and the like. Understand the seller&rsquo;s guarantees, shipping and return policies before you buy.</p> <p>Even if you do all of those things well, there is some chance that the instrument you receive won&rsquo;t be perfect. The strings might not be fresh, the setup might not have the height of the strings where you like them, the neck might not be the shape you prefer and shipping may have jostled the guitar and thrown some things off. So be prepared for the possibility that you&rsquo;ll need someone local and knowledgeable to make adjustments.</p> <span>If you don&rsquo;t have a guitar store nearby or you prefer to have instruments shipped to you, the results can be satisfying if you approach the purchase with care and caution.&nbsp;<strong>- Saul Rosenthal, Co-Owner Denver Folklore Center</strong></span> Barry Osborne, Distance Walk - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Denver-based indie folk quartet Distance Walk is&nbsp;</span><span>Niki Tredinnick (vocals, clarinet and percussion),</span><span>Olivia Shaw (fiddle), Seth Fine (guitar)</span><span> and </span><span>Barry Osborne (banjo and vocals). Barry is the primary songwriter for the group (and Niki and Olivia front their own bands that highlight their original songs). He describes the music of Distance Walk as </span><span>a mix of &ldquo;old-time folk, post-punk, Celtic and baroque music. It&rsquo;s a melodic sound that is at turns ethereal and down to earth.&rdquo;<span> He shared his thoughts with us about the band, musicians that have impacted him, performing live and more.</span></span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span><img width="158" height="126" src="" alt="distance walk band" align="left" class="img-responsive" />The Big Bang Moment<br /></span></strong>Barry grew up in &ldquo;a musical household where the radio was always on and we were always playing records. I remember the <em>American Graffiti </em>Soundtrack in particular - we were always singing along.&rdquo; However, no one in his family actually played an instrument, so &ldquo;it always felt a bit beyond me, like it was magic, which I suppose it is.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>That changed when Barry went to college. &ldquo;A friend wanted to start a band and I wanted to be in a band. Everyone played guitar so I took up the electric bass and started writing songs. I loved it! I had a lot to learn but it was fun.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>A diverse group of musicians made an early impact on Barry. &ldquo;As a music fan I always go back to R.E.M. and The Replacements who imprinted on me in my teens. That era of rock still means a lot to me - Sonic Youth, Tanya Donelly - who's been in a lot of bands - Belly, The Breeders and Throwing Muses. Kim Deal (also) of The Breeders. From an acoustic perspective, the 1997 CD release of Harry Smith&rsquo;s <em>Anthology of American Folk Music </em>was a big bang moment for me. It changed how I listen to music.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>These days the band listens to all kinds of music. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re all over the map I suppose, being four people. I love music coming out of Ireland these days - Lankum, Anna Mieke (who we just opened for) John Francis Flynn. We&rsquo;re all fans of Big Thief and cover their song &ldquo;Spud Infinity&rdquo;. Radiohead, Slowdive, The Cranberries. Niki fronts The Dollhouse Thieves, Olivia launches her band Livluma this spring. We&rsquo;re all fans of each other&rsquo;s music.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Working at Swallow Hill Music allows Barry to meet a wide variety of musicians, but his biggest influences are his bandmates. &ldquo;They are always introducing me to new artists, but even better, they&rsquo;ve taught me so much about their creative processes. It&rsquo;s a gift to have their insights. Becky Hostetler, who plays in Denver band Bellhoss, is a great friend and an incredibly creative person who always leaves me inspired to try new things.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span><img width="200" height="250" src="" alt="distance walk barry osborne" align="right" class="img-responsive" />The Denver Folklore Center Connection<br /></span></strong>In his early 20s, Barry taught himself to play the banjo &hellip; to a point. &ldquo;I picked up a pawn shop banjo after hearing Clarence Ashley&rsquo;s rendition of &ldquo;The Coo Coo Bird&rdquo;. I played it quite a bit for several years before drifting away. Then in my mid 30s I got back into it, but knew I wanted some instruction so I could get further and do more - and play with other musicians. I wanted to learn old-time playing. So, I started taking group lessons at Swallow Hill Music and it changed my playing and my life. My clawhammer banjo teacher was (former DFC store manager) Jeff Jaros. Jeff is wonderful, he set me off on a great path. Last year I took some lessons from (friend of the DFC) Sam Armstrong-Zickefoose and he&rsquo;s wonderful. I highly recommend lessons with him.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>Barry&rsquo;s current banjo, a Gold Tone White Ladye Banjo, was purchased at the Denver Folklore Center. &ldquo;I bought it close to ten years ago. I was looking for a new banjo and was striking out on finding the right fit. One day I walked into the shop and picked it up and it felt very natural in my hands - an Excalibur moment! I&rsquo;ve played it almost every day since I got it.&nbsp;I&rsquo;ve been going to the Denver Folklore Center for over a dozen years now. I love that every time I walk in I see or learn about something new but the shop itself feels like it's always been.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>A Designated &ldquo;Show Buddy&rdquo;<br /></span></strong>Distance Walk has been performing together since their first show at Swallow Hill Music in 2019. Barry describes each live performance as an &ldquo;unique experience that exists only once and cannot be replicated. I love that you share a space with your bandmates and the audience and you can exist apart from the outside world for a moment &hellip; and afterwards I meet new people I might not have otherwise. It means a lot that someone will not only listen to your music but come up afterwards and say &lsquo;hi&rsquo; or ask a question. I really appreciate it and it&rsquo;s humbling.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>While playing live is a rush for Barry, he doesn&rsquo;t like the crash that follows. &ldquo;The day after the show I sometimes get down. I&rsquo;ve learned to mitigate that by keeping in touch with my bandmates, to check in on one another. Or if I play solo, I designate someone as a &lsquo;show buddy&rsquo; to check in with the next day.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span><img width="200" height="120" src="" alt="distance walk" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Songwriting and &ldquo;the Australian Bruce Springsteen&rdquo;<br /></span></strong>While some songwriters have a strict writing process, others write when inspired. Barry&rsquo;s writing process is somewhere in between. &ldquo;Several years ago, I read an interview with the Australian songwriter Paul Kelly. He&rsquo;s sometimes called &lsquo;the Australian Bruce Springsteen&rsquo;, but over there he&rsquo;s a living legend and national treasure. He said he tries to write twelve songs a year. Well, I&rsquo;m a dad with a day job, so I told myself I should write six songs a year.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>Songwriting is an obsession for him. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re always working on a song even in your daily life. I normally have a primary song I&rsquo;m working on and then a stray idea that&rsquo;s flitting in and out of my mind. A lot of times I&rsquo;ll have a shot of inspiration that I have to quickly hum into my voice memos, or if I am playing my banjo, quickly capture that melodic spark on my recorder. I try to match a lyric or theme with a melody as quickly as possible. Even if that initial thought doesn&rsquo;t end up in the final lyrics, it helps drive the direction of the song.</span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;From there I&rsquo;ll try to work on it gently over the following weeks. The latest song I wrote came together in about a week. I don&rsquo;t like to overthink a song. When it&rsquo;s almost done I&rsquo;ll send a demo to a friend and that helps it feel more real to me. Then I&rsquo;ll try to play it, get it into the world. I have a song I love called &ldquo;Wandering Rocks&rdquo; that&rsquo;s taken several years to write. That&rsquo;s the longest I&rsquo;ve worked on a song. I hope to play it with Distance Walk soon.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Follow Distance Walk<br /></span></strong>The band hopes to release the single &ldquo;Faces Are Falling&rdquo; later this spring. And they released their latest single &ldquo;Will O&rsquo; the Wisp&rdquo; late last year - you can find that, along with their self-titled debut EP <em>Distance Walk</em> on all major streaming services.&nbsp;</p> <span><span>And you can keep up to date with the band on their <a href=" " target="_blank">website</a>,&nbsp;<a href=" " target="_blank">Instagram</a> and&nbsp;<a href=" " target="_blank">Facebook</a> pages.<br /><br />Photo credits:&nbsp;<br /></span></span>Band selfie, left to right, Niki Tredinnick, Seth Fine, Barry Osborne, Olivia Shaw (photo by Olivia Shaw)<br />Band live shot - left to right: Barry, Niki, Olivia, Seth (Photo by Meesh Deyden)<br />Band live shot: Barry and Niki (Photo by Meesh Deyden) Zach Williams, The Lone Bellow - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>The latest offering from The Lone Bellow is quite a deviation from their previous albums. Until now they have worked with likes of Aaron Dressner from The National and eight-time Grammy-winner Dave Cobb. <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Love Songs for Losers</a></strong>&nbsp;is the first time they have self-produced. Lead vocalist and guitarist, Zach Williams was gracious enough to speak with us about the origins of the band, their latest album, songwriting and more.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em><span>Love Songs for Losers<br /></span></em></strong><span>In addition to Zach, The Lone Bellow consists of guitarist Brian Elmquist and multi-instrumentalist, Kanene Donehey Pipkin, bassist Jason Pipkin and drummer Julian Dorio</span>.</p> <p><span>&ldquo;One of the reasons we went with <em><span>Love Songs for Losers </span></em>as the album title is that I&rsquo;ve always seen myself as a loser in love&mdash;I&rsquo;ve never been able to get it completely right, so this is my way of standing on top of the mountain and telling everyone, &lsquo;It&rsquo;s okay,&rsquo;&rdquo; says Zach. &ldquo;The songs are looking at bad relationships and wonderful relationships and all the in-between, sometimes with a good deal of levity. It&rsquo;s us just trying to encapsulate the whole gamut of experience that we all go through as human beings.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>The Move to New York<br /></span></strong>Zach grew up in Acworth, Georgia, went to college and wasn&rsquo;t set on a musical career. Then his wife, Stacy, had a tragic horse-riding accident and broke her neck. He began writing music while she recovered. &ldquo;I lived in the hospital barracks and it was a really lonely unknown time. We didn&rsquo;t know if she was ever going to move again from the neck down. My buddies would visit me and I would read them my scribbles. They told me I should learn to play the guitar and go to an open mic night and sing this stuff. So, I did and it became a real cathartic thing for me. I thought if Stacy gets better we&rsquo;re going to move to New York City and I&rsquo;m going to do this. She miraculously healed and we moved with a group of friends. It was a good move. They were all thespians and I was a musician &ndash; we were basically all waiters.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>It was in New York that Zach cut his teeth playing music. He played solo for a while wherever he could and then founded The Lone Bellow in 2011. &ldquo;Brian and I are both from Georgia and he had moved to New York to pursue music. We decided to play music together. Kanene was in New York going to culinary school. We had eight members at first - three Brians in the band. It was fun, a hilarious time.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span><img width="250" height="184" src="" alt="the lone bellow band joshua tree" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Keep It Independent<br /></span></strong><span>The music of The Lone Bellow has been described as Americana, blues, indie rock, soul, among other genres, but Zach doesn&rsquo;t know exactly how to describe it. &ldquo;I know what I&rsquo;m trying to make and I know what I want. And I know that it&rsquo;s important for the listener to be able to have a genre. I&rsquo;d call it independent &ndash; that&rsquo;s what John Prine said. We&rsquo;re a three-part harmony storytelling band that also enjoys playing acoustic instruments sometimes.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>The Studio vs Live<br /></span></strong>While Brian and Kenene love being in the studio, Zach is &ldquo;a performing live guy. I get so bored in the studio. I&rsquo;m just, let&rsquo;s let this pony go and take this live. That&rsquo;s why this last record is really interesting, because it&rsquo;s the first time we self-produced. Before that we had always worked with a producer like Aaron Dessner. He&rsquo;s just wonderful. I love Aaron&rsquo;s sensibility. His desire to make good music sits right below his desire to create community. He has made such beautiful art over the years.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>When it comes to what he listens to, Zach has quite an eclectic musical taste. &ldquo;I love Terry Allen. I love that he&rsquo;s an avant-garde dude, he was a sculptor &hellip; I love his latest work. I love Mickey Newbury and his style of writing. The lead singer (</span><span>Hamilton Leithauser)</span><span>from The Walkmen put out a record last year and if you listen to it you feel like you&rsquo;re in a closet with him, listening to these songs that are so beautiful. I love Bon Iver and that he doesn&rsquo;t say words that make sense the majority of the time. The melody has such colors of emotion. I love that he sticks with whatever came into his mind when he was writing the melody when he records it.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Letting it Flow<br /></span></strong>Zach has an organic songwriting style. &ldquo;I feel like the best songs are always the ones where you get struck by lightning, when you&rsquo;re minding your business. But I think that there&rsquo;s also beauty in chasing them down too. I have a creative writing process that I make myself do, but it&rsquo;s not necessarily to write a song. It&rsquo;s usually to get down to what I&rsquo;m really feeling inside, letting that flow kind of go. And a lot of times I&rsquo;ll try to write a poem at the end, so that&rsquo;s been a writing process of mine for a long time.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>Although Zach writes songs on a piano, he sticks to the guitar while touring. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve made it this far without having to purchase an instrument. My uncle gave me a guitar when I was a kid and then a neighbor gave me a couple guitars when I moved to New York. I&rsquo;ve just used those the entire time. They&rsquo;re old as dirt. I&rsquo;ve got two J-45s. A 1954 J-45 - I love to write songs on that - and a 1987 J-45 - she is strong as an ox. I tour and play with them every night. And I&rsquo;ll play whatever electric guitar Brian wants me to play.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>See The Lone Bellow Live!<br /></span></strong>You can see the band live in Colorado this month -&nbsp;<strong><a href="" target="_blank">get tickets</a></strong></p> <p><span>Feb 2<sup>nd</sup> - Ft. Collins, Aggie Theatre </span></p> <p><span>Feb 3<sup>rd</sup> &ndash; Denver, Ogden Theatre </span></p> <p><span>Feb 4<sup>th</sup> &ndash; Breckenridge, Riverwalk Center</span></p> <p><span>Zach describes their </span><span>concerts as &ldquo;big loud rock &lsquo;n&rsquo; roll shows. Our drummer, Julian Dorio, was in Eagles of Death Metal. He toured with Kings of Leon for years. He&rsquo;s the king of rock &lsquo;n&rsquo; roll!&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Learn more about the band and hear their latest album on their <strong><a href="" target="_blank">website</a></strong>.</span></p> John Oates - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>John Oates is an accomplished solo artist, in addition to being half of the best-selling rock &rsquo;n &rsquo;roll duo Hall &amp; Oates. He&rsquo;s a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The American Songwriters Hall of Fame, has won American Music awards, MTV awards and been nominated for multiple Grammys.</span></p> <p><span>In the early &lsquo;70s, John partnered with Daryl Hall and went on to make 21 albums - selling over 80 million albums - making them the most successful duo in rock history. In 1999, John struck out on his own and has so far recorded seven solo albums, </span><span><span>&nbsp;</span>playing many genres of music including rock, R&amp;B and soul. He&rsquo;s a guitarist, singer-songwriter, record producer and </span><span>collaborates and develops new artists.</span></p> <p><span>John spoke with us about living in Colorado, his relationship with the Denver Folklore Center, touring and a lot more.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span><img width="150" height="148" src="" alt="john oates guild guitar mississippi john hurt" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Mississippi John Hurt&rsquo;s Guild Guitar<br /></span></strong>John says he has a long history with DFC founder, Harry Tuft. &ldquo;A long time ago in the late &lsquo;60s there was a guy named Jerry Ricks &ndash; he called himself Philadelphia Jerry Ricks &ndash; he was an amazing folk blues guitar player. And he was involved with the Philadelphia Folk Festival and a lot of the coffee houses back in the &lsquo;60s during the folk revival. Ricks was friends with Dick Waterman and a lot of the traditional players like Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt and Son House. So, I got a chance to learn from him and those guys.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>John was a student of Ricks for a while and they became friends. Then when Mississippi John Hurt passed away, the Guild guitar he had played at the Newport Folk Festival was given to Jerry. Ricks brought it to New York and John played it on the first two Hall &amp; Oates albums.</span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;Flash forward to the mid &lsquo;70s, Jerry Ricks came out to Denver and he taught lessons at the Denver Folklore Center. At the time he wanted to go to Europe (he eventually expatriated), but before he left, he sold the Guild guitar to one of Harry Tuft&rsquo;s friends. When he passed away about three years ago, his daughter wanted to sell his guitar collection. And through Harry, I found out she was selling the Mississippi John Hurt guitar. I ended up buying it. It came back to me through Harry which is amazing.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>At Home in Colorado<br /></span></strong>John first came out to Colorado in the late 1960s for a college ski trip. Then in the &lsquo;80s, &ldquo;a good friend of mine had a place in Woody Creek near Aspen. He said I could use his house if I wanted to ski. And I did &hellip; and I kind of stayed.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>Like most Coloradans, John loves the outdoors. &ldquo;When I&rsquo;m in Colorado I&rsquo;m riding my bike. I stopped downhill skiing years ago because I didn&rsquo;t feel like hitting a tree again. I do Nordic skate skiing, I like staying fit. I like driving on a country road. I&rsquo;m into old sports cars and have a Porsche and an MG. I like driving my tractor too.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span><img width="150" height="174" src="" alt="hall &amp; oates" align="right" class="img-responsive" />Musical from the Start<br /></span></strong>John says he&rsquo;s been singing since he was a baby. &ldquo;I had musical talent from the time I was very young. I&rsquo;ve got a recording from the amusement park in Coney Island when I was five or six years old &ndash; you&rsquo;d record in a booth, put in a coin and a record would come out. I started vocal and guitar lessons at five or six and I never questioned what I was going to do. I joke about it - people never seemed to boo loud enough to make me stop, so I kept doing it.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>His parents were from the World War II generation, so he grew up listening to a wide variety of music &ndash; big band, swing, Glenn Miller, Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington. He&rsquo;s also old enough to remember the beginnings of rock &rsquo;n&rsquo; roll on the radio. &ldquo;I remember in the early 1950s in Philadelphia, this one radio station playing exclusively rock &rsquo;n&rsquo; roll. That was a big deal - Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis, Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers. That&rsquo;s the music I grew up on.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Then in the early &lsquo;60s, John had a friend whose older brother went to college in the south, around the time the folk revival was starting. &ldquo;He came back with all these folk records, people like The Weavers, Joan Baez, Dave Van Ronk and others. By then I&rsquo;d been playing guitar since I was six, now I&rsquo;m thirteen and I&rsquo;m starting to absorb this stuff and I&rsquo;m learning how to fingerpick <span>&nbsp;</span>from the records. That led me to start looking into the originators of the music. When I heard Dylan, Joan Baez, Van Ronk, I started going back and saying &lsquo;where&rsquo;d these songs come from&rsquo;. And I discovered Delta Blues, Appalachian, early English folk ballads and I got into that. When I moved to Philadelphia and met Jerry Ricks, he opened a door for me to learn from the original guys as they came up for the folk festival and the coffee houses. It was protest songs, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton and more contemporary folk at the time &ndash; Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Ian &amp; Sylvia.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>These days John listens to musicians like &ldquo;Mollie Tuttle, Billie Strings, they&rsquo;re great. I like the people I play with, like Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Yonder Mountain String Band &ndash; guys from Colorado who I&rsquo;m friends with &ndash; Tommy Emanuel. I have an eclectic taste. I&rsquo;m listening to a lot of &lsquo;70s R&amp;B, stuff that came out of Memphis. I don&rsquo;t have a style, I just like great music.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span><img width="150" height="153" src="" alt="john oates pushin' a rock" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Songwriting, Recording and Performing Live<br /></span></strong>John&rsquo;s songwriting process isn&rsquo;t too structured. But when he does write, the songs seem to have a mind of their own. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s like when I&rsquo;m not exercising the last thing I want to do is start exercising. It&rsquo;s the same thing with songwriting. When I&rsquo;m not writing I don&rsquo;t even want to think about it. And then I start writing and I can&rsquo;t stop. I get on a roll and it just seems to feed upon itself in some weird way.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>&ldquo;Right now, for me, the songs have to have some kind of meaning beyond just a simple relationship. The last song I put out digitally was called <strong><a href="" target="_blank">&ldquo;Pushin&rsquo; a Rock&rdquo;.</a></strong> That song was really about struggle, overcoming struggle and adversity and never giving up. You&rsquo;ve got to keep trying. I felt like that was a good message and a message that people might relate to.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>John&rsquo;s new single &ldquo;Disconnected&rdquo; is out February 3rd. It was written during COVID. These songs are part of a series of digital singles he&rsquo;ll be releasing over the next couple of months. You can find them on all the streaming platforms.</span></p> <p><span>A lot of musicians have a definite preference when it comes to either recording or performing music. Some consider touring to be too loose and some find being in the studio tedious. John views them as completely different things and sees value in both. &ldquo;Recording is very introspective and analytical. You&rsquo;re really focused on the minutia, sonically, technically what&rsquo;s happening because you&rsquo;re capturing something. And performing is the exact opposite. It&rsquo;s all about live, it&rsquo;s happening now, it&rsquo;s never going to happen again. It&rsquo;s all about energy. It has to do with immediacy, with relating to the audience and what they give you back and that affects what you&rsquo;re doing.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Collaborating<br /></span></strong>In 2014 John recorded an entire album of collaborations called <em>Good Road to Follow</em>. He reached out to musicians &ndash; some he knew, some he didn&rsquo;t &ndash; but they were all &ldquo;people I respected. I worked with Vince Gill, Ryan Tedder from One Republic when he lived in Denver &ndash; we actually wrote a song together in Cherry Creek where he was living at the time. Jim Lauderdale &ndash; I love him and he&rsquo;s one of my favorite songwriters in Nashville. There are so many people I&rsquo;ve worked with. I&rsquo;ve written with some contemporary country people, although I&rsquo;ve never done well with contemporary country - it just doesn&rsquo;t resonate with me.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><span>See John Oates in Colorado in February<br /></span></strong>John&rsquo;s performing a series of acoustic shows. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m playing with an amazing acoustic guitar player from Nashville named Guthrie Trapp - he&rsquo;s incredible. We&rsquo;re doing a show at The Wheeler together. The other shows I&rsquo;m doing with a percussionist from Aspen, who I&rsquo;ve also played with for many years, John Michel. We&rsquo;re doing a singer-songwriter show, telling stories behind the songs. Bringing the living room to the stage. Doing the old-timey stuff all the way up to the new stuff and some Hall &amp; Oates.</p> <p>Visit John Oates&rsquo; <strong><a href="" target="_blank">website</a></strong> and <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Instagram</a></strong>&nbsp;where you can &ldquo;watch me plow snow and do snow angels&rdquo;. <span>And see him on <strong><a href="" target="_blank">February 24th at the Sheridan Opera House</a> in Telluride, CO and on <a href="" target="_blank">March 3<sup>rd</sup> at the Wheeler Opera House</a> in Aspen, CO.</strong> These are makeup shows from COVID. They were canceled twice so he&rsquo;s calling it &ldquo;the third time&rsquo;s the charm&rdquo; tour.<br /><br />photo sources:&nbsp;<br /><br /><br /></span></p> Lisa Loeb - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>You probably know GRAMMY&trade; Award-winning singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb from her platinum-selling hit song &ldquo;Stay (I Missed You)&rdquo; from the film <em>Reality Bites</em>.<em>&nbsp;</em>But she's also a&nbsp;touring musician, SiriusXM daily radio host and philanthropist and Lisa's had several hit singles and six albums, two of which were certified gold.&nbsp;</span></p> <span><span>Her most recent album,&nbsp;<em>A Simple Trick to Happiness,&nbsp;</em>received&nbsp;rave reviews. And she debuted her new musical&nbsp;<em>Together Apart</em>, which she co-wrote and co-produced with over one hundred of her fellow Brown University alums to raise money for The Actors Fund. The musical received attention from prestigious outlets like&nbsp;<em>The New York Times, Vanity Fair, People&nbsp;</em>and<em>&nbsp;Playbill.<br /><br /></em>Lisa sat down with us for a chat about performing, writing songs and what she's doing these days.<br />&nbsp;<br /></span></span> <p><span><strong>Lisa was musical from the beginning:</strong> We always had music playing in the house on the radio, on records and in the car. It was always just part of my life. My piano teacher in first grade or so asked me to write something original and that&rsquo;s when I really started writing music.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><strong>Her musical heroes:</strong> My musical influences range from David Bowie to Olivia Newton John to &ldquo;The Nutcracker&rdquo;. I love Jimi Hendrix, the bands Queen, The Who, The Beatles, Rickie Lee Jones, The Cure, Thomas Dolby and The Go-Go&rsquo;s. The list really goes on and on.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><strong>Lisa's still taking music lessons:</strong> I always took music lessons and continue to learn from teachers when I can. I had two piano lessons a week - one for theory with a group and one private lesson. Then around age fifteen, I started playing guitar instead of focusing on piano. I&rsquo;ve taken lessons as recently as last year during COVID with an old friend from college who&rsquo;s a piano teacher.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;<br /><br /><img width="250" height="250" src="" alt="Lisa Loeb A Simple Trick to Happiness" align="left" class="img-responsive" /><strong>Who she wants to work with:</strong>&nbsp;<span>I&rsquo;d love to collaborate with lots of folks from Finneas to Ben Folds to some of my childhood heroes who are still living, like Carole Bayer Sager, who&rsquo;s autobiography I recently listened to.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><strong>What she's listening to right now:</strong>&nbsp;</span><span>I listen to what my kids listen to mostly, or new artists who want me to check out their music. I also listen to a lot of podcasts including Smartless, NPR news and This American Life. &nbsp;I love hearing stories and people connecting.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><strong>Performing in front of an audience:</strong>&nbsp;</span>I love the connection between myself and the audience. I love playing a serious song that brings people in close and then telling a silly story. There&rsquo;s magic in the fact that even if you record the concert, that moment in the moment will only happen once and it&rsquo;s truly unique.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>On Songwriting:</strong> I write daily, and when someone has asked me to write something specific, and when I plan a collaboration. I write when an idea comes to me or plan a session with myself if I have something specific to finish. Sometimes the best ideas come when I&rsquo;m not planning to write, like during a soundcheck. I&rsquo;m open to ideas all the time and practice purposefully writing as well as mining my random ideas for great ideas as well as practicing sitting down to write when I don&rsquo;t think I have any ideas. You always have to be ready!<br /><br />You can see Lisa Loeb in Colorado&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Feb 3, 2023&nbsp; at Denver at Ophelia's Electric Soapbox</a>&nbsp;and listen to Lisa&rsquo;s&nbsp;latest album&nbsp;<em>A Simple Trick to Happiness</em>&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a>. See all of her tour dates on her <a href="" target="_blank">WEBSITE</a>.</p> Sustainability In the World of Guitars http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>Each day we become more acutely aware of the negative impact we human beings are having on our environment. Since many kinds of musical instruments are built from natural materials it behooves us to ask how musicians and instrument builders can help by incorporating sustainability into their choices. Dwindling supplies of certain tonewoods have encouraged new choices using sources that can be more easily renewed. The first major step in this direction took place in the late 1990s when Brazilian Rosewood was placed on an endangered list and its use in new instrument construction restricted.&nbsp;</p> <p>Shopping for an eco-friendly guitar doesn&rsquo;t have to be a stressful or lengthy process given the steps some of the largest guitar manufacturers have taken in recent years. Guided by recommendations from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification Martin, Taylor, Fender, Breedlove and many others have shifted their wood choices.</p> <p>Martin Guitars proudly notes that they are FSC certified meaning their construction process adheres to stringent social and environmental standards.&nbsp; Some of their guitars, for example, feature Richlite fretboards and bridges made from 100% recycled products created through a low-energy process.&nbsp;</p> <p>Taylor Guitars&rsquo; Ebony Project in Cameroon actively replants trees after harvest and the company uses marbled ebony for fingerboards and bridges to avoid the waste caused in the past by using only pure black. Scraps of their ebony are turned into other products like guitar slides and instrument display stands. Taylor has also begun using Urban Ash and Urban Ironbark, two sustainable American tonewoods, for the backs and sides of some of their newest models.</p> <p>You&rsquo;ll see a lot of Pau Ferro fretboards on Fender Guitars these days. Pau Ferro is a sustainable alternative to Rosewood and the company offers buyers the opportunity to choose it when custom ordering a guitar. Meanwhile, Breedlove Guitars, based in Bend, OR, began using locally grown and sustained Myrtlewood on many of its models a few years ago. An excellent tonewood, Myrtlewood is a stunning alternative to the more commonly used Spruce, Mahogany and Rosewood for guitar tops, sides and backs.</p> <p>When shopping for a guitar we are mostly focused on sound, playability and appearance. Without seriously limiting our choices we might also consider sustainability or eco-friendliness so that the guitar of our dreams is one whose construction was friendly to our planet.&nbsp;<strong>&nbsp;- Saul Rosenthal, Co-Owner Denver Folklore Center</strong></p> Rich Moore - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>If you&rsquo;re from Colorado you already know the name Rich Moore, but for those who aren&rsquo;t familiar, you&rsquo;re in for a real treat. Musician Rich Moore is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, finger-style guitarist, songwriter, and he and his wife, Grammy Award winning singer Mollie O&rsquo;Brien, have been performing together around here and the country for decades. </span></p> <p><strong><span>A Player Piano and Thumb Pick<br /></span></strong><span>Rich grew up in Philadelphia and was introduced to music early. He considers himself lucky to have been born into a musical household, surrounded by all types of music. &ldquo;</span><span>My mother played piano and we had a player piano that had rolls, which appealed to me in a musical and mechanical way - I was fascinated. We had forty or fifty rolls of music, so that was my start.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>His</span><span> father sang in a Philadelphia chorus, <span>Mendelssohn Club, </span>that performed with an orchestra and he</span><span> &ldquo;got dragged to those as a child&rdquo;. But those shows had a positive impact on Rich and gave him &ldquo;a real appreciation for old fashioned form to music - how classical and symphonic pieces will take a theme and work it a hundred different ways and tie it all together neatly at the end. That&rsquo;s been a big influence on me musically.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><img width="200" height="295" src="" alt="rich moore" align="left" class="img-responsive" /></p> <p><span>He was first introduced to the guitar in the mid-1950s while on a family vacation in Bermuda. The memory of a guitar player who had a pick on his thumb stuck with Rich. &ldquo;Then fast forward to rock &lsquo;n&rsquo; roll, the Beatles, &lsquo;the great folk scare&rsquo; - I got a really cheap plastic guitar and was able to make music with it, play chords and here I am!&rdquo; </span></p> <p><span>Well, a few things happened in between.</span></p> <p><strong><span>The Main Point<br /></span></strong><span>Growing up in Philly, there was a coffeehouse/music venue called The Main Point. Rich frequented it in the late &lsquo;60s and saw legendary performers like James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. &ldquo;I saw Doc Watson probably thirty times, Laura Nyro, Odetta. I saw Chris Smither play there a lot - he&rsquo;s a great writer and fingerstyle player and he&rsquo;s still out there - he was a big influence on me. I saw Bonnie Raitt, Randy Newman, The Beatles. It was just a little club that sat about 125 people. I showed up so much they offered me a job tearing tickets, which I thought was all I needed to do in life. It was great!&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Meeting Harry Tuft<br /></span></strong><span>Rich was in high school when he first heard about the Denver Folklore Center on a radio show called &ldquo;Folklore&rdquo; hosted by the late Gene Shay. Folk musician Michael Cooney was on the show and said &ldquo;you have to go to the Denver Folklore Center and meet Harry Tuft.&rdquo; When Rich ended up in Denver, he made it a point to meet Harry and ended up working at the store. &ldquo;But before working for Harry, I worked for a friendly competitor &ndash; Ferretta&rsquo;s Music. David Ferretta was a former DFC employee who had opened his own store. He was an unbelievable character and knew instruments really well.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>In 1981, Rich quit Ferretta&rsquo;s Music, joined a country western band and went to Hawaii for three months. He had met Mollie right before he left, so when he came back to Denver he began working at the DFC (when it was on Broadway). &ldquo;The DFC was a huge influence &ndash; if I remembered it when I was fifteen when someone casually mentioned it on a radio show, you know it was a big influence. All kinds of great people and guitars came into the store. I always felt welcomed there. You walk in the door and you feel welcomed.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span><img width="200" height="121" src="" alt="rich moore and mollie o'brien" align="right" class="img-responsive" />Life (and Music) Happens<br /></span></strong>A few years after meeting, Mollie and Rich got married and then had two daughters. Rich decided to quit his band and get a day job while their kids were in school. Over the next decade or so, Mollie&rsquo;s music career took off. She had success as both a solo artist and with her brother, Tim, recording and touring. During that time Rich held down the fort at home and continued to perform around Colorado with his musical friends.</p> <p><span>Then in 2006, Mollie and Rich began recording together. Their </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span>albums to date</span></a><span> include the critically acclaimed <em>900 Baseline</em>, <em>Saints and Sinners</em> and <em>Love Runner</em>. </span></p> <p><span>Although an amazing guitarist, Rich also plays other instruments. He&rsquo;s a bassist (electric and upright) and plays a little banjo, but he leaves singing to the pro. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m married to Mollie O&rsquo;Brien and she&rsquo;s a great singer, so I&rsquo;m real careful about what I sing around her. I&rsquo;ve written a few songs with lyrics and a lot of instrumental guitar pieces and </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span>released a few CDs</span></a><span>. <span>I enjoy playing blues - a simple format that can go to a million different places. Mollie and I play together quite a bit, anything we can with one guitar. We might do an original piece, a Dylan song - I&rsquo;m always looking for great songs.&rdquo;</span></span></p> <p><span>Rich has also provided music for a variety of other projects, including &ldquo;</span><a href="" target="_blank"><span>On The Row</span></a><span><span>,</span></span><span>&rdquo; a staged reading of writings by death row inmates in Arkansas, and for the ongoing PBS series &ldquo;</span><a href="" target="_blank"><span>Heart of a Building</span></a><span><span>,</span></span><span>&rdquo; about energy efficient building practices (his day job for many years involved weatherization field work).&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Showing Off Pays Off<br /></span></strong>If you&rsquo;ve seen Rich on stage you know he&rsquo;s not simply a musician, he&rsquo;s a fantastic and hilarious entertainer. &ldquo;I really enjoy performing a lot - I&rsquo;m a show off. I learned a lot being in theater (he majored in performing arts in college) - going up on stage, having your show ready to go and learning how to read the audience and entertain people.&rdquo; He also learned watching performers at clubs like The Main Point. &ldquo;One person can grab a hundred people and hold them in their hand.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><span>You can catch Rich and Mollie performing live in Denver on January 27<sup>th</sup> at Swallow Hill Music. Get your tickets </span></strong><a href="" target="_blank"><strong><span>HERE</span></strong></a><strong><span>.<br />And see all their performance dates on their <a href="" target="_blank">website</a>.</span></strong></p> Holly Near - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Singer, songwriter and activist are just a few ways to describe the amazing Holly Near. She&rsquo;s not only one of the most &ldquo;powerful &hellip; singers of our time,&rdquo; Holly has also been a champion for peace and feminism, combining music, activism and her &ldquo;celebration of the human spirit&rdquo; in her performances for over fifty years.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Jumping In<br /></span></strong>Growing up in northern California, Holly lived on a small cattle ranch and didn&rsquo;t hav<span>e neighbors close by, so hanging out with her friends wasn&rsquo;t an option. But &ldquo;our parents were creative people who liked music, so we had access to musical instruments, a reel-to-reel tape recorder and lots of outdoor space to sing at the top of our lungs&rdquo;. Holly remembers her family played and danced and &ldquo;with no TV and encouraging parents, we were our own entertainment&rdquo;. <span>Her parents ordered records from a catalog so the family always had a lot of music in their house &ldquo;from big bands to opera to folk music to jazz to musical theater - I took it all in.&rdquo; She also found a mentor when she began taking lessons from a music teacher who lived in a nearby town.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span>Holly&rsquo;s childhood was rooted in activism because her paren</span><span>ts were progressive. &ldquo;I heard them discuss the world over coffee in the morning and I got my feet wet in high school working on a committee to try to get rules changed so girls could wear pants to school.&rdquo; These early experiences proved to be &ldquo;good practice&rdquo; for Holly. &ldquo;The anti-war and civil rights movements were swirling around me as a late teen/young adult. One can choose to ignore or jump in - I jumped in.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>TV, Movies and the FTA<br /></span></strong>Holly was performing in &lsquo;70s film and TV programs like <em>Mod Squad, Room 222 </em>and <em>The Partridge Family</em> when she heard about a traveling anti-war show called FTA &ndash; Free the Army. It was a road show for GIs designed as a response to the USO tour starring comedian Bob Hope. &ldquo;They were auditioning for one more person -&nbsp;I got the job.&rdquo; &nbsp;The FTA tour traveled to Okinawa, Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines, and Holly &ldquo;learned so much from the soldiers who were resisting war and racism from within the military&nbsp;and from local activists in each country who were protesting military occupation&rdquo;.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><span>When she returned home, Holly began writing songs, but they were very different from those the music industry wanted, so she started her own record label. In fact, Holly&rsquo;s Redwood Records was one of the first female-created independent labels. Holly remembers it as &ldquo;so intriguing, exciting and a lot of hard work so that I never really made it back to my film and TV career.&rdquo; Although it was challenging to be the head of her own record label, it proved to Holly that it was possible to work outside of the music mainstream. &ldquo;When I felt overwhelmed I tried to remember that it is equally, if not differently, challenging to be in mainstream.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span>&nbsp;<br /></span></p> <p><strong><span>Music Heals<br /></span></strong>Having lived through the &lsquo;60s and &lsquo;70s and witnessed her generation and others rise up against oppression, Holly says resistance through music is nothing new. &ldquo;There has been resistance to oppression for centuries.&nbsp;We each come into the world and then that is our time.</p> <p><span>&ldquo;People in struggle from most cultures turn to music and dance. As Linda Tillery told me when talking about her work, the music that came from her people in the black diaspora were songs of survival. Whether jazz or folk or gospel, it represents survival under incredible odds. Labor songs, feminist songs, lesbian songs &ndash; they all come out of necessity. Music heals, inspires, educates, lifts us up when we are at our lowest. The world has always been turbulent. I didn&rsquo;t understand that when I was younger. I actually thought we could end war and abuse. Now I&rsquo;m not so sure. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean we don&rsquo;t do everything we can to slow that trajectory towards destruction of self, others, planet, universe.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Holly believes each of us can do something, even a small gesture, to promote a more peaceful world.&nbsp;&ldquo;<span>One person might deliver </span></span><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Meals on Wheels</a></strong><span>. Another might work to protect one ancient tree. One might become the nation&rsquo;s first black president. Somehow, all the bits add up.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Songwriting and Performing<br /></span></strong><span>The key to songwriting for Holly is trying &ldquo;to remain open to learning as the world endlessly unfolds before us&rdquo;. That means ideas and songs are always churning in her mind. &ldquo;</span><span>I notice things and think about things all the time, so the material is always in the works.&rdquo; And when it comes down to actually writing the song, it isn&rsquo;t a battle for her. &ldquo;It often comes forward without a lot of struggle and looks like I wrote a song in a few minutes or a few hours, but really, I have been &lsquo;writing it&rsquo; for years.&rdquo;&nbsp; &nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Performing live remains Holly&rsquo;s favorite for so many reasons. &ldquo;I love meeting a new audience, and depending on the venue and the context, it is always unique. And I don&rsquo;t do the same set list night after night - I try to keep it fresh and spontaneous. After having worked for over fifty years in the social change music genre, my toolbox is pretty full, so it doesn&rsquo;t require a lot of homework.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Because of a Song<br /></span></strong><span>Holly produced an historic website, </span><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Because of a Song</a></strong><span>, that documents women musicians in Oakland, CA who made a profound contribution to what became known as Women&rsquo;s Music. She&rsquo;s been working on the website archive <span>since 2019 and it's now done and available to the public for free.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span>The website </span><span>features over thirty hours of filmed conversation, four short films featuring Linda Tillery, Carolyn Brandy, Mary Watkins and Melanie DeMore, a curated resource room, a listening room of over six hundred songs in six playlists, a captioned photo gallery of nearly two hundred images and much more.</span></p> <p><span>Featured conversations include: Linda Tillery, Mary Watkins, Carolyn Brandy, Melanie DeMore, Rhiannon, Vicki Randle, Judith Casselberry, Ginny Z. Berson, Krissy Keefer, Lakota Harden, Lichi Fuentes, June Millington and Ann Hackler, Angela Wellman, Barbara Higbie, Elizabeth Seja Min, Ellen Seeling and Jean Feinberg, Sally Roesch Wagner, Peggy Berryhill, Patricia Thumas, Crys Matthews and Heather Mae, Timothy Near, Candas Barnes and Ray Obiedo.</span></p> <p><span>And if you want to learn more about Holly Near, visit her </span><strong><a href="" target="_blank">website</a></strong><span>.<br /><br />Photo by Jerry Rubino</span></p> Friends of the DFC - Ragged Union http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">If you haven&rsquo;t heard of <strong>Ragged Union</strong>, you are in for a real treat! The band is made up of founder Geoff Union (guitar, vocals), Elio Schiavo (mandolin, vocals), Rebekah Durham (fiddle, vocals) and Matt Thomas (bass). Ragged Union has gone through <strong><a href="" target="_blank">some changes</a></strong> over the years, but this latest incarnation feels and sounds more than just right on their new album <em>Round Feet, Chrome Smile</em>.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Musical Evolution<br /></strong>The original Ragged Union (2014-2018) was a typical six-piece bluegrass band with a more traditional approach. Geoff says they &ldquo;still wrote original material, but it had a straight-ahead bluegrass style, more than we&rsquo;re doing now.&rdquo; By the beginning of 2019, everyone in the band had left and Geoff was ready to call it quits too, &ldquo;but people kept calling me for gigs and I wanted to do them.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">Luckily that fall, a mutual friend intervened and introduced Geoff to Elio. &ldquo;We started playing together, and then with Rebekah (Elio&rsquo;s then fianc&eacute;, now wife). Then COVID hit. We got together when we could and played music and tried to have fun &hellip; outside, wearing masks, twenty feet apart. So, the three of us have formed the core group of the new version of the band.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">Musically, Geoff says, Ragged Union&rsquo;s sound has shifted in a more interesting direction than the original band. &ldquo;The musical scope is way broader now than it used to be. You can still hear bluegrass in the music, but there&rsquo;s a lot more going on and more places we can go with the sound, the music, the style, the composition and arranging. It&rsquo;s fun!</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">&ldquo;Another big difference is the band before was me, my wife (Christina) and a bunch of great musicians who were just sidemen, which is perfectly fine &ndash; lots of bands operate like that. But now the cool thing about this version of the band is that everyone is here because they want to be in the band. We like the band, we like playing together and it feels more organic and like we&rsquo;re on the same team.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Just Call it Good Music<br /></strong>Geoff isn&rsquo;t really concerned with labeling Ragged Union&rsquo;s genre of music. But he knows some folks are. &ldquo;Depending on who you talk to, labeling music is a problem. If I call it bluegrass, some people aren&rsquo;t going to care and some people are going to care a lot. So, what are we going to call it? Grassicana is a term that Bluegrass Today (an online publication) uses and they even have a <a href="">grassicana</a> chart. To me it&rsquo;s just a term that means there&rsquo;s some bluegrass in it, some folk in it, some country in it, a little bit of jam grass. It&rsquo;s just one of those terms that if you had to label our music, you could call it that and it would make sense to some people. It&rsquo;s bluegrass with a broader scope of musical style.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>The Gateway Drug to Bluegrass<br /></strong>Geoff and Elio share some of the same musical influences including the Jerry Garcia/David Grisman collaboration, Old &amp; In the Way, and the Grateful Dead. And then the music goes off in every direction, in a good way. Geoff says his first taste of bluegrass came from &ldquo;listening to Doc Watson. That was a pretty direct connection to a really cool sound on an instrument that I played. But I was attracted to music like the music Tony Rice recorded of Gordon Lightfoot songs and others, sort of nontraditional bluegrass songs that he chose to cover. There&rsquo;s even a version of a Joni Mitchell song. It&rsquo;s the sound of bluegrass but the songwriting and musical changes of other genres.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">For Elio, his first experience with bluegrass was his &ldquo;dad having The Seldom Scene&rsquo;s <em>Live at the Cellar Door</em> and Willie Nelson&rsquo;s <em>Stardust</em> on repeat for a long time. I remember loving that Seldom Scene record. And then obviously the Jerry Garcia/David Grisman collaboration that was happening in the &lsquo;80s. That&rsquo;s how I found my way into playing mandolin and learning about bluegrass music. That was a gateway drug for a lot of people who were into the Grateful Dead. Good stuff.&rdquo;</span><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Weird, Magical Lyrics<br /></strong>Geoff&rsquo;s songwriting has been described as &ldquo;light and bouncy on the surface, but lyrically deep and complex, with plenty of twists and turns to make the listener come back again and again&rdquo;. And if you&rsquo;ve listened to songs on <em>Round Feet, Chrome Smile</em>, like &ldquo;Somebody Call the Doctor&rdquo; and &ldquo;Mirror Lake&rdquo; you can hear just how true that is.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">For Geoff, inspiration comes from a number of different places. &ldquo;On the one hand, I sometimes cowrite with an old friend of mine. He&rsquo;s kind of a poet so he&rsquo;ll send me his poetry and sometimes it translates into something that&rsquo;s useful for songwriting. Some of it is out there and I don&rsquo;t know what he&rsquo;s talking about. That&rsquo;s part of it - finding some cool lyrics he sends me. Sometimes shit comes to me in the middle of the night and I write it down or record it. Then later, I have to turn the sound up all the way because I was whisper singing in the middle of the night. I get inspiration when I&rsquo;m driving around. Your subconscious sometimes comes up with some cool ideas and you&rsquo;ve got to get it down somewhere. I like to write about something that&rsquo;s real to me.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">&ldquo;Growing up listening to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, you get used to those weird, magical lyrics. I like country music but writing wise &hellip; none of that bad stuff every happens to me, fortunately. The things that come to my mind writing wise are more like Robert Plant or David Crosby. For me it&rsquo;s always an intersection of that bluegrass sound and instrumentation and feel, and the songwriting style that&rsquo;s not traditional country.&rdquo;</span><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>A Unique Recording Space<br /></strong>Geoff does accounting for the Nevei Kodesh synagogue in Boulder and during COVID, the band played a few livestream concerts there. Elio describes the synagogue as &ldquo;a cool place. The sound &hellip; it&rsquo;s very big and all wood inside with a giant vaulted ceiling. And I thought it would be awesome to do some recording in there. Geoff made it his job to rent out the space for a week. We loaded up a bunch of equipment, set it up and spent five or six days recording all the tracks for the <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>new record</strong></a>. It came out nicely. There are two songs on the record that weren&rsquo;t recorded in that space. To the trained ear you can tell the difference. And you can only hear one bus if you turn it up super loud." [laughter]</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>34 Years of Iron Maiden<br /></strong>Although he enjoys playing Ragged Union&rsquo;s style of bluegrass, Geoff doesn&rsquo;t listen to it. He&rsquo;s currently catching up on decades of music from a favorite band, Iron Maiden. He realized that he &ldquo;had stopped listening to them after whatever album they put out in 1988 (<em>Seventh Son of a Seventh Son</em>). I&rsquo;ve been catching up on that &ndash; there&rsquo;s some interesting stuff in their catalogue. And I&rsquo;ve been listening to a lot of Fela Kuti and Afrobeat, music from Ghana, Nigeria from the &lsquo;60s/&rsquo;70s especially.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">Rebekah is practicing for some upcoming symphony performances, so there&rsquo;s a lot of symphony music around the house for her and Elio these days. He&rsquo;s also a big Radiohead fan. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s been my mainstay of listening and gaining influence. We just got a new record player and shopped for a bunch of records. We&rsquo;ve had Harry Styles stuck in our heads for a week straight. There&rsquo;s also Jon Batiste&rsquo;s new record, which is really good. I&rsquo;m trying to not just listen to the oldies I&rsquo;m used to &ndash; trying to listen to new things.&rdquo;</span><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Taking Music to the People<br /></strong>Ragged Union has been performing around Colorado this summer. They&rsquo;re happy that &ldquo;after COVID all the old spots are opening up again. But we don&rsquo;t have any solid plans to take it on the road anytime soon. We&rsquo;re nailing down some dates for festivals next year. The old band was traveling all the time. We have a new album out now and that&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re working towards - touring again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">&ldquo;We like taking the music to different places, playing for new people and for those that haven&rsquo;t seen us in a while. The music and the players are really good, and we have a sound and an approach that&rsquo;s a little bit different. We have something to offer that&rsquo;s different than what&rsquo;s out there. The festival circuit is really where it&rsquo;s at for me. The audience comes to hear that kind of music. They hear us and we&rsquo;re interesting and we make some new fans and friends.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>See Ragged Union LIVE in Colorado in November!<br /></strong>Nov 11th &ndash; Longmont, CO &ndash;&nbsp;<strong><a href=";utm_campaign=rsvp&amp;utm_medium=web&amp;;;utm_source=widget&amp;came_from=242&amp;spn=0&amp;signature=ZZ0dd2a90fe95247cd5796727c5d7301d2994b32d80ebe24a430317f957d4e57cc" target="_blank">Oscar Blues</a></strong></span><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">Nov 17th &ndash; Golden, CO<span>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;<strong><a href=";utm_campaign=rsvp&amp;utm_medium=web&amp;;;utm_source=widget&amp;came_from=242&amp;spn=0&amp;signature=ZZ0dd2a90fe95247cd5796727c5d7301d2994b32d80ebe24a430317f957d4e57cc" target="_blank">New Terrain Brewing Company</a></strong></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">Nov 25th &ndash; Denver, CO &ndash;&nbsp;<strong><a href=";_ga=2.205549267.1527804621.1666988596-1527034374.1666988596" target="_blank">Globe Hall</a></strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">LEARN MORE and&nbsp;BUY&nbsp;TICKETS&nbsp;<strong><a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a></strong>&nbsp;</span></p> Meet the Builders - Dana Bourgeois, Bourgeois Guitars http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span><span>Master luthier, Dana Bourgeois&rsquo; passion for guitar building began early. His grandfather, a machinist, and his father, a woodworker, taught him &ldquo;just enough to actually build a guitar&rdquo;. He began building his first guitars while attending college in the early 1970s with help from the <em>Irving Sloan Classical Guitar Construction</em> book.</span></span></p> <p><span>By the late &lsquo;70s, Dana ran a one-man shop in Maine, where he built and repaired guitars.&nbsp;Around that time, he became part of the folk and bluegrass scene and was able to show his dreadnought guitars to musician, Tony Rice, who had some advice. &ldquo;Tony usually gave my guitars a good test drive and graciously let me play his famous D-28.&rdquo; When Rice saw the OM guitar Dana had built, he thought it had an overall better sound and suggested &ldquo;<span>putting&nbsp;it in a bigger package&rdquo;.</span></span></p> <p><span>Over the years, Rice&rsquo;s words, his own research and some creative collaborations have inspired Dana to create what is now the legendary Bourgeois Guitar company.</span></p> <p><strong><span>What the Builder Plays<br /></span></strong>A musician himself, Dana performed a lot when he was younger and has begun playing again in recent years. &ldquo;I play acoustic guitar and a variety of roots-type styles. I&rsquo;m not much of a singer, but I am an accompanist.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>When Dana first began playing guitar, he started out with dreadnoughts, then went to OMs, a medium-sized guitar with a long scale. &ldquo;Over the years my guitars have gotten smaller and smaller. Lately, I&rsquo;ve been playing LOO style guitars - the one Bourgeois makes is called the L-DBO. My two everyday guitars are both L-DBOs that we built. It&rsquo;s a short scale medium-sized guitar that works very nicely on a microphone. If I&rsquo;m not playing with an accordion player or a banjo player, I&rsquo;ve got plenty of volume. You can flatpick it or fingerstyle. It&rsquo;s a very versatile guitar.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>And while he builds and plays guitars, Dana isn&rsquo;t much of a collector. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s nice to have a couple of guitars, but I never really liked having a whole pile of guitars that never get played. I&rsquo;ll keep a guitar for a few years to get to know it and learn from it, then move on to other things. When they start getting ignored, they&rsquo;ll find other homes.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>He&rsquo;s had a few fun vintage guitars over the years too. &ldquo;Back in the &lsquo;80s, I had a 1939 (Martin) D-28 that I bought for $5,000 and sold for $6,000. I thought I was smart. I had a 1940 (Gibson) Super 400, a 1930 (Martin) OM-18 and various Gibson mandolins. And again, I really enjoyed the experience I had with the instruments and getting to know them, but I don&rsquo;t regret not having them any longer, except for the potential monetary value.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Eastman Partnership<br /></span></strong>In 2019, Bourgeois Guitars was acquired by Eastman Music, a large multinational company that makes violin-family instruments, brass, woodwinds and guitars. For the last few years, they&rsquo;ve been working to coproduce a new line of guitars &ndash; the Touchstone Series. &ldquo;We just introduced them recently. The concept behind the instruments it that we (Bourgeois) make and tune the guitar tops and ship them to Eastman&rsquo;s manufacturing in Beijing. They build the guitar with our tuned guitar top, ship it back to us and we go over it for quality control and final set up. Then we distribute it in the U.S. - so far, the Touchtone Series guitars are only available in the U.S.&rdquo;</p> <p><span><img width="300" height="225" src="" alt="dana bourgeois and the team" align="left" class="img-responsive" />The Bourgeois team has been building and stockpiling guitar tops for two years. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re excited about it! The first production guitars just arrived earlier this year and now we&rsquo;re getting a regular supply. We&rsquo;ve had to add dedicated space to our shop for the Touchstone project. Our backorders are up and we&rsquo;ve been slowly expanding the guitars that we build here (in Lewiston, Maine). We haven&rsquo;t introduced any new models because we&rsquo;ve got a full line of about fourteen different body styles. We&rsquo;re more concerned with maintaining quality as we expand.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Dana mentioned that some people have expressed concern that Bourgeois has sold out to Eastman. &ldquo;They say &lsquo;you&rsquo;ve sold out to a Chinese company and you&rsquo;re going to be exporting jobs to China&rsquo;. But Eastman is a U.S. company. Just because they have plants in China, they&rsquo;re not a Chinese company.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Dana emphasizes the positive aspects of their partnership with Eastman. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve grown 50% since the Eastman acquisition and it&rsquo;s really because of that relationship we&rsquo;re able to grow. They&rsquo;re able to expand the market for Bourgeois products and they have a commitment to our facility in Lewiston. We&rsquo;re sort of the flagship guitar brand for them and they want to keep it that way. Just in case there is any misconception about this relationship, it really has been good for us, for the local economy and we&rsquo;re looking to expand our facility.</span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve added 50% to our existing building and we&rsquo;ll be looking for another building soon. And we&rsquo;re continuing to hire more people. We really enjoy the partnership with Eastman - we get along great. We have very similar corporate cultures. The acquisition happened relatively quickly, we weren&rsquo;t even looking for it. But I think it was because we were such a good fit personality wise.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Bourgeois Mandolins<br /></span></strong><span>The Eastman collaboration has also resulted in a new line of <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Bourgeois mandolins</a></strong>. The first mandolins have arrived in stores&nbsp;a</span><span>nd these new instruments won&rsquo;t be the last. &ldquo;These are little trickles of new product compared to what we expect to see in the next couple of years. And it&rsquo;s exciting for us because it&rsquo;s stuff we&rsquo;ve been planning for a few years and it&rsquo;s finally happening.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>One of the obstacles has been, of course, the pandemic. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been hampered not being able to travel to China. Just before the pandemic, Eastman&rsquo;s guitar shop production manager visited Bourgeois twice and learned a lot about how we build our guitars. And we sent our production manager over to Beijing once. It&rsquo;s much easier to be in the room and point to a part on a bench and say &lsquo;do it this way, not this way&rsquo; than it is to receive photographs or look at a part over Zoom. It&rsquo;s taken longer than we had hoped, but it was worth waiting for.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>The Touchtone Series<br /></span></strong>Although they&rsquo;ve changed some of the materials, the new Touchtone Series guitars are similar in design to some of <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Bourgeois&rsquo; models</a></strong>. &ldquo;What&rsquo;s different is the price is about half price of our average guitar. However, the most important part, the voiced top, is identical to our guitars, except for the materials &ndash; it&rsquo;s a Sitka spruce and most of our guitars are Adirondack spruce. The backs are not voiced. We haven&rsquo;t started pleking the Eastman-made Touchstones unless they need it.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><span>While the Touchstone guitars differ in a few areas, Bourgeois has kept the quality in the places that matter. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s part of the design, and so far the response has been amazing. We&rsquo;re sold out into 2023 in advance orders. And many of the guitars that have hit the stores have sold very quickly. We&rsquo;ve targeted an under $3,000 price point, which occupies a no man&rsquo;s land between the guitars we make in Lewiston and the&nbsp;<strong><a href="" target="_blank">guitars Eastman</a></strong> makes.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>And Dana and his team continue to think about the future of guitar building. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re always experimenting with new tonewoods and we&rsquo;re never sure where that&rsquo;s going to lead. We have a few things we&rsquo;re playing around with but we're not ready to announce yet. We build custom guitars and sometimes those will inspire a new decorative package. And we&rsquo;re working on our 10,000<sup>th</sup> guitar, which we intend to show at NAMM in April 2023. That will be an OM-45 Brazilian rosewood with a ghost flower pattern that will feature 24k gold in the inlay pattern and around the top. We had to do something special.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Bourgeois Quality<br /></span></strong>Dana acknowledges that so far Bourgeois hasn&rsquo;t been able to build less expensive guitars, but it&rsquo;s not for a lack of trying. &ldquo;The effort has been made. We&rsquo;ve tried and failed a number of times to build more affordable guitars in the U.S. It can be done by a bigger company like Martin or Taylor, where you can bring a large economy of scale to bear with a significant investment in automated equipment. Those guitars become less handmade, but they are hand assembled. We have been unable to do it on our scale.</p> <p><span>&ldquo;You shoot for bringing the same quality to an imported instrument &ndash; that&rsquo;s my goal. And that&rsquo;s really a matter of teaching our partners in Beijing how we build guitars. Interestingly, they&rsquo;ve adopted a lot of our techniques and methods. Many of our dealers have told us they&rsquo;ve noticed a raised quality of Eastman guitars as well. That&rsquo;s been fun to see.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>A Bright Future<br /></span></strong>Dana is excited about where Bourgeois Guitars is headed and is &ldquo;inspired to help grow the company to realize its full potential in light of the new partnership. I&rsquo;m 69 years old, almost 70, and having the time of my life! I still get up every Monday looking forward to going to work. And &ndash; knock on wood &ndash; I&rsquo;m in pretty good health, so I&rsquo;ll be around for a bit longer. But when I ride off into the sunset, I&rsquo;m hoping for a nice healthy stable company and I know it will be in good hands.&rdquo;<br /><br />Main Photo Source: Kevin Kinnear</p> Mollie O'Brien - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Friends of the Denver Folklore Center, Mollie O'Brien and her husband, guitarist Rich Moore, have been performing their unique brand of music for nearly thirty years. In addition to writing their own music, they put their own spin on popular songs, reinventing them for audiences all over the country and the world. Mollie&rsquo;s exceptional voice and talent have allowed her to explore and elevate each genre of music she&rsquo;s tackled, including folk, Americana, bluegrass and R&amp;B. In 1997, Mollie earned a Grammy for her part in Sugar Hill Records True Life Blues. She&rsquo;s also a member of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.</span></p> <p><span>We spoke with Mollie about her time as a Mother Folker, working at Swallow Hill Music and the Denver Folklore Center, touring with her brother, Tim O&rsquo;Brien, and more.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Growing Up<br /></span></strong>Mollie&rsquo;s life was filled with music from the beginning. She took piano lessons and she and her brother (Grammy-winner Tim O&rsquo;Brien) played music together in church. &ldquo;It was the era of the folk masses in the catholic church. He was twelve and I was fourteen and we did folk masses with other kids. There was a coffee house at the church on the weekend and they encouraged all the kids to come down. There wasn&rsquo;t much to do in our town (Wheeling, WV).&rdquo;</p> <p>Growing up Mollie&rsquo;s musical influences included Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, Barbra Streisand, Peter, Paul and Mary and Frank Sinatra. &ldquo;I really liked listening to singers and I still love listening to those people today. If it&rsquo;s really good music, it&rsquo;s not dated. A good song written any time is timeless.&rdquo;</p> <p>In high school, Mollie studied music and &ldquo;had a wonderful voice teacher and piano teacher. The school had a strong arts and music program. We had to do recitals every eight weeks so that was a lot of performing.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><span>Making the Move to Colorado<br /></span></strong>She attended West Virginia University for music education &ldquo;and hated it. I left there and went to Bethany College. I had a great time, did a lot of theater and loved it!&rdquo; Then Mollie moved to New York for five years and &ldquo;thought I&rsquo;d do a bunch of Broadway stuff and that never happened.&rdquo; She left New York and eventually, in 1980, ended up in Colorado (in Boulder for a while and then Denver).</p> <p>In Boulder she knew some musicians like Washboard Chaz and Dan Sadowsky. &ldquo;Chaz was living in Boulder at the time and we started a band. At the time there were a lot of places to play. There was a whole circuit you could do in Colorado every two months. You could go play at certain bars and go back in six weeks and make a fairly decent living.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>The Mother Folkers<br /></span></strong>Around 1982, Mollie worked with Rich Harris at Swallow Hill. Rich was Swallow Hill&rsquo;s music director and she was doing the books for both Swallow Hill and the DFC. Rich was booking shows and promoting a show at the Guild Theater. &ldquo;He asked me to help with resetting mics and that sort of thing for the MoFos (the Mother Folkers) during the show. I was the stagehand for that. I was buddies with Mary Flower, Vicki Taylor and <em><span>Sumi</span></em><span>&nbsp;Seacat (Sawtelle)</span><span>.</span> I think I was asked to sing harmony on a song or two, and after that they asked me to join the group.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>While she was with the MoFos, the band did shows at the Loretto Heights Theater &ldquo;and we&rsquo;d sell out. We played the Arvada Center, Lincoln Center, The Paramount, something in Boulder &hellip; it was amazing. It was a pretty loose operation and a lot of fun getting together for rehearsals. After the first of the year, we&rsquo;d start working on material for the concert and it always involved a lot of food and wine. It was such a wide variety of music presented every year and people enjoyed that. And such a novelty thing to have so many women in one show. It was promoted as the all-female MoFos.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Mollie was part of the group until 1991 when she had to quit. &ldquo;I went on tour with my brother, Tim, and had to miss the MoFo shows that year. I was sorry to miss that year, but I couldn&rsquo;t turn down the tour.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>The Denver Folklore Center<br /></span></strong>Mollie had discovered the DFC through her brother and sister-in-law, Kit Swaggert. Tim was teaching at Swallow Hill and touring with the bluegrass band, Hot Rize. &ldquo;The whole music community &hellip; everybody at one point either took lessons, worked there, taught at the DFC or performed at Swallow Hill. It was such a community! I did the books until the DFC closed in the &lsquo;80s. The store was a really fun place to work. We all love Harry Tuft dearly.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>Mollie remembers the Denver Folklore Center as &ldquo;a fun place to work and a real social scene. Lots of performers who came to town to play music would stop by and hang out. You knew if you stopped by the store at 5:30pm with a six pack before the store closed at 6:00pm you could stay until 7:00 p.m. and hang and play music. It was great. And that&rsquo;s where I met my husband Rich Moore &ndash; at the first anniversary of the reincarnation of the DFC on south Broadway. April Fools&rsquo; Day 1981. Rick Kirby was the owner at that point and threw a party.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong><span><img width="200" height="133" src="" alt="mollie o'brien" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Recording Career<br /></span></strong>Mollie has had (and continues to have) a successful and diverse musical career. In 1984, she and her brother, Tim, released their duet album, <em>Take Me Back</em>, to rave reviews. And in the &lsquo;90s, they released two more albums. Then in 1987, Mollie released her solo debut album, <em>I Never Move Too Soon</em>. And fans were thrilled a few years later when she reunited with the MoFos for a live CD. Her second album, <em>Everynight in the Week</em>, came out in 1990.&nbsp;</p> <p><span>In 1996, Mollie and Tim decided to pursue solo careers and she released <em>Tell it True</em>, which held a spot in the Americana chart&rsquo;s top ten for six weeks and was lauded by music critics who called each song &ldquo;a gem&rdquo; with &ldquo;brilliant musical arrangements&rdquo; and praised Mollie&rsquo;s &ldquo;shining vocals&rdquo;. Over the next few years Mollie released two more solo albums, and then in 2006, she began to perform as a duo with husband, Rich Moore. They released a live CD of their performances called <em>900 Baseline,</em> and in 2010 put out their first studio album, <em>Saints and Sinners.</em> That album features a wide array of music including show tunes, gospel, blues and folk.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Upcoming Performances<br /></span></strong><span>Mollie and Rich continue to perform as a duo and you can see them in Colorado this month! On November 19<sup>th</sup> they&rsquo;ll be in Le Veta, CO at </span><span>La Veta Mercantile</span><span>. Get tickets and see their upcoming show dates <a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a>.<br /><br />Main&nbsp;<span>Photo Credit - Mollie and Rich: Marc Dalio<br />Photo Credit - Mollie: Maria Camillo&nbsp; <br /></span></span></p> Graham Nash - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Graham Nash is a legendary artist known for co-founding musical groups the Hollies and Crosby, Stills &amp; Nash (CSN). His list of accomplishments is too long to list here, but it includes being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame (each twice!) and winning a Grammy.</span></p> <p><span>His latest project, <em>Graham Nash: Live</em> revisits his first two solo albums - <em>Songs for Beginners</em> and <em>Wild Tales.</em> Graham spoke to us about touring, Mama Cass Elliot, Joni Mitchell, the magic of photography, songwriting and a lot more.</span><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p><strong><em><span>Graham Nash: Live<br /></span></em></strong>Graham has been on the road this year promoting his new record and &ldquo;the tour is going very well. I&rsquo;m looking forward to the rest of it.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>He has his wife, artist Amy Grantham, to thank for this album. &ldquo;I must confess, making this album was at the gentle persuasion of my wife. I was thinking about doing it for many years because I love those first two records. So, I did four shows with a full band, came out and did <em>Songs for Beginners </em>from start to finish, took an intermission, then came back and did <em>Wild Tales</em> from start to finish. And that&rsquo;s the live album that&rsquo;s out now.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span><img width="150" height="99" src="" alt="joni mitchell" align="right" class="img-responsive" />With his new live album and his past recordings, Graham hasn&rsquo;t been list<span>ening to a lot of new music. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been totally concentrating for the last ten years on the amazing amount of music CSN, Crosby, Stills, Nash &amp; Young, me and David (Crosby) and I've recorded&nbsp;over the last fifty years. I know good music will find me. For instance, Childish Gambino&rsquo;s 'This is America' &ndash; what a great song and video!</span></span><span>&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>He also mentions his former partner, Joni Mitchell, and was thrilled to see her perform at the Newport Folk Festival in July. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s so great to see her alive and playing and singing. I know her range is a little limited right now, but Holy Toledo, her phrasing within her range is unbelievable!&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span><img width="150" height="98" src="" alt="mama cass Elliot graham nash" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Crosby, Stills &amp; Nash (&amp; Young)<br /></span></strong><span>Graham</span><span> gives all the credit to Mama Cass (from The Mamas and the Papas) </span><span>for getting CSN together in the first place</span><span>. &ldquo;Use a nice photograph of Cass Elliot for this. She&rsquo;s the reason we&rsquo;re talking right now. She was friends with David and Stephen (Stills). She knew David had been thrown out of The Byrds and that Buffalo Springfield had broken up. David and Stephen were doing a duo thing like the Everly Brothers, and she knew what those voices would sound like with my voice on top. She was also the only other voice on the first CSN record (she sang on "Pre-Roads Down") that was not me, David or Stephen."</span></p> <p><span>When CSN finished their first record they knew they had something special. However, there was one problem. &ldquo;Stephen played most of the instruments. Of course, me and David played rhythm guitar on our stuff &ndash; &ldquo;Guinevere,&rdquo; &ldquo;Long Time Gone,&rdquo; &ldquo;Lady of the Island,&rdquo; &ldquo;Marrakesh Express&rdquo; &ndash; but Stephen played bass, piano, lead guitar, rhythm guitar. When we got to the end of the album and realized we had a powerful piece of music, we wanted to go out on the road. But how do you put a band together when one guy played most of the instruments? That&rsquo;s why we had to get Neil (Young).&rdquo; </span></p> <p><span>David and Stephen were in New York having dinner with then president of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun, who told them they needed Neil. "</span>Stephen went crazy. He said, &lsquo;What?! I just spent two years of madness with this kid. Yes, he&rsquo;s on the road. No, he&rsquo;s not on the road. Yes, he's doing the Ed Sullivan Show. No, he&rsquo;s not doing the Ed Sullivan Show. This is crazy!' But Ahmet insisted, &lsquo;Neil&rsquo;s the guy, man.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>Eventually, David and Stephen were convinced they should invite Neil to join the band, so they asked Graham what he thought. &ldquo;I knew he was a great songwriter and singer, but I&rsquo;d never met him. How could we invite somebody into the band that I&rsquo;d never met?&rdquo; Graham decided to have breakfast with Neil in New York and &ldquo;he was great, really funny. I&nbsp;asked him why&nbsp;we should invite him into this band? He looked at me with those Neil steel-knife eyes and said, &lsquo;Have you ever heard me and Stephen play guitar together, man? That&rsquo;s why you need me.&rsquo; After that I would have made him king of the world! I mean, it&rsquo;s Neil Young.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><span>On Songwriting<br /></span></strong><span>When it comes to writing songs, </span><span>Graham</span><span> thinks the process can be &ldquo;very mysterious&rdquo; for those who enjoy, but don&rsquo;t write music. He </span><span>&ldquo;waits for something to catch my eye, something that I think is important, something that I research to get all my words correct. I </span><span>write about my life and always have </span><span>twenty or thirty melodies running around my head at all times.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>And while many songwriters have the occasional dry spell, it's never happened to him</span><span><span>. He believes the reason is he does many other things besides making music. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m a photographer, a sculptor, a collector. If I&rsquo;m not writing, I&rsquo;ll be working on my photographic images. Then I&rsquo;ll go back to music. I don&rsquo;t have a blank spot because I can move through different genres.&rdquo;</span></span></p> <p><strong><span>Blame It on Rock 'n' Roll<br /></span></strong><span>When he was around thirteen years old, </span><span>Graham<span> experienced &ldquo;the joy of the music of American early rock &lsquo;n&rsquo; roll.&rdquo; He first heard it on Radio Luxemburg &ldquo;being broadcast in Europe, and when the weather permitted, we could hear the signal in Manchester. And come Sunday night, when I&rsquo;m supposed to be getting ready for school the next day, American Top 40 was broadcast at nine o&rsquo;clock. I put my ear to my bed post where I could hear the radio downstairs playing and it turned me on to music.&rdquo;</span></span></p> <p><span>Soon he taught himself how to play the guitar. &ldquo;You&rsquo;d find a book with guitar chords in it. There was one particularly famous one in England by a man called Bert Weedon. It was very simple &hellip; here&rsquo;s how to play an A, here&rsquo;s how to play C, here&rsquo;s how to play A D and C together.&rdquo; </span></p> <p><strong><span>The Magic of Photography<br /></span></strong><span>In addition to being a talented musician, </span><span>Graham<span> is a celebrated photographer. It was his father who inspired his interest. &ldquo;My father was an engineer and worked very hard from eight o&rsquo;clock in the morning &lsquo;til five o&rsquo;clock at night. But on the weekends he would take pictures of me and my sister at this local zoo. And then one day I asked my dad&nbsp;how it all worked. So, he showed me.</span></span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;He took a blanket off my bed and put it against the window to block out the light. And he put a piece of paper into a colorless liquid and said &lsquo;Wait.&rsquo; And I&rsquo;m waiting &hellip; and I&rsquo;m still waiting. And just as I said, &lsquo;Dad, I&rsquo;m still waiting,&rsquo; a photograph of a giraffe, that I know my father had taken that morning, came floating into existence out of nowhere. And that magic has remained with me to this day. I&rsquo;ll never forget that moment and I will be forever grateful to my father for showing me the magic of photography.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Photography has been a passion of his for quite a while. &ldquo;I bought my first digital camera thirty years ago in Tokyo, Japan. It was called a DaVinci and it was crude as hell. I knew what was coming &ndash; this digital world of ours. That&rsquo;s why I started </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span>Nash Editions</span></a><span>, to be the first printer in the world that made portfolios for photographic artists. The first printer I ever used is in the Smithsonian Museum, which is kind of cool.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>A Life in Focus</em><br /></strong>Graham is also doing promotion for his book <em>A Life in Focus: The Photography of Graham Nash.</em> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s got all kinds of strange photos of my friends in compromising positions &ndash; no, not really. People seem to love the book. Every time I see someone open it, they start to smile, no matter which page they turn to. And that makes me smile, because that&rsquo;s what I wanted when I decided to share my images. I take pictures of everything I think is beautiful. Beauty exists everywhere &ndash; in the clouds, in the gutter, everywhere. I take pictures of whatever&rsquo;s in front of me.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>And when he has the time, Graham enjoys sculpting. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve done a pregnant lady&rsquo;s torso, about ten inches high. And I&rsquo;ve been working on a piece of marble. I&rsquo;m telling you, if you&rsquo;ve ever tried sculpting marble you&rsquo;d understand how slow it is. You have to go a little bit at a time and hope it doesn&rsquo;t crack open.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Music Can Change the World<br /></span></strong><span>Having lived through and been a part of the social and cultural movement of the 1960s, where people and music were energized to take action to make positive changes, </span><span>Graham<span> feels that the music of that time did indeed influence people. &ldquo;Absolutely! And I still feel that music can change the world. When you can engage somebody in the thought process about something you believe is important, and you can reach just one listener, you&rsquo;re changing the world in a small way. And you times that by a million people, now you&rsquo;re talking!</span></span></p> <p><strong>An Intimate Evening of Songs and Stories with Graham Nash<br /></strong>Unfortunately, Graham has had to postpone his 2022 Colorado tour dates due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the touring part. He will reschedule as soon as possible and looks forward to seeing all of his fans again when he&rsquo;s back on the road.&nbsp;</p> Suzanne Vega - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Suzanne Vega released her self-titled first album in 1985 and quickly became a leading figure of the 1980&rsquo;s folk-music revival.&nbsp;<em>Solitude Standing,</em>&nbsp;her second album, thrust her into the spotlight with hits like &ldquo;Luka&rdquo; and &ldquo;Tom&rsquo;s Diner&rdquo;. Since then, Vega has had a string of hit records, won awards and accolades, sold out concert venues around the world and performed her own one-woman show &ldquo;Lover, Beloved&rdquo; based on the life of novelist, Carson McCullers.</span></p> <p><span>We had the opportunity to speak with her last month about her current tour,&nbsp;</span><em>An Intimate Evening of Songs and Stories</em><em><span> with Suzanne Vega</span></em><span>, what inspires her to write music and get on stage and what musicians she&rsquo;s listening to these days.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>What can people expect when they attend one of your shows this tour?<br /></span></strong>It&rsquo;s me on guitar and Gerry Leonard, my musical director, on guitar. He was the musical director for David Bowie back in the day. And Gerry provides a lot of the production, so it&rsquo;s just two guitars, but it sounds like a whole band. We play the hits and other songs people know &ndash; sort of a greatest hits collection &ndash; and we also put in a few new things and sometimes we may do a cover song or two. It&rsquo;s a very varied show.</p> <p><strong><span>What do you like most about performing in front of an audience?<br /></span></strong>I love the sense of emotional freedom that I feel only when I&rsquo;m on stage and don&rsquo;t necessarily feel in other places. It&rsquo;s a great feeling to sing songs people know, that they want to hear, it brings me a lot of joy. And the acting is kind of a different way of performing, but I also get a lot of satisfaction out of that. I&rsquo;ve always loved pretending and pretending to be other people, so that fulfills that need.<strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p><strong><span>For your last album, <em>An Evening of New York Songs and Stories</em>, why did you choose to record it live at the Caf&eacute; Carlyle in New York?<br /></span></strong>It kind of just happened. It was my second time playing the Caf&eacute; Carlyle, which is a special cabaret venue. By the second week we thought we really had something cool. And we heard the elevator boys (the Caf&eacute; Carlyle is located in a hotel) mention they heard people talking about how great the show was and how much they enjoyed it - and it was a wide variety of people, both hotel guests and local people. We just thought, why don&rsquo;t we just record it?</p> <p><strong><span><img width="118" height="177" src="" alt="Suzanne vega musician" align="left" class="img-responsive" />You wrote and have performed your one-woman play <em>Lover, Beloved</em> based on the life of author, Carson McCullers. What inspired you to do it?<br /></span></strong>I studied theater in college, and it began as my senior thesis for Barnard (College). It&rsquo;s a project that I&rsquo;ve visited from time-to-time. I&rsquo;ve had two separate stage runs &ndash; one in New York at the Rattlestick (Playwright&rsquo;s Theater) and one at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX. So, this is sort of the final version of the play.</p> <p><span>I loved her writing, especially this one short story that I read called &ldquo;Sucker&rdquo; that was modern and really well done. I read it as a teenager in the seventies. I thought she was a contemporary writer and I thought she was male. I didn&rsquo;t really know who she was but I loved the story and the language of the story.</span></p> <p><span>I was given an assignment in school &ndash; one of the acting teachers said come in dressed as someone in the arts who is no longer alive and be ready to field questions as though you're on television. By then I had seen a photo of Carson McCullers and if I ever had to dress as someone, I could do her. And after I read her biography, I was more convinced of it. So, I got up there and did that and it grew a root and I&rsquo;ve been doing it on some level ever since.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Who were your musical influences growing up?<br /></span></strong>Growing up I loved Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Leonard Coen, Laura Nyro, who I just adored.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Did you take music lessons or are you self-taught on guitar?<br /></span></strong>I&rsquo;m self-taught, although I tried so hard to take lessons. I tried to learn music theory, I tried to learn piano, to read music. I tried seven times from when I was six years old. I finally gave up when I was twenty-seven, because I was selling millions of albums by that point. I thought I&rsquo;d just hire other people to read the music. So, I taught myself what I couldn&rsquo;t learn and that&rsquo;s how my fingerpicking style and my way of writing songs developed.</p> <p><strong><span>Who do you enjoy listening to now?<br /></span></strong>These days I really like Billie Eilish and there&rsquo;s a song I like called &ldquo;Hospital&rdquo; by a young guitar player, Madison Cunningham. I like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. Once in a while I like Dua Lipa - I think her songwriting is fun. There&rsquo;s a cover of an Elliott Smith song by Madeleine Peyroux called &ldquo;Between the Bars&rdquo; that&rsquo;s really amazing.</p> <p><strong><span>Do you have a process for writing songs?<br /></span></strong>It&rsquo;s like I get inspired and I write notes, then I record pieces of melodies. I sort of collect scraps of feelings, thoughts and ideas for a period of years. Then I sit down and that&rsquo;s when I keep banker&rsquo;s hours for a month or however long it takes to get the whole thing done.</p> <p><strong><span>If you weren&rsquo;t a musician, what do you think you&rsquo;d be doing for a living?<br /></span></strong>There are so many options. In my childhood and teens, I always worked with kids. So maybe I&rsquo;d go back and do that if I had to do something else. The other job that gave me a lot of pleasure was at a library. It gave me a lot of pleasure to put the books back in order.</p> <p><strong>Learn more about Suzanne <a href="" target="_blank">on her website</a> and see her live in Colorado this month:</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><span>Oct 6<sup>th</sup> in Fort Collins, CO at The Armory</span></a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><span>Oct 7<sup>th</sup> in Boulder at the Boulder Theater</span></a></p> What Instrument Should I Buy in Portugal? http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>Later this month my wife and I will be traveling to Portugal.&nbsp;As is my custom when I travel abroad, I look to purchase an instrument native to the country we are visiting.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <img width="77" height="106" src="" alt="guiro photo source" align="left" class="img-responsive" />In Cuba I bought a Guiro - a small hollowed-out gourd with grooves along its edge that you play by scraping with a small stick. I also bought bongos and a tambourine with an animal skin head for my grandkids &ndash; whom I don&rsquo;t think ever played them.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> When we were in Spain, I purchased a locally-built classical guitar which, unfortunately, I had to send back because the finish blistered within a month of its arrival in Denver.&nbsp;One of the cool things about Spanish-made guitars is the hardshell cases they typically come with are colorful - mine was a light pink.<span> (I replaced it with a Taylor Academy 12 nylon string guitar which I suppose allows me to check off Mexico as another foreign country from which I have acquired an instrument.)</span></p> <p><span>In Ireland, I looked for a Lowden guitar but was told by the septuagenarian owner of a music store in Dublin that &ldquo;they&rsquo;re way too expensive for the Irish, so we send them to Canada and the United States.&rdquo;&nbsp; I also fell in love with the Uillean Pipes, the Irish version of bagpipes which are played with an under-arm bellows. Unfortunately, the wait to get one of those beauties which is hand-made was nearly two years.</span></p> <p><strong><span>So what should I look to buy when I am in Portugal?&nbsp; </span></strong></p> <p><span><img width="94" height="182" src="" alt="braguinha photo source:" align="right" class="img-responsive" />While the ukulele is generally believed to be a uniquely Hawaiian instrument, its roots are in the Portuguese braguinha or machete de braga. The braguinha is a stringed instrument smaller than a guitar whose tuning is very similar to the first four strings of a guitar. By 1850, sugar plantations had become a major economic force in Hawaii and the plantations needed more workers. Many waves of immigrants came to the islands, including a large number of Portuguese who brought their braguinhas with them.</span></p> <p><span>Legend dates the beginning of the Hawaii infatuation with the braguinha to August 23, 1879. A ship called the&nbsp;<em>Ravenscrag </em>arrived in Honolulu Harbor and released its passengers after a rather arduous journey. One of the passengers began singing songs of thanksgiving for finally reaching his destination and accompanied himself with a braguinha. The story goes that the local Hawaiians were very moved by his performance and nicknamed the instrument "Jumping Flea" (one possible translation of ukulele) for the way his fingers moved on the fretboard.</span></p> <p><span>Other popular stringed instruments from Portugal are &hellip;</span></p> <p><span>Cavaquinho &ndash; a four-stringed instrument tuned like the top strings of the guitar; small like a ukulele but tuned like a tenor guitar or baritone uke</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Guitarra Portuguesa &ndash; a twelve-string instrument based on the cittern</span></p> <p><span>Viola Amarantina &ndash; ten strings in five courses, also known as the Viola de Dois because it has two heart-shaped sound holes</span></p> <p>Machete de Rajao &ndash; a five-stringed instrument from Madeira&nbsp;</p> <p><span>So what will it be?<br /><br /><strong>(photos source:<br /><br /><img width="200" height="267" src="" align="left" class="img-responsive" /></strong><span><img width="200" height="267" src="" align="left" class="img-responsive" /><strong>UPDATE:&nbsp;</strong>This is the instrument I purchased -&nbsp;a Viola Braguesa, a 10-stringed instrument native to Portugal. The tuning is C-G-A-D-G (in pairs).&nbsp;<br /></span></span></p> Is it Bluegrass? http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>At The Denver Folklore Center, we often have the opportunity to talk about music with folks who may be relatively new to acoustic music, some of whom are dazzled by the many varieties of stringband music and a bit confused by the different genres.&nbsp;One frequent question that we hear is &ldquo;what exactly makes music (or a band) bluegrass&rdquo;?&nbsp;</p> <p><span>At its inception in 1939 bluegrass music was named by its founder, mandolinist Bill Monroe, who called his band The Bluegrass Boys after his home state of Kentucky.&nbsp;The new sound was unique for its &ldquo;high lonesome&rdquo; vocal harmonies, the percussive dimension of Monroe&rsquo;s playing, and most particularly the driving banjo style invented by the great Earl Scruggs. Scruggs introduced a way of using metal fingerpicks and three-finger picking rolls that created a chiming metallic sound that rang out over all the other instrument tones.&nbsp;While successive generations of pickers have honed Earl&rsquo;s approach and added new melodic dimensions, that tonal quality remains a defining characteristic of today&rsquo;s bluegrass.</span></p> <p><span>New bands formed through the 40&rsquo;s, 50&rsquo;s and into the 1960&rsquo;s, mostly hewing closely to the original formula: four to six acoustic instruments (always including the banjo), simple three- or four-chord song structures, and instrumental breaks that hew closely to the melody.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>A few new influences crept in, mostly carried by young musicians who had been influenced by rock music like guitarist Clarence White who brought the use of the guitar as a melody instrument to the mix. By the mid 1970&rsquo;s bluegrass bands were recording rock and pop songs using bluegrass style, sometimes including drums or even electric instruments. The Osborne Brothers, bluegrass royalty as early as the 50&rsquo;s, underwent some serious pushback in this era for taking this approach on their recordings. Still, the bluegrass of that era was easily identifiable and typically adhered to the song structure and chord progressions of the pioneers and the central role of three-finger banjo in the Scruggs style. Even the Osbornes observed these traditions in their stage shows.</span></p> <p><span>At the end of the 1970&rsquo;s a real stylistic shift could be noted, as guitar phenomenon Tony Rice and third-generation mandolinist David Grisman released albums of jazz-inspired melodic pieces played by bluegrass musicians using all of the usual instruments with the notable exception of the banjo. These were more free-form tonal explorations with more complex chord progressions and extended virtuosic instrumental improvisations. Not bluegrass, for sure, but these records have been hugely influential on successive generations of acoustic players who also love traditional bluegrass. Notable examples include Manzanita by The Tony Rice Unit and Dawg Jazz/Dawg Grass by Grisman&rsquo;s ensemble.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Soon the banjo eclecticist Bela Fleck was driving ensembles that included keyboard, harmonica, horns and even Indian percussion, stepping up with wildly inventive banjo leads that used the techniques of Earl Scruggs to play music that seemed to come from a different universe. Not bluegrass, definitely&ndash;but Bela still occasionally drops a very pure interlude of solo Scruggs-style playing into his live sets. Bluegrass!</span></p> <p><span>Most recently The Punch Brothers, a traditional-looking bluegrass ensemble whose members all evolved out of the classic bluegrass tradition, have come to prominence with a series of recordings including pensive melodies, layered vocal harmony lines and enigmatic lyrics. Like so many of today&rsquo;s best acoustic artists, the Brothers can also launch into straight-ahead bluegrass that would satisfy any purist, but their shows focus more on their own original stylings.</span></p> <p><span>A fascinating dimension of all of this stylistic exploration is the remarkable degree of overlap in musical interests. Somewhat unlike genre shifts in classical, rock and jazz music over the years, crossover between styles by individual players and bands has become almost the rule. So it&rsquo;s not uncommon to hear your favorite bluegrass players in different ensemble configurations stretching out with jazzy arrangements, tone poems or even electric blues or rock.</span></p> <p><span>Many would still hold that we can define bluegrass by the presence of a driving banjo sound, and anything else is another form of acoustic music. But with all of the exceptional younger players breaking boundaries, others would say that perhaps it&rsquo;s time to let go of any hardened attitudes about style and open up to the rich and varied tapestry of acoustic music being spread out for our pleasure. - Claude Brachfeld<span>, Co-Owner Denver Folklore Center</span></span></p> Darrell Scott - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Darrell Scott is one of Nashville&rsquo;s premiere session musicians and has lived there since 1995. Not only does he sing and write songs, he&rsquo;s also a multi-instrumentalist that plays guitar, mandolin, pedal, lap steel, banjo and accordion.</span></p> <p><span>During his career, Darrell has collaborated with the likes of Steve Earle, Sam Bush, Emmylou Harris, Tim O&rsquo;Brien and others.</span><span> Among his many accolades is winning </span><span>the 2007 Song of the Year award from the Americana Music Association&nbsp;for his song "Hank William's Ghost&rdquo;&nbsp;which appears on his album&nbsp;<em>The Invisible Man</em>&nbsp;released in 2006. In 2010, he was part of the Band of Joy</span><span>,</span><span> alongside Led Zeppelin frontman, Robert Plant</span><span>.</span><span> And his songs have been covered by musicians, such as: The Dixie Chicks, </span><span>Beyonce&#769;</span><span>, Faith Hill, Travis Tritt, Brad Paisley &ndash; and have been featured on the TV show &ldquo;Justified&rdquo;.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>It All Began at Home<br /></span></strong><span>Growing up, Darrell&rsquo;s family was very musical. </span><span>His father (musician Wayne Scott) had him smitten with guitars by the age of four, alongside his brother, Denny, who also played guitar.&nbsp;</span><span>His parents mostly played country music in the house and car, so he was listening to musicians like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. &ldquo;Playing music was our family thing to do. Music was all around my house. Some families go bowling or fishing, we played music together. We did it as a unit.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em><span><img width="175" height="174" src="" alt="jaroso Darrell scott album" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Jaroso<br /></span></em></strong>His latest album, <em>Jaroso</em>, was released in October 2020. The story behind the album and cover is just as interesting as the music. &ldquo;A friend of mine, Mark Dudreau, bought the adobe church (on the album cover), restored it and turned it back into a beautiful spot. He thought it would be the perfect place for music and concerts. So, we set up a concert time about a week ahead. People from Taos and that general area learned about it by word of mouth and just showed up.</p> <p><span>&ldquo;I thought instead of just doing a show there, we could record an album with no PA system. PAs are not meant to sound great - they&rsquo;re meant to make the folks onstage louder. For a little adobe church in Jaroso, Colorado, we didn&rsquo;t need that. We recorded simply and it was very intimate. There were about fifty folks at our concert and they were quiet, but you can hear people moving about. It makes the recording more charming and makes you feel like you&rsquo;re there, which is what we were looking for.&rdquo; </span></p> <p><span>In essence, they were making an old folk record. &ldquo;Early folk music had a tradition of having field recordings, where you take equipment out to wherever the person making the music is - the front porch, a jail, a hotel room - and you just record them wherever they are.&rdquo;&nbsp; </span></p> <p><strong><span>Songwriting<br /></span></strong>Gordon Lightfoot was a strong influence for Darrell because of his songwriting. &ldquo;I started writing songs when I was 12 years old, and I wrote like a 12-year-old would write in a journal - they wouldn&rsquo;t want someone to grab their journal and read it out loud. That&rsquo;s kind of how I treat it right now. I think the writing process is a private thing and it doesn&rsquo;t need to have an audience until the writer is ready.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>Darrell&rsquo;s songwriting is spontaneous. &ldquo;I like writing songs when the inspiration is there. It&rsquo;s a high moment. It happens mostly when I&rsquo;m moved to stop whatever I&rsquo;m doing and pay attention. The only problem with that is I have to be prepared to not write for as long as it takes to be inspired. I&rsquo;ve written two songs in a day and have also gone a year or two without writing one.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>When he&rsquo;s not writing or performing, Darrell listens to a wide variety of music. He has &ldquo;a bunch of 78s (probably 800+) and my tastes can run from folk to bluegrass to early blues, early rockabilly, stuff like that. I like to listen to things that aren&rsquo;t in the world I work in - maybe classical, jazz, world music, instrumental music, and different songs pop through. I have Apple music with thousands of albums. I sometimes get random suggestions, so I&rsquo;ve got diverse radio stations.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span><img width="175" height="233" src="" alt="camper van Darrell scott dog miller" align="right" class="img-responsive" />On the Road Again<br /></span></strong>This is Darrell&rsquo;s second year of travel since the beginning of the pandemic. &ldquo;The pandemic basically took away a musician&rsquo;s livelihood. The contrast is you couldn&rsquo;t get your fellow Americans to put on their face masks, so a musician could lose a year and a half of work. As soon as we could work, we were working! We worked very hard touring June through December 2021. And we&rsquo;re out again this year.&rdquo;</p> <p>And touring is a family affair for Darrell. &ldquo;We travel in a truck with a camper in the bed. I travel with my wife, Angela, and our dog, Miller. We stay at national and state parks, Walmart parking lots, rivers, lakes. We&rsquo;re kind of working tourists.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><span>When you see him on tour, don&rsquo;t expect to hear the same songs every night. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t have a set list. I go out and make it up every night. The audience, how I feel, what went on in the world that day and the PA have something to do with song choices. I&rsquo;m kind of an improvisational guy.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Darrell has even played our local Swallow Hill (around 15 years ago) and says he&rsquo;s &ldquo;aware of what the Denver Folklore Center has meant to Denver, through Harry and all the great music that has happened &ndash; folk-centric, blues, bluegrass. There&rsquo;s nothing like it.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Downtime<br /></span></strong><span>Darrell and his wife stayed busy during the pandemic downtime. &ldquo;We live on a big piece of land and built a 1,500-square-foot studio, some outbuildings, and we redid our living room and kitchen using our own wood that we harvested from our property.&rdquo; Darrell also put out two albums during that time - </span><em><span>Darrell Scott Sings the Blues of Hank Williams</span></em><span> and <em>Jaroso</em>.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>When he&rsquo;s not on the road, Darrell enjoys being at his farm. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s nice to walk around the land and dream about what we&rsquo;re going to do there, like building a shack or a fence for the animals. And I like to cook. I wouldn&rsquo;t say I&rsquo;m a chef, but I&rsquo;m very much a cook.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span><img width="150" height="91" src="" alt="Darrell scott trio" align="left" class="img-responsive" />See Darrell Scott Live!<br /></span></strong><span>You can catch Darrell performing in Colorado this month!<br />Friday, September 2nd in <a href="">Hotchkiss</a>&nbsp;- Solo.<br />Sunday, September 4th at the </span><a href=""><span>Four Corners Folk Festival</span></a><span> in Pagosa Springs -&nbsp;Darrell Scott Electrifying Trio.<br /></span><span>Monday, September 5<sup>th&nbsp;</sup>at the </span><a href=""><span>Soiled Dove Underground</span></a><span> in Denver&nbsp;-&nbsp;Darrell Scott Electrifying Trio.<br /><br />All tour dates and tickets can be found on his </span><a href=""><span>website</span></a><span>.<br /><span><br />Also, Darrell is also about to release a &ldquo;kind of bluegrass string band record&rdquo;. Look for it soon on his </span><a href=""><span>website</span></a><span>.&nbsp;</span><br /></span></p> Vintage, Rare, Unique, Special, or Just Old? http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>These are some of the words our customers use to describe their older treasured instruments &ndash; <a href="" target="_blank">guitars</a>, mandolins, ukuleles,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">banjos</a> and some rarer forms. They share with us stories about how their parents or grandparents acquired the instrument at interesting milestones in their lives and how they have been passed from generation to generation. If they are thinking of selling then the stories may be tinged with fondness, sadness or even regret.</p> <p>At the Denver Folklore Center, we have been privileged for 60 years to see, touch, play, evaluate and help sell some extraordinary acoustic instruments. But from time to time we have to let people know that what they think is a valuable treasure is simply something that is old and perhaps worth holding onto just for sentimental reasons.</p> <p>So, what makes an instrument vintage and valuable or just old?&nbsp; Like other things that can age well &ndash; cars, furniture, clothing, wine, coins, stamps &ndash; there are a variety of factors that determine whether an acoustic instrument qualifies as vintage and valuable. Simply being old is not enough. Here are a few factors that can come into play:<br /><br />1. Is the company that made the instrument no longer around? Being defunct may make the company&rsquo;s products more valuable.<br /><br />2. Was the person who built the instrument identified as &ldquo;a special or unique builder&rdquo;? (e.g., Les Paul, Bill&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Collings</a> or Lloyd Loar). Is the&nbsp;builder no longer alive?<br /><br />3. Are the materials used to build the instrument now considered rare or even unavailable (e.g., Brazilian Rosewood)?<br /><br />4. What is the condition of the instrument? Is everything original? The more perfect - and the less altered - the instrument, the better.<br /><br />5. Are there collectors actively seeking this instrument? (As was the case with Lloyd Loar mandolins for many years)<br /><br />6. Was the instrument the archetype on which future generations were based?&nbsp; (e.g., Fender Stratocaster)<br /><br />7. Is the instrument associated with an iconic performer like Earl Scruggs, Eric Clapton, Maybelle Carter, Andres Segovia, Pete Seeger or Bill Monroe?<br /><br />8. Has the model become a &ldquo;standard&rdquo; like a Martin D-28 or a Gibson F-5 mandolin?&nbsp;</p> <p>Whether your instrument is vintage or just old, the real &ldquo;magic&rdquo; comes through playing it and the pleasure that creates for you and those who are listening. If you&rsquo;d like to find out the value of your instrument come by the store and take advantage of our evaluation and <a href="">appraisal service</a>. - Saul Rosenthal<span>, Co-Owner Denver Folklore Center</span></p> Mary Huckins (of Dakota Blonde) - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <div><span><span><a href="" target="_blank">Dakota Blonde</a>&nbsp;is one of the most unique acoustic sounds around! Their combination of original tunes and carefully selected covers, along with their endearing stage presence and humor is out of this world. Best put they are a mix of acoustic folk, part bluegrass, part acoustic rock,&nbsp;part singer/songwriter and sometimes even Celtic. They are a unique blend of heart, authenticity and contagious spirit, with such tightly-blended harmonies that you would swear they were born to sing together!</span></span><br />&nbsp;</div> <div>We spoke with Mary Huckins, a founding member of the band, about music, performing, her connection to the Denver Folklore Center and more.<br /><br /> <p><strong><img width="200" height="150" src="" alt="Mary Huckins casual" align="left" class="img-responsive" />How did you get started in music?<br /></strong>I grew up in a large very musical family. I thankfully had music around me every day and had an interest in it from a very young age. I loved to sing and really wanted to learn how to play the piano. Even before I started first grade or took any lessons, I was making up songs while sitting at the piano. So, in second grade I started taking piano lessons with an amazing teacher. I enjoyed singing in church and choirs while growing up and was fortunate to have incredible music teachers and musical influences around me. My mom was a classically trained musician, and my dad was also a musician, but he played by ear. I honestly feel I got the best of both worlds with learning by ear and also taking lessons and learning to read music.</p> <p><strong>Who influences you musically?<br /></strong>There are so many! My family was a huge musical influence on me. We grew up listening to and playing a variety of music in our home. Because of my mom and dad and six older siblings (I am the youngest of seven), I had endless musical influences. From Johnny Cash and Roger Miller, Fleetwood Mac and The Jackson 5, to old church hymns and Chopin and everything in between. If I had to name a few that really stirred my heart and style I would say: James Taylor, Nanci Griffith, Dolly Parton and Dougie MacLean. There are a host of others including Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Iris DeMent and I really like &lsquo;70s and &lsquo;80s music!</p> <p><strong>What instruments do you play?<br /></strong>I sing and consider my voice my main instrument. I play the piano, guitar and flute. With my education and work in music therapy, I have learned a little bit about a lot of different instruments, so I also can play some accordion, harmonica, mandolin, washboard, ukulele, autoharp and percussion. And I also write music.<br /><br />I started piano lessons at age seven. I started playing flute in sixth grade (age eleven). I took some guitar lessons in junior high and high school. I played xylophone and marimba in marching band and flute in the concert band. In college I took voice lessons (majored in voice and music therapy) and also took composition classes. Later I went on to take more guitar lessons as Swallow Hill Music in Denver, CO.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><img width="200" height="169" src="" alt="Mary Huckins and guitar" align="right" class="img-responsive" />Types of music you play/enjoy listening to?<br /></strong>The types of music I play/perform most are folk, bluegrass, acoustic rock, acoustic Americana and even some Celtic tunes. I also performed in several acapella ensembles and had an acapella band in college that performed regularly. I do still enjoy incorporating harmonies and even acapella sections in our band (Dakota Blonde) performances from time to time.</p> <p>I just enjoy listening to so many different artists! There is so much great music out there!</p> <p><strong>When did you start performing and how has your career evolved?<br /></strong>As I mentioned, I performed in a few different groups in college&hellip; but as far as Dakota Blonde goes, the founding members of the band met working as music therapists at The Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan in Denver. We realized how much we enjoyed playing music together and how good it made us and others feel to share in the experience. The band grew from playing at hospital functions to coffee shops and bars to eventually writing and recording and playing larger venues and festivals. We also have other musician friends that we&rsquo;ve met along the way that join us in our performances.</p> <p>Our music therapy knowledge and foundation seem to always play an important role in our music and how it seems to affect our audiences. We carry such a love and appreciation for it all. (Founding members along with Mary Huckins: Don Pinnella, Tony Raddell and Brechen Santeramo)</p> <p><strong>What is your connection to the Denver Folklore Center?<br /></strong>It goes back to when we first started a relationship with Swallow Hill Music. Our first show with Swallow Hill was one of their folk-a-thons. We met Harry Tuft (founder of the DFC) at that time and learned more about the Denver Folklore Center. We remember feeling so completely honored that Harry enjoyed our music so much, considering his amazing history in the folk music scene. We really loved hearing his stories and we still do! We still enjoy our friendship with Harry and the DFC to this day.</p> <p>Harry and all the DFC staff we have met&nbsp;over the years have always been so helpful and supportive&nbsp;of us and our music. We have posted many a concert poster in the window, purchased instruments, all of our instrument travel cases, amps, picks, harmonicas, strings and other equipment at DFC through the years. The DFC was one of our local store outlets for all our CD titles.</p> <p>We were also very honored to be one of the bands asked to be part of the Denver Folklore Center&rsquo;s big 50th Anniversary celebration concert at the L2 in Denver. That was a very special weekend! Soon after that celebration weekend, the band was looking to purchase a few ukuleles to try out and Harry was so generous that he gifted those to the band. Harry Tuft and the Denver Folklore Center hold a special place in our hearts and we have always appreciated their support.</p> <p>Mary and Dakota Blonde are on the road performing this summer - they &ldquo;would love for people to check out <strong><a href="">our calendar</a></strong> and come see us!&rdquo; In August, they&rsquo;ll be playing The Littleton Museum Series on the 3<sup>rd</sup> and Coniferfest 2022 on the 13<sup>th</sup>. You can see all their summer tour dates on their <strong><a href="">website</a></strong> and <strong><a href="">Facebook page</a></strong>. Please look for a special concert on September 17<sup>th</sup> to benefit <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Resilience 1220</a></strong>, an organization that provides free counseling services to young people ages twelve to twenty.</p> </div> Q&A with Gangstagrass http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span><span>Gangstagrass is a multi-racial group of string pickers and MCs creating a shared cultural space for dialogue and connection between folks that usually never intersect. They combine the great American traditions of Bluegrass, Hip-Hop, and beyond to create a new musical genre that fleshes out the quintessential elements of each with added flair.<br /> <br /> <em>No Time for Enemies, </em>the group&rsquo;s fifth studio album, is their most collaborative to date, breaking loose and running across genre lines with abandon. And it climbed to #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart. You may have seen the band on America's Got Talent or heard them sing the hit theme song "Long Hard Times to Come" from the television show Justified.</span></span></p> <p>We recently caught up with the band during a tour break and talked about their unique style of music, musical influences, songwriting and a whole lot more.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><img width="300" height="200" src="" alt="gangstagrass" align="left" class="img-responsive" /></span></p> <p><strong><span><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span>Band Members (left to right):&nbsp;</span>Dan Whitener aka Danjo: banjo/vocals, R-SON the Voice of Reason: MC/vocals, Dolio the Sleuth: MC/vocals, Rench: vocals/guitar/beats, B.E. Farrow: fiddle/vocals<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Your musical influences include Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. Who are some others?</span></span></strong></p> <p>Rench: I also grew up listening to a lot of RUN DMC, Public Enemy, Outkast, Dr. Octagon. A lot of hip-hop influences. And a lot of honkytonk &ndash; George Jones, Loretta Lynn&nbsp;</p> <p>B.E. Farrow: We all bring in our own interests that have a particular Venn diagram that centers around this band.</p> <p>R-SON the Voice of Reason: I&rsquo;ve got to throw a little bit of INXS in there because that&rsquo;s how I work it.&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Dan Whitener: Living Colour.</span></p> <p><span>Rench: Yeah!</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>R-SON: Shoutout to The Roots!</span></p> <p><span>Dolio the Sleuth: 8Ball &amp; MJG.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>DW: It&rsquo;s probably worth saying that we definitely have a lot of bluegrass influences, hip-hop influences. But certainly beyond that, just going to INXS, there&rsquo;s a lot of stuff that you could call out that &hellip;</span></p> <p><span>R-SON: Steely Dan, son! Rock represent!</span></p> <p>DW: There&rsquo;s a lot of things that influenced us that wouldn&rsquo;t necessarily fit into the bluegrass/hip-hop box. But it&rsquo;s good music and I think we try to let that influence us too and not just stick to root music or a particular recipe.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p><span>BF: These two things that people sort of center around when they talk about us - bluegrass and hip-hop - are a culmination of so much. Bluegrass being a culmination of cultured folk forms in America and old-time music, even throwing in a little jazz and country, blues. Hip-hop being a culmination of whatever could be sampled at hand, of recorded musical history, starting with a bit of the black experience.</span></p> <p><span>DW: You could say that bluegrass and hip hop both being fusion genres that we&rsquo;re doing a fusion of two fusions. But that might be a little reductive because we&rsquo;re really just taking that mentality and attitude and being open to pretty much anything we want to throw in. If it fits it fits.</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><img width="250" height="167" src="" alt="gangstagrass" align="right" class="img-responsive" />What music/artists do you enjoy listening to now?</strong></span>&nbsp;<br />Rench: All the same artists (that influenced us).&nbsp;</p> <p>BF: I think some modern shoutouts - I&rsquo;ll shoutout Jid, he&rsquo;s a dope MC that&rsquo;s been coming up recently. Who else do we want to shoutout?&nbsp;</p> <p><span>DW: I&rsquo;m listening to a lot of the folks that are trying to keep going with the progressive bluegrass idea, so Chris Pandalfi from The Infamous Stringdusters, some of Dan Tyminski&rsquo;s solo work where he added a lot of production, basically anybody who takes the traditional sounds and moves them forward with some sort of new idea, I&rsquo;m excited people are doing that.</span></p> <p><span>BF: That Pokey LaFarge tune &ldquo;F*ck Me Up&rdquo;. When we all heard that we were like, hey man, we should collab.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>DW: Yeah, break the mold. But it&rsquo;s still so obviously authentically him. It&rsquo;s like when you do something so outside of what you normally do, as long as it feels like it&rsquo;s still your voice, that&rsquo;s really cool. We like that.</span></p> <p><span>R-SON: Definitely have to shout out Salt, everything they do is dope. Every day or two something fresh bubbles up and I&rsquo;m like, what is this? It&rsquo;s always Salt. Double K and Thes One from the group People Under the Stairs out in California. Amazing hip-hop group. From a production standpoint, these guys were just next level in what they were doing. Rest in peace to Double K. There&rsquo;s so much great stuff, whether it&rsquo;s 100 years old or just came out last week, all of it sort of works in somewhere and something winds up on the track.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>What do you like most about performing?<br /></strong></span>Rench: Probably the presents under the tree. [laughter]&nbsp;</p> <p><span>BF: I honestly would say the actual performing, that&rsquo;s the best thing about it. Getting on stage and doing the thing and getting to play the hip-hop-bluegrass blend we work on. We get to workshop in a live setting and see people react.</span></p> <p><span>DW: Outside of that, there are two moments in this band that are unusual for me, that I haven&rsquo;t experienced in any other band. The first moment we take to the stage, there are people in the audience who have never seen us before, diehards too, but the people who&rsquo;ve never seen us and they see what we look like, and there&rsquo;s that moment of like, <em>what is this going to be</em>. And the next moment is, at the end when we&rsquo;re maybe at the merch table signing t-shirts and selling CDs and they come over and the transformative experience they&rsquo;ve had is more than just, <em>you guys turned out to be a good band</em>. I&rsquo;m very happy about that.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>But you actually see people coming together at our shows and broadening their life experience in a very meaningful way. And that wasn&rsquo;t something we were even thinking about or intending when we started the band. But over the ten or so years has made itself obvious to us and to me.</span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Do you have a songwriting process?<br /></strong></span>Rench: We don&rsquo;t really have a process. The ideas just keep coming.&nbsp;</p> <p><span>DW: We don&rsquo;t keep banker&rsquo;s hours, but we have a similar thing where we hold up a bank and then ideas come to us and we write about that. [laughter]</span></p> <p><span>BF: I have a process in my individual life, I have to take a good four or five hours to fully flesh out a song and have it finished in one sit down. I also record bits and pieces of songs all the time and when I bring it to the band &hellip; we&rsquo;ll flesh it out together. We set aside that time, we&rsquo;re in the studio practicing and working on it.</span></p> <p><span>DtS: We get all the pieces together, but we don&rsquo;t have a set plan. It&rsquo;s more about getting them all together.</span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><img width="300" height="300" src="" alt="no time for enemies album gangstagrass" align="left" class="img-responsive" />You did a UK tour earlier this year and you are currently touring the US. What&rsquo;s next for the band?<br /></strong></span>DW: It&rsquo;s a funny thing, but when we leave the U.S., people don&rsquo;t pre-judge us in a way. We say, <em>we do bluegrass and hip-hop</em>, and they&rsquo;re like, <em>oh yes, of course, cool</em>. And then they say, <em>are all American musicians like this</em>?&nbsp;</p> <p><span>BF: We had this album come out called <em>No Time for Enemies</em> and we&rsquo;ve got a lot of things in the bank - reflecting on our America&rsquo;s Got Talent run, on what we are as a band, we really want to be representing. We&rsquo;re looking to represent and speak out for the people we&rsquo;re playing for.</span></p> <p><span>Rench: I&rsquo;d like to give a shoutout to Fermilab &ndash; particle accelerator lab in the United States. They made another breakthrough even though everyone&rsquo;s focus is on CERN in Europe. We&rsquo;ve been there a couple of times. Big fans.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>R-SON: I want to give a shoutout to our manager Sleevs (</span><span>Emily "Sleevs" Bernstein Messner</span>). I don&rsquo;t know if you&rsquo;ve ever had to hang out with five dudes at once for a long time. Most of the time we stink, there&rsquo;s food everywhere. It&rsquo;s a nightmare. She really helps keep this whole thing rolling along and moving. She makes sure everything is going according to plan. Without Sleevs and a lot of people behind the scenes, a lot of this stuff just wouldn&rsquo;t get done to the level it gets done. We&rsquo;re here trying to do this music and make the world a better place, thank God we&rsquo;ve got people that are driving the train while we&rsquo;re throwing coal on the fire.</p> <p><span>Sleevs: I&rsquo;d also add that <em>No Time for Enemies</em> was the number one Billboard bluegrass album and the first time that hip-hop MCs have been in that position. There was all that hype about <em>Old Town Road</em> getting kicked off the country charts. But this is real bluegrass happening right here and we&rsquo;re not getting kicked off the bluegrass chart because it&rsquo;s real bluegrass music happening and it&rsquo;s real hip-hop music happening. And it&rsquo;s exciting that there was enough excitement around the music to put it in that position, even though the music industry likes to segregate in a way that stops that kind of thing from happening.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>DW: When you&rsquo;re trying to define a band and trying to figure out what kind of accolades you&rsquo;ll shoot for, it can be pretty weird and treacherous. You want to make sure you don&rsquo;t lose yourself and what you care about. We&rsquo;ll see what&rsquo;s thrown at us. The America&rsquo;s Got Talent thing is an example of that. We were initially pretty reluctant and the initial disbelief that this was actually them and they were scamming us. And then we had to make sure they weren&rsquo;t going to misrepresent us on the show. And they really didn&rsquo;t.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>It was conversations with the producers and just a real concerted internal effort &ndash; we all talked to each other before we talked to them and we made sure we were clear about our goals and what we were going to try to do. That extends to other parts of the industry. What&rsquo;s the point of trying to get a Grammy, what&rsquo;s the point of trying to do this or that? We just want to make sure we are represented well and people hear the music and dig it. So, if those things help us do that, that&rsquo;s great. We&rsquo;re proud to be number one on the bluegrass charts. If to do that we had to sacrifice something, then it&rsquo;s probably not worth our time. We&rsquo;re thankful for all the things that have worked out really well for us.</span></p> <p><span>Retch: The number one thing we&rsquo;re after is for people to listen and appreciate what we do.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>DW: One thing we&rsquo;re not going to be doing (on their current tour) is acting like the pandemic is over. We got COVID on this last tour, every single one of us, and it cost us about half the tour &ndash; shows got cancelled. We&rsquo;ll have a good time, get to our shows, get people to come out to our shows, but doing the whole thing safely. We&rsquo;ve got to be realistic about the challenges we face.</span></p> <p><strong><span><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Do you have any instruments that got away from you that you wish you had back?<br /></span></span></strong>BF: When I was younger I was a shredder, so I played metal music a lot. And I had this Telecaster. It was a Bullet Squire, it was my brother&rsquo;s and he didn&rsquo;t play it, so I picked it up and I hammered my friends&rsquo; names into it, carved a bunch of stuff into it. I used to think it sounded terrible, but eventually it sounded perfect. It was the perfect guitar. My house flooded when I was younger, and I lost it. It was in the pile of stuff that was thrown out and I regret not just picking it up from that pile and not keeping it. I really regret not doing that. I miss that guitar a lot.</p> <p><span>DtS: I had a trumpet, it was silver. A Yamaha, it had my name engraved on it. It was lovely. I sold it to buy a set of turntables, but I did pick up the trumpet again. Just not that particular one.</span></p> <p><span>DW: My dad raised me to not let go of instruments. And I was reading Ralph Stanley&rsquo;s memoirs and he said he had this one banjo &ndash; the banjo &ndash; and he traded it to somebody for, his words, &ldquo;A pile of money and some guns.&rdquo; And he tried many times to get it back and that&rsquo;s why I don&rsquo;t have a story like that.</span></p> <p><span>R-SON: He had guns, how did he not get it back? [laughter]</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Rench: I did have a guitar that I wasn&rsquo;t too attached to. I made a video of doing something called high-stakes busking. I&rsquo;m in New York and I did some busking. There was a box for tips on one side and a hammer on the other side. You could up vote or down vote by either giving some tips or hitting the guitar with a hammer. It&rsquo;s a little bit hard to keep it in tune now.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Gangstagrass is currently on tour and will be in Colorado on September 3<sup>rd</sup> at the Four Corners Folk Festival in Pagosa Springs. See this and other tour dates&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a>.</span></strong></p> DFC International http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span><span>In the nearly six years since my partner Saul Rosenthal and I entered the music business, I&rsquo;ve&nbsp;</span>continued to be impressed by the global nature of the business.&nbsp;Buying, selling, innovation: the international activity becomes more crucial every day.</span></p> <p>The Denver Folklore Center has for many years sold acoustic instruments that are manufactured in the U.S., as well as in a number of foreign centers.&nbsp;Popular makers such as C.F. Martin, Taylor, Eastman and Blueridge all produce quality instruments in Mexico and China, and we represent these with confidence in their quality, workmanship and value.</p> <p>We recently came upon opportunities to give our customers access to instruments from two new international sources. Kremona produces guitars and ukuleles in Bulgaria, using classic tonewood selections including cedar, rosewood and mahogany.&nbsp;Godin guitars is a respected Canadian company whose product lines include Norman and Simon &amp; Patrick guitars.&nbsp;These lines provide players with a broad variety of body formats and tonewood combinations, some quite different from those made by our US-based makers.</p> <p><span><img width="150" height="200" src="" alt="Yaniv Loria of Bunting Guitars hand-checks the resonant frequencies of an ebony fretboard." align="left" class="img-responsive" />Recently I had the opportunity to visit and tour the production facilities of Bunting Guitars, a small maker of custom-built solid-body electric guitars.&nbsp;Owner and chief builder Yaniv Loria welcomed me to his workshop at Kibbutz Ein Shemer, Israel, and treated me to a tour of the plant as well as an intensive tutorial in judging the tonal characteristics of raw wood.&nbsp;Yaniv demonstrated how he evaluates blocks and thin slats of spruce, rosewood, ebony and other tonewoods for intrinsic tone, resonance and sustain as he produces about five guitars per month, each one individually designed based on an extensive interview with the purchaser.</span></p> <p><span>We don&rsquo;t sell solid bodies at the DFC, but the benefits of hand-selecting fine tonewoods apply equally to acoustic instruments.&nbsp;And I was fortunate enough to see Yaniv&rsquo;s very first acoustic guitar in its formative state.&nbsp;We&rsquo;re hoping that his acoustic project leads to some fine instruments that we might one day offer as our newest international selection! In the meantime, friends and customers interested in a one-of-a-kind solid body guitar can contact Yaniv <strong><a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a></strong></span><span>.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span><strong>(Photo: Yaniv Loria of Bunting Guitars hand-checks the resonant frequencies of an ebony fretboard)</strong><br /><br />Finally, while we&rsquo;re talking about the DFC&rsquo;s transnational reach, we&rsquo;re pleased to mention our sales to musicians abroad. Customers in places as diverse as Germany, Norway, Israel, England and France have all identified instruments through our social media channels that aren&rsquo;t available where they live.&nbsp;We&rsquo;ve been happy that we can accommodate their needs and spread the acoustic-music joy worldwide! </span><span>- Claude Brachfeld, Co-Owner Denver Folklore Center</span></p> Sally Van Meter - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>Sally Van Meter has been a professional musician since 1976, recording, performing and garnering recognition from fans and peers, including a 1994 Grammy Award.&nbsp;</p> <p><span>She comes from a musical family where her mother sang opera. Sally grew up in a &ldquo;super classical household that also listened to everything from Rose Maddox to Bill Monroe to Jimi Hendrix, so a lot of different influences at an early age.&rdquo; Around seven years old, she picked up a guitar and learned her first chords and when she could pick up an instrument and learn to play it, she would. &ldquo;Music is the thing that means the most to me in life.&rdquo;<br /><br /><img width="200" height="113" src="" alt="eTown studio band 2018 recording w/sally van meter" align="left" class="img-responsive" /><strong><span>The Instrument Chooses the Player<br /></span></strong></span>The main instrument most people know Sally for is dobro. &ldquo;But I play whatever I can play for whomever needs it.&rdquo; That includes a lot of rhythm guitar, five-string banjo (clawhammer and Scruggs style) and lap steel, and she &ldquo;tinkers around on a few other things. I really wanted to be a fiddle player but dobro just seemed to pick me. The slide guitar made sense to me. I&rsquo;m so glad it found me because I never would have chosen it.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><span><strong>(photo: 2018 recording w/eTown studio band - Sally was the producer/slide player)</strong><br /><br />Sally is fully self-taught by ear. Growing up in a fairly small, poor farming community, there were &ldquo;few teachers, no capos for guitars, no nothing. From twelve to sixteen years old, I would just sit and listen to Duane Allman and Lowell George of Little Feet. Somehow I figured out - I don&rsquo;t know how - that both musicians played to an open tuning, so I tuned my guitar (a little Martin 00-17, the family guitar) to an E chord. I would just sit with the record playing trying to learn all of Lowell George&rsquo;s stuff. That was a huge influence for me.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Good Ol&rsquo; Persons<br /></span></strong>In the 1970s, when Sally was an &ldquo;eighteen-year-old semi-hippie chick,&rdquo; she came across a group of people that got together a few times a week and had potlucks and played bluegrass &ndash; &ldquo;everything from The Stanley Brothers to Old &amp; In the Way, just a wide range of stuff. I got to know them and eventually became part of a little home-grown band in Chico (northern CA).&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Sally had a roommate that brought home Mike Aldridge&rsquo;s first solo record. &ldquo;He picked it out of a Salvation Army bin because he liked the cover, which has a beautiful dobro on the cover. I listened to it and my world essentially exploded. I had never heard anything so beautiful. I wore out the vinyl record and learned as much as I could. His phrasing, his tone, everything was so beautiful. There was no turning back.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Later, Sally played a benefit for the bluegrass association and was noticed for her skills and bravado. &ldquo;They somehow located me and asked me to play gigs with them. That was the band Good Ol&rsquo; Persons with Kathy <span>Kallick</span>, Laurie Lewis and a few others. I went down with some friends in a 1967 Volkswagen van named Elvira and played a couple of gigs.&rdquo; Eventually they asked Sally to join the band, so she packed up her few meager possessions and moved to the Bay area to become a full-time member of that band for the next twenty-one years.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Moving to Colorado<br /></span></strong>In 1996, Sally &ldquo;hit a place where it was just so hard to live in a giant metropolitan area.&rdquo; One of her friends suggested visiting Colorado to see what it was like. She did and has been here ever since. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been super busy producing and playing and getting to have a spiritually great (certainly not monetarily) career as a player.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>She became aware of the Denver Folklore Center when she moved to Colorado. &ldquo;I found out there was this great music store that had a small concert hall. Everybody knew each other, there was no competition, there was no climbing the ladder for the highest position, it was all really collaborative and supportive. I was kind of burned out when I moved here and ready to quit playing music for a while. The life you have to have to be a touring musician, it&rsquo;s not the easiest life and when you don&rsquo;t make a lot of money, it&rsquo;s even harder. But I met a lot of musicians who helped me figure out the lay of the land in Colorado and a lot of them were involved with the DFC. Mary Flower, Molly O&rsquo;Brien, they really showed me what a strong community was, especially the bluegrass community, that really supports each other. That&rsquo;s one of the things that impressed me about the DFC.&rdquo;</span><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p><strong><span>Teaching Music<br /></span></strong>Sally has always taught music. &ldquo;I love teaching music, because it&rsquo;s helping someone open a door they think is closed to them. I teach a lot of camps across the country, all the way to England and other places. It&rsquo;s collaborative. I learn a lot about myself as a player while trying to help someone who wants to make music. For me, music is something that helps make everybody a better person. I really believe that.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><span>And she listens to almost all music. &ldquo;I listen to anything that is genuine and comes from the heart. Opera, a lot of classical &ndash; go Colorado Public Radio classical station! I listen to pop music, because I like to listen to the production qualities - I produce records for people. I listen to bluegrass. The music I like to play a lot is Celtic airs, but I can&rsquo;t do the fast stuff because it&rsquo;s physically really hard on a dobro. I love French Canadian Norwegian and Swedish fiddle music, Greek pop funk, if it moves you that&rsquo;s what I love.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span><img width="200" height="150" src="" alt="(photo: Jorma Kaukonen and Sally NY 2003)" align="right" class="img-responsive" />One of the Lucky Ones<br /></span></strong><span>Sally considers herself&nbsp;fortunate to have been playing music for a living for over forty-five years. &ldquo;I think about some of the things I&rsquo;ve done and not many people get those opportunities in life and I really appreciate it a lot. I&rsquo;ve been allowed to play music with people I admire as people and musicians, in that order. I spent almost four months of my life on tour with </span><span>Jorma Kaukonen, probably the best boss I&rsquo;ll ever have. And he&rsquo;s a big proponent of bluegrass and acoustic deep south blues. Just getting to be part of people&rsquo;s projects and produce their records, </span><span>I think I&rsquo;ve been one of the lucky ones.&rdquo;<br /></span></p> <p><strong>(photo: Jorma Kaukonen and Sally NY 2003)</strong></p> <p>When she turned fifty years old &ldquo;quite a few years ago,&rdquo; Sally &ldquo;did kind of a crazy thing. I had hit another plateau and decided that because I had been a working musician since I was eighteen, I wanted something different. So, I applied to CU Boulder to go to school. And they took me because I was their poster child for nontraditional first-generation older people to go to college. I stuck it out for five years and got a degree in independent documentary filmmaking. I didn&rsquo;t play music for about four years. I committed to school and learned a lot. It was good for me because it made me see things with a different lens. But as soon as I graduated, I went right back to music. I still make independent experimental films, but music will always be THE thing for me.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><span><img width="200" height="150" src="" alt="sally van meter and Tony Rice at Merlefest " align="left" class="img-responsive" />The Importance of Live Music<br /></span></strong>Sally believes people should value live music venues and supporters. &ldquo;People are lucky to have places like the Denver Folklore Center and Swallow Hill Music, because &hellip; they say in crazy times, art and music get you through, those are the things that never go away. This time (during the pandemic) we came dangerously close to losing a lot of that. When someone says I live in Denver, who would you recommend, I always send them to the DFC and Swallow Hill. The DFC is an incredibly valuable place to everyone who wants music as part of their everyday church practice, if you will. In the days of yore, back in the early to mid &lsquo;70s, there was the 5th String music store in San Francisco and Berkeley, and Freight &amp; Salvage, which I used to play at the old one. Sixty people packed the room and you would have them almost against your feet. And that&rsquo;s what I think about the DFC and Swallow Hill. They bring us live music and we don&rsquo;t want to lose that.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /><strong>(photo: Sally and Tony Rice at Merlefest)&nbsp;</strong><br /><span><br />Check out Sally&rsquo;s solo record and &ldquo;my favorite thing I&rsquo;ve ever done&rdquo; &ndash; &ldquo;Tre Mistiche &ndash; A Small Congress of Ballad, Weissenborn &amp; Waltz&rdquo;. She describes the making of the album as a casual process. &ldquo;Anybody who would come through town, we would go sit in the studio and order pizza, get a bottle of wine and just play and see what would come up. I did that with a lot of musicians and friends. This record is the one that best represents me, I think.&rdquo; You can learn more about Sally, her music and lessons on her </span><strong><a href="">Facebook page</a>.</strong></p> <p><strong><br />(Top photo credit: Jeremy Rosenshine Photography)</strong>&nbsp;</p> Jeff Hanna (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span><a href="" target="_blank">The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band</a>&nbsp;(NGDB) has been around since the 1960s. The band lineup has changed over the years, but their amazing music and unique sound remains the same. <span>Today the NGDB is Jeff Hanna (guitars/vocals), Jimmie Fadden (drums/harmonica/vocals), Bob Carpenter (keyboardist/songwriter/vocalist, who joined in 1980), and three new members: fiddle specialist Ross Holmes, singer-songwriter and bass player Jim Photoglo (who wrote one of the Dirt Band&rsquo;s biggest hits, &ldquo;Fishin&rsquo; in the Dark&rdquo;), and Jeff&rsquo;s son, Jaime Hanna (guitars/vocals).</span></span></p> <p><span>They&rsquo;ve just put out a new album called <strong><em>Dirt Does Dylan</em> </strong>- <span>&ldquo;a romp through some of the gems in Dylan&rsquo;s catalog&rdquo; and </span>Jeff Hanna sat down with us to talk about it, recording songs with music legends, touring with his son and a lot more.</span></p> <p><strong><span>How it Started<br /></span></strong>Growing up, Jeff&rsquo;s &ldquo;house was filled with music. My folks both sang - they were gifted, neither were professionals, no one played an instrument, but there was always music around. As a kid when I lived in Denver I visited the Denver Folklore Center. I lived in the metro Denver area twice when I was in middle school, we lived in Littleton, and we moved back in the early &lsquo;70s for fifteen years to the foothills in Evergreen.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>He became interested in playing music when he was fourteen. &ldquo;My friend had an acoustic guitar and I thought that was cool. So we went to some pawn shop to find one. Soon after, we moved to California. My first day of high school I met a guy named Bruce Kunkel and we hit it off right away and became best friends. He was into folk music and acoustic guitar playing as well.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Bruce showed Jeff a few tricks on the guitar and taught him some chords. &ldquo;It was probably something by The Kingston Trio &ldquo;Greenback Dollar&rdquo; or &ldquo;Tom Dooley&rdquo; &ndash; that was a revelation, learning where the G, C and D went. That was way better than guitar lessons for me. If I were a kid now picking up an instrument, I&rsquo;d go to YouTube. There&rsquo;s so much stuff. You can pick your genre and there&rsquo;s all kinds of video help and the teachers are brilliant. I learn something every day by just watching folks online posting how to play a riff.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Jeff and Bruce soon began performing, &ldquo;backing up folk singers and kind of got the nerve to learn a few songs and play high school assemblies.&rdquo; It was towards the end of high school, that they ended up in a jug band called the Illegitimate Jug Band, which served as a kind of blueprint for what the NGDB would become. Bruce was an original member of the band as well. &ldquo;The jug band was what the Dirt Band did for the first three years of our career. We made four albums that were essentially jug band albums &ndash; the record companies just cranked them out back then. When John (McEuen) joined us a few months after we got started, he brought his five-string banjo, so we would sprinkle in a little bluegrass in there. We were never a straight bluegrass band, but we did record a lot of bluegrass music, which we all love.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>The Gateway Drug to Folk Music<br /></span></strong>Jeff was heavily influenced by his brother&rsquo;s taste in music. &ldquo;My older brother, Mike, would bring home records by The Kingston Trio, they&rsquo;re the gateway drug to the folk music realm, and Peter, Paul and Mary, a Joan Baez album - that was really life changing for me, because she had this band (The Greenbriar Boys) back her up on some songs. They were a great bluegrass band from the northeast. John Herald was their lead singer and he was terrific. That was the first record I ever bought on Vanguard Records. They advertised the rest of their catalog on the album &ndash; you pulled out the sleeve of the vinyl and there&rsquo;s like fifteen other albums you could get. That&rsquo;s the first time I saw a Doc Watson and Mississippi John Hurt record. This is where it went from the mainstream commercial folk music to the much deeper rootsier side of folk music. That was a paradigm shift for my musical tastes.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Live Music Always Wins<br /></span></strong><span>Today, Jeff&rsquo;s musical tastes are &ldquo;all over the map. Some old, some new. One day it might be the Allman Brothers, the next, Earl Scruggs. I&rsquo;m a huge Sarah Jarosz fan &ndash; I love that group I&rsquo;m With Her she has with </span><span>Aoife O'Donovan and Sarah Watkins (</span><span>Nickel Creek). There&rsquo;s so much incredible music out there right now. Brittney Spencer, Allison Russell. I&rsquo;m a big Brandi Carlile fan, have been for a while. Chris Stapleton, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle. I could spend a week or two listening to all of them without coming up for air.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>&ldquo;As complicated as streaming music is, because they don&rsquo;t pay us enough, as a consumer it&rsquo;s brilliant. We can be sitting around, crack a bottle of wine and do a deep dive on say one of my favorites, Little Feet. They&rsquo;re out there doing a <em>Waiting for Columbus</em> anniversary tour right now, this great live album they did in the &lsquo;70s. They came to Nashville and I got to see them play a couple of times. I have the Bandsintown app and somebody will be coming through and will sell the concert out and I&rsquo;m like &lsquo;who are they&rsquo;, which is great because that&rsquo;s the quality of incredible music. And live music always wins. There&rsquo;s no substitute for it and I&rsquo;m glad we&rsquo;re finding it manageable to get out and play again and go to shows.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats<br /></span></strong>Jeff and the NGDB are featured in the Ken Burns&rsquo; movie &ldquo;Country Music&rdquo; alongside music legends like the Cash family, Roy Acuff and Earl Scruggs, and he has nothing but good things to say about the experience.</p> <p><span>&ldquo;Ken Burns is such a great filmmaker. There&rsquo;s a guy named Dayton Duncan, who works very closely with Ken. He&rsquo;s a writer, and when you hear (narrator/actor) Peter Coyote speaking, a lot of that was written by Dayton. Recording with the Cash family, Roy Acuff and Earl Scruggs was thrilling and scary. When you&rsquo;re playing with your heroes it can be overwhelming. Thankfully, those three &ldquo;Circle&rdquo; (&ldquo;Will the Circle Be Unbroken&rdquo;) records we made all came off great. When you&rsquo;re in a room with folks with that level of talent, like Doc Watson or Earl Scruggs or Mother Maybelle Carter &hellip; a rising tide lifts all boats, the level gets raised immediately. It&rsquo;s like yep, here we go, hang on!&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span><img width="200" height="200" src="" align="left" class="img-responsive" />How It&rsquo;s Going<br /></span></strong>The band is currently on tour supporting their new album. &ldquo;This is the first time I&rsquo;ve toured with my son, Jaime. When he was a kid he would come out and sit in with us, then later on when he started his music career, he played with a great band called The Mavericks. And then he had a record deal with his cousin (Jonathan McEuen, son of John McEuen of the NGDB) called Hanna-McEuen. Then he went to work with country singer, Gary Allan, for twelve years. In 2018, he along with fiddle player, Ross Holmes (he played with Mumford &amp; Sons and Bruce Hornsby) started up with our band. And we also have Jim Photoglo who started playing with us in 2016. The six of us had not made a record until the new one that just came out.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>With so many amazing songs to choose from, it&rsquo;s pretty easy for the band to come up with a set list. &ldquo;There are always core songs we know we can&rsquo;t get out of the building without playing, but it varies. We&rsquo;ve got the new record, so we&rsquo;ll be playing a good slice of those tunes. Sometimes we play to the room as well. If we&rsquo;re playing a gig like the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, we may lean a big harder on the acoustic rootsier stuff. If we&rsquo;re playing a gig like the one we&rsquo;ve got coming up in Grand Junction &ndash; Country Jam &ndash; we&rsquo;ll lean a little harder on the country hits. There&rsquo;s a through line with our career that started in folk music and through the bluegrass stuff, the singer/songwriter stuff and the mainstream country &ndash; we tend to lean toward the traditional side of that as well. It kind of depends on who we&rsquo;re playing to. Our favorite example is playing theaters, because if it&rsquo;s an evening with our band, we try to take the audience&rsquo;s pulse after a few tunes and see where we go from there.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Performing is something Jeff and the band love to do. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not really trained to do anything else. Live music is a feeling you just can&rsquo;t duplicate. It&rsquo;s like nothing else, going out there and hitting the stage and playing your songs. The energy &hellip; if you&rsquo;ve had a rough travel day, week, month, when you get on stage all that stuff just falls away. The energy the audience brings, the crowd always gives us a shot of adrenaline and good vibes. That&rsquo;s the part I like the best. It&rsquo;s a clich&eacute; really &ndash; they pay us for the other twenty-two hours of the day. Those two hours on stage are a gift.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Catch Jeff and the NGDB live in Colorado this year:<br /></strong></span><strong><span>June 23<sup>rd</sup> at Pueblo Memorial Hall, Pueblo, CO<br /></span></strong><strong><span>June 24<sup>th</sup> at Country Jam 2022 in Grand Junction, CO<br /></span></strong><strong><span>August 6<sup>th</sup> at Mishawaka Amphitheater in Bellvue, CO</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><br /><span style="font-size: 12pt;">See all their tour dates and listen to songs from their new album <em>Dirt Does Dylan</em> <a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a>.</span></strong></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> Q&A with Sister Sadie http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>The award-winning group Sister Sadie is made up of world-renowned musicians and singers: Gena Britt on banjo, Deanie Richardson on fiddle, Hasee Ciaccio on acoustic bass, Jaelee Roberts on guitar and Mary Meyer on mandolin. They were kind enough to sit down with us and talk about their music, touring, songwriting and more.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Who are your musical influences and what music do you enjoy listening to?<br /><br /></span></strong><img width="150" height="157" src="" align="left" class="img-responsive" /><strong>Jaelee:</strong> I listen to everything. I could shuffle my playlist and you&rsquo;d hear George Jones to Bill Monroe to classical music to Tupac. But I really love listening to old country music. I love Lee Ann Womack, Merle Haggard, George Jones, everybody. And all bluegrass.</p> <p><span>Mary: Anything from Bob Wills, Roy Rogers, Sons of the Pioneers, western swing stuff. I grew up on classical music. I listen to bluegrass most when I&rsquo;m playing it. I have more fun playing it more than just listening to it for fun.</span></p> <p><span>Deanie: I don&rsquo;t listen to a lot of bluegrass. I tend to just get pumped up and want to play when I listen to it. I have a five-year-old granddaughter and I listen to whatever she&rsquo;s listening to. I love old school country, Patty Loveless, Vince Gill. Maybe a little Whitney Houston every now and then. Jaelee and I rock out. When we&rsquo;re going down the road, we got it all going on. We have a disco in the car.</span></p> <p><span>Gena: I listen to a lot of bluegrass. If I&rsquo;m in the car traveling, I listen to a lot of singer-songwriters. I like listening to sad music, the sadder the better. I love James Taylor and John Mayer, pretty much everything but rap.</span></p> <p><span>Hasee: I listen to some bluegrass, but I listen to a lot of old-time classic country. But I also love the Grateful Dead and some funk music, Lizzo and anything fun. Probably too much Grateful Dead.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>The Denver Folklore Center is a big promoter of music teachers, especially since Swallow Hill was born out of the store. Did you take music lessons or are you self-taught?<br /><br /></span></strong><img width="150" height="148" src="" align="right" class="img-responsive" /><strong>Gena:</strong> I started playing when I was eight years old. I&rsquo;d go over to a guy&rsquo;s house and take lessons. I didn&rsquo;t learn by note or tab, he would just play for me and I&rsquo;d watch and &hellip; I&rsquo;m dating myself right now &hellip; he&rsquo;d record it on a cassette tape every week. We would use that same cassette tape and record over it. I&rsquo;d take it home and practice with it. I did that for about a year. Then I researched older music and listened to Bill Monroe and Flatt &amp; Scruggs and the Osborne Brothers and Jim &amp; Jesse. And during that time Doyle Lawson &amp; Quicksilver was the hugest influence on me. I would listen to records and try and play a little bit. But kids these days have so many resources. YouTube is full of things I wish I would have had when I was learning.</p> <p><span>Jaelee: I started taking fiddle lessons when I was four. I took them for a while and then I took them from Deanie when I was fifteen or sixteen. When I was eight or nine, I wanted to learn guitar, so I took lessons. Then I started listening to albums and played along. I&rsquo;d try to learn rhythm patterns from people on YouTube.</span></p> <p><span>Hasee: I started taking piano lessons when I was maybe seven. I started playing violin in sixth grade in the school orchestra. Around that time, I kind of taught myself guitar and mandolin. Mandolin kind of translates from the fiddle. I didn&rsquo;t start playing bass until I was eighteen, but I&rsquo;d been around traditional music and grew up singing with my mom in church. And when I was in college, I&rsquo;d play music with other people in the evenings. That&rsquo;s where I fell in love with it. I learned the most playing with other people that were better than me that were kind enough to let me hang out. I went on tour when I was eighteen and learned on the road. Nothing will grow you up quicker or teach you more about an instrument than getting in a van with a band and being forced to figure it out.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>As far as songwriting, do you have a particular process?<br /></span></strong><br /><img width="150" height="149" src="" align="left" class="img-responsive" /><strong>Deanie:</strong> I&rsquo;m not someone who makes a 10AM appointment and &ldquo;let&rsquo;s get together and start writing&rdquo;. I like to have a melody or a line or something that we&rsquo;re starting with. And it&rsquo;s usually something I&rsquo;ve gone through recently. I&rsquo;m like Gena &ndash; I like the sad stuff &ndash; so a good heartbreak and I&rsquo;m going to write about it. I&rsquo;ve got a couple of go-to writing partners. They&rsquo;ll either call me and say they have an idea or I&rsquo;ll call them and we&rsquo;ll get together and write. We&rsquo;re working on a new project, so we&rsquo;re all in the writing mode right now. For me Nashville has turned into the &ldquo;it&rsquo;s 10 o&rsquo;clock so let&rsquo;s write whether we have something or not&rdquo; and it pretty much sounds like that on the radio to me.</p> <p><span>And working with Patty Loveless for twenty years, she had this philosophy that she didn&rsquo;t sing a song unless she lived it, therefore when she sang it she was singing part of her life. And you can feel it when she sings it, you can feel whatever the message is in that song. I love that about her and I like to listen to artists who move me because they believe what they&rsquo;re singing or they&rsquo;ve lived what they&rsquo;ve written.</span></p> <p><span>Jaelee: My process is random. I can be driving down the road and I&rsquo;ll randomly get a melody or a line in my head. I&rsquo;ll pull over and I&rsquo;ll think about it and write a verse and a chorus. I didn&rsquo;t start cowriting until recently, but I love it because you can share experiences from both sides and come together. I think that&rsquo;s really cool.</span></p> <p><span>Me and my friend talked last night that we&rsquo;re going to write every Friday. I have a jar that has every letter in the alphabet in it. I&rsquo;ll pull out a letter and look around the room and find something that matches the letter. Say I pull out the &ldquo;A&rdquo;, I&rsquo;ll look around the room and there&rsquo;s an apple, so I&rsquo;ll write a song about an apple. It&rsquo;s a good exercise.</span></p> <p><span><img width="150" height="159" src="" alt="" align="right" class="img-responsive" /><strong>Hasee:</strong> It&rsquo;s always kind of different for me. Sometimes a melody will come first and that will spark a thought. Sometimes it&rsquo;s the other way around. Sometimes I&rsquo;m thinking about a particular situation that will evoke a feeling that then transfers to a melody. I like Jaelee&rsquo;s idea about the jar though. On my phone I have thousands of embarrassing voice memos singing to myself.</span></p> <p><span>Gena: It&rsquo;s usually from life experiences. I find when I lay down at night, that&rsquo;s when things will hit me. I keep a notepad by my bed, so if something hits me I write it down so I won&rsquo;t forget it.</span></p> <p><span>Jaelee: For me, songwriting is a way to cope with some things. Things that I&rsquo;ve gone through &hellip; if something is bad, like a relationship, I&rsquo;ll go home and I&rsquo;ll cry and I&rsquo;ll be like &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to write about this.&rdquo; And sometimes it will end up mad or it will end up a happy song &ndash; very rarely. Most times it&rsquo;s a sad song. But for me it&rsquo;s a coping mechanism or a way to let out my feelings without punching something or someone.</span></p> <p><span>Mary: I don&rsquo;t schedule it. It either comes or it doesn&rsquo;t. Cowriting is interesting, because if I come with an idea and I want help writing it, I also want the say on whether I like that person&rsquo;s idea or not. So, finding people who will put up with my ideas is kind of difficult, because if they like it and they&rsquo;re writing it too, they might want it to go their way. I write with my brother and boyfriend quite a bit, but I&rsquo;m just pretty private with my ideas. I&rsquo;m more likely to show someone a finished song than I am to bring them an idea and welcome their input. I need to get better at that &ndash; it&rsquo;s my challenge.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>What&rsquo;s it like to be in an all-female group in the music industry?<br /></span></strong><br />Deanie: This is interesting because you&rsquo;ve got all age ranges here. Gena and I being in the fifty-year range and then Hasee, Mary and Jaelee much younger. For the fifty-something ladies, I&rsquo;ve never felt like I didn&rsquo;t get a gig or I wasn&rsquo;t able to do something because I was a woman in this music genre. And I&rsquo;m a gay woman, but it&rsquo;s never been an issue for me either way. I know there are some people that have had issues, but it&rsquo;s never been a thing for me. I just play and I&rsquo;ve never had a problem finding or keeping a gig. I&rsquo;ve played with women and men. I feel if you&rsquo;re good enough you&rsquo;re going to get the gigs.</p> <p><span>Gena: I would piggyback off that and say the same thing. I&rsquo;ve always wanted to be as good as I could possibly be. I&rsquo;ve always tried to play with people who are better than I am, male or female. My dad always said if you play with people who are better than you, you&rsquo;re going to get better. As far as being in an all-woman band, this particular band, we didn&rsquo;t plan on this, we kind of just got together as friends and as something fun, but when we did it clicked, and we thought &ldquo;this is pretty cool&rdquo;. The band has evolved from that. I want us all to be respected for our musicality, musicianship and vocals, regardless of whether we&rsquo;re male or female.</span></p> <p><span>Hasee: I feel like in the last ten or twelve years of my life touring, I&rsquo;ve experienced more inclusivity, but mainly from sound people. The bands I&rsquo;ve been in that have men and women &hellip; I noticed the sound people normally try and talk to the men. Say the banjo player is a man, they&rsquo;ll ask him what the female guitar player needs, when they should just ask her what she needs. I feel like that has gotten better. But overall, I just want to get out there and play and not assume to begin with that people are going to treat me differently. I think having that mindset, outlook and confidence will make people respect you.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><img width="150" height="154" src="" alt="" align="left" class="img-responsive" /><strong>Mary:</strong> I don&rsquo;t think people have given me a hard time at all for being a girl. If anything, they are more excited to have me along. I think I&rsquo;ve gotten gigs over guys that were just as qualified because I&rsquo;m a girl. It&rsquo;s a hard line. If you&rsquo;re pretty, if you&rsquo;re fun to have around and if you&rsquo;re good at your job, people are going to want to hire you. Don&rsquo;t abuse that and do the best that you can. I don&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;ve gotten handouts, but I have gotten things that a guy could have done just as well, but maybe they didn&rsquo;t have the stage presence I do or whatever. I don&rsquo;t feel anybody&rsquo;s treated me better or worse because I&rsquo;m a woman. There have been crappy people, or good people having a crappy day, that I&rsquo;ve been treated badly by. Sometimes I think, dang I&rsquo;m the only girl here, it would be nice to have another girl around. And then being in an all-girl band, I&rsquo;m like, that&rsquo;s a lot of estrogen. But either way, I appreciate both for what we are. I think it&rsquo;s a lot of fun.</span></p> <p><span>Jaelee: I feel like in this day and age, if you&rsquo;re a girl and you&rsquo;re doing this it should be equal. If you&rsquo;re in a huge group of guys and you step up and you&rsquo;re playing, they&rsquo;ll be like &ldquo;Oh, yeah!&rdquo; I&rsquo;ve had guys tell me &ldquo;You&rsquo;re playing like a girl&rdquo; and I say, &ldquo;Good, thank you for telling me that&rdquo; because playing like a girl is a huge compliment. I love being in an all-girl group.</span></p> <p><span>Hasee: Many women have paved the way for us to be experiencing this inclusivity now, because I know it wasn&rsquo;t always like this. I play with Laurie Lewis, who&rsquo;s in her seventies and she talks about touring in the 1980s and how different it was then and how we&rsquo;ve gotten to where we are. People like Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard playing bluegrass in bars when it was completely male dominated.</span></p> <p><strong><span>What&rsquo;s coming up for Sister Sadie?<br /></span></strong>Deanie: We're doing an episode of the upcoming PBS series &ldquo;Ear to the Common Ground&rdquo;. It&rsquo;s a great concept. It&rsquo;s where fans of Sister Sadie get together and talk about rural urban divide, people from both sides, it&rsquo;s a potluck, everybody brings a dish. It&rsquo;s about how with all of our differences, the one thing we have in common is music. At the end we (the band) walk in with a banana pudding or whatever and we&rsquo;ll play a few songs. (The series will air in the fall on PBS.)</p> <p><span>Learn more about these amazing&nbsp;musicians, including how you can see them live on their <strong><a href="" target="_blank">website</a></strong>.</span></p> 16 Million Take Up the Guitar During the Pandemic http://www.denverfolklore.com <p dir="ltr"><span>During 2020 and 2021 there was plenty of anecdotal evidence that lots and lots of people were learning to play the guitar (and other instruments) as a pandemic activity. Our experience at the Denver Folklore Center was consistent with that pattern as our showroom was often more empty than at any other time in recent memory.&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Now there are data to tell us exactly how many people took up guitar during those years. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, together with YouGov, conducted a study in 2021 that showed 7% of the U.S. population ages 13-64 started to learn guitar during 2020 and 2021 with 62% citing COVID and lockdowns as the reason they took it up. That&rsquo;s 16 million new guitar players!&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Here are a few other highlights of the study.&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>&#10070; </span><span>72% of the new learners are between the ages of 13 and 32 &ndash; a good sign for continued interest in the instrument among younger generations&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>&#10070; </span><span>Of the young learners a majority have experience with at least one other instrument &ndash; with piano and bass being the two most common&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>&#10070; </span><span>61% of players say they are just doing it for themselves and to play socially/recreationally </span><span>&#10070; </span><span>About half of new players are women, and 25% identify as Hispanic/Latino&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>&#10070; </span><span>One-third of the new players have a family member who has played guitar in the past&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>&#10070; </span><span>53% of beginners spend 2 hours or less practicing each week, but on average they believe practicing 4 hours a week for 1-2 years is what it will take to "get good" at guitar&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>&#10070; </span><span>Of the 16 million who took up guitar about 25% did not stick with it very long&nbsp;</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>To paraphrase one of Mark Twain&rsquo;s famous quotes about himself: reports of the death of the guitar have been greatly exaggerated. -&nbsp;Saul Rosenthal<span>, Co-Owner Denver Folklore Center</span><br /><br /></span></p> Meet the Builders - Jamie Deering, Deering Banjos http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>Jamie Deering, daughter of Janet and Greg Deering, the founders of Deering Banjos, grew up around the factory and held positions in production over the years, and in 2019, she became the company&rsquo;s CEO. She spoke with us about her role at Deering, the challenges they faced during the pandemic and the future of the company.</p> <p><strong>Carrying on the Tradition<br /></strong>Jamie has been a part of Deering Banjos since she was five years old. &ldquo;I went to festivals and hung out around the booth and learned to answer questions early. I worked events with my mom when I was about fourteen years old. I always knew I would be part of the future of the company, I just didn&rsquo;t know how.&rdquo;</p> <p>She says she never felt pressure to be in the family business. &ldquo;I was in theater growing up and could have done anything. I studied communication and organization and traveled. I was always an ear for my mom in my twenties. I grew up hearing all the challenges and how they were resolved, so I always had a deep understanding of what it all means, what our business is and the values.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Trial by Fire<br /></strong>When Jamie became CEO of Deering she &ldquo;definitely got trial by fire. What timing &ndash; a pandemic! Every week my mom has said &lsquo;I&rsquo;m so glad I handed it over to you!&rsquo; But it was good because I handle stress and dealing with a group very well &ndash; that&rsquo;s one of my strengths.&rdquo; Even when they had to shut down and temporarily furlough their crew - &ldquo;one of the worst days of our lives&rdquo; -&nbsp; she knew they were going to carry on. &ldquo;Exactly how or when &ndash; no one had that answer."</p> <p>Nine staff members, including Jamie, stayed on to do the have-to functions of the business. Then within a week of everything shutting down &ldquo;our internet sales went crazy. Dealers were calling and saying &lsquo;I need product&rsquo;. We realized people were turning to music as a source of therapy, joy &hellip; it was so amazing, what a thing for people to be able to do while they&rsquo;re dealing with this upheaval in the world. We had to provide because this was so important. It was one way to alleviate what was happening in the world.&rdquo;</p> <p>Luckily, Deering had what they call &ldquo;the supermarket,&rdquo; a supply of already-built instruments available should someone need them quickly. &ldquo;We just started shipping those, but they were gone within a few weeks. One of our builders knew how to do almost the entire process by himself, so he started taking mostly finished instruments and assembling them to ship. The motivation was this is what we&rsquo;re going to do to help alleviate what everyone is going through - get these instruments out the door. Luckily, we were able to bring everybody back six weeks later. We had kept all our crew on medical while they were out and I&rsquo;m so glad we were able to keep going.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Deering Live<br /></strong>During the pandemic, people brought out their instruments for the first time in years and realized they weren&rsquo;t set up or were out of tune and didn&rsquo;t know what to do. That&rsquo;s where <a href="">Deering Live</a> started. &ldquo;We were getting emails, phone calls and questions on social media about what to do. We have a lot of how-to videos and they were getting watched like crazy, <span>so&nbsp;</span><span>Chad&nbsp;(Kopotic, Deering&rsquo;s Master Builder) and I&nbsp;</span><span>started doing Tech Tuesdays on Instagram and Facebook to answer questions</span>. That turned into Deering Live. We weren&rsquo;t doing any of the festivals or events, so that was our way to stay connected and service everyone at home. Moving forward, strengthening our community, our internal team &ndash; we got to know everybody at a different level and I value that. It makes you deal with your business differently. And it&rsquo;s fun.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Part of the Banjo Community<br /></strong>Jamie feels lucky to serve musicians and share what they&rsquo;re doing. &ldquo;One of the things that&rsquo;s so awesome in the banjo industry is that banjo players tend to be very nice people. I have a lot of respect for banjo players as human beings, and really all instrument players.</p> <p>She&rsquo;s also &ldquo;gotten to know our music stores. I&rsquo;ve visited the Denver Folklore Center and they are such wonderful people. The store is so welcoming and it has that kind of magic created by people who have a passion to provide music to their community. It&rsquo;s special people that do that. Yes, we make the instruments, but that helps them do what they do for the community. That&rsquo;s not lost on any of us. It&rsquo;s important for us to support each other. How we can do more of that over time is on my mind.&rdquo;</p> <p>And Deering has long-lasting relationships with other instrument builders. &ldquo;It's been nice to watch our friends in the industry also do well. We&rsquo;ve never had a competitive feeling in our industry. We don&rsquo;t function that way. Tanya and Chuck Ogsbury (OME Banjos) &hellip; my dad has known Chuck since before they got started.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>The Future of Deering<br /></strong>Jamie says&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Deering&rsquo;s</a> purpose is to &ldquo;make musical instruments that bring joy into the world. That&rsquo;s always been the motivation. That&rsquo;s why we have over two hundred versions of our banjos - we listen to our customers and want them to have the banjo they&rsquo;ve always wanted. We&rsquo;re not just a business trying to earn money, that&rsquo;s not us.&rdquo;</p> <p>And she&rsquo;s excited about the future. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m forty-three, so I have years ahead of me. I&rsquo;ve built a great team. I love the guys that have been here for so long, who are just amazing craftsmen. And to work with them and see this place grow and become more of a cohesive team is really exciting. I enjoy being part of that.&rdquo;</p> <p>There are also some upgrades coming. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of handwork that goes into every banjo and that will never change. But the jigs that we use to do the parts &hellip; using those for twenty years, they have done their job. We are in the process of updating that. We&rsquo;re also looking to make improvements to the Goodtime line. We&rsquo;re always looking to add value to what we can provide.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;What we&rsquo;re doing now is looking to the future and taking steps to ensure stability for us and our crew. No matter what the market does, choices we make now will make that easier or harder. We&rsquo;re looking into improving sustainability. We want to put out an even better product but also a sustainable product. We have some new products on the ProPick brand to release. We&rsquo;re really excited about events and shows coming back, like RockyGrass - to see shows selling out is huge! There are so many possibilities.&rdquo;</p> Vince Herman - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Vince Herman is a singer, songwriter and co-founder of the legendary band, Leftover Salmon. He spoke with us about his childhood, time living in Colorado and "getting lost together" in music.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>From Polka to Bluegrass<br /></span></strong><span>Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, Vince was part of a big family and surrounded by music. &ldquo;I saw a lot of polka bands as a kid. I was the youngest of seven kids, so I was influenced by all my older siblings&rsquo; musical interests. I just devoured them on the family record player. Everything from Motown to the British Invasion and more </span><em><span>rock</span></em><span>&nbsp;'<em>n</em>'&nbsp;<em>roll</em></span><span> like Traffic and Humble Pie.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>It was a music festival that really got the ball rolling musically for Vince. &ldquo;In eighth grade I went to the Smokey City Folk Festival and saw this group of about thirty people playing underneath a tree. I assumed they had just met each other, and there they were making this music &hellip; it was mind boggling that these folks could come together and play this stuff and that opened the door to the social aspect of music for me. It never occurred to me that by playing and learning these tunes I could travel anywhere and meet people and have this instant bond and musical camaraderie. That was a real revelation to me about what music can do. From that point on I really dug into bluegrass.&rdquo; </span></p> <p>Although the country and rock genres were popular at the time, Vince began branching out musically. &ldquo;I was listening to Charlie Daniels and Marshall Tucker, southern rock. But more and more folks like David Bromberg and Doc Watson got into my ears and opened the door to bluegrass. When I moved to West Virginia and got into the old-timey music scene and got to play with heroes like Melvin Wine and Mose Coffman, that really connected me deep into the American roots scene. I guess I&rsquo;ve been chasing that ever since.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><span>A Hippie with a Guitar<br /></span></strong><span>Vince took guitar lessons from third to seventh grade, then began teaching in eighth grade until he went away to college. &ldquo;I took piano lessons but the guitar caught my eye. When I was two years old, my brother made me a little plywood guitar with rubber band strings. I used to entertain my mother&rsquo;s card club. We were a strict Irish German Catholic family and the cultural revolution was going on, so my brothers and sisters dressed me up like a hippie, because they weren&rsquo;t allowed to be. I have a photo of myself at age two dressed like one of The Beatles. Not much has changed in my life &ndash; I&rsquo;m still a hippie with a guitar.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>On the Hot Rize Trail<br /></span></strong>In 1985, Vince moved to Colorado &ldquo;pretty much on the Hot Rize trail and the bluegrass festival. They made Colorado look like a great progressive bluegrass scene&nbsp;to step into after being in West Virginia all those years.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>When he pulled into town that first night, Vince stopped in a place called The Walrus in Boulder and there was a sign outside that read: Live Bluegrass Tonight. &ldquo;I walked into that place and the Left Hand String Band was playing. I would later join forces with the Salmon Heads and start this thing called Leftover Salmon that&rsquo;s been going for 32 years now.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>And Vince is no stranger to the Denver Folklore Center. &ldquo;The store has an amazing history from back when Harry Tuft was involved. So many people of great musical importance have passed through there. I&rsquo;ve been to the store and known about it forever. That&rsquo;s where Hot Rize got together. It&rsquo;s a legendary place. I lived in Boulder and Nederland and bought an instrument at the store about fifteen years ago. Unfortunately, I never saw a show or performance there, but I know the mythology.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Getting Lost Together&nbsp;<br /></span></strong>Vince listens to a variety of music and sees himself as &ldquo;kind of a punk rocker. I love Irish music, old-time music. I&rsquo;ve got an extensive collection of 78s for my Victrola. I like picking up some old string band stuff, and just found some Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers yesterday. I really love New Orleans&rsquo; music in a strong way &ndash; talk about music with a social role to play. There&rsquo;s nothing better than being in a New Orleans&rsquo; second line with a brass band, man. I really like to get my ears in that.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>When he&rsquo;s performing, Vince is all about the social aspect - meeting people and traveling. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of real-time presence at a musical event. I remember as a kid going to shows and that feeling right before it started &ndash; you just felt like you were going to pop! Just couldn&rsquo;t take the buildup. And that&rsquo;s really because you&rsquo;re present. The rest of the world kind of goes away and you&rsquo;re there. I like getting lost in that. And one reason I like the improv on stage is gathering people into the show in real time. That&rsquo;s something essential to the human experience &ndash; to be lost in something as a group. I believe in it.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Songwriting and Collaborating<br /></span></strong>Since moving to Nashville, Vince has been writing a lot of songs. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been co-writing for the first time ever. It&rsquo;s really an amazing process. In town you tend to have sessions that go about four hours (10am &ndash; 2pm) and it&rsquo;s guaranteed you&rsquo;ll get at least one song out of a session. Nobody leaves without something being done. It&rsquo;s an amazing process. I love to improvise on stage and make words up on the spot and always wondered if it was going to help me get into a co-writing situation and it really seems to have worked.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had a lot of great times with meeting a lot of new people who are incredibly talented and the writing process has been a real eye-opener for me. I&rsquo;ve had so much fun doing it and I&rsquo;m working on releasing my first solo record. After doing all this writing I&rsquo;ve got a collection of songs I have to get out to people. So that will be coming out this summer."</span></p> <p><span>Leftover Salmon isn&rsquo;t his only band. <strong>Vince also plays with The High Hawks</strong> &ndash; a band that includes Tim Carbone (from Railroad Earth), Chad Staehly (from Hard Working Americans), Adam Greuel (from Horseshoes &amp; Hand Grenades), Brian Adams (from DeadPhish Orchestra) and Will Trask (from Great American Taxi). <strong>They&rsquo;ll be in Vail June 21<sup>st</sup> &ndash; all tour dates are </strong></span><strong><a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a>.</strong></p> <p><strong>And enjoy some Leftover Salmon in 2022 as they support their latest album &ldquo;Brand New Good Old Days&rdquo; &ndash; see all their show dates <a href="">HERE</a>.</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Catch the band in Colorado:<br /></strong></span>June 4<sup>th</sup> and 5<sup>th</sup> at <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Block Party Eagle</a></strong> in Eagle, CO<br /><span>July 1<sup>st</sup> and 2<sup>nd</sup> at </span><strong><a href="" target="_blank">The Mishawaka</a></strong><span> in Bellvue, CO<br /></span><span>July 16<sup>th</sup> at </span><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Red Rocks Amphitheatre</a></strong><span> in Morrison, CO<br /></span><span>August 12<sup>th</sup> and 13<sup>th</sup> at <strong><a href="" target="_blank">I Bar Ranch</a></strong></span><span>&nbsp;in Gunnison, CO</span></p> No Glass Ceiling Here: The Rise of Women in Bluegrass http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>During the decades of the formation and maturation of bluegrass as a distinct musical style, it was almost exclusively a male domain. On stage, on vinyl and in the picking circles at festivals, the hot players and bandleaders were men, with an occasional female vocalist or supporting player representing a rare exception.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p>A seismic shift took place in 1987,&nbsp;when Alison Krauss released her first album and toured the summer music festivals. The impact of seeing this 16-year-old National Fiddle Champion (also a supremely talented vocalist) tearing it up as the front person of her own band, resonated powerfully with audiences. After winning many Grammys, playing for multiple presidents and delighting audiences from Portland to Prague, Ms. Krauss remains a dominant figure both in bluegrass and crossover genres.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Among her memorable performances is the night in 2007 when she invited 10-year-old mandolin prodigy Sierra Hull to join her onstage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Sierra later became the first Presidential Scholar at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and a go-to for countless collaborations with older, established players who appeared to delight in mentoring the demure young woman with the powerhouse chops and angelic voice. She could well be the foremost mandolin picker of her generation, but also in consideration for that title would be Sarah Jarosz, who came to prominence around the same time and is widely known for her work with the band I&rsquo;m With Her, which also features the fine fiddle player Sarah Watkins. Any accounting of the finest female pickers must include the endlessly creative banjo player Alison Brown and the universally acclaimed and deeply influential guitarist Molly Tuttle.</span></p> <p>Every one of these exceptional players can be seen in concert and heard on recordings leading their own ensembles, collaborating with legendary players of multiple generations and genres and mentoring fine young players both female and male. No one involved with bluegrass music can have missed the impact of these women, whose talents have been enthusiastically showcased by a music community who clearly recognized that their time had come. - Claude Brachfeld, Co-Owner Denver Folklore Center</p> Meet the Builders - Chuck Ogsbury, OME Banjos http://www.denverfolklore.com Chuck Ogsbury, founder and builder of OME Banjos, started out musically playing guitar. &ldquo;A poor teacher and a poor guitar ended my first attempt.&rdquo; It wasn&rsquo;t until he moved to Colorado in 1956 that he really got into playing music. He &ldquo;came across a fellow frailing an open-back five-string banjo - I&rsquo;d never seen that done before. It was hard to tell how he was getting all those notes out of that banjo. His name was&nbsp;Darius &lsquo;Diz&rsquo; Darwin, a relative of Charles Darwin.&rdquo; It was his friendship with Diz and another banjo player (Al Camp) that got Chuck playing the banjo.<br /><br />Chuck says he "grew up intrigued by building with metal and wood and began learning vintage design techniques with those materials.&rdquo; Later in college&nbsp;he &ldquo;started picking up old instruments in the second-hand stores and pawn shops in the Denver area. I would bring these old beauties back up to Boulder, make them more playable if necessary&nbsp;and with a few lessons&nbsp;turn my engineering classmates on to playing guitar and banjo. This turned out to be a very fulfilling experience for me.&rdquo;<br /><br />He considers himself first and foremost&nbsp;a designer and builder. "That is what I really love to do. Building musical instruments is especially rewarding because of the music involved. Designing with sound adds another dimension that I have a special interest in. The banjo&nbsp;in particular&nbsp;is such a wonderful instrument to work with. Its construction allows for so many possibilities - just about anything goes.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong><img width="250" height="186" src="" alt="chuck ogsbury ome banjos" align="left" class="img-responsive" />The Early Years</strong><br />Chuck started building banjos about 1960. &ldquo;One of the reasons I&rsquo;ve been able to do it for so long is I do other things like designing and building buildings, like some mountain houses. And my partner and I do light industrial flex buildings for small businesses, really nice spaces. We build buildings that are environmentally friendly and we&rsquo;ve had good luck doing that. I&rsquo;ve been building solar cabins for fifty-some years in the mountains west of Boulder, CO. I go back and forth between doing that and building banjos and enjoying my life. We do quite a bit of traveling and outdoor stuff - that keeps my sanity. The music business is wonderful but it&rsquo;s a hard way to make a living, especially building banjos and probably working in most music. I&rsquo;ve been fortunate to get into this real estate building business too.&rdquo;<br /><br />These days Chuck is part-time at the banjo shop. &ldquo;I go in cycles. When I first started building banjos in 1960, I worked sixty-plus hours for six years straight. I got really burned out. I sold the business&nbsp;and did other things. Later I got back into building instruments&nbsp;and my partners moved the business to Boulder. We&rsquo;ve gone through a lot of changes, but life is change.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong><img width="185" height="278" src="" align="right" class="img-responsive" />The Return of ODE Banjos</strong><br />Chuck&rsquo;s youngest son Zen is&nbsp;now building his original line of banjos (ODE) which is &ldquo;one of the favorite instruments of the folk revival era. In his first life as a maker Chuck produced around 1,900 ODE banjos, ranging from basic aluminum pot long-necks to fancy bluegrass models.&rdquo; Zen (and his partner Zoe) are &ldquo;building in the original shop which was built fifty years ago. I ended up getting the original ODE trademark back. Zen&rsquo;s building the ODEs in a whole new line - the design is different but the name's the same.&rdquo; (read more about the history of ODE <a href="">here</a>)<br /><br /><strong>OME Banjos</strong><br />Chuck&rsquo;s daughter Tanya manages the business end of OME. &ldquo;She works there with two thirty-year employees &ndash; Rich and Gustavo. Unfortunately, we&rsquo;ve found it&rsquo;s become difficult to produce banjos. Building banjos is more complex than building guitars. Getting parts, supplies and new help has become difficult.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Nature Provides Inspiration</strong><br />Chuck&rsquo;s banjo designs are inspired by his love of the outdoors. &ldquo;I do most of my designing in my head when I&rsquo;m out in nature. Designing is a big part of what I do and bringing those designs to life. Banjos&nbsp;are a niche instrument, bluegrass being the biggest one in recent years. Bluegrass banjos are different than what young people are using right now (more of a folk-type of banjo) which is mostly where my music roots are."<br /><br />&ldquo;In the late &lsquo;50s to the end of the last century, there was a lot of interest in Dixieland jazz (that&rsquo;s a four-string banjo)&nbsp;and that&rsquo;s a whole different world musically. Now you&rsquo;re finding the tenor banjos used by Irish players getting more popular. Then you have the old-time music crowd who use the five-string open-back banjo, but it has more flexibility and it&rsquo;s used by a lot of younger people. It&rsquo;s also been nice to see a lot more women getting into playing the banjo. The banjo has got an interesting history tied into American culture. Music goes in cycles. I kind of go along with the cycles. I always come back with renewed interest. That&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;ve been able to do it for so long.&rdquo;<br /><br /><img width="200" height="167" src="" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Chuck is excited about revamping ODE. &ldquo;I love what we&rsquo;re doing with ODE. The four-string banjo for instance, they got very elaborate and fancy and bluegrass tended to get very fancy also. But the folk instruments are simpler. The crash of &rsquo;08 kind of devastated the high-end market. So people started creating instruments that were less expensive and simpler. Musically they would work just fine if they were designed and built right, but they cost a lot less. That&rsquo;s primarily what we&rsquo;re doing at ODE. There are a few small companies that make high-quality American instruments and we&rsquo;re one of those. Where we go from here, who knows. We will see what happens.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br />Learn more about Chuck and his banjos visit <a href="">OME</a> and <a href="">ODE</a>. The Velveteers' Demi Demitro - Friends of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Demi Demitro, singer/guitarist for the Boulder, Colorado-born rock trio The Velveteers, is currently on tour (with bandmates/drummers Baby Pottersmith and Jonny Fig) and took the time to give us a glimpse into her life and music.</span></p> <p><span>Growing up in Boulder, Demi practiced guitar up to nine hours a day. She, Pottersmith and Fig formed The Velveteers in 2014 and developed a reputation for their raw, energetic performances. Music superstar Dan Auerbach (from The Black Keys) saw videos of their shows and &ldquo;instantly dug them &hellip; they just sound so powerful.&rdquo; He liked their sound so much he invited them to his studio in Nashville.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>In October 2021, the Colorado band released their first album <em>Nightmare Daydream</em>, with Auerbach producing.</span></p> <p><strong><span><img width="132" height="132" src="" alt="the velveteers" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Influences<br /></span></strong>Demi remembers &ldquo;a local band from Boulder called Rose Hill Drive that had a really big impact on me ever since I can remember. Hearing their music is what made me want to play guitar and start a rock band. I also love Grace Potter, PJ Harvey, St. Vincent, Deap Vally and Lana Del Rey.&rdquo;</p> <p>Demi says she wanted to become a musician because it made her feel empowered. &ldquo;When I started making music it finally felt like I found the one thing that brought me to life. There was no feeling as beautiful as being in the moment of creating music. It sounds silly, but when I started writing music I felt like I became more connected and in tune with the world around me. I started noticing little beautiful things that otherwise I never really cared about before.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Early on</span> <span>Demi took two guitar lessons but then decided to teach herself. &ldquo;I started listened to a lot of rock albums and then those bands and their records just sort of became my teachers. I would sit down and play along to bands like Rose Hill Drive, The Strokes, PJ Harvey and the Stooges for hours.&rdquo;</span> <span>Some music currently on her playlist includes Norah Jones, Brockhampton, Sparklehorse, Blur and John Lennon.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Songwriting and Collaborating<br /></span></strong>Like many songwriters, Demi is very disciplined. &ldquo;I love the idea of The Beatles keeping &lsquo;banker&rsquo;s hours&rsquo; (as songwriters) and I think it&rsquo;s very similar to my creative process. I sit down every day and write songs and always try to be consistent about it. There&rsquo;s a really great book that focuses on this type of creative process called &lsquo;The War of Art&rsquo; by an author named Steven Pressfield. I recommend anyone who&rsquo;s an artist should read it because it definitely changed my life and the way I work.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><span><img width="200" height="134" src="" alt="the velveteers" align="right" class="img-responsive" />Demi and the band &ldquo;felt really honored to get the opportunity to work with Dan (<span>Auerbach)</span>. He&rsquo;s the real deal and just knew how to capture our live sound which was impressive to me. Dan helped broaden our horizons and bring out elements in our music we otherwise might not have thought of ourselves.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>As a woman in the music business, Demi &ldquo;feels grateful for all the women who came before me because without them I wouldn&rsquo;t be where I am. But I have to say there is still so much that needs to change in the music industry. There is so much misogyny and it makes me want to cry. I feel like I constantly have to convince people to take me seriously when that shouldn&rsquo;t even be a thought that crosses my mind. I&rsquo;m lucky to have had great mentors early on, like the women in Deap Vally, who taught me how to stick up for myself.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>When she gets back to Denver, Demi&rsquo;s looking forward to seeing the store in person. &ldquo;I haven&rsquo;t been to the Denver Folklore Center, but I&rsquo;d love to visit sometime!&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>You can catch Demi and The Velveteers performing at the Fox Theatre in Boulder on April 15th with Dry Ice &amp; Rose Variety. And at the Aggie Theater in Fort Collins on April 16th with Plasma Canvas &amp; Cody. Get more information and tickets <strong><a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a></strong>.&nbsp;</span></p> The Shift to Online Buying http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>To state the obvious, the internet has dramatically changed the way we shop. During the last two years I&rsquo;ve made far more online than in-person purchases, to the detriment of smaller retail stores like ours. For a good number of months during the pandemic that was really the only viable option as brick-and-mortar stores were closed or restricting access and people were reticent to leave home and interact with others whose health status they didn&rsquo;t know or trust.</p> <p>Industry experts are reporting that many more people each year are using the internet to purchase instruments and other music-related tools. Some manufacturers are even abandoning the retail channel entirely and selling directly to consumers. Companies like Sweetwater, Musician&rsquo;s Friend and Amazon are capturing ever increasing proportions of the instrument buying public.</p> <p>So why look for your next guitar, mandolin or banjo at a local store when it is so convenient to just order it online? Since I&rsquo;ve done both over the years I can testify that the in-person experience far outweighs the convenience of online shopping.</p> <p>Buying an instrument is a sensory experience. How the guitar looks, feels in your hand and sounds are all integral parts of the buying experience. Most importantly no two instruments, even of the same model, are exactly the same. The pattern of the grain in woods, the tone profile of a carved instrument top &ndash; these are unique to each plank of wood removed from a tree as well as the builder. And what better way is there to compare a Collings to a Martin or a Taylor than to play all three in the same environment?</p> <p>For those who have no or difficult access to a local retailer, buying online is a blessing and we are happy to serve that customer from a distance. Otherwise, we encourage you to shop locally for your next instrument. &ndash; Saul Rosenthal, Co-Owner, Denver Folklore Center</p> The Ones that Got Away - Harry Tuft http://www.denverfolklore.com Denver Folklore Center founder, Harry Tuft, has so many instruments that got away, we had to give him his own page! Get ready for another sad tale told by Harry himself:<br /><br /> <p>I was about to go on a trip for a couple of weeks and thought some of my guitars would be more secure in a storage locker than at my condo, which turned out to be an incorrect idea.</p> <p>I had the instruments in hard-shell cases and took them to my storage unit. Unbeknownst to me, the woman in a white Mercedes was behind me was a thief and also had a storage unit there. She followed me and saw the instruments in hard-shell cases. What that generally means is that they are of considerable value. While I was away, she and her boyfriend cut the lock off, stole the instruments and put another lock on so it wouldn&rsquo;t be noticed by the storage unit manager.</p> <p>When I came back, I saw that it wasn&rsquo;t my lock. The manager cut the lock and realized they were gone. Luckily, there were cameras by the elevator and we were able to reconstruct what had happened. Later we found out she, her daughter and boyfriend had records. She ended up getting caught and sent to prison.&nbsp;<span id="docs-internal-guid-83fcf4ae-7fff-84e0-9f4f-4c0573e01066"><span>Some $12,000 worth of instruments were stolen.</span></span> There was one electric, two acoustic and one classical guitar.<br /><br /></p> <p><strong><img width="63" height="95" src="" alt="gibson es-225td" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Gibson ES-225TD (electric)<br /></strong>I had sold this instrument to Otis Taylor in 2012. He used it for two years and I subsequently bought it back from him, as a friend, for the same price of his purchase ($2,000).&nbsp; It was a wonderful instrument to play &ndash; a slimline hollow body guitar that one would use more for jazz. I had it set up with easy-playing strings. It was a joy to play and of the four, the most <span id="docs-internal-guid-892c7cfd-7fff-7690-75d3-5135bb42de29"><span>reproducible</span></span>. It was the only one that was not unique. (photo source:&nbsp;<br /><br /></p> <p><strong>Santa Cruz Guitar, OM Grand<br /></strong>This was the first of five custom-ordered guitars I had Santa Cruz build to celebrate my 50 years in business. Santa Cruz made a lot of guitars that replicated Martin shapes, but they had never made the largest shaped Martin (0000). So I asked Richard Hoover, the owner of Santa Cruz, if I purchased five of the 0000s, would he consider making the new mold for the new shape. At the NAMM (<span>National Association of Music Merchants) </span>meeting that winter he asked the question if he made the 0000 would the dealers be interested and enough of them were that he decided to go about making them.<strong><br /><img width="141" height="141" src="" align="right" class="img-responsive" /></strong><strong><br /></strong>He made me five. And four of the five were a particular insignia inscription in the fingerboard that was a &ldquo;50&rdquo; at the fifth fret and a &ldquo;1962&rdquo; at the 12<sup>th</sup> fret and the last three frets had &ldquo;Denver Folklore Center&rdquo;.&nbsp;<span id="docs-internal-guid-31afeef5-7fff-07ea-1363-71a31fb54ee0"><span>I ordered the fifth one</span></span> without the markings because I would just use it as a working guitar, which fortunately I still have. And there was one at the store, which I eventually sold to a good friend who still has that one.<strong><br /></strong></p> <p>Santa Cruz decided they liked the shape so much they established it in their catalogue as an OM Grand and that&rsquo;s what it&rsquo;s called today. But the very first one is the one I kept. Santa Cruz numbers its guitars by model, so the very first one has the serial number 01. And it was that last one that was stolen. It was spruce topped, mahogany back and sides, celluloid tortoise shell binding. The wholesale price to me was $4,300.&nbsp; It was sold in either Texas or Florida so it&rsquo;s floating around the country or the world somewhere. (photo source:</p> <p><strong><br /><img width="134" height="178" src="" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Juan Pimentel Flamenco Guitar (1957)<br /></strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-b0013c43-7fff-2686-6931-462c9b5562f7"><span>A traditional Spanish-style flamenco guitar has a spruce top and white Spanish cypress sides.</span></span>&nbsp;I got it through a friend, Steve&nbsp;<span id="docs-internal-guid-d35361ef-7fff-879d-69f8-1a26e5b1b450"><span>Wiencrot,</span></span> who got it from someone in Ft. Collins. It had a smashed-in top and they didn&rsquo;t feel they were up to repair it, so I bought it. I took it to a wonderful repairman who was living in Boulder, Bob Westbrook. I asked him to repair the top but not cosmetically, I only wanted it to be playable. I didn&rsquo;t care what it looked like. On a side note, if Bob came into a situation where he needed a tool that he didn&rsquo;t have, he&rsquo;d make one. He was a superb repairman.</p> <p>This was a wonderful guitar. It had a rich tone to it and I valued it around $1,500 and I&rsquo;m sure when these folks went to pawn it they never got more than $50 for it because it looked like a junker guitar. The DFC sold this guitar to Phillip Beasley in 2003 without a case. I subsequently added a hardshell case. It was made in Mexico City and is not the same family as currently makes guitars in New Mexico. Phillip subsequently made a gift of the guitar to me,&nbsp;around 2007, and I had kept it in my personal collection ever since. (photo source:&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><br />Custom &ldquo;J-200 Style&rdquo; Jumbo Flat Top Guitar<br /></strong>This was an absolutely unique guitar made by DFC luthier John Rumley. John and I have a friend named Larry Pogreba who frequently came through the store and had things to sell. He had four tops he had acquired somehow that came from the Kay factory from the 1950s. These tops had already been pre-cut in the jumbo style that replicated the Gibson J-200. The sound hole had been cut and I believe the sound hole inlay also. He sold them to John who made two guitars out of two of the tops, just wonderful instruments.&nbsp;<span id="docs-internal-guid-80fcbed1-7fff-4fe5-e0b1-fa5b4146921f"><span>The guitar had an amazingly clear tone, with nice trebles all the way up the neck.</span></span>&nbsp;It was amazingly responsive. John used a violin-quality maple back. It was one-of-a-kind and had only John&rsquo;s logo on the top. So once again they probably didn&rsquo;t get much for it when they pawned it because it wasn&rsquo;t a well-known brand instrument. John and I valued it at $1,500. So that&rsquo;s also out in the world somewhere.</p> The Boost of Popular Culture http://www.denverfolklore.com <div align="center"> <p style="text-align: left;">Israel Kamakawiwo&#699;ole&nbsp;also known as&nbsp;Bruddah&nbsp;or just simply&nbsp;IZ, was a&nbsp;Hawaiian&nbsp;musician, singer, songwriter whose 1993 version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"/"What a Wonderful World" may have been the catalyst for a dramatic increase in ukulele sales over the next few years. And in 2004 ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro catapulted instrument sales to new heights with his version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".</p> </div> So does popular culture regularly drive instrument sales? My colleagues at the Denver Folklore Center shared with me several other scenarios that may fit that pattern. The year was 1972, the movie was <em>Deliverance</em>, and the song was "Dueling Banjos". In the weeks and months following the release of the film sales of banjos at the store increased significantly. The same may have been the case in 2000 when <em>Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?</em> featured the acoustic guitar in some exciting, driving songs. Sales of guitars jumped soon after the movie came out.<br /><br />According to harmonica historian Kim Fields, &ldquo;the golden age of the mouth organ&rdquo; came between the world wars, when vaudevillians toured with mouth harps and Hollywood westerns put them between the lips of glamorous cowboys. In 1944, a former Marine from Chicago, Jerry Murad, formed a trio of<br />harmonizing harmonica players in dinner jackets and ties called the Harmonicats. Not long after, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Little Walter were pioneering the Chicago blues harmonica sound. Each of these trends influenced folk, rock and soul players, from&nbsp;Bob Dylan&nbsp;to&nbsp;Stevie Wonder&nbsp;to&nbsp;John Popper&nbsp;of&nbsp;Blues Traveler.<br /><br />So which folk instrument might soon get a boost from popular culture? - Saul Rosenthal, Co-Owner, Denver Folklore Center The Lumineers' Wes Schultz - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <div align="center"> <h1>&nbsp;</h1> </div> <table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="3"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><span>The highly anticipated album </span><em><span>BRIGHTSIDE</span></em><span> by American folk-rock group The Lumineers was released in January 2022 and offers up a message of hope in these strange times. We spoke to Wes Schultz, guitarist and lead vocalist for the band, on the eve of their European tour.</span></p> <p><strong><em><span>BRIGHTSIDE<br /></span></em></strong><span>Wes says </span><em><span>BRIGHTSIDE</span></em><span> was unplanned. &ldquo;My wife had our second child last March and we (he and band mate Jeremiah Fraites) had gone into the studio in February with just the goal of recording one or two songs. We left with five, then followed up with a session a few months later and finished the record. There was something about it that was just off the cuff. We didn&rsquo;t do a lot of takes, it wasn&rsquo;t really planned out, it was more like we were just doing it for the fun of it. I think that comes across.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Wes considers the band&rsquo;s previous record <em>III </em>more of an ambitious concept album compared to </span><em><span>BRIGHTSIDE</span></em><span>. &ldquo;We tried to tell a story then, and this new album is not that at all. It&rsquo;s more like a couple of kids playing around. The vibe isn&rsquo;t that everything is okay, it&rsquo;s more like you&rsquo;re forging ahead like you would when you were fifteen. Like you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Maybe we were trying to feel that way. </span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;Now, there&rsquo;s a feeling of uncertainty every day that never gets healed. Everyone is carrying that feeling around. The strangest part is that in my lifetime there&rsquo;s never been something you could say to anyone anywhere and they know what you mean. It&rsquo;s usually isolated to a specific geographic area where a thing happens. But to have it be a worldwide pandemic &hellip; I think there&rsquo;s something unique and strange about that. To be able to relate to the entire world, in this case, is not the best thing. Unfortunately, we&rsquo;re all in the boat together.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Songwriting<br /></span></strong>Recently Wes watched The Beatles documentary&nbsp;&ldquo;Get Back&rdquo; and discovered when it came to writing songs, the band kept banker&rsquo;s hours. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s pretty much how Jer and I write together &ndash; kind of workshopping ideas that will form. A lot of the independent writing between us is done in our own time and it&rsquo;s about just showing up. It&rsquo;s funny, the more he sends me ideas or I send him ideas, it creates this inertia, because we think the other person is writing so I should be writing. It&rsquo;s a reminder that this guy&rsquo;s working hard so I should be working hard, we&rsquo;re a team here.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>The two musicians used to live, write and tour together, but life happens and now they create separately in new ways. &ldquo;When we lived together it was cool because I could hear him fiddling around all the time and that would often be how ideas were discovered. I play more when I&rsquo;m working out something. When I had (Jer playing) around all the time, it was really special. Now he&rsquo;ll send me stuff &ndash; it doesn&rsquo;t matter if it&rsquo;s good enough, just send what you&rsquo;re working on. Then I&rsquo;ll send him ideas as well. Everyone is built a little differently. Our piano player &hellip; we go to a venue and we&rsquo;ll hear him playing for hours. Other people get on stage and that&rsquo;s the first time they&rsquo;ve picked up the instrument that day. It&rsquo;s an interesting mix.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Early Inspiration<br /></span></strong>Like most kids, Wes&rsquo; early musical influences came from his parents, so he listened to whatever was in his dad&rsquo;s tape deck. &ldquo;The Cars, Billy Joel, Leonard Cohen. Those are the big ones. Especially watching my dad listen to Billy Joel was influential. I admired my dad, he was my hero. Watching him respond emotionally, that had a big influence on me. It felt like that was a super power, like black magic, to make people feel.</p> <p><span>&ldquo;My dad was a psychologist and I wanted to do that. Psychology lends itself a lot to songwriting, because if you have an interest in people there&rsquo;s a lot there to sing about. As much as music or musicians inspired me, psychology and the contradictions in people did too.</span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s something about songwriting, where if something is a caricature, you can smell it a mile away. Like, oh that person doesn&rsquo;t know what they&rsquo;re singing about. But if they put in the right line to show you where they&rsquo;re coming from, you understand. There&rsquo;s something about it that interested me and became a fascination.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Wes began writing poetry at a young age but didn&rsquo;t write songs until his mid-teens. &ldquo;I was always accidentally training for songwriting. I pulled out these old notebooks of mine from fifth and sixth grade recently and I had all these weird limericks and poems. The big breakthrough for me was realizing I could spend all this time on lyrics, but it didn&rsquo;t matter at all if it wasn&rsquo;t married to a melody. If it wasn&rsquo;t something that was hummable and carried and supported the lyrics, the lyrics didn&rsquo;t matter.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>He believes there has to be a balance in songwriting and &ldquo;it took me years to get that concept. We used to cover songs and I&rsquo;d say &lsquo;I love singing these songs, why don&rsquo;t I love singing our songs&rsquo;? Because I sucked at writing melodies! It's a way of being listened to or being heard. You may have the most profound thing to say, but if you&rsquo;re the wrong messenger it&rsquo;s going to be lost in the minutia of everything.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Now Wes listens to music with his own son. &ldquo;I listen to a lot of Nick Drake and Daniel Rodriguez from Elephant Revival - we&rsquo;ve become good friends. We did a song of his &ndash; a Christmas song. I&rsquo;ll get obsessed with different things. Joni Mitchell&rsquo;s <em>Blue</em> record was on repeat for a while. Nick Drake and Daniel Rodriguez are what I listen to the most though.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Learning to Play<br /></span></strong>Wes took music lessons growing up and even played trumpet for a while. But that didn&rsquo;t last long. &ldquo;The trumpet wasn&rsquo;t fun to play by yourself. I hated the scales. I had this idea of justice in my head. I knew I was better than the guy in first chair, but the teacher said &lsquo;I can&rsquo;t put you in first chair because you don&rsquo;t do the scales&rsquo;. I was like, this isn&rsquo;t fair, I&rsquo;m out of here.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>When he was fifteen he saw a Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds concert at West Point and the musical seed was planted. &ldquo;I wanted to do that! I took guitar lessons for about six months. You can take guitar lessons for a long time, but once you know enough it&rsquo;s all user led. You don&rsquo;t really need someone constantly instructing you, it just depends on your interest in it.</span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;At first I needed someone to crack the whip, but eventually I loved doing it. I loved playing and writing songs. Then I wanted to learn how to solo, which never worked out. I met a teacher in college (musician Charles Arthur out of Richmond, VA). We barely picked up instruments. We talked about music and he told me his philosophy about it. We were kindred and everything he said resonated with me. Like how do you say the most with the least?</span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;When we talked about music, he opened up a whole new world on how to think about it. Now every time we get a gold or platinum record, I send him one with his name on it. I wouldn&rsquo;t be where I am without those conversations. And he says, &lsquo;Shut up, you&rsquo;re f*cking lying&rsquo;. He doesn&rsquo;t want to hear it. But I think he&rsquo;s secretly tickled by it. It&rsquo;s kind of eerie to think about if I hadn&rsquo;t met him I don&rsquo;t know where I&rsquo;d be, but it&rsquo;s true. Some people are like angels in your life and they put you in a direction that you couldn&rsquo;t have anticipated.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;<br /><br /><img width="200" height="198" src="" alt="The Lumineers Brightside" class="img-responsive" align="left" /><strong><span>Making the Decision<br /></span></strong><span>Mr. Arthur didn&rsquo;t just teach Wes to play guitar, he taught him how to devote himself to being a musician. &ldquo;I remember him saying that if you want to play music then you can play music. If you like it enough and you&rsquo;re willing to put it first and give up all this other stuff, you can do it. He said &lsquo;I&rsquo;ve heard your songs and your voice and you&rsquo;re good enough. It's just going to be a decision you make&rsquo;. It was really empowering and also sobering. You really have to subtract a lot of things from your life to do this one thing, and if you&rsquo;re willing to do that, it&rsquo;s for you.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been lucky enough to meet some professional athletes, like Tyson Barrie, a defenseman who used to play for the Avs (Colorado Avalanche) and there&rsquo;s a lot of traits that overlap in these different fields. Like if you&rsquo;re just obsessed with something then you tend to get better at it and you go somewhere with it, and if you&rsquo;re not, you don&rsquo;t. You must have a reasonable amount of skill and there are other factors, but honestly, if things didn&rsquo;t break my way, I&rsquo;d still be playing music, it&rsquo;d just be different venues. That&rsquo;s a good feeling.&rdquo;</span></p> <p>Success didn&rsquo;t come to the band for quite a while. And when it did, it was kind of a shock to the system. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s interesting that nothing happened for us for like ten years and then all of a sudden something happened. And the world doesn&rsquo;t really understand what you&rsquo;ve done before that. They think you&rsquo;re twenty-one years old, but I was thirty. And you have to deal with the misunderstanding and go forward. It was easier for me during the years when nothing happened. There was kind of a trauma with success because you think it can all go away just like that.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re coming up on ten years since our first record and that means a lot to me because I spent about five of those years wondering when the other shoe was going to drop. I couldn&rsquo;t really trust it. Like why didn&rsquo;t success happen in little increments? It was feast or famine. I feel so happy to still be making music with Jer and for me to feel like we&rsquo;re doing our best work. We&rsquo;re lucky that somehow on our fourth record we made our best album. What a great place to be! We should be grateful to the gods, because not everything plays out like that.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><span>The Upcoming Tour<br /></span></strong>The Lumineers will be on tour starting February 2022. &ldquo;A lot of our shows in the U.S. this summer are outdoors so we&rsquo;re just kind of waiting for the green light. We&rsquo;re excited about it. I love the Denver Folklore Center. It&rsquo;s my go-to store and am happy to be part of the newsletter.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>Want to see Wes and The Lumineers in concert this year? See their tour dates and buy </span><em><span>BRIGHTSIDE&nbsp;</span></em><strong><a href="">HERE</a></strong><span>.</span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> Pandemics and Stores Like Ours http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>Who knew what a pandemic could do to the supply of musical instruments? Through 2019 stores like the Denver Folklore Center were placing monthly and quarterly orders assuming buying patterns would remain the same though 2020. Little did we know that everything would change dramatically as a result of COVID-19.</p> <p>On March 24<sup>th</sup> we closed our store in compliance with orders from the city of Denver. For the next seven weeks we filled online orders only that we could ship without customer contact. And we received no new merchandise. In mid-May we reopened with curb-side service only and then towards the end of the month we started hosting customers in small numbers inside the store with masks and social distancing &ndash; and still with no new instruments coming in.</p> <p>Over the next thirty to forty-five days we saw a doubling or even tripling in the number of instrument purchases over what we had anticipated. People were working (or not) from home, had no place to spend disposable income since almost everything was shut down, were receiving checks from the government to help them through the shutdown and were looking for something to do. Guitars, mandolins, banjos and ukuleles were flying out the door and we were on the phone with our vendors daily ordering more, and more and more.<br /><br />And so were all the other music stores in the US and abroad. Meanwhile, the manufacturers had also been shut down and when they came back on line it was with a reduced workforce and 300-500% more orders than usual. It was the retail equivalent of the perfect storm.&nbsp;</p> <p>Over the last several months we have seen some of our suppliers recover to the point that our 2020 orders are mostly in and our 2021 orders are slowly getting caught up. Even so, many orders we place today will take anywhere from three to eighteen months to arrive and a few of our vendors are not even accepting orders until late 2022 or early 2023.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are grateful to all our customers who supported us through these challenging times and we will continue to do all we can to keep a robust selection of instruments available in the store. Whatever normal will look like in our industry is still at least twelve to twenty-four months away.&nbsp;<br /><br />- Saul Rosenthal, Co-Owner, Denver Folklore Center</p> John Gorka - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>He may be a celebrated singer-songwriter but returning to live music in 2021 made John Gorka nervous. &ldquo;</span><span>I was glad to do it, but it was scary. I did three shows in a row (in New Mexico) and I got more nervous each time. It reminded me of going to open mic night at&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Godfrey Daniels Coffee House</a> in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - practicing my banjo in my dorm room basement and going to play for people. It was like that again, like being a new performer.&rdquo; That describes how many musicians felt this year, even the man <em>Rolling Stone</em> dubbed &ldquo;the leading singer/songwriter of the New Folk movement.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>But John never thought of becoming a musician when he was younger. &ldquo;</span><span>I always liked music but never thought of it as a profession.&rdquo; He was more interested in becoming a writer but didn&rsquo;t realize that music would be his path. &ldquo;I also loved the sound of the banjo and started to learn the five-string banjo. And my brother plays guitar and lent me his. I worked on songs right away because I couldn&rsquo;t play other people&rsquo;s songs in the right way. I could work within my limitations on my own songs.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Godfrey Daniels Coffee House</span></strong></p> <p><span>While attending college John became friends with some fellow musicians who were interested in acoustic music and bluegrass. &ldquo;We founded the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band - the name I took from a book by Paul Oliver, <em>The Story of the Blues</em> &ndash; kind of street band of kids who would get together and play.&rdquo; He performed through college and &ldquo;ran the coffee house program&rdquo;. Then Doug Anderson (a fellow Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band member) introduced him to Godfrey Daniels Coffee House &ndash; a hub where professional musicians from all over the country, the U.K. and parts of Europe came to play - &ldquo;the coffee house has had a rough time over the past couple of years, but they&rsquo;re still there, still going.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>John started going to their open mic nights and eventually hosted them while still in school. &ldquo;I was a general-purpose volunteer there. I was the house opening act for the performers and those folks opened doors for me later. I first opened for Jack Hardy in June of &rsquo;79 and continued as the opening act through the early &lsquo;80s. He was the first person I knew who wrote songs on a schedule &ndash; his was one song per week. That made a big difference to me &ndash; to be on a schedule. He said &lsquo;if you work at it you&rsquo;re going to get better faster&rsquo;. So, I put myself on a song-a-month schedule. And after the first year I had more songs than months, so I moved to a two-song-a-month schedule. I did that for many years until I had kids. </span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;The idea is you don&rsquo;t have to wait for inspiration to come to you. The inspiration comes while you&rsquo;re working - the art happens as you&rsquo;re working on your craft. That&rsquo;s been my approach.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Making Magic</span></strong></p> <p><span>The musicians at the coffee house made a huge impression on John. &ldquo;I had listened to Tim Hardin, John Prine and Steve Goodman. There were people I&rsquo;d met at Godfrey Daniels Coffee House whose music I thought was better than I&rsquo;d heard on the radio and TV &ndash; Stan Rogers was a great Canadian songwriter and Nanci Griffith, Jack Hardy, Claudia Schmidt, Utah Phillips - there&rsquo;s a bunch of people. Watching them do their shows and how my favorite performers could transform a room &ndash; the place would feel completely different than it would before. That&rsquo;s when I realized you don&rsquo;t need a grand hall to make magic with your music. Your music, songs and stories can reach an audience &ndash; that&rsquo;s who I wanted to be when I saw those people. It&rsquo;s a great inspiring place.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>The Denver Folklore Center Connection</span></strong></p> <p><span>&ldquo;I heard about the Denver Folklore Center while reading about the history of folk music. There was probably just a handful of places like it. Denver Folklore has a kind of mythical reputation. I&rsquo;ve met Harry Tuft a number of times - he&rsquo;s a great person, a real inspiration. It&rsquo;s nice to be able to visit with the people that are keeping it going.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Always the Student</span></strong></p> <p><span>John plays several instruments including acoustic guitar, some keyboard, electric guitar and the banjo - he&rsquo;s</span><span> mostly self-taught. &ldquo;My brother taught me some chords on the guitar, but I&rsquo;m kind of an odd learner. I wouldn&rsquo;t recommend self-teaching. I think if I&rsquo;d had a good teacher I&rsquo;d know more, but there&rsquo;s a lot you can learn from online lessons. I never learned to read music very well, so I&rsquo;m taking an online music theory course to fill in the gaps. I&rsquo;m interested in the technical part. If I can get good sounds it doesn&rsquo;t have to be complex to be satisfying. I&rsquo;m still trying to learn. The more I learn the less I know.</span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;I always had kind of a faith in myself that I was doing the right thing. One of my heroes Stan Rogers, his brother said &lsquo;he wasn&rsquo;t so much a hopeless romantic, but a relentless romantic&rsquo;.&rdquo; We think that describes John as well.</span></p> <p><strong><span>One-Song Concert Series</span></strong></p> <p><span>When the pandemic hit John&rsquo;s touring ended overnight, but he found a creative outlet. &ldquo;I have a home recording setup, so I started making videos. I took some online courses to learn how to do it. I started doing one-song concerts each week.&rdquo; People can check out the one-song concerts and his other videos on YouTube </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span>HERE</span></a><span>. Visit John&rsquo;s website for his upcoming tour dates </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span>HERE</span></a><span> - he even has a few Colorado dates in March 2022! And read what John had to say about the instrument that got away &ndash; his Froggy Bottom guitar - </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span>HERE</span></a><span>.</span></p> Tony Trischka - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>Banjo master Tony Trischka sat down with us to talk about playing for live audiences again, his musical collaborations, his latest album and lots more.</p> <p><strong>Performing Live Again</strong></p> <p>Before the pandemic, Tony last performed live in Spain on March 12, 2020. He says returning to performing live felt &hellip; strange. &ldquo;I thought, is this what I do for a living? Yeah, it is. The audiences were great because they were starved for live music. It&rsquo;s good to be back to normal - good normal as opposed to weird good. I can&rsquo;t even explain what was weird about it, it was just odd.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Musical Collaborations </strong></p> <p>Having played with some amazing musicians over the years like (former student) B&eacute;la Fleck, Alison Krauss and Steve Martin to name a few, it&rsquo;s pretty clear Tony enjoys collaborating. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve worked with the Violent Femmes over the years. I&rsquo;ve done recordings with them and they&rsquo;ve graciously been on my recordings. We&rsquo;ve done live shows. They&rsquo;re great guys and <a href="">Gordon Gano</a> plays a little banjo.</p> <p>&ldquo;Working with Steve Martin has been amazing. He&rsquo;s a great guy, hugely generous. I first met him in 1974 when we shared billing at a club in New York City. He was an up-and-coming comedian and playing some banjo, so we talked about that. There was a four-night stand &ndash; two nights with him and then the Buckingham Nicks (Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks), this up-and-coming group. Whatever happened to them?</p> <p>&ldquo;Many years later I wanted to do a double banjo record for Rounder Records and I wanted Steve to be in on it. He had been playing more seriously and agreed to play a couple tunes on the album. It&rsquo;s a lot of work to learn the repertoire of other musicians, but it&rsquo;s fun and the older I get the more thankful I am.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>How Things Have Changed</strong></p> <p>Tony has been around the music scene for quite some time and says things were a lot less complicated back then. &ldquo;In certain ways it was easier back then. Like, you could book five nights at one place. From 1973 to 1975 I was in a group called Breakfast Special and we played Gerde&rsquo;s Folk City in the Village five nights in a row. It&rsquo;s not like that now - you do one at a time these days. In terms of bluegrass festivals, in 1973 we made two phone calls and booked the entire summer. In those days there weren&rsquo;t that many festivals, so one festival would hire you for three days. Now you&rsquo;re there for a day, maybe two. And then there were only two festival promotors &ndash; Jim Clark and Carlton Haney. We called both of them and they each gave us five weekends. In that sense it was a lot easier back then.&rdquo;</p> <p>Today&rsquo;s musicians also seem to take their careers a bit more seriously. &ldquo;Things are a little more professional these days and with the internet it&rsquo;s easier to promote yourself. People are more concerned about earning a living. In 1970 I was in a group called Country Granola, in the days when there was only crunchy granola. The guy who ran our band (it was a sport&rsquo;s rock band &ndash; don&rsquo;t ask) &hellip; the rap on our publicity material was something like <em>These guys hate themselves and their music is engineered for you to hate them also</em>. I mean, what? Who would do something like that? It was just much looser. It&rsquo;s a different time now and everyone is a little more business minded.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><em><img width="150" height="150" src="" alt="shallwehope" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Shall We Hope</em></strong></p> <p>Tony&rsquo;s latest album <em>Shall We Hope</em> was inspired by the Civil War era. &ldquo;It took me about 12 years to put it together - it sort of evolved organically. And this is all vocals with one instrumental (he wrote most of the lyrics himself). I had written a song about Wild Bill Hickok on the album before (<em>Great Big World)</em> and I was sort of in the head of writing some lyrics. I decided I wanted to write a song about a riverboat gambler in the 1800s, then I had another idea to write a song about a great train robbery that happened during the Civil War. Then I thought &hellip; maybe this is turning into something.&rdquo;</p> <p>He also wanted to have an aspect of slavery on the album. &ldquo;I was in Asheville, NC, and Rayna Gellert (a great fiddler from the band Uncle Earl) and her husband (a historian at Warren Wilson College) invited me to stay with them. The next morning he told me his class has been cleaning shrubbery from a slave graveyard next to an old church, and would I like to go over and take a look. It was a really powerful experience. In this 1840&rsquo;s graveyard there are just rocks on the ground, no inscriptions - it was like these are just slaves so there&rsquo;s no reason to have names on them. It gave me inspiration for that part of the project.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>A Project in Progress </strong></p> <p>Poetry is the inspiration for one of Tony&rsquo;s current projects. &ldquo;For years I&rsquo;ve been slowly working on taking Emily Dickinson&rsquo;s poems and putting them to music. I had a chance to do a podcast from the Emily Dickinson house in Amherst, MA, five years ago. On the way to the house I thought I should take one of her poems and put it to music, which I did and performed it. They wanted to bring creative people into her bedroom to perform, because that&rsquo;s where she wrote her poetry. The unfortunate thing is I sang it, and I don&rsquo;t have much of a voice. I&rsquo;ve recorded four songs so far with Abigail Washburn, an incredible singer, Martha Redbone, and some other folks too. That&rsquo;s going to continue.&rdquo;</p> <p>For more information about Tony, including his upcoming performances, visit his website <a href="">HERE</a>. And did you know he has an <a href="">online banjo school</a><span>?</span> The site has over 250 lessons from absolute beginnings (how to hold the banjo) to really advanced information. It takes you gradually from point A to point B. You can even send Tony a video and he&rsquo;ll respond &ndash; one-on-one personal attention. There are also over 50 interviews with folks like Steve Martin, J.D. Crowe and Alison Brown. Check it out today!</p> Pete Wernick - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Pete Wernick has a lot of musical feathers in his cap. Not only is he a respected teacher, author and a founding member of the acclaimed bluegrass band Hot Rize, he&rsquo;s also a Friend of the Denver Folklore Center.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>In fact, his connection to the store goes way back to the early days. &ldquo;</span><span>I should have kept my original Swallow Hill membership card. </span><span>That would have been special.&nbsp;The number on it was either 002 or 007, I'm not sure which, but I remember it started with two zeroes.</span><span> I&rsquo;ve been a member since they started, coming out of the ashes of the original Denver Folklore Center. Harry Tuft created a legacy for the whole community that makes Denver an important place on the map of folk music. And </span><span><a href="">Swallow Hill</a></span><span> is now responsible for a large share of that. How great!&rdquo;<br /><br /><img width="198" height="137" src="" align="right" class="img-responsive" /><strong><span>The Move to Colorado<br /></span></strong></span><span><span>Folk music is a large part of why Pete and his wife&nbsp;</span><span>(Joan, a.k.a. Nondi, later of the Mother Folkers)&nbsp;</span><span>moved to Colorado in the first place.</span>&nbsp;He&rsquo;s a </span><span>native New Yorker who moved to Ithaca to get out of the city. Pete worked at Cornell and started a band which began his recording career. &ldquo;My wife and I realized around the age of 30 that we didn&rsquo;t want to live in Ithaca forever, so where do we want to move to live for the rest of our lives? Colorado sounded great, but I wasn&rsquo;t sure there&rsquo;d be enough in the music business and scene.</span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;So, in the summer of &rsquo;75, my band (Country Cooking) booked several gigs, including at the Oxford Hotel, the Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Festival and in Aspen. I saw the Denver Folklore Center and Colfax Avenue, which used to be hippieville, and got to know Harry a little bit and all the people who worked at the Folklore Center. I thought, okay no problem, there&rsquo;s a serious music scene going on around here. We ended up moving to Denver and then to Niwot in 1976.&rdquo;<br /><br /></span></p> <p><strong><span><img width="290" height="179" src="" align="right" class="img-responsive" style="float: left;" /></span></strong><span>Pete met fellow </span><span><a href="">Hot Rize</a></span><span> bandmate Charles Sawtelle at the store too. &ldquo;He was the stalwart behind the desk at the Denver Folklore Center. We started talking about how we&rsquo;d like to have a real low ambition band that would play every week. So, we set up a gig which was advertised as every Tuesday night for the next twenty-five years at the Folklore Center, and we decided the name of the band would be flexible to indicate our general attitude about the whole thing. Most of the time we were either The Drifting Ramblers or The Rambling Drifters.</span></p> <p>&ldquo;At those Tuesday night gigs we&rsquo;d have different people sit in, like Tim O&rsquo;Brien, who was teaching lessons at the Folklore Center, and Nick Forster, who worked in the repair shop. The store at the time was a full supermarket for musicians that included a really good record store, you could buy instruments and have them fixed, buy books, and there was even a bead shop and a place where you could take lessons. It was incredible.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span><strong>The Rise of Hot Rize<br /></strong></span>Hot Rize formed in 1978 and some of their first gigs were at the Denver Folklore Center. &ldquo;We opened for Doc Watson and the recording of that was our demo. We were hot to launch ourselves as a national act. Both Tim and I had records out and that&rsquo;s how Hot Rize got launched. It grew out of the fertile soil of the Denver Folklore Center.</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><span><img width="207" height="149" src="" align="right" class="img-responsive" /></span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;When Swallow Hill emerged, it fulfilled some of the same functions of the Folklore Center - the concert hall, lessons were so important as a hub for musicians. And that&rsquo;s how I got to know the people in the band. And the band lasted a long time. We&rsquo;re not active now but we&rsquo;re still in touch. And this community wasn&rsquo;t thrown together, it grew out of something that is something deep and meaningful. And new people get to partake of this community, something that&rsquo;s not available in&nbsp;the rest of the country.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong>Roots in Music<br /></strong>Music has been a part of Pete&rsquo;s life since his childhood. &ldquo;The first record I ever bought when I was nine years old was Fats Domino. He was a roots musician, not just a rock and roll guy. Then I bought Elvis records. I wasn&rsquo;t especially turned on to folk music, although I liked the sound of the banjo.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>But when he was introduced to one particular musician, his musical die was cast. &ldquo;When I heard Earl Scruggs&hellip;I know exactly where I was. I was twelve, it was in the living room of my friend Jake&rsquo;s house. I said &lsquo;that&rsquo;s one guy playing the banjo? Because he was playing about 10 notes a second!&rsquo; It was just the best sound, it was a miracle to me. Like if some god had come down from heaven and said, &lsquo;should we play ping pong,&rsquo; I would have been just as amazed as I was to hear Earl Scruggs.</span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;Then Jake showed me a way of playing frailing-type banjo, the way Pete Seeger did. Pete was the godfather of the folk music boom in the &lsquo;60s. He was big with The Weavers. They were huge. Then they were blacklisted for being &lsquo;reds&rsquo; and their career was completely demolished overnight. </span><span>Pete was living just north of New York City and raising kids.</span><span> He got gigs all over the New York City area, wherever he could play for $50 and had to teach lessons for money. It might sound humble, but what he was doing was being the Johnny Appleseed of roots music.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Our Pete began to learn banjo just to keep up with his friends who were playing instruments. And once he could play a little, &ldquo;the memory of Earl Scruggs stood out strong.&rdquo; For his fifteenth birthday, his sister gave him a few Flatt and Scruggs records &ndash; &ldquo;I practiced my head off for the next two years. Earl Scruggs was my biggest influence.&rdquo;</span></p> <span><strong><span>Bluegrass DJ<br /></span></strong></span><span>In college, Pete started a radio show (</span><span>WKCR at Columbia University)</span><span> and was heard all over New York City. He was </span><span>the only bluegrass music DJ in the metropolitan area (1963-1970) and</span><span> had a two-hour time slot. Studying those records was a big part of his musical education - &ldquo;Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, the Stanley brothers &ndash; they were my big influences on me. Even though I was getting an education at Columbia, I was really preparing for my career as a bluegrass musician.&rdquo;<br /><br /></span> <p style="text-align: left;"><span><strong><img src="" alt="pete wernick and earl scruggs" align="left" width="264" height="162" class="img-responsive" /></strong>Pete took his trusty tape recorder to the very first bluegrass festival and recorded interviews with the musicians - &ldquo;all this got me bonding to bluegrass music before I was 20 years old.&rdquo; He was even in the audience at the famous Flatt and Scruggs Carnegie Hall concert. &ldquo;Some people I didn&rsquo;t know at the time, but got to know, managed to get front row seats.&nbsp;<br /><br />They kept yelling for Martha White. No one in New York knew what Martha White was (it&rsquo;s a brand of flour) Flatt and Scruggs were spokesmen for Martha White and sang the jingle. In the jingle they sang &ldquo;Martha White self-rising flour&rsquo;s got hot rize&rdquo; and that landed on my head. I thought &lsquo;Oh, hot rize, that&rsquo;d be a good name for a band&rsquo;. That name led to a lot of good things, including a relationship with the Martha White company who saw to it that we got on the Grand Ole Opry for a performance. We even got to meet the guy (</span><span>Cohen Williams</span>) <span>who enlisted Flatt and Scruggs.&rdquo;<br /><strong><span><br />Bluegrass Camps &amp; the Wernick Method<br /></span></strong></span><span>In 1980, Pete began </span><span>hosting banjo camps,&nbsp;the first bluegrass camps ever.</span><span> &ldquo;Now camps have been part of my life for 40-plus years. My main job now, besides performing, is overseeing teachers for the Wernick Method and we teach people how to jam. There are classes all around the U.S. and the world, where people who have been practicing by themselves now get to play with other people. </span><span>Jamming is fundamental to bluegrass, but it's rarely taught and not systematically or thoroughly.</span><span>&rdquo;<br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span><img width="300" height="163" src="" alt="pete wernick jam camp" align="left" class="img-responsive" style="float: right;" />In the 1990s, some of his banjo students </span><span>asked if he would do a camp for people who just wanted to learn how to jam. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;ve never done it, it&rsquo;s filled with mystery. The Wernick Method starts with four chords: G C D A. That&rsquo;s enough to play a lot of music. You can learn how to play and sing at the same time, to play solos.<br /><br />&ldquo;We teach those skills. Students come out being able to jam with other people. Almost anyone can learn how to do it. It doesn&rsquo;t take a lot of talent, just practice and motivation.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Returning to Live Music<br /></span></strong>Pete&rsquo;s been doing some live gigs this year and says &ldquo;it&rsquo;s like taking a deep drink of water after you&rsquo;ve been thirsty for a long time. There&rsquo;s just something about performing. It&rsquo;s one thing to jam and get together with people, but when you&rsquo;ve got to deliver performance-worthy bluegrass&hellip;what a pleasure. It&rsquo;s precious and unique. You can&rsquo;t have that on Zoom, but we were lucky to have it. Now we&rsquo;re especially lucky to do actual concerts and in-person lessons.&rdquo;</p> <p><span>While Pete says that bluegrass is his life, he has one issue with it. &ldquo;<span>There have been incredible black musicians who were influential to country music. In bluegrass there have historically been few black musicians involved, but that's changing. There&rsquo;s an excellent young black banjo player, Tray Wellington from North Carolina, who&rsquo;s been a sort of prot&eacute;g&eacute; of mine, Rhiannon Giddens and others."</span></span></p> <p><span>Learn more about the Wernick Method, lessons, classes and more </span><span><a href="">HERE</a></span><span>. And visit Dr Banjo </span><span><a href="">HERE</a></span><span> for more information about Pete, including his </span><span><a href="">upcoming gigs</a></span><span>.</span></p> Vintage Photos from the Denver Folklore Center - Harry Tuft Stories http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>We asked Denver Folklore Center founder Harry Tuft to give us his take on some vintage photos from the store. Here's what he had to say. <br /><br /><img width="200" height="131" src="" alt="harry tuft on bus bench" align="left" class="img-responsive" /><strong>Harry Tuft on a Bus Bench</strong><br /></span>&ldquo;Larry Shirkey took the photo. Rick Kirby must have purchased this sign telling people where to find the Denver Folklore Center &ndash; I had left and gave him the name and inventory. Rick moved the store to South Broadway. Once I had vacated the property they tore it down because they made a deal with 7/11 to lease the property and after 25 years the land and the building would revert to the owners. So I got myself down on the bench and Larry took the photo. He&rsquo;s still around and comes into the store from time to time. He has also taken some photos at Swallow Hill of Reverend Gary Davis, Pete Seeger, Elizabeth Cotton and Taj Mahal. He taught photography at the Colorado Institute of Art until digital superseded the old method.&rdquo;<br /><br /></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><br /><img width="169" height="175" src="" alt="taj mahal" align="right" class="img-responsive" /><strong>Taj Mahal - American Blues Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist, Actor and Film Composer<br /></strong>&ldquo;This photo was taken in the original Denver Folklore Center. Taj Mahal played in the Folklore Center hall in the &lsquo;70s.<br />I have a recording of him playing. The shelves are Folklore Center shelves - the original Folklore Center had old wood. <br />I sought out barn wood from a place that sold new and used wood, it was the cheapest to find because the Folklore Center in New York had old barn wood. So what you see is the original barn wood with the different heights at the top.&rdquo;<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /></p> <p><img width="153" height="194" src="" alt="hedy west" align="left" class="img-responsive" /><strong>Hedy West - </strong><strong>American&nbsp;Folksinger and Songwriter<br /></strong>&ldquo;I first met Hedy West in Dick Weissman&rsquo;s (American singer, composer, banjo player, author and teacher) apartment. She had just come from her home in Georgia. She&rsquo;s best known for collecting the song &ldquo;500 Miles&rdquo; from her family. Don West, her father, was a poet and singer. She went on to become&nbsp;<span>a graduate assistant in the&nbsp;</span><span>New York State University system</span>. When I first met her, she was playing the banjo and he learned songs from her. She was a lovely person.&rdquo;<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><img width="123" height="161" src="" alt="elizabeth cotten" align="right" class="img-responsive" /><strong>Elizabeth Cotten - American Blues and Folk Musician, Singer and Songwriter<br /></strong>&ldquo;Larry Shirkey took this photo in the original Denver Folklore Center on a bench, a replica of which exists in the new store. The original store was a concert hall and we had a number of the benches - one of them was bought by Charles Sawtelle (an American bluegrass musician and a member of the band Hot Rize who passed away in 1999) when the original store was dismantled and donated by his family when the store reopened.&rdquo;</p> <p><span><br /><br /><img src="" alt="michael cooney" align="left" width="150" height="150" class="img-responsive" />&nbsp;</span><strong>Michael Cooney - American Folk and Blues Musician<br /></strong>&ldquo;Michael first found the Denver Folklore Center when he started traveling, around 1964, when the store was open (<span>he may have found&nbsp;out about it from the magazine <em>Sing Out</em>)</span>. He slept on my floor for three weeks with a broken leg. He also came to my 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary that I did. He came out and played even though he was in seclusion. He did a set (his third or fourth at <span>the original concert hall - the old Green Spider). It w</span>as a 52-verse rendition of a song called Tam Lin from memory &ndash; a Faustian story of a devil that entices a woman. A woman who wrote Hadestown (on Broadway now) came through Denver a number of times and did a version of that at the Folklore Center.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> Judy Collins - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Judy Collins is an award-winning singer-songwriter and a music legend. She also happens to be a Friend of the Denver Folklore Center. Ms. Collins moved from Seattle to Denver, CO in 1949 (when she was 10 years old). She and the&nbsp;DFC go way back to the early Harry Tuft days - she&rsquo;s visited the store and Swallow Hill &ldquo;for various things over the years&rdquo;. That&rsquo;s why we were pleased when she took time during her current tour to speak with us about her latest album and popular podcast. </span></p> <p><span><em><span>Judy Collins - Live at The Town Hall, NYC</span></em> revisits her 1964 concert there and boasts nearly the same setlist. The idea came from the folks at the town hall who called her and asked if she &ldquo;would please do a refresher for people&rdquo;. She was excited because the first concert she performed was at the venue. &ldquo;I had to go back and relearn a number of the songs I didn&rsquo;t know anymore. It was great! I did a Dylan and some others, and it was quite exciting. Of course, it&rsquo;s wonderful to have an audience and I&rsquo;ve played that hall so many times. It&rsquo;s so beautiful and I had a great band, and everyone laughed at my jokes, so it was a lot of fun.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /><br /><img width="144" height="192" src="" alt="judy collins" align="" class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /></span></p> <p><span>Ms. Collins is currently on tour to support the album and finds returning to performing for a live audience &ldquo;e<span>xhilarating, exciting, wonderful, it&rsquo;s amazing! People are so happy to see me, they&rsquo;re so happy to be out doing anything.&rdquo; And she sees herself performing live for quite some time. &ldquo;The rest of my life. It never stops. It&rsquo;s what I do. It&rsquo;s what I conceive of as my life&rsquo;s work.&rdquo; Ms. Collins doesn&rsquo;t take a lot of time off either. &ldquo;In between touring I make albums, do projects, practice piano and I have a social life. There&rsquo;s always a lot happening.&rdquo;<br /><span><br />In July, Ms. Collins premiered her podcast&nbsp;<em><span>Since You&rsquo;ve Asked</span></em>. She hosts and speaks with some of her friends, favorite musicians and artists including Jeff Daniels, Julia Cameron, Ben Harper, Arlo Guthrie, Clive Davis, Molly Jong Fast, Christiane Amanpour, Jac Holzman, Betty Buckley and Pat Allerton.&nbsp;She says the podcast is &ldquo;great fun. I had the idea early in the pandemic to do it. It&rsquo;s very special. I&rsquo;m listening to the episodes myself they&rsquo;re so good." <br /><br />And interviewing is nothing new to her. "I&rsquo;ve spent my life being interviewed. I&rsquo;ve had a background of interviewing because my father was a great radio personality. He was always interviewing people for his radio show in Denver (on KOA radio</span><span> <em><span>Chuck Collins Calling</span></em></span><span>) and in Los Angeles and Hollywood. I grew up with interviews. The thing is I love conversation with people. I love to hear who they are, what they&rsquo;re doing and where they&rsquo;ve been, the life they live. I feel comfortable in that respect.&rdquo;</span><br /></span></span></p> <p><span><img width="150" height="150" src="" alt="since you've asked" align="" class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /><br />Ms. Collins has a new record dropping in February 2022 called <em>Girl from Colorado.</em> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the first time I will have done an album of all my own songs, brand new songs. I&rsquo;m already singing them on the road and it&rsquo;s great fun. I play the piano and guitar - I can get around on the guitar but it&rsquo;s not my main purpose in life. All my songwriting has been done on the piano. That whole area of my life that has to be kept intact in order to write songs. I practice most every day. That&rsquo;s what I do between figuring out what to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>You can listen to Judy Collins&rsquo; podcast <em>Since You&rsquo;ve Asked</em> on all major platforms <a href="">HERE</a>.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Hear <em><span>Judy Collins - Live At The Town Hall, NYC</span></em>&nbsp;- on&nbsp;</span><span><a href=";dl_branch=1&amp;nd=1"><strong><span>Spotify</span></strong></a><span>&nbsp;or&nbsp;</span><a href=""><strong><span>Amazon</span></strong></a><span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span>And see her upcoming concert dates <a href="">HERE.</a> </span></p> The One that Got Away http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">Have you ever had an instrument that you sold or somehow lost and still think about? Here are some stories from our musical friends about "The One(s) That Got Away."</span><br /><br /><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><img width="150" height="150" src="" alt="" align="" class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; float: left;" /><strong>Gibson FJN Folk Singer Jumbo Guitar - Saul Rosenthal, Co-Owner of the Denver Folklore Center<br /></strong>For my 16th birthday my parents bought me a Gibson FJN Folk Singer Jumbo guitar. It was my first acoustic guitar and I wanted to show it off to my friends. I took it to school one day and while a couple of boys were roughhousing one of them landed on the guitar inside its chipboard case and crushed the top. Three months later Gibson sent the guitar back to me from their repair shop with a new top. I played that baby for about 15 years before selling it, probably to buy something else I was yearning for at the time. Since then I&rsquo;ve owned guitars from Martin, Breedlove, Huss &amp; Dalton, Bourgeois, Seagull, Santa Cruz and Taylor. Of all the guitars I&rsquo;ve owned the Gibson is the one I would love to get back.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong><br />Martin Guitar - Judy Collins</strong><br />I had a guitar stolen in 1964. I did a performance in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for the brand new Martin Guitar. Tom Paxton and I performed on the loading dock of the Martin Guitar company and they made us special guitars to celebrate that. One of them stayed with the company, one went to Tom and one stayed with me. I had a road manager and he had the guitar in his old station wagon, but somebody broke into the car and stole that guitar. And for years we&rsquo;ve been looking for it and everybody from Martin Guitars have looked for it, but we&rsquo;ve never found it. I feel very badly about that.<br /><br /><img width="150" height="100" src="" alt="" align="" class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; float: right;" /><strong>Favilla Baritone Ukulele - Catherine Gossage (Friend of the Store)<br /></strong>My father played the baritone ukulele, and we would sing along with him when I was a little girl. It was a mahogany Favilla, around 1952 or 1953 and didn't have a case. I always remember it was in great condition and kept in my parents' bedroom closet. When I took up the ukulele 7 years ago, I asked my father if he still had his ukulele. He said he had sold it,but didn't remember when or to whom. Probably when my folks moved from Denver to New Mexico around 25 years ago. I wish I could find it, if only as a souvenir of my father.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>1975 Guild F50 Blonde - (Friend of the Store)<br /></strong>I miss my 1975 Guild F50 blonde. It just wasn't getting the love it deserved after I got my Lowden.</span></p> <br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Froggy Bottom Guitar - John Gorka<br /></strong>Singer-songwriter John Gorka has had a few. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s the guitar I learned to play on, my brother&rsquo;s guitar, not very expensive but it was easy to play. It&rsquo;s in good hands, I think my nephew has it. But there is a guitar that got away. My first good guitar was a Froggy Bottom guitar that I got in college and that&rsquo;s the one that really broke my heart. Unfortunately, my car was stolen in New York City &ndash; I was visiting my girlfriend and went to go home and my car was gone. I had to take the bus back to Pennsylvania. Somewhere along the way, when I got off the bus to take the guitar from underneath, the guitar was gone. First my car was stolen, then my guitar. My girlfriend said &lsquo;You still have me&rsquo;, but in a few months she was gone too. That was for the best though.&rdquo;</span><br /><br /><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><img width="150" height="210" src="" alt="Photo credit: Willie's American Guitars" class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; float: left;" /><strong>1960 Gibson Less Paul Custom Guitar &ldquo;Black Beauty&rdquo; - Jimmy Page<br /></strong></span><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Guitar legend Jimmy Page had his prized "Black Beauty" 1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom stolen in 1970. He loved the guitar so much he had a replica made. No one could find the guitar anywhere, so he turned to the pages of Rolling Stone magazine and ran a "missing guitar" ad in every issue for a year. Nothing ever turned up. Then in the early '90s, a guy walked into a vintage guitar shop claiming to have Page's missing guitar. He said he'd bought it from the widow of an airport employee who'd stolen the guitar when Page's band (Led Zeppelin) played in Minnesota. The store owner attempted to contact Page, but a miscommunication about the guitar's modified switches led the instrument to stay out of Page's hands until 2015! Learn the whole story and how the guitar eventually got back to Jimmy Page <a href="">HERE</a>.</span> <p><br /><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong><br /><br />1962 Martin D28 - David Parkes (Friend of the Store)</strong></span><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">My guitar story though, comes from a ranching community in NW Nebraska where the brother of a good friend lived.&nbsp; He was a paraplegic rancher who had cattle, drove his own pickup truck and flew airplanes among many other skills.&nbsp; A remarkable man in every way.&nbsp; I spent a lot of time with him here in Denver when he was in Craig Hospital undergoing cancer treatments and PT late in his life. After his death, I played at his funeral [That&rsquo;s How Strong My Love Is] and the family subsequently contacted me about a guitar he owned and wanted me to have it and make sure it got played.&nbsp; A poignant gesture and gift indeed.&nbsp; I insisted that it be just a loan and returned it to the family about 3 years later when his nephew wanted to learn to play.&nbsp; It was a 1962 Martin D28 [you guys put a new set of strings on it] and I wrote a song about the man, the guitar, and the experience and I still sing that song today.<br /><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Bob Dylan&rsquo;s Guitars<br /></strong>Bob Dylan has had several guitars get away from him. He had a few Fender Stratocasters that were lost or stolen in the '60s, including one of his favorites - a used Gibson J-50N acoustic.</span><br /><br /></p> <div><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><img width="150" height="113" src="" alt="Photo credit: Gibson" class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; float: right;" /></span></div> <span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Tool's Adam Jones' 13 Signature Guitars</strong></span><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">In October of 2020, thieves stole 13 signature Gibson Adam Jones (best known as the guitarist for the band Tool) 1979 Les Paul Custom guitars valued at $95,000 from a Sweetwater Music truck at the Flying J Travel Center in Whiteland, Indiana.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">Gibson and Adam Jones decided to re-manufacture each of the guitars for the buyers and sent each a letter informing them that they would be remaking the guitars with a "special notation on the headstock" - making it easier to identify the stolen guitars. They have also posted the serial numbers of the stolen guitars on the internet.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong><span class="iw8mtwi3 a2qhav0c iv6uiy1r">Tacoma Papoose - summer_and_eric_acoustic_duo (Friend of the Store)&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /></span></strong><span class="iv6uiy1r">I want my tiny Tacoma Papoose back. It was exactly what I wanted out of a 1/2-sized guitar, and for some reason I felt I had to let it go. Come back to me Papoose!<br /><br /></span></span> <div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Gibson Hummingbird - Charlie Buddeke (Friend of the Store)&nbsp;<br /></strong>Doggone it! Had a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic. The neck was just the perfect fit. Don't know what happened to it.</span></div> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><br /><span class="iv6uiy1r"><strong><img width="150" height="212" src="" align="left" class="img-responsive" />Harmony Sovereign Guitar and Martin D-21 - Pete Wernick (Hot Rize)<br /></strong>In the l<span size="3">ast year I lived in my hometown of New York City (1969) burglars struck twice. Till then I was the only Manhattan resident I knew who'd not been burglarized.&nbsp;</span>I lived just off Broadway on 115th St., a ground floor apartment. They entered through a window in an airshaft (pulled apart bars) and made off through the front door with a small black &amp; white TV, a sewing machine...and my very nice Harmony Sovereign guitar - cheap but a good instrument. I knew something was amiss when the front door of the apartment was open. It's possible we entered in mid-burglary. Interestingly, they had opened my banjo case, apparently to see what was in it, and left it! That was a pre-war original GIbson RB-1, mighty glad they left it. I still have it!<strong><br /></strong></span><br />Incident #2 happened the same year. I had replaced the Harmony with a lovely Martin D-21, and since I planned several months of travel that year it seemed like a good idea to lend it to someone who'd like to have it to play for a few months. I lent it to a nice guy who lived in lower Manhattan. When I got back, he informed me sorrowfully that he too had been burglarized and lost all his instruments, including my D-21. That one really hurt, though he paid me what I'd paid for it. That's "the one that got away" -- I had written some songs on it and still imagine that a very distinctive aspect could bring it back to me - the peghead had been broken off and reattached with screws - a distinctive sight. Alas, 52 years later it still hasn't shown up. Imagine! But I'm patient.<br /><br /><img width="209" height="131" src="" alt="Dock Boggs Banjo" align="" class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; float: right;" /><strong>Dock Bogg's Banjo - Tony Trischka<br /></strong>I had one banjo stolen in New York City. I lived in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium and I was with the band Breakfast Special. One night we were playing at the South Street Seaport in southern Manhattan, and I stayed with a friend in Midtown. I asked the band to take my banjo back uptown. They did, but they left it in the vehicle and it got stolen. I would like to have that one back.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">There&rsquo;s one banjo I really wish I&rsquo;d gotten - Dock Boggs. I got to see him at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival when I was 14 years old, very fortunate to have done that. Over many years I became a huge Dock Boggs fan. When Mike Seeger died, Bob Carlin (a clawhammer-style banjoist) was friendly with Mike and he called me up and said that Mike&rsquo;s wife was selling some of his instruments. &ldquo;Hey I have a banjo you might be interested in &ndash; it&rsquo;s Dock Boggs&rsquo; banjo.&rdquo; And how much is it? &ldquo;$40,000.&rdquo; I would have scraped it together somehow, but my son was just starting college and I couldn&rsquo;t see spending that much then. It was like being a kid at Christmas and wanting something so desperately &ndash; I really wanted that banjo. That&rsquo;s really the one that got away.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Gibson Style 11 Banjo - gibsontb11 (Friend of the Store)</strong><br />Ouch. Adulting is hard. For similar reasons (as Tony Trischka above), though a much lower price tag, I recently had to pass up a style 11 owned by Phil Zimmerman, who passed away a little over a year ago. I had remembered and coveted that banjo since I played it at IBMA about 20 years ago.<br /></span></p> <br /> <div style="text-align: right;"><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><img width="105" height="138" src="" align="left" class="img-responsive" /></span></div> <div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Gibson SG and Paul Reed Smith McCarty - Jeff Rady (Friend of the Store)</strong></span></div> <div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">I had a cool Gibson SG guitar from the &lsquo;90s, an American guitar, it was the first guitar that was solid that I had. I traded it in for something else, but I wish I still had it. I had earned the money for it roofing all summer and it sounded pretty cool. It was special to me. And&nbsp;I had a Paul Reed Smith McCarty that I sold because I thought it was unfashionable, because all the new metal bands were making them popular. It was probably the best slide guitar I&rsquo;d ever owned because I could get the best tone out of it. I regret that. (Photo source:</span></div> <br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong><br />1920&rsquo;s Gibson Mandolin -&nbsp;Carolyn Faubel (Friend of the Store)</strong></span><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">My husband was a re-entry college student, I had three kids and one on the way, and we lived in student family housing. Money was tight. Walking by a yard sale on our way to the farmers' market one day, I saw a 1920&rsquo;s Gibson Mandolin for $70. It looked fine, but not strung up. I couldn&rsquo;t justify buying it. But I know that if it had had strings on it, and I&rsquo;d strummed it a little, I would have made a way to get it. I wondered for many years who might have ended up with it.<strong><br /><br />1974 Telecaster Deluxe and Yamaha FG-150 - Wes Schultz, The Lumineers</strong></span><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">Hell yeah, there&rsquo;s two guitars that got away. One guitar that I had to sell when I was broke was a &lsquo;74 Telecaster Deluxe in a coffee brown color. I loved it. I had spent all the money I had on it. The other one &ndash; my mom had this guitar around the house &ndash; it was a Yamaha FG-150 it had a red label from Japan, Nippon-Gakki was the factory. If people don&rsquo;t know they are these amazing guitars, they call them the &ldquo;poor man&rsquo;s Martin,&rdquo; they are these parlour-sized guitars, the Denver Folklore Center used to fix mine all the time. I remember bringing it in and the tuner peg was stripped and the guy there took a toothpick and got some wood stuck in there on purpose and it had a grip again so it would work. I said &ldquo;how much do I owe you&rdquo; and he said &ldquo;no, we&rsquo;re good.&rdquo; It was so sweet. That guitar got stolen in L.A. back in 2011 where someone stole almost all of our instruments in broad daylight. I really want that one back. There&rsquo;s a lot of sentimental value with it being my mom&rsquo;s.</span><br /> <div><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Gibson Les Paul Vintage 1950s - Al Blado (Friend of the Store)</strong></span></div> <span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">Here is my sad story. This one breaks my heart every time I think of it. It was 1970 and I was recently married and going to school. It was a fine summer day and the wife and I decided to go to the flea market. At one booth a guy had a large aquarium and I stopped to talk to him. As I was leaving I noticed a guitar case underneath one table. I asked him if it was for sale and he said yes. It was a Gibson Les Paul. He said he had bought it ten or so years ago and just wasn&rsquo;t playing anymore. I don&rsquo;t remember the exact year of the guitar, but it must have been a '50&rsquo;s vintage. He wanted $100 for it. Here I was not working and going to school. My wife, who was working, suggested I buy it. For the one time in my life I was practical and walked away. UGH!!</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Flamenco Guitar - John Kramer (Friend of the Store)</strong></span><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">I borrowed a really nice flamenco guitar from my guitar instructor in college that I really loved.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s a little lighter with a smaller body, but it had a really good feel to it and I loved playing it. I wish I would have bought it or one like it. I felt like every time I saw it I had to play it. I don&rsquo;t know what happened to it.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong><img width="250" height="250" src="" alt="Vega Cylinder Back Mandolin" align="right" class="img-responsive" />Vega Cylinder Back Mandolin - Jeff Jaros, former manager of the DFC<br /></strong>I don&rsquo;t have a story of an instrument that got away from me. But I have a few stories about instruments that I acquired that got away from someone else. Here&rsquo;s one of them:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">A lady came into the Denver Folklore Center (when Harry Tuft owned the store) with a beautiful mandolin &ndash; a Vega cylinder back. I&rsquo;d never seen one before. It was quite ornate with inlay, etc. And my eyes just lit up! And sure enough she was in the market to sell it along with another more mundane mandolin. I was giving Harry the puppy-dog eyes &ndash; &ldquo;Can I have it?! C&rsquo;mon! Please?!&rdquo; She wanted to sell them outright.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">I told Harry I was very interested in the Vega, so we put our heads together and made her an offer. She was shopping it around town and said if it&rsquo;s the winning offer she&rsquo;d get back to us. We were the winning offer! The fun part was there was a very well-respected repair guy (who shall remain nameless) who worked just up the street and at the Olde Town Pickin&rsquo; Parlor. Two weeks after I got that mandolin, he mentioned to me that he met a lady who was selling a beautiful mandolin and that he really wanted it. The owner of the Pickin&rsquo; Parlor put in an offer but it wasn&rsquo;t accepted. I was smiling while he was telling me and when he finished his story I said, &ldquo;Well, if you ever want to play it some time, I&rsquo;ll bring it over and you can play it for a few minutes.&rdquo;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">Harry was always so generous. That&rsquo;s one reason I have a number of very nice instruments. He wanted his staff to have the joys of some of those classic instruments. I&rsquo;ve always found that a wise kind of managerial style. You can do a little bit of paying it forward. I think the world of Harry for many reasons and that&rsquo;s just one of them.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Harry Tuft's Guitars&nbsp;- founder of the Denver Folklore Center</strong><br />Harry has so many instruments that got away he has his own page - read it <strong><a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a></strong>.</span><br /><br /> <p dir="ltr" data-setdir="false"><span size="2" style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;"><strong><img width="142" height="189" src="" align="left" class="img-responsive" /></strong></span><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><span size="2" style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Gibson SJ -&nbsp;Anna Halaburda (Friend of the Store)</strong></span><span size="2" style="font-family: helvetica;"><br />In 1969 I purchased my first "good" guitar, a 1962 second-hand Gibson SJ through a friend&nbsp;of mine. It was love at first play.&nbsp; I learned Mississippi John Hurt tunes, Dave Van Ronk fingerstyle songs as well as ragtime, blues and odd ditties. I played that guitar at marches, sit-ins, in&nbsp;the rain at festivals ... but mostly in my living room with friends. At one point I sold that SJ to my best friend, Deborah, with the provision that if she ever sold&nbsp;it, I would have the right of first refusal to buy it back at the same price that I sold it to her, $250.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span></span><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;">She played at my wedding, she moved, I moved and we lost touch. 45 years later I received a call asking me if I was the "me", and I was. We reconnected, I traveled to Massachusetts to reconnect, and she gave me back the guitar&nbsp;and said that $250 was just rent that she paid for the time she had the guitar. The guitar is not hers, not mine but ours. I get it for a while, then she gets it back when she wants it. We were always best friends and after 45 years of separation, we still are.<br /><br />We are now old and our bones don't move as well as they used to, but our love for each other, music and that old SJ makes me realize that music and the instruments that deliver bring us all closer together. Music and friendship make my life rich!<br /><br /><strong><img width="300" height="98" src="" alt="chet atkins country gentleman guitar" align="right" class="img-responsive" />Chet Atkins Country Gentleman Guitar - Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon)</strong><br />When I was in ninth grade, I traded a Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentlemen guitar for a cheap Stratocaster with a guy who was playing in a wedding band. Anytime I think about having one of those big ol&rsquo; Chet Atkins country guitars with the little mute that came up under the strings &hellip; it just breaks my heart that that one got away. But any instrument you get rid of is a bad deal.</span></p> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;"><br />When I first moved to Colorado, I did so with the money I got from selling a Martin 12-string, a D12-20, that was beautiful. It was an early &lsquo;60s model, but it got me moved to Colorado. When I moved into this place, I gave the guy my rent money. He took off and was never seen again. He was four months behind in rent and the landlord was like, &ldquo;Who are you?&rdquo; So, I had to sell another guitar to get a place to live. Guitars give life.<br /><br />On the other hand, instruments have come to me. Michael Hornick from Shanti Guitars made me a guitar about five years ago that I just love so much. Michael makes the prize guitars for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and I&rsquo;ve wanted one for years. I&rsquo;ve never won any prizes and could never afford one. He was kind enough to give me an incredibly good deal on one and it&rsquo;s my favorite guitar right now. So, although some go away, others come to you.<br /><br /><span><strong><span><span><img width="145" height="187" src="" align="left" class="img-responsive" />1966 Gibson RB250 Bowtie Banjo -&nbsp;</span>Gena Britt, Sister Sadie&nbsp;</span></strong><br />I had one that got away. It was stolen, but I got it back. It&rsquo;s one that my dad had bought me. It was stolen out of my house and was gone for about nine months. It&rsquo;s my 1966 Gibson RB250 Bowtie banjo that I still play today. That was pretty heart-wrenching, because I got it when I was 12 years old. I live in North Carolina&nbsp;and&nbsp;I had a cousin that was an FBI agent and he helped me do some tracking down. They finally found it - it went through the pawn shops in Fort Bragg. That was a happy day when I got it back. (photo source:&nbsp;<br /><br /></span></span></span> <p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>1960's Les Paul - Deannie Richardson, Sister Sadie:</strong> I sold an instrument I wish I had back. My dad had a 1960&rsquo;s Les Paul. I was going on the road with Holly Dunn and I needed an acoustic guitar. Not knowing any better I took that Les Paul in and traded it for a piece of shit guitar. The guy probably sold the thing for $60,000.</span></p> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;"><span></span><br /></span></span><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Martin D-18 - Jeff Hanna, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band</strong><br />When I was a kid living in Long Beach, there was a store called McCabe&rsquo;s Guitar Shop, kind of like the Denver Folklore Center. It was essentially a guitar shop that had a picking room. You could pull something off the wall and play it. I was on the search for my first Martin dreadnought guitar. I really wanted a big-bodied Martin. That was like the holy grail, the dream. I found this guitar that was probably a war time or pre-war D-18 and I paid like $180. And I brought it to a guitar repairman in a different music store, not at McCabe&rsquo;s, and he said this "guitar is ruined, it&rsquo;s not worth the money to fix it". That&rsquo;s the one that got away. I still don&rsquo;t have a pre-war D-18 and I wish I did &hellip; me and hundreds of other guitar pickers.&nbsp;<br /><br /><strong><img width="130" height="194" src="" alt="hilo hawaiian weissenborn guitar" align="right" class="img-responsive" />Hilo Hawaiian Weissenborn Guitar - Sally Van Meter<br /></strong><span>There&rsquo;s one and I sold it. And it&rsquo;s the thing that caused me to vow to never sell anything again because it broke my heart to do it. I play another kind of slide guitar called a </span><span>Weissenborn. They were built around 1918 until around 1934. They&rsquo;re really beautiful, poorly-made, paper thin, all hollow-bodied, the precursor to dobros. They used to have orchestras of these guitars. They&rsquo;re very expressive. W</span><span>ay back when, probably 30-some-odd years ago, </span><span>I owned a specific model that I sold - a Hilo Hawaiian guitar. The person I sold it to, about 10 months later, offered it back to me for about three times the price. It insulted me and it broke my heart because I knew he didn&rsquo;t care about the instrument. That was a tough one. I spent years being mad about that.<br /><br /><strong>Squier Bullet Telecaster - B.E. (Brian) Farrow, Gangstagrass</strong><br /><span>When I was younger I was a shredder, so I played metal music a lot. And I had this Telecaster. It was a Bullet Squier, it was my brother's and he didn&rsquo;t play it, so I picked it up and I hammered my friends&rsquo; names into it, carved a bunch of stuff into it. I used to think it sounded terrible, but eventually it sounded perfect - it was the perfect guitar. My house flooded when I was younger, and I lost it. It was in the pile of stuff that was thrown out and I regret not just picking it up from that pile and keeping it. I really regret not doing that. I miss that guitar a lot.</span><br /><br /></span><strong>Martin D-18 1937 - Tom Corona, CoronaTone Music</strong><br />Around 1982 I met Jelene, the owner of Arvada Music in Arvada, CO. She was instrumental (no pun intended) in getting me involved with the bluegrass music community in the Denver Metro area and we became good friends. I was a newly minted college professor and self-taught banjo player at the time with very little change to spare when I got a call from her to come to the store to see a guitar she had obtained. It was a 1937 Martin D-18. <br /><br />The condition of the instrument was horrible. The peg head had been painted black covering the Martin decal. The first five fret wires were replaced with oversized brass ones. It had a cracked, curly, delaminating pick guard and a hole in the top, above the sound hole, exposing the bracing and all the other dings and dents from 40+ years of hard playing. There were a bunch of pickers (already Martin guitar owners) hanging around admiring the guitar when I showed up and got to strum it. Beautiful. Everything you wanted in a pre-war Martin guitar sound. The price was $700 with possibly another $200 in repairs. <br /><br />I went home to think about it and decided I needed that guitar so later that same day I called Jelene to tell her, and she delivered the bad news - it had already sold. That would be my last chance to buy an affordable pre-war Martin. I was later told it was purchased by Nick Forster, so at least it went to a good home. The story doesn&rsquo;t end there because much to my surprise at a later Hot Rize show, Red Knuckles strode on stage holding a D-18 all shiny with a painted black peghead except for where the paint had been removed over the decal and I<br />knew it was the one that got away.<br /><br /><strong><img width="150" height="88" src="" alt="darrellscottmartin1860s" align="left" class="img-responsive" />1860&rsquo;s Martin - Darrell Scott, Singer-Songwriter<br /></strong>The One that Got Away was a guitar I didn&rsquo;t even own. I was in a music store and there was this guitar - a 1860&rsquo;s Martin nylon-string. I was trying it out but didn&rsquo;t buy it. When I realized I should have bought it, it&nbsp;had already been sold - I was too late. I mostly hang on to my guitars. I still have my guitar from when I was 14 years old. I hoard instruments and have over 100.&nbsp; (photos source:<br /><br /><strong>Yamaha Signature Model Guitar - Suzanne Vega</strong><br /><span>For a while I had a deal with Yamaha and I had their guitar. I&rsquo;ve had finer instruments, but this one in particular was a deep dark green, and it was a signature model - it had my name. It was stolen from the front of my house. Someone just took it out of the car, probably in the &lsquo;80s or &lsquo;90s when I lived in a sketchy neighborhood on Canal Street and the West Side Highway (New York). I&rsquo;ve always wondered if it would ever show up again because it had my name in mother of pearl inlay. So, if anybody knows where it is, I&rsquo;d like it back.<br /></span><span style="font-family: 'times new roman', times;"><strong><img width="207" height="135" src="" alt="graham nash Epiphone Texan guitar" align="right" class="img-responsive" /></strong></span></span><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;"><strong>1962 Epiphone Texan Guitar - Graham Nash</strong><br />In 1962, I needed a guitar, so we went to a store called Barratts of Manchester and I bought an Epiphone Texan and sprayed it black. I put a huge double guitar pick plate on the front, just like the Everly Brothers. It&rsquo;s the guitar I wrote &ldquo;Teach Your Children&rdquo;, &ldquo;Simple Man&rdquo;, &ldquo;Marrakesh Express&rdquo; and all those other songs on &ndash; and I can&rsquo;t find it. It&rsquo;s been missing for ten years. I&rsquo;ve checked all my guitar storage, I&rsquo;ve checked Stephen&rsquo;s (Stills), I&rsquo;ve checked Neil&rsquo;s (Young) and David&rsquo;s (Crosby), but I just can&rsquo;t find it. And it really pisses me off.If anybody out there can find my 1962 Epiphone Texan guitar that&rsquo;s black with a double pick guard, I would appreciate it.&nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>1920's Stella 12-String Guitar - Peter Faris (Friend of the Store)&nbsp;<br /></strong>I am no kind of famous musician or anything, yet I have been picking the guitar for over 60 years. When I was an undergraduate at CSU, I made it a habit of putting classified ads in the local paper to buy old stringed instruments which I would fix up and resell. A lot of the farms around had an old guitar in the attic which I could get for $15 or $20. One prize I kept for myself, a 1920s Stella 12-string, pretty much like Leadbelly played, all Philippine Mahogany and with THE BEST neck of any guitar I have ever owned. I swear that neck just pulled my fingers into all the right positions - it was the easiest playing ever. <br /><br />In 1965, facing the draft for Vietnam, I opted to enlist in the US Army. Enlisting meant three-year's service instead of two, but I could choose my field and not wait to be automatically assigned as cannon fodder. I chose US Army Intelligence and was eventually assigned to East Tennessee, where I had a number of very interesting musical experiences and married a wonderful young lady who is still with me after 56 years. After mustering out of the Army we returned to Colorado for me to go to graduate school at CU and I went to my parent's house in Fort Collins to pick up my beloved 12-string only to find it missing and neither my parents nor my three sisters could tell me what had happened to it. Mysteriously gone without a trace along with my old stack of <em>SING OUT</em> magazines. I still miss it almost daily.<br /></span><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;"><strong>1972 Stratocaster -&nbsp;Elio Schiavo, Ragged Union<br /></strong>I had a really cool 1972 Stratocaster with a hard tail, no whammy bar set up. I got it when I was living in Santa Cruz. I had a little studio there in a corrugated tin building with workshops on either side of us. This guy had a bike shop next door and his two teenagers came over with this guitar case. I think I was selling weed at the time to make extra money and these two kids said their dad wanted&nbsp;them to trade this guitar for some weed. I asked, &ldquo;How much weed are you trying to trade this guitar for&rdquo; and they wanted two ounces. I knew right away they had stolen the guitar from their dad or a friend - I knew their dad hadn&rsquo;t sent them over. It was a super sick guitar and the kids had no idea what they were doing. I told them I&rsquo;d give them a quarter ounce for the guitar and they took it. This guitar ended up being all original 1972 with a big headstock.&nbsp;I sold the&nbsp;Strat to a guy for $3,500 because I needed money when I moved to New York in 2002. I made money on the deal, but that's the one that got away for sure -&nbsp;I wish I&rsquo;d never sold it.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><strong>Collings D2H Guitar - Rich Moore</strong></span><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;">Working at two great music stores I saw countless gems come and go. And when I think about how cheap they were back then &hellip; first thing that comes to mind &hellip; in the movie <em>Get Back</em> (about The Beatles), George Harrison is on a rooftop playing what appears to be a black guitar. It&rsquo;s actually a solid rosewood Telecaster. There was one at Ferretta&rsquo;s Music. It probably weighed about forty pounds and it was $1,200. I had $50 in my bank account. Various Martins and Gibsons came and went.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;">But the one that got away - that really gets me &ndash; was Mollie (O'Brien) and I were driving across Kansas and stopped in a guitar store, Mass Street Music, in Lawrence, KS. I walked in and went upstairs, where the good stuff was, and saw this nice Collings guitar, a D2H Brazilian rosewood. Just gorgeous to look at. I played it and people turned around and said &ldquo;you should get that guitar&rdquo;. It was love at first sight. Everything felt perfect. It was close to $9K. I went downstairs and told Mollie that I had found THE guitar. She said great, can you get it? And I told her how much it was and she was like &ldquo;we&rsquo;ll have to sell the car and walk home.&rdquo; So, I didn&rsquo;t get it. It was on their website for about three months then it went away. I was heartbroken. Then I thought Mollie bought it and it was going to show up under the tree for Christmas, but it didn&rsquo;t. It&rsquo;s out there somewhere. I hope it&rsquo;s getting played and not sitting in a vault. I went searching for that model and I saw two or three of them. I thought mine might be one of them. Who knows, we might cross paths again.<br /><br /><span><strong>1978 or 1979 Stratocaster - Lisa Loeb<br /></strong></span>My first electric guitar was stolen along the way - &nbsp;a white reissue 1978 or 1979 Strat with replaced volume knobs. I put Les Paul junior knobs in lucite and light pink on there and we rewired the pickups.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;"><br /><strong><img width="200" height="268" src="" alt="gibson sg standard electric guitar red" align="left" class="img-responsive" />1960s Gibson SG Standard Electric Guitar - John Oates</strong><br />When I was a senior in high school in 1966, I bought a Gibson SG Standard guitar. It was a red solid body electric guitar. I was living in Philadelphia and had a good friend, Roger, who was a beginner/intermediate guitar player, but he didn&rsquo;t have a guitar. I had a few guitars, so I told him to take the SG Standard on permanent loan and that one of these days I&rsquo;d get it back from him. Well, I never got it back. About three or four years ago I went to Philadelphia to do a concert and when I got to the hotel there was a message for me - it was from Roger&rsquo;s sister. She said Roger had passed away and his final words were &ldquo;make sure John gets his guitar back&rdquo;. So, I called her and she said she couldn&rsquo;t deliver it because it was Friday and she was an Orthodox Jewish person, but her Rabbi would drop off the guitar. Sure enough, the Rabbi dropped off the guitar at the hotel and I got that guitar back. It was exactly like it was when I gave it to Roger. He was a world traveler, he used to hitchhike around, and in the guitar case were brochures from Spain, Greece and other places. It was pretty amazing. Good karma.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Martin Guitar - Zach Williams, The Lone Bellow</strong><br /><span>A&nbsp;friend gave me a Martin guitar. He had sent it back to Martin to redo the glaze on it and they just ruined it, ruined the value of it. But I thought it sounded really good when I plucked it. I left that&nbsp;guitar on a sidewalk in Chicago about eight years ago. I called the police and told them that somebody had taken it,&nbsp;I didn&rsquo;t tell them I had left it. I do miss that guitar. It just sounded so good. It would be easy to find if somebody every tried to sell it. It didn&rsquo;t have the right headstock on it and it was a morbid beast. It was like ten rich men who didn&rsquo;t know what they were doing put their heads together and built a Martin.</span><br /></span></p> <p><span><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Gibson Guitar -&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Bill Frisell</a></strong></span><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;">This blows my mind. When I was a senior in high school when I started studying with Dale Bruning. I went to Greeley college and I would drive to Denver each week to take a lesson. Dale had a Gibson guitar and he decided he wanted to sell it. I had a guitar, it wasn&rsquo;t great, and I needed a real guitar, a good guitar. I bought that Gibson from him. It was a heavy thing for my teacher to pass along this guitar to me. And it was the only guitar I played for years.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;">Later, I moved to Boston and I started playing louder and I got another guitar &ndash; a solid body electric. In 1978, I was moving to Belgium and I needed money. I was mainly playing the electric guitar and for some stupid reason I decided to sell Dale&rsquo;s guitar. I moved to Belgium and soon thought &ldquo;why did I do that&rdquo;. I moved to New York in 1979 and went back to Boston. I thought maybe the Gibson might still be there - I had sold it in a music store in Harvard Square. Turns out the music store wasn&rsquo;t there anymore. I asked around and thought there&rsquo;s no way I&rsquo;d ever find it.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: helvetica;">Thirty-five years later I was living in Seattle and became friends with this guy that worked for the Gibson factory. I told him I used to have this really cool guitar, a one-of-a-kind thing that my guitar teacher had custom ordered. I asked him if maybe he could find out from the factory the history of it. I gave him the serial number, hoping that maybe they had records of the guitar. Then a year or so later I get a call from him and he said, &ldquo;You&rsquo;re not going to believe this, but I found your guitar for sale in a music store in Seattle.&rdquo; I called the store and told them not to sell it! They had a photo and it looked exactly like when I had it. I actually got it back. I asked but they didn&rsquo;t really know where it had been. They got it from another music store in Washington. I had left it in a music store in Boston and it ended up in Seattle.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Gordon Gano - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>Violent Femmes co-founder Gordon Gano is not only a singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, he also happens to be a Friend of the Denver Folklore Center. We spoke to Gordon on the day of his first live concert since the pandemic began and discussed his relationship with the store, playing live music again, his musical influences and more.</p> <p><strong><span>When Harry Met Gordon</span></strong></p> <p><span>Gordon&rsquo;s visits to the Folklore Center started quite a while ago, when founder </span><a href=""><span>Harry Tuft</span></a><span> still owned the store. &ldquo;I go so far back that I&rsquo;ve picked up CDs there. I talked with Harry - and later saw him play and sing, which I enjoyed very much - and read up on the whole </span><a href=""><span>history</span></a><span> of the place. What he&rsquo;s done is just great. At one point Harry had me sign a book, something along the lines of him saying &lsquo;I have no idea who you are, but some people who work here say I should have you sign this book&rsquo;. It was so honest. I think very nice thoughts of him.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>He says he &ldquo;loves the store. It&rsquo;s something that&rsquo;s special for me. The relaxed feeling, there&rsquo;s not big pressure, just letting people play and check out instruments and take their time. Not every place is like that. I&rsquo;ve picked up all kinds of supplies, guitar straps, odds and ends. I explored the different range of banjo picks and talked about them with people at the store and found the ones that worked for me. I saw a ukulele on the wall. It was beautiful and it sounded so nice. I had been thinking about getting a special gift for somebody, so I bought it and it&rsquo;s still getting played today.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>From Old Country to Punk</span></strong></p> <p><span>Growing up, Gordon was surrounded by different types of music. He listened to everything from country music (like Roger Miller and Johnny Cash and the Carter Family) to gospel (his father was a minister) to Broadway tunes. &ldquo;My father played guitar and sang, so there was always an acoustic guitar in the corner of the room, leaning up against some books &ndash; it&rsquo;s part of my earliest visual memory. Both my parents were in theater and my mother had been on Broadway in the &lsquo;50s in a musical. When I was little, I could sing &lsquo;Oklahoma&rsquo; from start to finish, except when it started spelling - I couldn&rsquo;t spell, so I&rsquo;d start saying different letters.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Later, his siblings introduced him to bands like The Dave Clark 5 and Bob Dylan. &ldquo;I had older brothers and sisters &ndash; some attended Woodstock &ndash; and some played guitar and sang. Then one of my brothers was in New York City and got into punk rock. So that stuff started getting to me, which was phenomenal and where I was headed. And mixed in there was a brother who sent me a Van Morrison album &ndash; how amazing and great that was!</span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;Somewhere along the line I heard The Velvet Underground and how that connects with Lou Reed and John Cale. I think we (the Violent Femmes) are in the ranks of who knows how many bands who sound so different, but their collective favorite and most inspiring band for them is the Velvet Underground.&rdquo; </span></p> <p><span>With all of these influences, it&rsquo;s no wonder the music of the Violent Femmes has such a distinct sound. &ldquo;Maybe another part of our sound is that myself and our bass player Brian Ritchie&hellip;and I&rsquo;ve had inklings of this over the years, but he doesn&rsquo;t follow the same chords I do in many cases, he finds his own way. It&rsquo;s usually a major/minor difference, but it works for us.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>The Multi-Instrumentalist</span></strong></p> <p><span>Gordon is a man of many musical talents. Not only does he write, sing and play guitar, he also plays banjo, fiddle and the piano. He sees the value in taking music lessons as he took (violin) lessons through elementary school - "I&rsquo;m very grateful for that. It was public school and they still had a music program. I could never improvise with the violin, but maybe 10 years ago, because I had been doing some work with the piano, I thought what if I take this idea and play it on the fiddle. It opened up a whole new world for me! </span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;So, if you play more than one instrument, you might get some kind of insight or inspiration that you can take to another instrument. That happened to me in a huge way with the piano. And it made it so that the violin is my favorite instrument by far to improvise with. Even to the point where I may have some favorite keys to play in, but I can make some adjustments in terms of patterns rather than every single note. I said to a musician friend (who has seen me learn how to play the violin over time in public) &lsquo;I can just play in any key and it doesn&rsquo;t matter to me!&rsquo; and he said &lsquo;Well, it&rsquo;s about time&rsquo;.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Gordon is a huge fan of Hungarian composer <span>B&eacute;la <em><span>Bart&oacute;k&rsquo;s</span></em></span> teaching of the<span>&nbsp;<em><span>Mikrokosmos. </span></em>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a lot of things he wrote for children and for learning to play the piano. And for my learning and my ear and how I feel a lot of the dissonance and a lot of the modal writing, which he does from the start for anyone just learning, to the degree where it sounds like it&rsquo;s wrong. I have to check and see that, yeah, that&rsquo;s what Bart&oacute;k wants. It appeals to me as a sound. So however slow I am going, I keep working at it. I really love it.&rdquo;</span></span></p> <p><strong><span>The Banjo</span></strong></p> <p><span>Being in the Folklore Center inspired Gordon to take up banjo. &ldquo;Something about seeing all the instruments hanging there and the great vibe of the place made me think maybe I should learn to play some banjo. I asked about it and the Folklore Center has a </span><a href=""><span>rental program</span></a><span>. I thought, this deal is amazing! It can go toward the purchase of the instrument. So, I really enjoyed that.&rdquo; </span></p> <p><span>After renting for a while, Gordon says he &ldquo;burned&rdquo; the store when it came time to buy a nicer instrument. &ldquo;I had already grown fond of my inexpensive banjo. I like the way it feels and plays. It&rsquo;s very lightweight. I still play some other banjos, but I&rsquo;m happy with the one I started off with.&rdquo; (It&rsquo;s okay &ndash; no hard feelings.)</span></p> <p><span>He still plays the banjo in concert with Violent Femmes and has done gigs just playing banjo with different groups like </span><a href=""><span>Micrograss</span></a><span>. </span></p> <p><strong><span>Start Playing and Just Do Your Best</span></strong></p> <p><span>Gordon has never let being a beginner stop him from playing an instrument on stage. &ldquo;The key to playing an instrument is to enjoy playing wherever you are. Don&rsquo;t ever think you&rsquo;re too old. Just start. It should be fun and enjoyable from the very start. Someone who has seen me play on stage over the years commented how much I&rsquo;ve improved and &lsquo;how do I do that &ndash; get up on stage and just play&rsquo;. And that&rsquo;s part of who I am. I&rsquo;m doing my best.</span></p> <p><span>&ldquo;I know someone who loves guitar so much and has some expensive guitars but won&rsquo;t play. And here&rsquo;s the reason - because they heard someone who played so great and they loved them so much that they thought &lsquo;I&rsquo;ll never, no matter how much I work at it, I&rsquo;ll never play like that&rsquo;. And that made them not want to play. I&rsquo;m the opposite. I heard someone years ago who said they started playing the fiddle or violin because they looked at me playing and thought, I can do that! I can do better than that! So, I&rsquo;m inspiring people to play.&rdquo; </span></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Violent Femmes</a></p> <p><span>Did you know banjo virtuoso </span><a href=""><span>Tony Trischka</span></a><span> has played music with the Violent Femmes? &ldquo;He played on our second album (which goes back to the early 1980s), then recently for a live thing we had put out - he sat in with us on a couple of tunes and has sat in with us many times. I&rsquo;m sure he can go through his normal life and not get recognized. But I was at the Folklore Center and saw a lot of books with instruction and saw Tony Trischka and said &lsquo;Oh he&rsquo;s a friend of mine&rsquo; and I think somebody who didn&rsquo;t know the Violent Femmes thought that was a big deal, so that was fun and got me some credit. And he&rsquo;s always been so nice.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Now that he&rsquo;s back on tour, Gordon&rsquo;s not exactly nervous playing for a live audience again. &ldquo;I feel an intensity about it. I feel the need to be focused and have been going over a lot of songs. We (Violent Femmes) have never had - unless it&rsquo;s a special situation where it&rsquo;s absolutely essential - we don&rsquo;t ever use a set list. It&rsquo;s sets up an orientation of spontaneity. I think we go from song to song faster than most bands who do have a set list. But that also means knowing a lot of songs. If we&rsquo;re going to play twenty, we need to know forty to sixty songs. So not having played live in a year and a half means we have to focus.&rdquo; </span></p> <p><span>Gordon and his band have countless fans around the world, including other musicians. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve heard from so many people that the Violent Femmes have been an influence for them, which is a great honor, it&rsquo;s amazing.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>If you&rsquo;re in Colorado, get ready to see the Violent Femmes as their tour brings them to The Mission Ballroom in Denver on October 20<sup>th</sup> with Flogging Molly. Get your tickets </span></strong><a href=""><strong><span>HERE</span></strong></a><strong><span>.<br /><br /></span></strong></p> <p>Photo credit:&nbsp; - Dan Garcia</p> <p><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p> Otis Taylor - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><strong>Otis Taylor</strong> has developed a reputation as a premier blues musician and an inventive composer and performer.<span>&nbsp; </span>His physical roots are in Denver though he traces his musical roots to his birthplace, Chicago.<span>&nbsp; </span>Otis spent quite a bit of time at the Denver Folklore Center while growing up.<span>&nbsp; </span>Harry&rsquo;s Tuft, the founder of DFC, tells the story this way.</p> <p>&ldquo;In the early 1960s, Otis would come to the store riding a unicycle, which was unique, and at the time he probably was the only person of color in the store. He made friends with some of the teachers when the store was on 17th and Pearl. I had established a school and among the teachers were Mike Kropp that Otis was kind of bugging to show him how to play the banjo. He was also learning to play the harmonica, traded the banjo in for the guitar and played blues at the hootenannies we held on Friday nights.</p> <p>Otis took his musical skills to London, and almost had a career there, and returned to Denver where he developed an interest in high-end antiques. I had lost touch with him at that time when he was in London, but our friendship was rekindled once he was back in Denver.</p> <p>Otis spoke to me about re-starting his musical career, even though he was in his early 50s. I do feel good about encouraging him to take the plunge. There is a Jewish saying - 'if not now when'. That was my advice to Otis. I think Otis&rsquo; friends were encouraging to restart his musical career and the rest is history.&nbsp;<br /><br /><img width="217" height="163" src="" alt="" align="" class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /></p> <p>I feel really good about whatever small part the Folklore Center played in Otis&rsquo; musical career and I&rsquo;m proud to call him my friend.&rdquo;</p> <p>Otis is still a regular at the Folklore Center, coming by to visit and have us restring his guitars, banjos and other instruments.<span>&nbsp; </span>He continues to perform and annually hosts the Trance Blues Festival in Boulder where he has lived since 1967. Taylor was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2019.</p> Nathaniel Rateliff - Friend of the DFC http://www.denverfolklore.com <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>Music superstar and Friend of the Denver Folklore Center, Nathaniel Rateliff recently took some time during his busy touring schedule to speak with us about his career, musical influences and what it&rsquo;s like to perform for live audiences again.<br /><br /></span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span>Back on Tour</span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>Nathaniel is thrilled to be back on tour and says &ldquo;it feels fantastic to be playing for live audiences again. I think it was 395 days since the last Night Sweats&rsquo; show, which was prior to our little run up to the Newport folk festival and some dates surrounding that. Then I had put out "And It&rsquo;s Still Alright", so most of the guys in the band were in that band as well. We were still making music together just not as the Night Sweats. Newport was interesting because we played both projects, so I was trying to memorize and remember all the Night Sweats&rsquo; songs I hadn&rsquo;t sang in over a year and then also make sure I&rsquo;m not screwing up the other record we were performing which has more subtlety. I had to remember at least 40 songs. It was fun.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;<br /><br /></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>Audiences are thrilled to see Nathaniel and the band and to experience live music again, so they are pretty forgiving of the occasional slipup. &ldquo;I had a piano break on me at a concert last night (in Oregon). I had to go over to Mark (Shusterman) and in the middle of playing Joseph (Pope) &ndash; we communicate over these little mics without the audience hearing &ndash; said, &lsquo;Great transition, man! Saved the day there!&rsquo; Because I&rsquo;m playing piano on the whole song and all of a sudden, the piano crapped out, but I have to carry the song. But it&rsquo;s been fun and people are just excited.&rdquo;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />Performing live also means being aware of the proverbial elephant in the room and Nathaniel &ldquo;feels a lot of responsibility&rdquo; to try to keep those who attend his concerts safe. &ldquo;All the shows right now are in markets we don&rsquo;t normally go to - they&rsquo;re all outdoor amphitheaters - which has proven to be the safest thing right now with Covid and the variant. Some of our friends who are doing indoor shows have had to cancel their tours. We have a pretty strict protocol. It&rsquo;s part of our job to make sure we don&rsquo;t create an environment for more people to get sick.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;<br /><br /></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span>The Colorado Connection</span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>Nathaniel and his friend (Night Sweats&rsquo; bassist) Joseph Pope &ldquo;moved to Denver in 1998 from Missouri, so I&rsquo;ve been in Denver for more than half my life.&rdquo; It wasn&rsquo;t long after that he found out about the Folklore Center. &ldquo;I heard about the early days of Bob Dylan and people coming through town, so I was always very curious about that. At one point I thought I was going to take fiddle lessons and I still have yet to.&rdquo;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />He jokes that the fiddle still haunts him. &ldquo;That instrument really&hellip;even for my 40<sup>th</sup> birthday I was like &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to get this thing this year&rsquo;, and then seeing musicians put out old fiddle tune records&hellip;I&rsquo;m just like &lsquo;Ah! I could be doing this!&rsquo; I play a little, but for some reason I feel like the violin and the pedal steel, I just don&rsquo;t know if I&rsquo;ll ever really get them.&rdquo;<br /><br /></span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span>Like a Rolling Stone</span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>Musically, Nathaniel began as a drummer, later learning to play the guitar, and his musical tastes were largely impacted by the music of the &lsquo;60s and &lsquo;70s. When he moved to Denver &ldquo;my musical influences were all over the place. I was kind of caught between what I had cut my teeth on, which was old Muddy Waters&rsquo; records that my dad had handed down to me, and Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. I was also a big fan of the Allman Brothers.&rdquo;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />&ldquo;I definitely went through phases where I wanted to be Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix. And that wasn&rsquo;t really any different when I moved to Denver. I loved Radiohead as they continued to progress and come out with things that were blowing us all away and reconnected with the (Rolling) Stones and The Stooges, then The Strokes came out with a record. I was really confused for a long time about what I wanted to be doing.&rdquo;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />What he didn&rsquo;t want to do was to become a singer-songwriter, especially considering how much he hated singing when he was younger. &ldquo;But I just couldn&rsquo;t get away from the writing aspect and at some point you find your voice.&rdquo;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />The band Nathaniel and Joseph were in at the time (Born in the Flood) &ldquo;just kept developing. The early days of that were very jam band, but I kept saying &lsquo;we&rsquo;re not a jam band&rsquo; even though we had a song that was like 45 minutes long.&rdquo; Slowly that band transitioned and &ldquo;I wanted to write and perform songs that moved people emotionally. My goal even back then was, if the listener can feel what I feel when I listen and perform music, that&rsquo;s all I want. I wanted people to be introspective and just allow themselves to feel emotion, because I think a lot of times we don&rsquo;t allow ourselves to do that.<br /><br /></span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span>Finding His Voice</span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>Born in the Flood fizzled out after about seven years and Nathaniel began a project called The Wheel (which later went under his name). &ldquo;We did our best to tour the record, then I got dropped from that label (Rounder Records).&rdquo; As he was making the second record, <em>Falling Faster than You Can Run</em>, he started his own label. &ldquo;Then<span>&nbsp; </span>it was another seven years trying to make it as a singer-songwriter.&rdquo;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />Around this time bands like Mumford &amp; Sons and The Lumineers started coming up and transforming the acoustic music scene. &ldquo;I was friends with those bands and toured a lot with them, but my approach to songs was very different. Mine was more about making the audience listen and sit still and be introspective. And at the time I felt like the scene had changed and I kind of got tired of playing acoustic guitar, even though that&rsquo;s my love and I consider that (the acoustic guitar) my instrument even more than the electric. There&rsquo;s so much subtlety in that instrument and my tone is really defined by my right hand and just trying to have finesse and strength all at the same time so that the tonality comes out.&rdquo;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />Nathaniel also collects <a href="" target="_blank">acoustic guitars</a>. &ldquo;I feel like they each have their own&hellip;acoustic instruments are so different from one another. I have two Gibson Country Westerns, they&rsquo;re both from &lsquo;67 and they are very different. I love that about acoustic instruments. But I started to move away from that.&rdquo;<br /><br /></span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span>Wang Dang Doodle</span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>Around this time Nathaniel had an idea - &ldquo;I had always wanted to have a band that sounded like if Sam &amp; Dave and The Band had formed a band together.&rdquo; So, he began experimenting with this concept. &ldquo;I had been doing a cover of (The Band&rsquo;s) "The Shape I&rsquo;m In" and started taking the rhythm of that song and incorporated it into my own song. I ended up writing "Trying So Hard Not to Know" and "Look It Here" for the Night Sweats and recorded it at home. I feel like once I cracked that code on the first song I was like &lsquo;Oh, this is it!&rsquo; I think I had been singing about such heavy stuff for so long it was refreshing to think about approaching songwriting without that heaviness.&rdquo;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />The third song he wrote from that perspective was called &ldquo;Howling at Nothing&rdquo;. &ldquo;I based that off of "Wang Dang Doodle" (a song he&rsquo;d always loved). Willie Dixon wrote the song but Howlin&rsquo; Wolf (Eric Clapton and members of the Rolling Stones) did a version of it for the London Sessions. The whole song is this story about everybody getting together and &lsquo;</span><span>We're gonna pitch a wang dang doodle all night long&rsquo; - I don&rsquo;t even know what that means. And I thought, what if I write a song like that. It was based on this old idea of the Howlin&rsquo; Wolf song, but it made me feel like, I&rsquo;m certainly taking the song seriously, but not in the way I was approaching writing before.&rdquo;<br /><br /><img width="284" height="159" src="" class="img-responsive" alt="nathaniel rateliff night sweats" /><br /></span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span><br />A Different Approach</span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>Nathaniel and the Night Sweats released their latest single &ldquo;Survivor&rdquo; on August 18<sup>th</sup> and their new album (<em><a href="" target="_blank">The Future</a></em>) drops on November 5<sup>th</sup>. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m excited about it! We worked with Brad Cook (producer). He came out and helped us finish the record and we mixed it with him as well. It&rsquo;s a different approach. Before it was about the looseness of everything and how do you keep that raw feeling of live music in a recording. With this (new record) we wanted to continue to sound like we&rsquo;re a band playing together but have more clarity and leave more space for instruments to hold their part instead of playing on top of each other. I like both but we ended up doing a great job.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />The band is currently on tour with Delta Spirit. &ldquo;We have all new production and keep trying to elevate what we&rsquo;re doing, which means this time there&rsquo;s three buses of people and three semis worth of gear. We have an amazing crew and it feels like we&rsquo;re a big family. Their days are long now and we&rsquo;re definitely blessed to have them.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />If you get a chance go see Nathaniel and the Night Sweats on tour. And learn more about them on their <a href="" target="_blank">website</a>.&nbsp;</span></div> DFC Fifth Anniversary Thoughts - Saul Rosenthal Co-Owner http://www.denverfolklore.com This month the Denver Folklore Center will be celebrating it's Fifth Anniversary under new ownership! To mark the occasion, Co-Owner Saul Rosenthal has a few memories to share:<br /><br />"I started playing guitar at age 16, about 50 years before we (he and Co-Owner Claude Brachfeld) bought the Denver Folklore Center from Harry. Little did I know at the time that playing guitar for most of your life does little to prepare you to own a retail music store.<br /><br />At age 65 I was thinking about retiring after successful runs as a college professor, non-profit executive and public relations consultant. When Harry told me he wanted to move on from the store it only took me a few days to decide that I had one more career move left in me. It took another 18 months to make it happen.<br /><br />Looking back, the first 6 months as co-owner of the store were filled with revelations and surprises. How little I knew about guitars (let alone mandolins, ukuleles, banjos and the rest of what we sell). How little I knew about customers and vendors. Fortunately when we bought the store it came with four terrific people &ndash; Jeff, Brian, Mark and John &ndash; who knew all of the things that I did not and were kind and patient enough to teach me.<br /> <br />To say the learning curve was steep would be an understatement. Even to this day I frequently turn to our staff for help. What&rsquo;s the wood on the back and sides of this guitar again? Does that banjo have a tone ring? And the tuning on a mandola is what?<br /><br />Did I make a good decision in taking on one more career? Absolutely. I once told my wife as I was getting ready to head to work that I was going to &ldquo;my happy place.&rdquo; (I quickly added, my other happy place dear.). DFC is a happy place in so many ways not the least of which is how many people we make happy every week as they find that first, next or forever instrument or learn that their beloved guitar with the cracks can be repaired.<br /><br />Music has always been a key part of who I am. My work at the Folklore Center allows me to share that part of me with lots of wonderful people &ndash; and I also get to play a lot of great instruments!" Nefesh Mountain - Eric Lindberg and Doni Zasloff http://www.denverfolklore.com <div style="text-align: justify;"><em><span>Nefesh Mountain</span></em><span>&nbsp;is at its core a bluegrass band steeped in the Jewish American culture</span><span>. Their music is inspired by &ldquo;old time, bluegrass, blues, anything that&rsquo;s really roots music of America&rdquo;. </span><span>At the center of the band are Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg (both sing, and Eric plays guitar and banjo), along with Alan Grubner (fiddle),&nbsp;David Goldenberg&nbsp;(mandolin) and<strong>&nbsp;</strong>Max Johnson<strong>&nbsp;</strong>(bass).<strong>&nbsp;<br /><br /></strong></span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>The band began as a duo and Eric remembers they &ldquo;met twelve years ago and became friends and over the years fell in love. The band is a love story between us.&rdquo; Slowly, the duo became a quartet. Over the years they hired musicians to accompany them and now they have a five-piece band. &ldquo;The idea is to have a band like Stringdusters or Steep Canyon Rangers or Punch Brothers. A band that doesn&rsquo;t have interchangeable members but personalities instead.&rdquo;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="Nefesh Mountain" width="150" height="100" align="" /><br />Eric and Doni have always played music. Eric started around eleven years old and &ldquo;played trumpet and sax before I gravitated toward the guitar. I only held one other job in my life in a bagel shop in high school. I can&rsquo;t seem to do anything other than music.&rdquo; For Doni it&rsquo;s the same. She studied theatre at NYU and has been performing her whole life (she plays guitar and other instruments as well and sings in the band).<br /><br /></span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>The couple credits the roots music of America as the inspiration for their songs and are &ldquo;also pairing elements of our own cultural backgrounds and experiences as Jewish Americans. We didn&rsquo;t set out to do it, but now that we&rsquo;re in it, we feel our job is to open up this new world of Americana music by embracing our own culture, which isn&rsquo;t widely talked about in traditional Americana music. We&rsquo;re adding our color to the palette of the music and have this platform we didn&rsquo;t intend on, which is what it means to be a Jewish person in America&rdquo;.</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="Nefesh Mountain" width="150" height="100" align="" /><br />The band has a musical connection with the Denver Folklore Center that goes way back. Eric and Doni knew current owners Saul (Rosenthal) and Claude (Brachfeld) through the Jewish community in Denver but had visited the store before they bought it. &ldquo;The store is one of those places if you travel the country and you&rsquo;re an acoustic playing musical artist, you want to go somewhere where they have these beautiful instruments. I would always try and stop in and buy picks or get some extra strings. I always loved the Folklore Center and lo and behold our friends bought it and are keeping the place alive. What they&rsquo;ve done with it is great! The last time we were there we did a little </span><a href=""><span>Bourgeois guitar clinic</span></a><span>, which was a ton of fun. It&rsquo;s a wonderful store and we need more of them.&rdquo;</span></div> <span><br /><img width="150" height="100" src="" class="img-responsive" alt="Nefesh Mountain" align="" /><br />The couple </span><span>just had a baby in June and aren&rsquo;t touring this summer. But Nefesh Mountain will have a full tour starting in September and are planning on being back in Colorado in 2022. They&rsquo;re excited to get back on the road and to see what the future brings. </span><span>They just released their latest album <a href="" target="_blank">Songs for the Sparrows</a>&nbsp;- &ldquo;Our baby was born on Thursday (6/10) and the album came out on Friday (6/11)&rdquo;. This album was recorded before the pandemic, and you can learn more about it (including videos) on their website&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">HERE</a>.</span> Live Music is Back! http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>It seems like a lifetime ago since we could plan a musical evening out with friends and family. We only realized last year how meaningful those times were and that we may have taken them for granted. But we&rsquo;ve weathered the Covid storm and life finally seems to be returning to normal. And that means LIVE MUSIC IS BACK!</span></p> <p><span>For those of us that live and breathe music, this is what we&rsquo;ve been waiting for. The thrill of tossing a blanket on the grass, hanging out with our loved ones and listening to musicians play is possible and it&rsquo;s already happening around the country. So, what does this return to live music mean to musicians, concert goers and venues? We asked a few folks and here&rsquo;s what they had to say.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Musicians </span></strong></p> <p><span><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="summers baker meadow mountain" width="150" height="100" align="" /><br />Summers Baker, guitarist from </span><a href=""><span>Meadow Mountain Music</span></a><strong><span> &ldquo;</span></strong><span>feels a wide range of emotions as I return to live performance. But simply put, it is good to reconnect with the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="Nefesh Mountain" width="150" height="100" align="" /><br />Bluegrass band </span><span><a href=""><span>Nefesh Mountain&rsquo;s</span></a></span><span> Eric Lindberg and Doni Zasloff &ldquo;</span><span>can&rsquo;t wait to get back to performing live, but it is a little scary. We haven&rsquo;t played on stage in over a year, but we&rsquo;ve played hundreds of Zoom concerts. It&rsquo;s a little nerve-racking considering our first show will be MerleFest in North Carolina - it&rsquo;s one of the big</span><span>granddaddies</span><span> of bluegrass festivals and we have to get our stuff together. We were such a well-oiled machine before the pandemic, so now it will be an adjustment.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="Carolyn Shulman Folk Singer" width="150" height="100" align="" /><br />During the pandemic, <a href="" target="_blank">Carolyn Shulman</a>, a Denver-based folk singer-songwriter, began a monthly livestream series called</span><a href=""><span>&nbsp;Sunday Night Spotlight</span></a><span>, featuring a different guest artist each month. She found she enjoyed playing for fans via livestream so much she plans to continue the series for the foreseeable future - &ldquo;It&rsquo;s fun to be able to connect with people all over the country.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>She also began booking private, virtual house concerts&nbsp;for audiences&nbsp;over Zoom and will continue those as well. And now that live shows are safer to resume, Carolyn is excited to return to performing songs from her first album </span><a href=""><span>Grenadine &amp; Kerosene</span></a>&nbsp;<span>live in outdoor&nbsp;spaces. &ldquo;Luckily in Colorado we can do outdoor gigs, especially in the summer. I hope by late fall it will be overall safer to play inside.&rdquo; She has an outdoor house concert scheduled for August and is &ldquo;most looking forward to getting to meet new people and sharing my songs with new audiences. That&rsquo;s my favorite part about doing music.&rdquo; </span><a href=""><span>R</span></a><a href=""><span>each out</span></a><span>&nbsp;to </span><span>book her</span><span> in your venue's outdoor space, or for an intimate, private house concert for you and your friends in your yard.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Music Fans</span></strong></p> <p><span>Concert goer Amy Boymel received an email</span><span> from </span><a href=""><span>Swallow Hill</span></a><span> that the summer concerts were coming back to Shady Grove and knew she and her husband had to be there. &ldquo;It did not disappoint! Perfect weather, great band (Hal Aqua and the Lost Tribe), a picnic dinner with a bottle of wine - all the elements we'd been missing for so long came together.&rdquo; Amy says the concert was not the only thing that made the evening so special. &ldquo;The best part was reconnecting with old, dear friends after a year and a half of isolation. We were back and music and laughter filled the air!&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Meredith Erin Levy and her family aren&rsquo;t regular concert goers. However, </span><span>they were excited when they learned </span><span>Michael Franti was coming to Red Rocks Amphitheater. &ldquo;Originally, the seating capacity was much lower than the two-thirds capacity on concert day, which felt like a safe environment to bring our young daughters - their first real concert during pandemic life.&rdquo; Besides being mask aware when near other concert attendees, she says the concert felt similar to pre-pandemic life. &ldquo;Michael Franti still walked, sang and danced throughout&nbsp;the crowd like we have experienced in years past.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Meredith remembers that people were kind and respectful of everyone&rsquo;s personal space and &ldquo;there was a high level of enthusiasm&nbsp;to be at a live show and in a huge crowd, certainly the largest crowd I have been in since pandemic life. I saw few adults wearing masks and the outdoor venue felt safe as a vaccinated person. We would not bring our children to a crowded indoor space or concert at this point (but would be mindful) and attend other outdoor concerts.&rdquo;<br /><br /><span><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="Paul Kashmann" width="150" height="100" align="" /><br />Denver City Councilman Paul Kashmann attended the Greeley Blues Jam recently. &ldquo;I stuck a mask in my pocket not knowing what to expect and there wasn&rsquo;t a mask in sight. A lot of people expressed the feeling that it was like jumping out of an airplane and here we go!&rdquo; As important as the return to hearing live music was, it was even better to see friends in the music scene that he hadn&rsquo;t seen in a year and a half. &ldquo;Just being back hearing live music was wonderful! For me it&rsquo;s friends, family and music that feeds my soul and the music was excellent. </span><span>It&rsquo;s like being stuck out in the desert and then getting your first good meal after a year and half.&rdquo;</span><br /></span></p> <p><span>For Paul and other fans of live music the isolation of the pandemic has been particularly difficult. &ldquo;Having the time off (from live music) made me grateful for everyone involved in the business. From everyone like Saul (Rosenthal, co-owner Denver Folklore Center) who sell instruments, to people like Chuck Morris that produce shows, to the roadies, people in the parking lot, the concessionaires, everybody that contributes to bringing back the noise is greatly appreciated to say the very least.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Paul has also seen Bob Weir &amp; Wolf Brothers at Red Rocks &ndash; &ldquo;It was only partial capacity but when you looked around it felt full. A lot of big smiles and excited people.&rdquo; And he&rsquo;s not stopping there. He has a long list of live music events he&rsquo;ll be attending this year. &ldquo;</span><span>My Blue Sky at the Buffalo Rose, Robert Randolph at Levitt Pavilion, Shakedown Street, Swallow Hill&rsquo;s summer series. From the big events to the smaller ones like the Shady Grover series, they all have their personalities. It&rsquo;s gonna be a fun summer! Every day another big tour is announced. I&rsquo;m sure part of it is trying to recoup the financial loses, but the sense I get is that these are musicians that didn&rsquo;t get into it for big money. They got into it to make music. And I think that&rsquo;s what has people excited.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>Swallow Hill</span></strong></p> <p><span><span>Paul Lhevine</span></span><span><span>, CEO Swallow Hill Music, is particularly grateful for the return to live music, as the venue&rsquo;s staff was decimated last year. </span></span><span>&ldquo;Half of our 25 full-time administrators lost their jobs and we&rsquo;re now in a rebuilding period.&rdquo; And Swallow Hill is having a busy summer, from partnering with the Denver Botanic Garden for </span><a href=""><span>Evenings Al Fresco</span></a><span>, which &ldquo;provided opportunities to book 100 spots for local artists over the summer and that&rsquo;s been fantastic!&rdquo; They are also featuring their </span><a href=""><span>Shady Grove Picnic Series</span></a><span> at Four Mile Historic Park and their first concerts have already broken historic attendance records for that summer concert series.</span></p> <p><span><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="Swallow Hill" width="150" height="150" align="" /><br />And there&rsquo;s more music coming! &ldquo;We&rsquo;ll start our in-house performances on September 10<sup>th</sup> with Tony Trischka and we&rsquo;re seeing great presales for what&rsquo;s coming up in the fall. People want to get out, be with friends and listen to music. Science works and the Covid vaccine works. And that&rsquo;s giving everyone the security to go out and live our lives again.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Paul is hearing good things from outdoor concert fans. &ldquo;They are so thankful that we did the things we did to keep Swallow Hill alive and part of the Denver music scene, and so thankful that they can go out and enjoy music with their friends. It&rsquo;s euphoric! Heck I&rsquo;m excited to not wear a mask going to King Soopers, so going to hear music is times ten.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Whether you&rsquo;re a part of the industry or an avid fan, having the option to attend live music events is thrilling! Music is once again uniting us and giving us hope that life is returning to normal.</span></p> Meadow Mountain's Summers Baker http://www.denverfolklore.com <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>If you&rsquo;re not already a fan of Colorado bluegrass band Meadow Mountain, you soon will be. They are front and center on the national bluegrass music scene with the release of their second album coming this summer. And the band is no stranger to the Denver Folklore Center. Members stop by occasionally, trying out new instruments and performing (see our </span><a href="" target="_blank">YouTube channel</a>).</div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />Members of Meadow Mountain include Summers Baker (guitar), Jack Dunlevie (mandolin),&nbsp;</span><span>Sam Armstrong-Zickefoose<span>&nbsp;</span>(banjo), Ian Parker (fiddle) and Wilson Luallen (bass). <span>Summers</span> remembers the band began &ldquo;as a bunch of friends getting together to play for tips at the Vail Farmers Market and connected </span><span>over a love of the genre and a desire to improve as musicians.&nbsp; When we started, we only knew a couple of fiddle tunes.&rdquo;</span><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span><br />From Electric to Acoustic</span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>Summers</span><span> started playing guitar around age 14. &ldquo;At first, I was really into the electric guitar, but bands like Dave Matthews Band, Dispatch and Yonder Mountain String Band drew me towards acoustic music.&rdquo; He hasn&rsquo;t touched the electric guitar since age 16 and is mostly self-taught when it comes to bluegrass and folk music.</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />At 19 years old, Summers made a commitment to &ldquo;a life of music and got to work&rdquo;. Meadow Mountain is his main project and he&rsquo;s been working on that music for the past seven years, focusing on &ldquo;songwriting, singing and arrangement&rdquo;.</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span><br />His Dream Guitar Found Him</span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>When he&rsquo;s not playing music, Summers works at Steam Espresso Bar (down the street from the Folklore Center). &ldquo;Years ago, I started stopping into the Folklore Center during work breaks to play their guitars. The staff there has always been incredibly welcoming to me, and I have learned a great deal about guitars from them. My usual visits involve playing a few of their vintage guitars, learning about the guitars' history and dreaming of the day when I win the lottery and return to buy out their entire wall of nice guitars.&rdquo;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />As fate would have it, Summers bought his dream guitar from the Folklore Center in 2020 - a Bourgeois D-DB signature (see it in the photos). The guitar made its gigging debut on stage at Red Rocks and &ldquo;it feels right that the guitar found me by way of the Folklore Center&rdquo;.&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="Meadow Mountain Summers Baker" width="222" height="148" align="" /><br /><br />Commitment and a Little Luck</span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>Meadow Mountain &ldquo;has always been fueled by the desire to improve&rdquo;. When they first began playing together, the four original members of the band &ldquo;had little to no experience playing bluegrass&hellip;and we used the band as space to practice, study, critique and support each other as we all worked on the music individually&rdquo;.&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />Although Meadow Mountain continues to grow in popularity, they realize it&rsquo;s not just because of luck. <span>&nbsp;</span>Their commitment to be better musicians, &ldquo;along with an immense amount of privilege&nbsp;and community support, has brought us to where we&nbsp;are now. In the last few years, we have played on the main stage of <a href="" target="_blank">RockyGrass</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Telluride Bluegrass</a>, FreshGrass and most recently at <a href="" target="_blank">Red Rocks</a>, where we opened for Leftover Salmon&rdquo;.</span></div> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />Meadow Mountain is releasing their second album this summer and would love for friends of the Folklore Center to tune in for the release. You can follow Meadow Mountain and stay up to date on <a href="" target="_blank">Instagram</a>&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and their <a href="" target="_blank">Website</a>.<br /></span></div> How Electronics Enhance Instrument Sound http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Sure, playing a guitar or other musical instrument is a lot of fun , but if you&rsquo;re a musician looking to enhance your sound, first make sure your instrument and pickup are up to par, then consider adding electronics like amplifiers, preamps and DI boxes.</span></p> <div><strong><span><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="Fishman Loudbox" width="117" height="117" align="" /><br /><br />Amplifiers </span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: left;"><span>An amplifier or &ldquo;amp&rdquo; at its most basic is an electronic device that receives the sound of your instrument, processes that signal and amplifies it into a louder more intense sound as it exits. If you&rsquo;re a musician playing in a noisy venue or with other musicians, try an amp.</span></div> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong><span><br />Preamps</span></strong></p> <p><span>A preamp on the other hand processes the incoming sound, shapes the sound tone and boosts it to the standard or &ldquo;line&rdquo; level so it is audible enough for an amplifier to do its job. An instrument&rsquo;s distortion also takes place in the preamp. So, if your instrument sound needs a little help, a preamp could be just the thing for you.</span></p> <p><span>We offer two lines of amplifiers: the <a href="">Fishman Loudbox and AER</a>. Fishman Loudbox amps are world renowned for their warm tone and accuracy and are a favorite among acoustic musicians. And AER amplifiers are in a class all their own. These extraordinary amps are crafted in Germany and designed to fill the needs of the most discriminating acoustic player.&nbsp;<img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="LR Baggs DI Box" width="132" height="132" align="" /><br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong><span>DI Boxes</span></strong></p> <p><span>A direct&nbsp;input (DI) box provides additional power and tonal control, giving you the ability to manage how your instrument sounds, whether you are playing through your own amp or a PA system.&nbsp;It defends the instrument&rsquo;s sound from outside noise, which allows the signal to remain strong and work with other systems &ndash; like in a recording studio or a live concert.</span></p> <p><span>See our selection of DI boxes from L.R. Baggs <a href="">HERE</a>.</span></p> <p><strong><span>How We Can Help</span></strong></p> <p><span>If you have questions or would like help choosing electronics for your personal style or needs, stop by or&nbsp;</span><a href=""><span>contact</span></a><span>&nbsp;our expert staff at the Denver Folklore Center today.</span></p> Bob Dylan and The Electric Controversy Set http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>In July 1965, Bob Dylan went "electric" at the Newport Folk Festival. It was his third appearance at the festival, but his first time using an electric guitar and amplifier, accompanied by an electric backup band. It was an improvised move on Dylan's part, who planned the switch to amplification just one night before his set. He likely had no idea that his departure from the norm would be discussed and argued over for years to come by historians and fans of both folk music and rock.</p> <p><strong>History in the Making</strong></p> <p>There were a couple of fateful events leading up to that controversial moment at Newport. One year earlier at the same festival, Ronnie Gilbert of The Weavers addressed the audience while introducing Bob Dylan to the stage, "And here he is...Take him, you know him, he's yours." Bob Dylan admitted years later in a 2004 Memoir called <em>Chronicles: Volume 1</em> that he, "...failed to sense the ominous foreboding in the introduction." Dylan also felt that Gilbert and the fans of his traditional folk style were being overly possessive of him. A few months before Newport, his fifth studio recording <em>Bringing It All Back Home</em> was released. The album blended folk with some rock devices in the songwriting and half of the recorded songs were amplified. Finally, about a month before the festival, Dylan recorded the iconic single, &ldquo;Like a Rolling Stone&rdquo;. The song was released just five days before his now infamous set at Newport.<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="Bob Dylan Electric" width="251" height="132" align="" /><strong><br />Causing an Uproar</strong></p> <p>Dylan played a short set in a small mansion at Newport. He opened with the traditional protest song &ldquo;Maggie's Farm&rdquo; and used an amplified Fender Stratocaster. His backup band, which included members of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, were also amplified.<br /> <br /> The audience's reaction to the electrified set was instantaneous, with boos and yelling filling the venue. Some have since argued that the source of dismay was the poor sound quality - the amplified instruments simply drowned out Dylan's vocals. Others say the set was much shorter than other performances that year and fans wanted Dylan to continue playing. However most agree the ultimate cause of the booing that continued throughout the set was precipitated by a sense of betrayal that fans of the Newport Folk Festival's golden child had abandoned them.<br /> <br /> He continued his brief set with &ldquo;Like A Rolling Stone&rdquo; to further noise and discontent from the fans. After his third song, &ldquo;Phantom Engineer,&rdquo; Dylan and his accompanying band left the stage.</p> <p><strong>An Electrifying Legacy</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s no coincidence that a defining characteristic of rock and roll is an overt sense of rebellion. Rock had many hurdles to overcome before it gained universal social acceptance. Bob Dylan got a taste of this reluctance in 1965. Subsequent concerts that year were met with further boos, shouts and cries of betrayal.<br /> <br /> He was not the first performer to go electric at Newport, but his move was significant at the time because fans felt he was an icon, their spokesman of the Folk and Protest movement. However, in many ways Dylan typified rock before he actually made the switch. He wanted to change the world, but he was not a joiner or a conformist. He was attempting new and different methods, a definitive departure from traditional folk ideals. This all occurred in a time before Vietnam, hippies and psychedelia. Rock was still finding itself as a genre and Bob Dylan would ultimately aid in that definition.<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="Bob Dylan Fender Strat" width="203" height="135" align="" /><strong><br />Did You Know</strong><br /><span>The guitar played by Bob Dylan in his famous Newport Folk Festival electric set was sold at auction in 2013 for $965,000. Dylan left his guitar, a 1964 Fender Stratocaster sunburst, and a hard case (containing some handwritten lyrics) on a private plane shortly after Newport. The pilot attempted to return the guitar but Dylan's management company never returned his calls. Eventually the pilot's daughter took the guitar to PBS's History Detectives television program who verified the guitar's authenticity. Christie's Auction House placed the guitar, case and lyrics up for sale with an estimate of $300,000-$500,000. The unnamed purchaser went well beyond Christie's estimate to take the infamous guitar home, making it the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction at the time. It has since been surpassed by a few guitars, including Kurt Cobain's MTV Unplugged acoustic guitar, a 1959 Martin D-18E.</span></p> The Allman Brothers Band: Innovation and Freedom http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>The Allman Brothers Band was an influential musical group that recorded their first album in 1969. Through several iterations and personnel changes over the years, the band created many albums and toured on and off until 2014. The importance of their legacy was undeniable as a genre-smashing group of musicians. They combined influences ranging from folk, rock, country, blues, soul and jazz. They also employed some nonconventional instrumentation, such as using two lead guitarists and two drummers. It would be difficult to measure the lasting effect they had on musical styles and the artists who would follow.</p> <p>Over the years the band was subject to trials and tribulations, both internal and external. They gained and lost members and separated only to be reinvented and reunited. They had commercial successes and failures. They suffered from infighting and the inevitable drama of a group of individuals stuck together for years at a time. Addiction, egos, tragedy and ultimately evolution can all be used to describe the Allman Brothers Band.</p> <h2>The Early Years</h2> <p>The band was formed in 1969 by Duane Allman, leader and lead guitarist. He was seeking more freedom to set up a band in a way that he preferred. The band also utilized elements of country music, jazz and the blues in their rock and roll style. From the beginning, The Allman Brothers made use of improvisation and it became one of their defining traits. Band guitarist, Warren Haynes is quoted as saying, &ldquo;We sure didn&rsquo;t set out to be a jam band, but those long jams just emanated from within the band, because we didn&rsquo;t want to just play three minutes and be over.&rdquo;</p> <p>Despite being a 1970&rsquo;s rock band from Macon, Georgia, the Allmans rejected the southern rock moniker, seeking a legacy that went beyond characterization. The band despised the racism and stereotypes that defined many southern rock acts of the time. They chose to be an integrated group in a time and place that was barely past segregation in the minds of its citizens.</p> <h2>Southern Innovators</h2> <p>One of the unique aspects of the band was the use of two lead guitarists. This allowed for more depth of melody and a fullness of sound, a vision that Duane Allman carried into the band. Dickey Betts filled the role of second lead guitarist and came to the band with some slightly different musical influences, such as bluegrass and country - &ldquo;I played mandolin, ukulele and fiddle before I ever touched a guitar&rdquo;. This background shows heavily in their music on songs like <em>Ramblin&rsquo; Man</em> and <em>Blue Sky</em>, both of which were written and sung by Betts.</p> <p>The Allmans used a wide variety of instruments over the years to achieve their unique sound and style. Besides traditional rock and roll instrumentation, they made use of the slide guitar, piano, tympani, synthesizer, organ and harmonica.</p> <h2>Finding Their Niche</h2> <p>Their first album (<em>The Allman Brothers</em> <em>Band</em> recorded in November 1969, which included the song <em>Whipping Post</em>) was initially a commercial failure. It sold less than 35,000 copies at first release. However, they played 300 live shows the following year and began to gain some popularity from this tour. Their second album (<em>Idlewild South</em> recorded in September 1970, which included the single <em>Midnight Rider</em>) didn&rsquo;t sell much more than the first. This led to the decision to embrace the magic that occurred between the band and their fans during their live performances. Their third album <em>At Fillmore East</em> was a live recording released in July 1971 and was their first commercially successful album. It reached #13 on the Billboard charts and achieved Gold Record status by the Recording Industry Association of America. In the following years they released several more live albums to supplement their studio recordings.</p> <p>Give a listen to some of the band&rsquo;s songs. <a href=""><em>Ramblin&rsquo; Man</em></a> was recorded in 1973 and appeared on <em>Brothers and Sisters</em>, the Allman&rsquo;s fourth album. Written and sung by Dickey Betts, this song was significant because it was somewhat of a departure from the band&rsquo;s original style. The band members were reluctant to record it because they felt it had too much of a country vibe, but the song went on to become one of their most iconic songs.</p> <p><a href=""><em>Blue Sky</em></a>, from the album <em>Eat A Peach</em> released in February 1972, was again written and sung by Dickey Betts. Sadly, this song is one of Duane Allman&rsquo;s last guitar recordings before his tragic death in a motorcycle accident in October 1971. Duane and Dickey took turns playing the lead melody on the song.</p> The Advantages of Taking Music Lessons http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>During the past year, music has become an even more important part of our lives. We haven&rsquo;t been able to attend concerts or play music with friends due to the pandemic. Perhaps it&rsquo;s the lack of musical connection with others (and boredom) that&rsquo;s inspired so many people to purchase a new musical instrument. So much so that instrument manufacturers can&rsquo;t keep up with demand.</span></p> <p><span>So, what do you do when you have that new guitar or banjo in your hands? How do you even begin to learn? Sure, there are YouTube videos and music books. But for the beginner or someone who wants to take their playing to the next level, the best choice is finding a music teacher. Let&rsquo;s find out why.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Why Take Lessons?</span></strong></p> <p><span>Jeff Jaros, Manager of the Denver Folklore Center, has been teaching banjo at </span><span><a href=""><span>Swallow Hill Music</span></a></span><span> for 11 years, and he understands that for most people &ldquo;music is a social thing, a human thing.&rdquo; So, it&rsquo;s the human connection and the joyful moments, that interaction between teacher and student, that give some value to taking music lessons. It&rsquo;s much more than simply learning an instrument.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>Guitar teacher </span><span><a href=""><span>Robyn Dino</span></a></span><span> agrees. She credits the human connection of taking music lessons with a teacher as a great motivator for children and adult students to learn. Taking lessons &ldquo;is interactive, fun and there&rsquo;s an energy that you just don&rsquo;t get from self-teaching or a recorded video.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="Jeff Jaros" width="147" height="148" align="" /><br /><strong><span>Learn the Basics</span></strong></p> <p><span>Having a professional teach you playing basics is a huge advantage. Jeff: &ldquo;</span><span>You will save so much time in your life if you get the basics down right off the bat. Someone showing you the ropes is going to save you weeks if not years of relearning.&rdquo; Just knowing how to do simple things, like how to hold the instrument correctly, basic tuning, chords, terminology and even how to care for the instrument properly is invaluable. </span></p> <p><span>Robyn agrees:</span><span> &ldquo;The teacher is there to correct you and give instant feedback before you develop bad habits. They can offer more efficient playing tips or maybe one small change that makes what you are learning so much easier.&rdquo;&nbsp; </span></p> <p><strong><span>Structure &amp; Motivation</span></strong></p> <p><span>Music lessons should have some kind of structure to help students learn and progress as players. Structure helps you learn, stay on track and progress. Robyn: </span><span>&ldquo;There are some people who are self-motivated, but I&rsquo;ve found that most need and want weekly lessons to keep moving forward.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>However, you know the old saying about &ldquo;all work and no play&rdquo;. Jeff: &ldquo;</span><span>You have to make (music lessons) fun. If you make it torturous you have lost the battle. Unless your kid is a prodigy, and those are about one in a million, let them have fun the first couple of years at least and see where it goes from there.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>So, whether a student thrives in a strict learning environment or needs a less structured plan, teachers can pick up on a student&rsquo;s learning style and adapt lessons to be a better fit, creating a more personalized experience.<span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> <div style="text-align: left;"><strong><span><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="Robyn Dino" width="232" height="166" align="" /><br />Teaching During the Pandemic<br /><br /></span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: left;"><span>The pandemic has been challenging for everyone, including music teachers. </span><span>Jeff says he and <span>Swallow Hill weren&rsquo;t ready for the pandemic. However, he has learned to adapt to the new teaching environment. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s been extremely educational for me. I&rsquo;m an older guy, so getting with <a href="" target="_blank">Swallow Hill </a>and figuring out how we&rsquo;re going to do this, there was a learning curve.&rdquo;</span></span></div> <p><span>Despite being frustrated with the new technology and methods, Jeff was able &ldquo;to develop different techniques and goals for myself (with distance learning). I see the same joy and success with students. They&rsquo;re fine with it. I like to channel them (and their energy) instead of being woe is me.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Robyn adjusted by taking her lessons online too. &ldquo;</span><span>Individual lessons were less of a challenge, particularly for most adults. At first my older senior students were more unsure of the technology, but soon felt more comfortable. It was harder for kids that had been on Zoom all day for school or struggled learning on Zoom in the first place.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong><span>How to Choose a Teacher</span></strong></p> <p><span>To find a music teacher that suits your playing level, style and personality, start by asking those closest to you, because they know you. Then call reputable music stores &ndash; like the </span><span><a href=""><span>Denver Folklore Center</span></a></span><span>, we know plenty of talented teachers and are happy to make recommendations. </span></p> <p><span>Jeff: &ldquo;Treat a teacher as if they are auditioning during the first couple of lessons. We don&rsquo;t all get along with everyone the same way, but most teachers are good at getting a good vibe with their students. If the student doesn&rsquo;t have a good vibe with a teacher, there are others out there. <span>Think of taking lessons as a great way to learn an instrument and this person is going to make it fun.&rdquo;</span></span></p> Capo Basics: What Are They & Why You Should Use One http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>If you are like many acoustic guitarists you probably prefer to play in certain keys &ndash; with C, G, D, E and A being the most popular.<span>&nbsp; </span>That&rsquo;s why you see lots of acoustic, folk and roots music written out in those keys.</p> <p>What if you find a song you really like that&rsquo;s written in another, less familiar key &ndash; say F#?<span>&nbsp; </span>Or you need to raise the key in order to sing along more comfortably? Maybe you show up to a jam session and somebody wants to lead a bluegrass classic in Bb?<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>Fortunately, there is a handy device called a capo just for situations like these.</p> <p><strong>What the Heck is a Capo?</strong></p> <p>A capo is a device used on stringed musical instruments to temporarily hold down all the strings at once anywhere on the fretboard. <span>&nbsp;</span>This makes it easy to change keys while continuing to play your favorite chord shapes.<span>&nbsp; </span>For example, standard tuning on a guitar is E-A-D-G-B-E.<span>&nbsp; </span>If you put a capo on the third fret then each string is now three half steps higher.<span>&nbsp; </span>So, if you play a G chord with the capo on the third fret it&rsquo;s now a Bb chord.</p> <p>In short, a capo opens up the number of keys you play in without requiring you to play a lot of barre cords or learn new chord progressions.</p> <p><strong>Capos Aren&rsquo;t Just for Guitars</strong></p> <p>Capos are manufactured for a variety of instruments. <a href="">Guitars</a>, <a href="">banjos</a>, <a href="">mandolins</a>, dobros <span>&nbsp;</span>and even lutes can make use of capos.</p> <p><strong>Different Capos at Different Prices</strong></p> <p>Capos come in a variety of styles. Strap-on capos were one of the first types created and were quite popular through about the 1970s. They used a strip of elastic or cloth to hold a padded bar to the strings. <span>&nbsp;</span>There were other early forms of capos many of which had the disadvantage of leaving imprints on the back of the instrument neck.</p> <p>More recently two more efficient capo forms have emerged.<span>&nbsp; </span>The spring clamp-type capo usually consists of two padded bars and a spring to squeeze them together around the neck of the instrument and it boasts quick release and is easily stored on the headstock of the instrument. The other commonly used capo is the screw-type capo. An adjustable screw on the back side of the device tightens to hold the two halves together around the neck.</p> <p>Prices on capos start at about $25. <span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Whichever capo style you choose it&rsquo;s important to place it about 1/8&rdquo; behind the fret and straight across the fingerboard to get accurate and consistent tone.</p> <p><strong>Ready to Buy a Capo? Visit Us!</strong></p> <p>If you&rsquo;re ready to give these innovative devices a try, or if it&rsquo;s time to step up to the next capo level, check out the Denver Folklore Center&rsquo;s spectacular selection of <a href="">capos</a> from brands like <strong><span>Keyser, Shubb, Paige, Kala, Taylor and Elliott</span></strong>, for your fave stringed instrument. <a href="">Contact us</a> for assistance.</p> How the Cancellation of NAMM's Live 2021 Event Affects Members of the Music Industry http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>The National Association of Music Merchants&rsquo; (NAMM) 2021 in-person show was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and instead took place online. This was a huge disappointment for those in the music industry, as this event is considered their largest and most important annual gathering. Not only does the show allow members of the industry the opportunity to create valuable relationships, they are also introduced to the latest products from top manufacturers. While the online event &ldquo;Believe in Music&rdquo; took place January 18-22, the experience was simply not the same for attendees.<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="NAMM Show" width="291" height="219" align="" /><br /></span></p> <h2>Virtual Event Challenges</h2> <p><span><a href="">Eastman Guitars&rsquo;</a>&nbsp;Sales Representative, Steve Bernstein, has been in the music industry for 34 years (at Eastman for 11 years) and has attended 40+ NAMM shows. He describes the annual event as &ldquo;almost like Christmas time for the music industry&rdquo; and still looks forward to it every year. There&rsquo;s excitement for the reps because they mostly communicate by phone and email with clients around the country during the year, but when NAMM rolls around, &ldquo;they actually get to meet people face-to-face and show off their new products.&rdquo; But that didn&rsquo;t happen this year.</span></p> <p><span>Eric Sakimoto, </span><span>a District Sales Manager with <a href="">Taylor Guitars</a>, agrees. &ldquo;NAMM is usually really busy with appointments for me. I try to see everyone I&rsquo;ve spoken to (via phone and email) during the year at the show.&rdquo; This year he had to rely on other methods of communication, so his usual NAMM interactions - helping retailers with merchandising, sales training, product demos, marketing and web sales &ndash; couldn&rsquo;t be as effective.</span></p> <h2>A Retailer&rsquo;s Experience</h2> <p><span>NAAM serves a variety of purposes for the retailer, including Denver Folklore Center&rsquo;s Co-Owner, Saul Rosenthal. For his first NAMM show, his &ldquo;primary goal was to make connections - with the vendors we already had on board, potential new vendors and with folks running businesses similar to ours all around the country.&rdquo;&nbsp;At subsequent shows he&rsquo;s been able to form important relationships with prominent vendors, like Collings, Taylor, Martin and Eastman, and add them to the store&rsquo;s inventory. He&rsquo;s also had the opportunity to attend &ldquo;wonderful workshops and seminars, most of them free&rdquo; at NAMM.<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="NAMM Show" width="316" height="214" /><br /></span></p> <h2><span>Making the Best of the Situation</span></h2> <p><span>While this year&rsquo;s NAMM experience was unprecedented, it seems like everyone involved was able to bolster their communication and make it work. Steve says that &ldquo;Zoom and other tech helps, and everyone is still excited about NAMM. Instead of meeting face-to-face, we&rsquo;re meeting in video calls to show the new products.&rdquo; However, this presents its own challenges, since clients can&rsquo;t hold and play the new instruments, which is a large part of the appeal. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s probably the biggest thing we have had to work through.&rdquo;<br /></span></p> <p><span>On a lighter note, there&rsquo;s one thing Saul won&rsquo;t miss about the event. &ldquo;I won&rsquo;t experience the exhaustion of the three to four days at the Anaheim Convention Center, which is a huge facility. My first year at NAMM I walked 9 miles in one day inside the convention center, going from exhibit hall to exhibit hall and vendor to vendor.&rdquo; We all look forward to a more familiar experience at the 2022 NAMM show.</span></p> <p><span>To learn more about NAMM, visit their website at </span><span><a href=""><span></span></a></span></p> Sam Bush Profile http://www.denverfolklore.com <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: justify;">Among the second generation of bluegrass players, few are as respected and beloved as mandolinist Sam Bush. Born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1952, Sam gained prominence for his teen-age performances at national fiddle competitions. In 1970 he joined the Bluegrass Alliance, where his driving right-hand technique and wide-ranging musical tastes provided the platform for developing the band&rsquo;s signature sound as well as the emergence of an approach that came to be known as Newgrass.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br /></div> <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: justify;"><span>He soon became the founding member of New Grass Revival, a band based in Louisville, Kentucky. It was during this time that Sam met Denver Folklore Center&nbsp;founder, Harry Tuft, when Harry filled in for Jerry Mills at KLAK radio. The NGR was characterized by the virtuosic and groundbreaking playing of such young luminaries as</span><a href=""><span> </span><span>Bela Fleck</span></a><span> as well as its inclusion of pop and rock tunes in its repertoire.</span></div> <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />The band expanded the audience for its unique approach to bluegrass by touring with blues-rock legend Leon Russel.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /></span></div> <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: justify;"><span><br /><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="" width="208" height="146" align="" /><br /><span>Sam&nbsp;</span>went on to join the Nash Ramblers, the touring and recording band for Emmylou Harris. Continuing to forge new musical territory, the Ramblers helped drive the emergence of the genre now known as alt-country. Sam has gone on to both front his own band and continue playing in numerous ensembles composed of the world&rsquo;s best and most innovative players.<br /><br /></span></div> <div dir="ltr" style="text-align: justify;"><span><br />Although Sam is best known for his work on</span><a href=""><span> </span><span>mandolin</span></a><span> he is also a talented fiddler and plays exceptional guitar, both acoustic and electric. With a performance repertoire that spans bluegrass, blues, rockabilly and straight-ahead rock and roll, he is one of the most versatile players in the business. He is also affectionately known as the King of Telluride, having appeared at the legendary Colorado Bluegrass Festival for 45 consecutive years.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span><span><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="" width="200" height="133" align="" /><br />Bush&rsquo;s performances have lost none of the drive and power that made him a standout as a young player; audiences respond with whole heart&nbsp; to his thousand-watt smile and boundless enthusiasm. During the pandemic lockdown he has issued weekly<a href=""> Facebook</a> videos in which he answers fans&rsquo; questions as well as weekly episodes of &ldquo;Jammin&rsquo; with Sam&rdquo; which consist of duets recorded simply in his living room and featuring such legends as Tim O&rsquo;Brien and Billy Strings.</span></span> <div dir="ltr"><br />Sam is known for his nurturing and mentorship of young musicians, perhaps best illustrated by historical YouTube videos of Sam collaborating with the brilliant young player and singer Sierra Hull. These date back to Hull&rsquo;s first appearance with Sam when she was ten years old. Hull recently posted a birthday tweet to Sam telling him that &ldquo;we all can only dream of being as cool as you&rdquo;. For Sam&rsquo;s many dedicated fans, that just about sums it up.</div> </div> Why You Shouldn't Store a $20 Tuner on Your $2000 Guitar http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Most people these days use an electronic tuner on the headstock of their instrument. While they are very handy little gadgets, they do have one major flaw - the rubber feet on the tuner can react with the finish on many instruments, leaving a dark, permanent stain. The reaction between the rubber and the finish goes deeper than the surface, so you can't just wipe it off or even buff it out.&nbsp;</span><span><br /> <br /> <span><span>You can easily avoid this problem by simply removing the tuner from your instrument when you finish playing. This might seem obvious, but a lot of folks figure, &ldquo;Well, I&rsquo;m going to use the tuner as soon as I pick up my instrument to play it again, so I&rsquo;ll leave the tuner on.&rdquo; While we all appreciate that you are diligent about playing in tune, we suggest you take a few seconds to remove the tuner and store it somewhere that</span><span>'</span><span>s not in contact with the finish of your&nbsp;</span><span>much-loved instrument.</span></span><br /></span></p> How to Choose Strings for Your Instrument http://www.denverfolklore.com Choosing the right set of strings can feel daunting given the wide array of options. But while there are seemingly dozens of strings for every instrument, if you know what gauge and alloy you&rsquo;re looking for, it can go a long way in narrowing down your range of options to just a few well-suited for your instrument.<br /><br /><strong>Gauge</strong><br />No matter what sort of instrument you&rsquo;re restringing, the gauge of the strings will be the biggest factor in terms of the sound and playability of your instrument. In the world of guitars and banjos, a light gauge sits right in the middle of the spectrum and is a good fit for most people. If you&rsquo;re a newer player and your callouses are still developing, a custom or extra light set will be easier on your fingers.<br /><br />Medium gauge is typically preferred by guitar players with big guitars, or by banjo players who play in a clawhammer style.<br /><br />In the world of mandolins, medium is the most common gauge, with light gauges preferred by newer players.<br /><br /><strong>Alloy</strong><br />The bronze alloy that the strings are made from is your next most important choice. Phosphor bronze is the norm for most acoustic guitars and mandolins, but an 80/20 bronze set can provide you with a brighter sound. Nickel bronze is more common on banjos and while it&rsquo;s occasionally used on guitars and mandolins, you see it much less frequently as it can give the instrument a very old-timey sound.<br /><br />These two decisions can make a big difference in the way your instrument plays and sounds. Just knowing your preferred gauge and alloy will go a long way in finding the ideal strings for your playing style. From Live to Online: How Performers Are Connecting with Virtual Concerts http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, including gigging musicians. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the music industry, forcing concerts, outdoor festivals and just about every other event to be rescheduled for 2021 or simply cancelled. This has left music fans and performers frustrated, disappointed and desperate for the special connection only music can provide. Luckily, nothing can stop the creative spirit, and musicians are reinventing ways to keep playing and reach their audience both in person (at a safe distance) and virtually. Here are a few ways they are doing it.<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="online concerts" width="230" height="120" align="" /><br /><span>Performing online is the new normal in 2020<br /><br /></span></span></p> <h3>Online Performances</h3> <p>While nothing can take the place of the live music experience, musicians are staying creative and live-streaming concerts online. <a href="" target="_blank">Josie Quick</a> and her husband, Tom Carleno perform as local Denver group, <a href="">Perpetual Motion</a><span><span> and have been</span></span> doing lunch-time concerts on <a href="">Facebook</a> Live during the pandemic. &ldquo;Before the lockdown we had tour dates scheduled in Washington State, Oregon and California. We had summer concerts booked and were performing at the Mercury Caf&eacute;, the Muse and Swallow Hill. All that was scrubbed (because of COVID-19). We got on board with online performing two or three months after the lockdown started.&rdquo;<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="perpetual motion" width="275" height="183" align="" /><br /><span>Musicians Josie Quick and Tom Carleno perform as <a href="" target="_blank">Perpetual Motion</a></span><br /><br /></p> <h3>Social Distance Concerts</h3> <p><span>Shortly after the lockdown, </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span>Carla Sciaky</span></a><span>,</span><span> a multi-instrumentalist-folksinger-songwriter based in Denver, CO &ldquo;realized people were craving live music. I was shellshocked from the pandemic&hellip;so, I went outside to my driveway and just began performing. Thanks poured out from people.&rdquo;</span></p> <h3><span>Tech Challenges</span></h3> <p>With new ideas come new challenges, and in the case of online performing there&rsquo;s a big one: what happens if something goes wrong with the technology?</p> <p>Josie explains, &ldquo;We tried Zoom to have a larger audience. But the first Zoom concert (the screen) greyed out. We&rsquo;re not very tech savvy, we&rsquo;ve been forced into it. (Before the pandemic) when I showed up for a gig, I was in performance brain. My mind was just on playing well and delivering an enjoyable experience, not the promoting of it or the tech part. But now I have to have the tech mind and the artist mind (simultaneously).&rdquo;</p> <p><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="Musician/songwriter, Carla Sciaky" width="188" height="282" align="" /><br /><span>Musician/songwriter,&nbsp;Carla Sciaky</span><br /><br /></p> <p>Carla experienced similar tech issues but had some training with the non-profit organization <a href="" target="_blank">Folk Alliance International</a>. They produce an annual conference &ldquo;where vendors, presenters, agents, musicians&hellip;everyone associated through folk music come together. The conference happened in February 2020 and then the pandemic hit.&rdquo; The organization started offering weekly Zoom informational sessions and one focused on livestreaming and performing platforms. Carla chose Zoom because she can see her audience. &ldquo;For me, the performing was always about connecting with the audience. My first Zoom concert was in April. It was a steep learning curve. At first I didn&rsquo;t get the settings right and it sounded terrible. But I watched YouTube videos to figure out the settings and the next concert was much better.&rdquo;<br /><br /></p> <h3>Online Performing Platforms</h3> <p><span>There are so many platforms and software available for online performing including: Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live, Zoom, Livestream, ViewStub, Periscope and Twitch. Each has its unique features, rules and limitations, so it&rsquo;s best to do research and decide which one is best for your performance style and needs. </span><span></span></p> <p><span><span><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="virtual concerts" width="240" height="160" align="" /><br /><br /></span></span></p> <p><span>Those platforms are great when you play solo,</span><span> but multiple performers playing in more than one location can be tricky. However, it is possible. The </span><span>Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra </span><span>was successful in creating a</span><span> video featuring 19 musicians. They each performed with a click track to make sure they were all on the same tempo throughout the recordings. The </span><span><a href=";v=3eXT60rbBVk&amp;feature=emb_logo" target="_blank">video</a>&nbsp;</span><span>took about a week to produce.</span></p> <h3><span>Connecting with the Audience</span></h3> <p><span>Carla has been able to connect with a new international audience. &ldquo;</span><span>I did my first two Zoom concerts midday, then my daughter in the Netherlands and some people in Europe were able to watch. I was nervous and felt like the world was watching because people all over the world could watch.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span>Josie g</span><span>ot the word out about Perpetual Motion&rsquo;s Facebook Live concerts by &ldquo;sending an email to our mailing list to let them know we were trying something difference.&rdquo; She and Tom are becoming more tech savvy and upping their concert game as they go. At first &ldquo;we were just using the iPad, then I watched a performance and thought it could be better, so we bought a webcam. We&rsquo;re still experimenting and trying to find the best way to deliver an enjoyable experience for people to listen. At first it felt weird to not have interaction from the audience. Thankfully, we&rsquo;ve got each other so we can interact. The camera doesn&rsquo;t hit our feet, so we wear our slippers, and set up and tear down is a lot easier.&rdquo;</span></p> <h3>And the Beat Goes On&hellip;</h3> <p><span>Want to listen to concerts online? Swallow Hill Music, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the joy of music to life every day, hosts live music on Friday and Saturday evenings on Facebook Live. All shows start at 6pm MST and feature a different artist every show! Check them out at </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span>Swallow Hill Live</span></a><span>. also has a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">list</a> of online concerts.</span><span>&nbsp;</span>You can learn more about Josie and Tom on <a href="" target="_blank">Instagram</a> and on <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. And visit Carla&rsquo;s <a href="" target="_blank">website</a> for more information about her and her music.</p> <p><span><span><span>Are you a musician performing concerts online? Let us know what rewards and challenges you have encountered. And be sure to </span><span><a href="">connect</a></span><span> with us (in person or on social media) at the Denver Folklore Center, the one-stop shop for all your acoustic musical needs.</span><br /></span><br /></span></p> Ways to Reduce Hand/Finger Pain for Guitar Players http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>Pain in the hands and fingers is pretty common for guitar players. Some beginning players quit guitar early on because of it. Many seasoned guitarists find themselves developing medical problems like arthritis and feel they have to give up playing altogether. However, there are some actions you can take to reduce hand/finger pain and keep strumming for years to come.</p> <h2>Decrease String Height</h2> <div>When guitar players complain about finger pain they usually report they must push down too hard to play notes and chords (which over time can result in tendonitis). The main cause of this is typically the string height, or the &ldquo;action&rdquo;, of the instrument is set too high or has moved in that direction over time. The higher a guitar&rsquo;s action is set, the more pressure is necessary for the strings to make contact with the fret. The solution won&rsquo;t always be a different kind of string, but rather an adjustment of the action by a <a href="">professional</a>. This helps reduce pain and increases the instrument&rsquo;s overall playability.</div> <p><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="" width="135" height="135" align="" /></p> <h2>Choose New Strings</h2> <p>If your guitar&rsquo;s action is low and you&rsquo;re still experiencing hand/finger pain (like arthritis) it&rsquo;s time to consider new <a href="">strings</a>. Using lower tension strings (extra lights) and strings with a more forgiving surface (silk and steel) can help players with pain issues. If you want more information or want to try different string options, <a href="">contact</a>&nbsp;the Denver Folklore Center staff. We&rsquo;re happy to help.</p> <h2>Play Near the Fret</h2> <p>Another way to reduce hand/finger pain is to press down near the fret (not on the fret or you&rsquo;ll mute the note) on your guitar when you play. This will lessen the amount of finger pressure applied and help relieve discomfort. And it&rsquo;s simply good playing technique.<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="" width="180" height="100" align="" /></p> <h2>Try Warming Up</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s always a good idea to warm up and stretch a few minutes before you play, even if you don&rsquo;t have hand/finger pain, as it helps keep joints and tendons loose, reduces inflammation and can even prevents the chances of injuries. Go <a href="">here</a>&nbsp;to learn a few warm-up exercises.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Reduce Pain and Play On</h2> <p>Sure, guitar players have the occasional aches and pains, but if you are experiencing consistent hand/finger pain be sure to consult your doctor to make sure it isn&rsquo;t a serious issue. And let us know if you try these tips for reducing hand/finger pain. <a href="">Contact us</a> with any questions and play on!</p> Harmonica Sound Differences - Wood vs Plastic vs Metal http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>There is an ongoing debate regarding whether harmonicas produce different sounds depending on the materials used to make them. While some players are adamant there is a distinct contrast in the tonal qualities between wood, plastic and metal, others say the only sound differences are due to factors including: a player&rsquo;s lipping (how they apply their mouth to the instrument), the shape of the holes, the amount of air pressure applied, use of tongue, length of the reed, type of </span><a href=""><span>harmonica</span></a><span> being played (which we&rsquo;ll cover in another blog post) etc. So, who&rsquo;s right?<br /><br /></span></p> <h2>Qualities of Wood, Plastic and Metal</h2> <p><span><a href=""><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="Wood Harmonica" width="114" height="114" align="" /></a>&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><span>Originally all harmonicas were made of wood. These instruments are the most popular among blues and marine band players, due to their rich, full-bodied sound. Wood reverberates more than other materials and can be more</span><span> flexible as the player breathes into it. </span><span>Wood can swell (due to the heat and moisture of breath flowing through), which can affect the playability and sound of the instrument. This could be one reason players and listeners believe there is a sound difference between materials used to make harmonicas.<br /><br /></span></span></p> <h2><a href=""><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="plastic harmonica" width="127" height="127" align="" /></a></h2> <p><span>Plastic harmonicas have a louder, sharper and more even sound than wood and metal.</span><span> While <span>injected-molded plastic is the most popular material used to make harmonicas these days, the substance does lack the quality and character of a wooden instrument. </span></span><span>In directing a player who is freshly starting out, a plastic comb would be the best due to its cleanability (combs not made of wood can be washed out under the sink, which is helpful), lack of swelling and longer life.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Metal harmonicas are easier to hold and play, and they tend to have a much longer life than those made with other materials. These instruments create a more powerful, edgier and brighter sound than harmonicas made from wood and plastic.&nbsp;</p> <h2>The Debate Continues</h2> <p><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="harmonica diagram" width="200" height="236" align="" />&nbsp;<br />SPAH (the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica) has done listening tests to determine if folks could tell the difference in sound between harmonicas made with different materials. However, the conclusion was not strong enough to make a statement either way. At the end of the day, even if a player can hear the difference in sound, they usually will just stick with the harmonica they prefer.&nbsp;</p> <div> <h2>Pick Up Your Harmonica Today!</h2> <span><span>Whichever side of the great harmonica sound debate you fall on, </span><span>a harmonica player should simply search for the one they like the best. </span><span>We have a selection of instruments for each player&rsquo;s style and needs. </span><span><a href=""><span>Call</span></a></span><span> or </span><span><a href=""><span>visit</span></a></span><span> the Denver Folklore Center and let us help you pick the perfect pickup for your playing needs.&nbsp;</span><br /></span></div> Pickups 101: How They Work and Who Needs One http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Pickups are basically transducers, which are devices that convert the vibration from a musical instrument into an electrical signal and permit the sound to be audible. There are several types of <a href=""><span><span>pickups</span></span></a> for amplifying acoustic instruments that sample/collect the sound in three different physical ways &ndash; piezoelectric, microphones and magnetic. </span></p> <h2>Piezoelectric</h2> <div style="text-align: justify;"><span>Piezoelectric (or piezo) are the most common type of pickup for acoustic instruments. These pickups convert the physical movement of a solid object, such as the vibrations of a guitars top wood, into an electrical signal. They are often what are called &ldquo;under-saddle&rdquo; pickups and create a crisp/clear tone that articulates the sound of the strings. <strong>This style of pickup works well for a wide range of applications,</strong> <strong>including playing in a group setting where there are many instruments and frequencies that need to blend</strong>.<br /><br /><br /></span></div> <p style="text-align: left;"><span><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="" width="180" height="101" align="" /><br />(<em>K&amp;K Fantastick undersaddle pickup</em>)</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;<br /></span>The other common type of piezo pickups is what is called a bridge plate pickup which adhere to the bridge plate inside of a guitar. These can sound much better for solo playing due to the lusher tonal quality.&nbsp;</p> <p><span><br /><br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="(K&amp;K Pure Mini bridge plate pickup)" width="209" height="185" align="" /><br />(<em><a href=""><span>K&amp;K Pure Mini bridge plate pickup</span></a></em>)</span>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><span><br />Piezo pickups can come as &ldquo;active&rdquo; (requires a battery to work) or &ldquo;passive&rdquo; (doesn&rsquo;t require a battery to work). Active pickups provide a stronger signal coming out of the guitar and often have volume and tone controls built in, while passive pickups are more of a plug and play style. Any changes to sound and volume must be made on the amp the instrument is plugged into.</span><br /></span></p> <h2>Microphones</h2> <p><span>Microphones convert the physical movement of air into an electrical signal. These transducers offer the closest to the <em>true sound</em> of an instrument. They work similarly to the human ear drum in that sound pressure waves will move a thin conductive membrane across an electrified backplate to turn the sound waves into an electrical signal. These are the same type of microphones you find in a recording studio but smaller to fit inside different types of instruments.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Microphones are ideal for solo performance because they sound full and true to the actual acoustic tone of the guitar</span></strong><span> (also because they pick surrounding sounds, so they can be temperamental with other instruments). They are active systems and almost always come with the ability to control the volume and tone of the instrument on board. They also tend to be pricey because of their more sophisticated electronic components and require a pre-amp built into unit to work.<br /><br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="(L.R. Baggs Lyric microphone pickup)" width="213" height="142" align="" /><br />(<em>L.R. Baggs Lyric microphone pickup</em>)</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <h2>Magnetic pickups</h2> <p><span>Magnetic pickups work on a different principle than the piezo and microphone in that they create a magnetic field for the strings of an instrument vibrate within. These vibrations create fluctuations in the output signal of the pickup which creates the sound.</span></p> <p><span>Magnetic pickups have a sound unto themselves and is ubiquitous in the world of electric guitars. Rather than sampling the vibrations of the wood, this pickup samples the way the strings move through a magnetic field. This makes the construction of the pickup integral to the sound being generated. Different magnetic pickups will use a variety of components to tailor the sound, most notably using different types and sizes of magnets, as well as variances to the amount of copper wire wrapping.</span></p> <p><span><strong><span>The magnetic pickup is</span></strong><span> <strong>ideal for a player looking to play in a louder ensemble</strong> <strong>&ndash; like a rock band or anything with a full drum kit and electric players.</strong></span></span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="(L.R. Baggs M1 passive pickup)" width="179" height="119" align="" /><br />(<em><a href=""><span>L.R. Baggs M1 passive pickup</span></a></em>)</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <h2>Let us Help You Pick Out a Pickup!</h2> <p><span><span>There is a lot of variance in each group of <a href=""><span>pickups</span></a>, so choosing the right one can be confusing. That&rsquo;s why we are here to help! <a href=""><span>Call</span></a> or <a href=""><span>visit</span></a> the Denver Folklore Center and let us help you pick the perfect pickup for your playing needs.</span></span></p> Mandolin Differences: F-Style VS A-Style http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>The mandolin (or mandolin-type instrument) has existed for millennia. Fast forward to the early 1900s and the instrument was revolutionized by Orville Gibson, eventually evolving into two basic styles: Florentine (or F-style) and A-style.</span></p> <p><span>The two mandolin styles have obvious differences in the way they look. The F-style has an ornamental scroll in the headstock and close to the neck and two points on the lower body of the instrument, while the A-style usually has a plain, pear-shaped body and no points.</span></p> <p><span><span>But what about sound? There are folks who adamantly believe there are sonic differences between the two styles and others who say the only difference is physical appearance. So who&rsquo;s right?</span></span></p> <h2>Differences in Sound</h2> <p><span>There are passionate players and fans on both sides of the argument regarding sound differences. Some believe F-style and A-style mandolins absolutely sound identical. Others are adamant that the tone of each style can be different, depending on a few factors: the wood used in construction of the instrument, the F-style&rsquo;s scroll and points and the benefits of a professional </span><a href=""><span>setup</span></a><span>.</span></p> <h3>Wood Choice</h3> <p><span>Depending on the wood chosen in the creation of the mandolin, the tone of the instrument can be different. Some woods, like mahogany, produce a strong, rich bass response. While others, like maple, contribute a brighter, more trebly sound. There are many types of woods to choose from and it&rsquo;s something to consider when choosing a mandolin. Read more about tonewoods </span><a href=""><span>here</span></a><span>.</span></p> <h3>Scroll and Points</h3> <p><span>While some believe the scroll and points make no difference at all in the sound of the instrument, others say the tone of the F-style mandolin can be affected by the instrument&rsquo;s scroll and points, allowing for a more concentrated sound than the A-style. This may be the reason why those who play bluegrass and country music commonly play the more focused toned F-style mandolin. </span></p> <h3>Professional Setup</h3> <p><span>Whether a player is a beginner or a professional musician, having their mandolin professionally setup in the beginning and throughout the life of the instrument can make all the difference. Having a setup upon purchase of the instrument will demonstrate how it should ideally sound and play. Over time, as the mandolin isn&rsquo;t as comfortable to play, it is advisable to have a professional setup performed to bring it back to its stellar playing condition.</span></p> <h2>Which Mandolin Type is Right for You?</h2> <p><span>The Denver Folklore Center is here to make it easy to choose the mandolin that suits your playing style and needs. Check out our selection of mandolins </span><a href=""><span>online</span></a><span>. And </span><a href=""><span>contact us</span></a><span> or come into the store and let us help you choose one.</span></p> The Benefits of Renting Before Buying http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>So, you think you might want to learn to play banjo or maybe mandolin, fiddle or guitar, but you&rsquo;re not quite sure. It may be a good idea to rent an instrument and try it out for a while to see what you think. The </span><a href=""><span>rental option</span></a><span> gives you the time and freedom to get the feel of that type of instrument and decide if it&rsquo;s right for you <strong>BEFORE</strong> you spend your hard-earned dollars. </span></p> <h3>Advantages of Renting an Instrument</h3> <p><strong><span>It&rsquo;s Simple</span></strong><span> &ndash; If you want to explore what it&rsquo;s like to play a particular kind of instrument to see if you enjoy it, then renting is right for you. Since a lot of rental programs are month-to-month, you can usually exchange an instrument you&rsquo;re not happy with for one in another category you&rsquo;d like to try to play.</span></p> <p><strong><span>It&rsquo;s Economical</span></strong><span> &ndash; Compared to making a significant financial investment in an instrument you&rsquo;re not quite sure about and then possibly having buyer&rsquo;s remorse, renting is less expensive (and stressful). Some rental programs are even rent-to-own, so each month&rsquo;s rental fee can accumulate as credit toward the eventual purchase of an instrument.</span></p> <p><strong><span>It&rsquo;s Commitment-Free</span></strong><span> &ndash; If you decide your rental instrument just isn&rsquo;t for you, that&rsquo;s okay - simply return it! Renting allows you the freedom to test instruments and give them back without feeling obligated to make a purchase.</span></p> <h3>Advantages of Renting an Instrument</h3> <span>The Denver Folklore Center makes it easy for you to try out an instrument before you buy. Our </span><span><a href=""><span>rental program</span></a></span><span> applies to acoustic </span><span><a href=""><span>guitars</span></a></span><span>, </span><span><a href=""><span>banjos</span></a></span><span>, </span><span><a href=""><span>mandolins</span></a></span><span>, </span><span><a href=""><span>dulcimers</span></a></span><span> and violins. And while renting, you accumulate credit towards the purchase of an instrument. </span><span><a href=""><span>Contact us</span></a></span><span> to learn more and rent an instrument from us today!</span><br /><br /> Ukuleles - Which Size is Right for You? http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Ukuleles are affordable, fun to play and, with just four strings, relatively easy to learn. Since they come in four different sizes, knowing which one is best for you will make the whole experience more enjoyable. Here are the four common sizes of ukuleles and what you can expect from each of them.<br /></span></p> <h2>Soprano</h2> <p><span>When people visualize a ukulele, the soprano is the image they most likely see. The soprano is the traditional size (about 20 inches) especially in Hawaii and delivers that classic uke sound. This size is perfect for smaller adults as well as children, whether beginners or more experienced players.<span>&nbsp; </span>The smaller fingerboard of a soprano ukulele can be challenging for those with larger hands.</span></p> <h2>Concert</h2> <p><span><span>At 23 inches, the concert uke&rsquo;s body is a little larger than the soprano, has a slightly longer and wider neck and weighs a bit more. Because the neck is longer, it allows for increased space between the frets. The larger body produces a sound more developed in its mid-range and a bit louder than its soprano cousin. Those just learning the ukulele and seasoned players alike will enjoy this instrument.</span><br /></span></p> <h2>Tenor</h2> <p><span><span>Bigger still is the tenor ukulele. Heavier, with a wider body and a few inches longer than the concert uke, the tenor is loved by experienced players but suitable for teens and adults. With a fuller and louder sound than the soprano or concert, this instrument is especially great for those accustomed to fingerpicking due to the wider fret spacing.</span><br /></span></p> <h2>Baritone</h2> <p><span><span>Soprano, concert and tenor ukuleles are tuned the same way: G-C-E-A from the top string to the bottom.&nbsp; The baritone is the largest ukulele, with a sound and feel closer to a half-sized classical guitar.&nbsp; Standard tuning for a baritone ukulele is the same as the top four strings of a guitar: D-G-B-E making it easy for guitar players to jump right in and play without much additional learning.</span><br /></span></p> <h2>Play a Ukulele Today!</h2> <p><span><span>The Denver Folklore Center is happy to stock a large selection of new and vintage </span><span><a href=""><span>ukuleles</span></a></span><span> with prices ranging from the very affordable to rare collectibles. <a href=""><span>Contact</span></a> us or come in and let our team help you choose the ideal instrument in your price range. Learn more about the rise of the ukulele </span><span><a href=""><span>here</span></a></span><span>. And take our Virtual Ukulele&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Tour</a> on YouTube!</span><br /></span></p> 2 Reasons Why You Need a Professional Setup http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>Whether you&rsquo;re a beginning picker with a thrift store guitar or a seasoned musician, having your instrument professionally setup can make all the difference in the way your instrument sounds and plays. Here are just a few reasons to schedule a setup for your musical instrument.</p> <h2>Reasons to Have a Professional Setup for Your Musical Instrument</h2> <h3>The instrument will have better sound quality</h3> <p>When you first buy your instrument, its tone and sound will be strong and consistent. Over time an instrument settles in and that perfect setup is no longer as perfect. It may begin to sound off and experience buzzing, or worst-case scenario, become unplayable. These are all common symptoms that a setup is necessary to return your instrument to its stellar playing condition.</p> <h3>It will be easier to play</h3> <p><span>If you are new to playing, having a professional setup for your instrument will make it easier to learn to play. Having an impeccable setup at the start will help you understand how your instrument is supposed to sound and feel. Over time you may notice your instrument just isn&rsquo;t as comfortable to play as when you first purchased it. Fret wear, for example, is a visible sign it&rsquo;s time to show your instrument some love and have a setup performed.</span></p> <h2>The DFC Difference&nbsp;</h2> <p><span>Before we put an instrument out in our showroom, we carefully inspect the piece for flaws and check for proper setup. Our specialists test each instrument for playability between the strings and fretboard. Why? If they are set too close to one another buzzing may occur. If they are set too far part, pressing down on the strings becomes more challenging.</span></p> <p><span>As part of our setup our technicians adjust the curvature of the neck, file down and round off or &ldquo;dress&rdquo; some of the frets, inspect the nut and saddle to make sure they are flawless, check the electronics and any moving parts of the instrument for soundness, then thoroughly clean and restring. <span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span>Experience the&nbsp;<a href="/dfc-difference.htm">DFC difference</a> and allow us to perform a professional setup for your instrument. Contact us at 303.777.4786 or email us at <a href=""></a>.</span></p> The Case for Buying an Instrument Case http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>For many years what passed as a case for a guitar, mandolin or other stringed instrument was nothing more than a chip-board box. These flimsy containers provided little to no protection against physical damage and were not reliable for insulating against excessive heat or a dry climate, like Colorado.</p> <p><span>Today we are fortunate to have more case options for protecting our acoustic instruments. The advancements in case design have yielded choices like the gig bag, foam cases, hard shell cases and flight cases. By choosing the case that is suited to your needs, your musical instrument is sure to stay safe and provide you years of enjoyment.</span></p> <p><span>Here are some instrument case examples and the level of protection they provide.</span></p> <h2>Gig Bags</h2> <p><span>For ease of transportation nothing beats a padded gig bag. These lightweight cases provide basic protection against damage and usually offer pockets for storage and backpack straps, making carrying an instrument and gear a lot easier. Gig bags are a good choice if you are traveling in your car around town with your instrument and require a basic level of protection.</span></p> <h2>Hard Foam Cases and Hard Shell Cases</h2> <p><span>Space exploration has yielded innovations including Tang breakfast drink, memory foam and ear thermometers. It also produced the technology that led to hard foam cases - an upgrade from the gig bag - with a firm frame, soft lining and fabric cover. Hard foam cases provide more protection for musical instruments than a gig bag and are still lightweight and easy to transport.</span></p> <p><span>A step up from the hard foam case is the more robust hard shell case. Made from wood, plastic or carbon fiber products, these cases do a better job protecting musical instruments and insulating them against environmental factors. Going on the road or moving into a new place? Planning to store your instrument for a while? Your best choice is a hard shell case to safeguard your instrument. These cases help keep the <a href="">humidity</a>&nbsp;more constant and avoid cracking. </span></p> <h2>Flight Cases</h2> <p><span>At the top of the instrument case food chain are flight cases. These are specially hardened cases designed to withstand the rigors of travel by professional musicians and the handling by airline companies. They are typically heavy and expensive but offer the maximum protection on the market.</span></p> <h2>We Can Help You Choose the Right Case</h2> <p><span>The dedicated staff at the Denver Folklore Center is here to help you choose the right case for your musical instrument. We will consult with you regarding the level of protection your instrument requires and guide you through the process to select the right case. Contact us today at 303.777.4786 and <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</span></p> 5 Signs It's Time to Change Your Instrument Strings http://www.denverfolklore.com <p>There isn&rsquo;t an easy answer to the question &ldquo;when should I change my musical instrument strings,&rdquo; because there are many factors to consider. Ask yourself these questions and if you answer &ldquo;yes&rdquo; to one or more, chances are it&rsquo;s time to consider changing your strings.</p> <h2>5 Questions to Determine if You Need to Change Your Instrument Strings</h2> <p><strong><span>1. How often is the instrument being played?</span></strong><span> If you&rsquo;re only playing once a week for half an hour, then your strings could last a few months. However, if you&rsquo;re playing every day or performing with the instrument every weekend, it will likely mean replacing strings much more often. Also, more advanced players tend to go through strings more quickly than beginners. </span></p> <p><strong><span>2. Are you having trouble keeping your instrument in tune?</span></strong><span> After you first replace the strings and tune your musical instrument, the strings should sound strong for a while (depending on how often you play). When you notice your instrument doesn&rsquo;t sound fresh and sharp and won&rsquo;t hold a tune, it&rsquo;s time to consider replacing your strings.</span></p> <p><strong><span>3. Does your instrument sound dull?</span></strong><span> If your strings are starting to sound dull, especially the wound ones on the bass side of the instrument, that&rsquo;s a sign that new strings are probably in order. </span></p> <p><strong><span>4. Do your strings look darker and feel grimy?</span></strong><span> If your strings are darker and becoming more difficult to play, it&rsquo;s a signal to change them out. One factor that affects how often you replace them is the oil content of your skin collecting on the strings, causing a shorter string life. Wiping your strings with a clean cloth after playing may help them last longer. In general, your musical instrument strings should feel clean and slick when you play. If you feel resistance between the strings and your fingers, chances are the strings are dirty and need to be cleaned or replaced.</span></p> <p><strong><span>5. Do your strings feel stiffer than they used to? </span></strong><span>Ideally, your strings should feel supple and pliant when you play. If they feel stiff and unbendable that means the metal is beginning to deteriorate. It may take a while before your strings break, but this is the time to think about replacing them. These days many steel string manufacturers offer a coated version of their strings which generally last longer than the uncoated ones.</span></p> <h2>Let Us Help You With Your Strings</h2> <p><span>The Denver Folklore center carries a wide range of&nbsp;<a href="/accessories.htm">strings</a> and can help you find the right replacement set when you are ready. Contact us at 303.777.4786 or at </span><a href=""><span></span></a><span> for more information.</span></p> How to Keep Your Instrument Safe While Flying http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Traveling with your&nbsp;</span>acoustic instrument can be nerve wracking. <span>Once it is out of your sight, you have no control over how the baggage handlers treat your prized possession. The best you can do is research and take as many precautions as possible before you board the airplane. Here are four ways you can prepare to travel with your instrument and keep it safe.</span></p> <h2>Carry Your Case On</h2> <p><span>Since 2014 the Federal Aviation Administration rules require airlines to treat a musical instrument case as a carry-on, providing it fits in an overhead bin or other on-board storage area, subject to available space. Most acoustic stringed instrument gig bags and cases (not including cellos and double basses) will fit in an overhead compartment except on commuter flights or when other smaller planes are involved. </span></p> <p><span>Best practice would be to research your airline&rsquo;s policy regarding musical instruments, as some require hard cases. And be sure to arrive and board early to capture precious overhead and on-board storage space. </span></p> <h2>Check Your Case</h2> <p><span>If you prefer to check your instrument as you would normal luggage or are concerned the airline might prevent carrying on at the last minute, you can gate check your instrument. Checking your instrument at the gate means it will be hand loaded last and taken off the plane first, eliminating the potential for damage on conveyor belts. However, be sure your case is designed to give the level of protection your instrument may withstand in a cargo hold.</span></p> <h2>Choose a Travel-Friendly Instrument Case</h2> <p><span>Whether you are storing your instrument in an overhead bin or checking it at the gate, the storage case you choose is vital to its safety and your peace of mind. You can purchase reinforced gig bags, hardened cases and flight cases, all of which are designed to withstand a certain amount of rough treatment attributed to airport baggage handling. Learn more about how to choose the right case for you here.</span></p> <h2>Let Us Help You Keep Your Instrument Safe</h2> <p><span>Still have questions regarding traveling with your instrument? Need guidance purchasing the correct instrument case? Considering buying a travel instrument?&nbsp;<a href="/contact-us.htm">Contact</a> our helpful staff with all your traveling questions at 303.777.4786 or <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. We&rsquo;re happy to help.</span></p> Humidity, Colorado and Your Instrument http://www.denverfolklore.com <div> <div class="container "> <div class="row paddingLarge"> <div class="col-xs-12"> <div class="entry-content" itemprop="text"> <div class="entry-content" itemprop="text"> <div class="entry-content" itemprop="text"> <div class="entry-content" itemprop="text"> <div class="entry-content" itemprop="text"> <p>It has often been said, &ldquo;&lsquo;Tis a privilege to live in Colorado&rdquo;. However true this may be, unfortunately, there are some drawbacks for musical instrument owners. The main problem we deal with in our dry climate is trying to keep our instruments properly humidified.</p> <h2><span>Why You Should Humidify</span></h2> <p>Wooden instruments, especially all solid wood instruments (i.e. expensive) are susceptible to problems from temperature and humidity changes. Even more stable instruments, like guitars with laminate backs and sides, can show signs of excessive drying in Colorado.</p> <p>Wooden instruments are meant to &ldquo;breathe&rdquo;. There is no finish on the inside of a guitar, mandolin, fiddle, etc. As a result, they will take in and give off moisture from the surrounding environment.</p> <p>In the dry climate of Colorado this usually means that the wood cells of the instrument are trying&nbsp;to take moisture out of the surrounding air because they are dry. If they can&rsquo;t get the moisture then the wood cells start to shrink. This can lead to lower action, finish problems,&nbsp;and ultimately, cracking of the wood.</p> <h2>Signs Your Musical Instrument is Dry</h2> <p>Your first (and best) line of defense to problems caused by excessive drying are to recognize the various signs of a dry instrument.</p> <p>One of the first symptoms of a dry instrument that most players notice are buzzy strings. They might start hearing some buzzing on certain frets that was not there a week or two ago. This can be caused by the wood cells in the top of the instrument shrinking. The result is that the top will sink under the pressure of the strings and this lowers the strings enough to allow the strings to vibrate against the upper frets and the fingerboard.</p> <p>Another symptom that players often notice is sharp fret ends. They will pick up their instrument to play and notice that the fingerboard along the edges feels rough and prickly. This is due to the fact that the wood in the fingerboard is shrinking but, of course, the frets aren&rsquo;t. The result is that the fret ends will stick out just a little bit but, this is certainly enough to make for some uncomfortable playing.</p> <h2>We Can Help You Humidify!</h2> <p>All these problems are reversible with proper humidification.&nbsp;There's a great article detailing these symptoms on the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Taylor Guitar</a>&nbsp;website.</p> <p>What should you do with a dry guitar, mandolin, ukulele, etc.? HUMIDIFY! You can use a soundhole humidifier, a case humidifier, a room humidifier or a combination of any of these.&nbsp;If you have specific questions about humidifying your musical instrument, feel free to&nbsp;<a href="/contact-us.htm">contact us</a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;drop by the store and we will be happy to&nbsp;help you.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div class="container "> <div class="row paddingXLarge"> <div align="center"></div> </div> </div> </div> The Two Most Common Acoustic Instrument Problems and Solutions http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>Being in the musical instrument business for nearly <a href="">60 years</a>, we at the Denver Folklore Center have encountered quite a few acoustic musical instrument problems. The most common concern we hear from customers is that their instrument doesn't sound or play right. Perhaps there&rsquo;s string buzz or maybe the action (the space between the strings and the fingerboard) has become less comfortable. </span></p> <p>Colorado&rsquo;s climate, changing from modestly humid in the summer months to extremely dry in the winter, is often the cause of buzzing, high action and other common problems.<span>&nbsp; </span>The short-term fix is often what we call a setup.<span>&nbsp; </span>Preventing a lot of these issues relies on humidifying your instrument.</p> <h3>The&nbsp;Setup</h3> <p><span>Sooner or later most instruments will need a </span><a href=""><span>professional setup</span></a><span>. Just as a tune-up helps an automobile&rsquo;s performance, a setup will bring your instrument back to life. Understanding the musician&rsquo;s playing ability and style is important to achieving the perfect setup. Level of experience, finger versus flat picking, heavy-handed or light touch &ndash; all of these affect the playability of an instrument.<br /></span><br />During a setup, our luthiers will examine virtually every aspect of the instrument with a special focus on the neck and its associated components. The goal of a setup is to return the instrument to its best possible playing condition, ridding it of the problem that brought you in.</p> <p><span>With that in mind, we may:<br /><br /> * adjust the truss rod<br /> * file high frets<br /> * file fret ends<br /> * correct the height of the nut and/or saddle<br /> * fill or file the nut slots for optimal width<br /> * regulate intonation<br /><br />The end result will be an instrument that plays easily, sounds its best and gives you many more years of pleasure.<br /></span></p> <h3>Climate Issues/Dryness</h3> <p><span>Colorado&rsquo;s desert-like climate is often the cause of some of the other more common repair problems we see. Some of these dryness related issues include:<br /> <br /> * cracks (usually in the top or back)<br /> *&nbsp;bridge lifting<br /> *&nbsp;splits along the bridge pins<br /> *&nbsp;string buzzing due to low action<br /> *&nbsp;painfully sharp fret ends<br /> *&nbsp;fractures in the fret board<br /> <br /> Many of these problems are either partially or completely preventable. The first thing to know are the signs of a dry instrument.<span>&nbsp; </span>Run your finger along the edge of the fretboard.<span>&nbsp; </span>If the fret ends feel very sharp the chances are your instrument is too dry.<span>&nbsp; </span>This is an early signal that more serious issues like the ones listed above could happen. If you are not currently humidifying please read more about that </span><a href=""><span>here</span></a><span>.<br /></span><span class="Heading2Char"><span></span></span></p> <h3>Let Us Help You</h3> <p><span>For more than 20 years, John Rumley has been the lead technician&nbsp;at the repair shop at the Denver Folklore Center and&nbsp;has worked on thousands of stringed instruments, including more than a few unique ones. He is also well known in Denver as a guitar builder and performing musician.<br /><br /><span>If you have an issue with your stringed instrument, we offer free estimates for <a href="">repairs</a>. Just contact us at 303.777.4786, </span><a href=""><span></span></a><span>, or drop by the store. We are happy to help.</span><br /></span></p> The Evolution of Guitar Tonewoods http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>When guitar makers and players speak of tonewoods, they are referring to the types of wood used on the back and sides of an acoustic guitar. Traditionally, the most used tonewoods have been rosewood and mahogany. Some other types that have been used over the years are maple, koa, walnut, sycamore and cypress. The latter two have most often been used on Flamenco guitars.</span></p> <p><span>In the past 15 years or so, guitar makers have sought out a wider variety of woods like sapele, ovangkol, cocobolo, myrtle, lacewood, cherry, and a host of others. The two main reasons for builders searching out different woods are an increasing shortage of quality traditional woods and the never ending search for unique sounds.</span></p> <p><span>Here is a breakdown of a few types of tonewoods and their special characteristics. </span></p> <h2><span>Brazilian and Indian Rosewoods</span></h2> <p><span>Brazilian Rosewood is the granddaddy of all tonewoods for steel string guitars. It has been popular since the 1800s for its tonal qualities as well as its workability for craftsmen. This wood is extremely resonant across the tonal spectrum but is best known for a strong, rich bass response. It is a dark brown wood with many subtle shades of red and green visible in the grain. </span></p> <p><span>Traditionally, straight grained Brazilian Rosewood was the most desirable to make guitars. These days, however, highly figured pieces are used to make exotic looking high-end guitars. Brazilian Rosewood has become extremely rare as it&rsquo;s considered an endangered species. These days in most countries, including the United States, it is quite difficult to either import or export.</span></p> <p><span>Indian Rosewood is a close cousin to Brazilian and has many of the same characteristics both visually and tonally. These days, if you hear that a new guitar is rosewood it&rsquo;s almost certain to be Indian Rosewood.</span></p> <h2><span>Mahogany</span></h2> <p><span>There are many types of mahogany, but the best variety for guitar makers comes from Honduras and other parts of Central America. It&rsquo;s a brighter sounding wood than rosewood, often described as a more immediate sound. Mahogany is a light brown color with a homogenous grain. It is resilient and physically lighter than rosewood. As a result, mahogany is often used in necks of guitars, so the guitar has a good balance from the headstock to the body.</span></p> <h2><span>Maple</span></h2> <p><span>Maple is an incredibly hard, light colored wood that&rsquo;s been used by musical instrument makers for over 400 years. It can have exquisite lines running across the grain frequently referred to as tiger stripes or highly flamed maple. Maple has a bright and bell-like tone. </span></p> <p><span>Maple first became popular in the steel string guitar world in the 1920s when it was used by the folks at Gibson Mandolin and Guitar Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As luck would have it, they were surrounded by forests of old growth maple trees, which made some great sounding instruments. These days, because of its bright, trebly sound, maple is often used on jumbo bodied guitars to ensure they don&rsquo;t sound too tubby.</span></p> <h2><span>Koa</span></h2> <p><span>Koa is an exotic looking wood with multi-colored grain patterns and a gorgeous overall deep caramel color. It&rsquo;s only grown in Hawaii, so large quantities of Koa have never been available to instrument makers. The wood is characterized sonically by a strong mid-range and treble response and has always been the go-to wood for traditional ukulele builders. Koa also makes a great sounding (and visually appealing) guitar.</span></p> <h2><span>Discover More About Tonewoods</span></h2> <p><span>The Denver Folklore Center offers beautiful tonewoods in our large selection of instruments. Check out our </span><a href=""><span>guitars</span></a><span> online or come into the </span><a href=""><span>store</span></a><span> and see them in person. We&rsquo;d love to answer any questions you have. </span><a href=""><span>Contact us</span></a><span> for more information.</span></p> The Rise of the Ukulele http://www.denverfolklore.com <p><span>There&rsquo;s a whole lot of uke-in&rsquo; going on! Look around and you&rsquo;ll notice that ukuleles are everywhere. From YouTube to movies to TV to popular artists (like </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span>Eddie Vedder</span></a><span> and Paul McCartney) to high school lunchrooms, ukes have become the hottest instrument since the guitar. Here are just a few reasons this humble little instrument is here to stay.</span></p> <h2>Ukuleles are easy to learn</h2> <p><span>There is no other STRINGED instrument that&rsquo;s so easy to pick up and play ESPECIALLY by first time musicians. Since there are only four strings, compared to 88 keys on a piano or 21 frets on a guitar, kids and adults, who never thought they&rsquo;d play a musical instrument, find ukuleles simple to play.</span></p> <p><span>Learning a song on the uke can be a DIY experience. Pick up a </span><a href=""><span>song book</span></a><span> or watch one of the thousands of how-to videos on YouTube - search &ldquo;beginning ukulele&rdquo; and you will be amazed at the number of options you have. If you&rsquo;d like to take ukulele lessons, there are many </span><a href=""><span>instructors</span></a><span> who specialize in the little instrument. </span></p> <h2>Ukes are fun and affordable</h2> <p><span>The fun factor is just one reason ukes are so loved. People are just drawn to the little guy for its laid-back<span style="text-decoration: line-through;">,</span> cool look and tropical sound. The ukulele is easy to travel with and is welcome at jam sessions. They are also very affordable, starting at about $70 with lots of choices under $300. </span></p> <h2>Contact Your Go-To Ukulele Specialists</h2> <p><span>The Denver Folklore Center would love to help you with your uke questions. Whether you are shopping for your first ukulele or looking for a rare collector instrument, we welcome you into the store to strum a few. We have a large </span><a href=""><span>selection</span></a><span> of new, used and vintage ukes in a price range to fit your budget. Feel free to contact us at </span><a href=""><span></span></a><span> and 303.777.4786 to see if we have that special instrument you&rsquo;re looking for. Aloha!</span></p> Banjo Pickin' 101: Types of Banjos http://www.denverfolklore.com <div style="text-align: center;"><strong>&ldquo;The banjo is such a happy instrument- you can&rsquo;t play a sad song on the banjo &ndash; it always comes out so cheerful.&rdquo; </strong></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><strong>- Steve Martin<br /><br /></strong></div> <p>Bluegrass or clawhammer? Open-back or resonator? What's a neck scoop? With so many options for the banjo, which one should you choose? We're here to help with this brief guide to banjo types, the music they might play, and the features that differentiate them.</p> <h2>Bluegrass Banjo</h2> <div style="text-align: center;"><strong>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think you&rsquo;ll ever get enough picking.&rdquo;&nbsp;</strong><strong>- Earl Scruggs<br /><br /></strong></div> <p>This style of banjo playing is what most people think of when they hear the word banjo. It's a fast, rhythmic style popularized and invented by the one and only Earl Scruggs. The bluegrass banjo generally accompanies other instruments in a group, as well as carries much of the melody of the song. A bluegrass banjo always has 5 string.</p> <p><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="" width="600" height="240" align="" /><strong>Pictured: Deering Golden Era Banjo</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><br />In this context, this type of banjo needs to be louder and more present to compete with the mix of sounds it is playing with. </span><span>The construction of the banjo is often heavier with more massive parts that add to the volume and sustain. A banjo constructed for playing bluegrass will always have a resonator. A resonator is a wooden back added to the banjo that reflects the sound forward. A resonator's first purpose is to make the banjo as loud as possible, but it also helps to color the tone of the banjo. It creates a fuller, rounder tone while keeping the instrument as loud as possible.</span></p> <h2><span>Resonator Banjo</span></h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span><br />&ldquo;With the popularity of dance bands in the &lsquo;Roaring Twenties&rsquo;, more volume was needed, and the banjo started being played with a flat pick which required removing the 5th drone string. This gave birth to the 4-string Tenor and Plectrum banjo, which also required using a resonator for increased volume. For the next thirty years, most banjos were made with 4 strings and a resonator. <br />- OME Banjos<br /></span></strong><span><br /></span></p> <img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="Resonator Banjo at the Denver Folklore Center" width="320" height="480" align="" /><strong>Pictured: Deering Eagle II Resonator Banjo</strong> <h2><span><br />Clawhammer Banjo</span></h2> <div style="text-align: center;"><strong><span><br />&ldquo;If you want to play old-time clawhammer like the old-timers, listen to them play.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /></span></strong><strong><span>- Charles Faurot</span></strong></div> <p><span><br />Clawhammer refers to the shape and technique of the right hand in this old-time style of playing. The fingernail and the thumb strum in a boom-chucka pattern that is generally slower and more melodic than its bluegrass counterpart. Banjos constructed for clawhammer or old-time playing always have 5 strings just like their bluegrass cousins.</span><span>&nbsp;<br /><br /></span></p> <p><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="" width="600" height="240" align="" /><strong>Pictured:&nbsp;Deering Goodtime Americana Banjo</strong><br /><br /><br /><span>Clawhammer style is often played solo or lightly </span><span>accompanied and therefore doesn't require the same level of volume and presence a bluegrass player would need. The banjo's construction is lighter and more basic to keep the sound mellow. It's common to see clawhammer players place a soft rag under the banjo head to dampen the sound even further.</span></p> <h2><span><br />Scooped Neck</span></h2> <div style="text-align: center;"><strong><span><br />&ldquo;Most OME open-back banjos now have a fingerboard S-scoop to facilitate frailing and clawhammer playing styles. This allows the player to &lsquo;stroke&rsquo; or &lsquo;frail&rsquo; the banjo further up the neck, thus obtaining a mellower, old-time banjo sound. </span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>- OME Banjos</span></strong></div> <p><br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="Ome Scooped Neck Banjo" width="399" height="399" align="" /><strong>Pictured:&nbsp;Ome Wizard Banjo</strong><br /><br /></p> <h2><span>4 String Banjos&nbsp;</span></h2> <div style="text-align: center;"><strong><span><br />"With the popularity of dance bands in the Roaring Twenties', more volume was needed, and the banjo started being played with a flat pick which required removing the 5th drone string. This gave birth to the 4 string Tenor and Plectrum banjo, which also required using a resonator for increased volume. For the next thirty years, most banjos were made with 4 strings and a resonator. </span></strong></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>- OME Banjos<br /><br /><br /></span></strong></div> <p><span>These days 4 string banjos are used almost exclusively for Irish music or occasionally in a Dixieland jazz band. Five string banjos and the types of music that are played on them have been vastly more popular since the 1940's when they overtook 4 string banjos in popularity.<br /><br /></span></p> <h2><span>Banjos Are Our Business</span></h2> <p><span>Want to learn more about </span><a href=""><span>banjos</span></a><span>? Stop by the Denver Folklore Center or </span><a href=""><span>contact us</span></a><span> for more information about these extraordinary instruments and start strumming today. </span></p>