Rae McAlister’s Illness Will Not Stop Her From Performing

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music, photography

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Rae McAlister is a singer-songwriter in Fort Collins, CO.  She is currently in the studio with Paul Andrews at Bridge Studios laying down tracks for her debut album. She is no longer wasting time waiting for things to be perfect or when she has enough money or even when she is healthy enough. Rae realizes that tomorrow is not promised and life is short. She has set out to make the days matter and what that means to her is taking her creative career by the horns.

Just get out there and just do it ~Rae McAlister

Her music has an edge and raw emotion that entices you to hear more. She plays a hollow body guitar, and her soprano tones resonate the room in a very dynamic way. She hits high notes with power, intensity, and longevity. Her songs build to a strong climax. Her sound has an illusive sense of nocturne, a bit dreamy with an airy feel.

Rae has women musician mentors in the Fort Collins community, like Mer Sal of the Symbols, and Nancy Just who help her hone her craft and motivate her. She is really focused on being a heartfelt musician. Rae values music as a business and thinks you don’t have to be a superstar to be a successful musician.  She took The Online Musician teaching course, to expand her musical business service offerings.

Listen to the full interview here:

Every day that Rae plays music is a miracle. Music has always been a part of Rae McAlister. She was born and raised in a musical family. Her musical makeup consists of jazz, folk, and classical training. The thing about Rae is, she has the diagnosis of Myotonia Congenita, Thompson’s disease, and Ehler’s-Danlos. Several years ago her body was immobile leaving her in a wheelchair. Music was an impossible dream.

Rae’s muscles started detaching, seizing and pulling joints out of place, and she could not walk or perform her daily, routine task. She had to quit working or care-taking her family. She was bedridden, and her life took an unexpected turn. The diagnosis was a blessing because it finally meant doctors could start treating her illness. It was at that time she decided to embrace her creativity and devote her life to her passions.

Also, McAlister has an art business Rae’s-Transfiguration-Furnishings for her furniture, visual arts, and photography.She recently applied to be a visual artist for pianos about town. When she was struggling with her mobility Rae would make it a point to get dressed and go into Old Town Fort Collins to sit and play the piano. She contributes the very thing to healing. She noticed others doing the same thing in the community. Older people would flock to town just to play their favorite songs on the piano. It may be their one outing or the one social interaction of the day. As an homage to this, she would like to contribute her inspired design to the program.

Rae has never let her diagnosis get in the way of her creativity. If anything, she uses it to fuel her passion and achieve what some may say is UN-achievable. She cannot push her physical boundaries every day, but she always dreams and creates. Her positive nature shines through her pain. For that, the world can indulge in her art and her music.

 

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Fort Collins Band The Ugly Architect Adds New Members

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music

 William Knudsen is the lead singer and creator of the Fort Collins Band the Ugly Architect. He is shifting the design from a solo act and adding new members.  The Ugly Architect configuration is to add and subtract members that are accessible in the proximity of the surroundings. with William being the only consistent member of the band. William took this idea on the road for a US tour. In each city, he played with the local musicians and designed new structures within the frameworks of his songs. Each song he writes has an intricate sketch like a blueprint, and need a variety of musicians to make it complete. That tour ended, but William was not ready to stop creating this masterpiece.

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William Knudsen plays an intimate acoustic session at The Merchant Room. Photo by Argento Studios.

He found himself at a crux after the tour and knew the Ugly Architect was just the groundwork he wanted to build.   He seeks to keep the momentum of the summer going all year long.

What happens to the Ugly Architect next? A remodel of sorts, yet all the fixtures of this version have become permanent:

  • Bob Shipton – Bass
  • Thomas Wentz- Violin
  • Preston Charlesworth Rice- Percussion
  • William Knudsen – Singer-Songwriter/Guitar
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The Ugly Architect Photo by Argento Studios

William is creating a bounty of songs and original versions of the band. Roving musicians will still join the group from time to time. The Architects will carry on the spontaneity that is the core of the band. They have just expanded beyond a solo act. Now Ugly Architect is a full band. There are a newness and an explosion of energy going on between them. They are set to record a full LP by mid-year.

Upcoming shows:

Old Town Folkways at Wolverine Farm

Ghost Ship Benefit Show

Also, pop-ups as the mood strike them.

Special thanks to the Merchant Room for hosting the video and photo shoot.

What Lies on the Horizon for Bluegrass Guitarist David Jensen’s Solo Career

Everything Can Be Art

Beloved  Fort Collins bluegrass guitarist  David Jensen is venturing out into a solo career after spending the last few years with National Touring band Blue Grama. What lies on the horizon for his solo career is fun and light hearted, a new group called DJ Meow Mix & the Grabbers.

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David playing tunes in the Attic of the Music District in Fort Collins, Co Photo credit: Argento Studios

David has had a long time love affair with the guitar. It started when he was 13 and has flourished into more than just a passion over the past 17 years. He traveled down the path of garage bands with friends to a formal education at Mary Washington University where he studied Jazz Guitar. Jazz methodology is like bluegrass in a way that a repertoire of songs is rehearsed solo, then groups gather together for freeform playing and jamming. Like bluegrass, the real magic happens in the jam sessions.

David met a very influential person while at the University, Jim Burton, who nurtured his bluegrass guitar playing. Jim was an avid activist who promoted Folk and bluegrass guitar music to the younger generation. He took David under his wing and introduced him to a circle of musicians that acted as a support network for David. It gave David the opportunity to hone his craft, excel in his passion, and become the experienced player he is today.

Dave speaks about Jim,  “He was ‘instrumental in recruiting Bluegrass bands to the D.C. Area. that would be influential to the younger generation.’ He was not much of a live performer himself.”

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Hank, David’s guitar, gifted from his mentor and long time friend Jim. Photo credit: Argento Studios

David set out on his way to the Wild West. At that point, Jim gave him the guitar he still plays today. Hank is the name of Dave’s trusty guitar. You can see on the body all of the years of pickin’.

David has his debut show on January 20 at Oskar Blues Longmont with his new project DJ Meow Mix and the Grabbers.

This band is “a pop bluegrass band playing tunes like Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” (think the best of the 80s & 90s – Madonna, Blondie, etc.) with a bluegrassy flair.”

Dave’s extensive background blends styles from across genres. This band is something fresh, modern, and progressive.

David also does in home lessons for bass guitar, acoustic guitar, and drums. Visit his Facebook page to learn more.

Listen to the whole interview on Soundcloud: