Happy Birthday to The Colorado Sound

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music

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Benji McPhail, Program Director at The Colorado Sound

The Colorado Sound is the fastest growing non-commercial radio station in the nation. This week they turn one year old. To celebrate they are hosting a premiere party at Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins that features a lineup of Colorado bands including Dragondeer, Paper Bird, Rob Drabkin, and Brent Cowles.  The celebration will be recorded by a diverse team of videographers and broadcasted on a later date.

THE COLORADO SOUND 1ST BIRTHDAY PARTY with Dragondeer, Rob Drabkin, Brent Cowles, Paper Bird

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Neil Best, GM of KUNC

 

Benji McPhail is the Program Director at The Colorado Sound. He started at KUNC as the Music Director in 2012. His strategic planning collaborated with eTown radio program, the University of Colorado, and the University of Denver, to record performances in audio and video for re-broadcast on KUNC. This expanded the reach of the station and grew the audience. Benji tripled the evening ratings. It was clear that people were craving a new AAA station.That is how The Colorado Sound was born.

KUNC now is a total news outlet, and The Colorado Sound is the music broadcast affiliate. In radio, the measure of success is to increase Arbitron ratings, and The Colorado Sound has mastered that rather quickly.

 

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Benji’s office is decorated with new music cd’s and music memorabilia

Benji wants to do more than just play the hits to get ratings. McPhail is a musicophile with years of experience in programming spanning from KCUV Radio Music Director to programming director at KKPL Radio. His style of broadcasting is a blend of musicology and stellar music taste. His approach is to play the music that resonates with his listeners. He holds a monthly listening party where the audience can vote on the songs they want to hear in a rotation.

The Colorado Sound highlights Colorado music. The station is advocators and curators for the scene. There is no shortage of music coming from the state, and the Sound aims to be the leader in bringing the best of it to your ears.

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Host Ron in his office at the Colorado Sound

 

Colorado’s music industry is the largest in the Rocky Mountain West. The state has 16,300 music based jobs the next highest employment totals in the region are Nevada’s 8500 and Utah’s 79001. Colorado’s music industry generates $1.8 billion in annual revenue, compared to $309 million in Idaho and $556 million in New Mexico. Nevada is again second in the region at $1.3 billion.

 Hosts include veterans in the radio industry: Benji, MargotRon, and Marc. The Colorado Sound has been a dream of Benji’s for a long time. He is a Colorado native. He spent some time in California radio, but his heart-strings were pulled back home. He felt he could showcase his Colorado music roots and help others gain an appreciation for the sound.

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This station goes beyond what you hear on other stations and delivers quality music that excites your senses. The hosts are passionate about music. Each of them is a true innovator of the craft and is shaping the type of music being delivered to you over the airwaves. Overall, The Colorado Sound just plays really good music, all day long.

To support this movement in Colorado music you can become a Colorado Sound member.

Stay tuned because big things are on the horizon for the Colorado Sound.


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Wood Belly is the New-Grass Quintet in Town

Everything Can Be Art

Wood Belly resonates the soul by combining traditional bluegrass with modern new grass styles. They were born in bluegrass heaven, Rocky Grass 2015, and tour around the Front Range.

Wood Belly describes their music as,

“boundless song-focused repertoire is sure to get boots on the floor and make any true bluegrass fan feel right at home.”

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Wood Belly plays at Mobb Mountain Distillers in Fort Collins photo by Argento Studios

 This is a five-piece string band combining talented musicians:

  • Craig Patterson (Guitar/Vocals)
  • Chris Weist (Mandolin/Vocals)
  • Chris Zink (Dobro/Vocals)
  • Aaron McCloskey (Banjo/Vocals)
  • Taylor Shuck (Bass/Vocals)

They plan to start the year touring and building a loyal fan base. This new band is nothing short of charismatic and robust with fingers full of lightning. There is no shortage of innovation from this group.

 

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Fingers Full of lightning, fast playing bluegrass. Photo by Argento Studios

 

In the fall, they have hopes to record a studio album. Until then you can catch them playing:

There is an eclectic mix of backgrounds.  The member’s lives seem to intertwine even before meeting. It seems this band would have happened no matter the circumstance. Although the band is new, they have roots in the Rocky Mountain Bluegrass community. Aaron McCloskey teaches at Swallow Hill. Taylor Shuck is the former bassist of Von Stomper, he also plays in another band, Mustard Licks, with Chris Weist.

You can check out their website, visit them on social media, or just see an upcoming performance. Special thanks to Mobb Mountain Distillers for hosting Wood Belly for this interview.

 

If you want to know more about how they met, listen to the SoundCloud podcast:

 

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: