Star Cluster Initiative Downtown Artery

The Evolution of the Downtown Artery

Creative Arts, Everything Can Be Art

Musicians, and artists, and performers, oh my! Since its beginning, the Downtown Artery has made its multi-faceted space known for being an inclusive ecosystem for creatives to grow and flourish. As part of the building’s evolution, the Artery has opened its doors to the public for them to be part of each new installation by making every nook and cranny unique and a source of inspiration for all. How can you be part of each art installation, meet other creatives, and learn new multi-media techniques? Become a member of the Star Cluster Initiative.
With the Artery changing its hours, new times have been allotted to learn and create before the cafe and bar open at 4 p.m. Mon-Fri. If these opportunities and experiences seem interesting to you, please tune in to the Downtown Artery’s website and Facebook page, or just come on down to the corner of Linden and Jefferson to see what they have to offer. The cluster is undoubtedly a safe space for you to explore your creativity.

Advertisements

Happy Birthday to The Colorado Sound

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music

Benji2

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

benji8

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.

 

Benji12

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.

benji9

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.

Benji

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.


Benji13

Rae McAlister’s Illness Will Not Stop Her From Performing

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music, photography

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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.

 

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.

william

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
group

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.

Derek Blake playing Folk Music

Fort Collins Musician Derek Blake: Live Acoustic Session

Everything Can Be Art

 

Derek Blake is a singer-songwriter in Fort Collins, Co. He has a new album, Pop hits released July 20, 2016. Pop hits were created to be easy listening. The songs average about 2:00 each and follow the “made for radio” style.

adb03

The album was recorded by local Fort Collins band, Tallgrass, at GPM studios.

Musicians on the LP are:

  • guitars and vocals- Derek Blake
  • bass-Austin Morford
  • vocal harmonies-Matthew Skinner and Austin Morford
  • drums-Adam Morford
  • Engineers- Matthew Skinner and Austin Morford
  • Mastering-Tyler Lindgren

Derek has deep Americana roots felt in every chord he plays. He grew up in Steamboat Springs with a family of musicians who enjoyed gathering together to play and celebrate life. Derek writes a lot about family and the stories made in that Steamboat Springs home.

Derek is currently touring in Northern Colorado, playing the tunes from his new album. He is ambitious, however, already planning his next mixtape. Recording with Tallgrass again is his goal. The synergy that was created in the studio on Pop Hits is something rare. The next album will be different but still full of the magic that his freshman album had.

db7

Derek plays an acoustic session at the Music District in Fort Collins

Derek has upcoming shows in Fort Collins:

Derek also has a new web show airing called Fishin’ and Pickin’ that focuses on catchin’ fish and playing tunes. This will air on FC public Access as well as on the web.

Derek’s style is unique. Sometimes it is Folk, often it is Honkytonk or Western Swing. He can play fingerstyle bluegrass and tell a story that makes you cry. His music is moving and very heartfelt. Download or stream the album Pop Hits from Bandcamp.

Listen to the acoustic session on soundcloud:

Laura Burhenn of Mynabirds teaches about protest songs at the Music District

Everything Can Be Art, Social Causes

featuredShout It Out

Laura Burhenn is a new revolutionist. She examines the question:
“What does a revolution look like today, and what are we fighting for?”
Laura presented her version of protest through song at the Music District  workshop, “Shout it Out,” in Fort Collins, CO on November 22, 2016. She speaks of the threads of change in her TED Talk and through her band the Mynabirds.

She is accustom to the spotlight and chooses to use it to make a difference in this world. Laura is using her voice through creative projects in an attempt to help heal the nation. She hopes to see a significant shift occurring in thought leaders, as the country experiences this division. The idea is to use art as a powerful form of protest. Laura explained how she devoted her voice to protest in Under the Radar Magazine interview in September of 2012.

“Shout it Out,” was an open dialogue of writing, reflecting, and sharing.  Laura expressed hopeful intentions of it being a refuge for the artist who was contemplating where to put their emotions.

Participants had moments to reflect on what it means to them to protest through song and write about it. Everyone shared what they wrote with the group. Attendees were from places as far as South Africa who spoke of protest songs from around the globe. In South Africa,  some of the most turbulent times brought people together singing in pubs, enjoying songs of protest because they could not openly protest the government. There is a beauty in people gathering for music in times of trouble and strife.

There was a feeling of decompression in the room from the most recent election in almost every piece of writing. Wide age ranges brought viewpoints from many revolutions that have happened for centuries. The perspectives were all very different, yet the willingness to share was outpouring.

img_9449

A slide in the presentation that prompted a great discussion

Music has been a form of protest throughout the ages. Music is a mechanism that artist use to evoke emotion or propel change. There is a movement rising in the arts community that is using art to protest the transitional state of the nation.

The history of protest songs is rich. As early as the 1900’s, songs were a form of protest.  In the days of slave trading, a protest song was more of an allegory for the present status of the slaves. Sometimes the songs were code although spiritual in nature. The Library of Congress tells the story of the African American Spirituals,  “Because the Underground Railroad of the mid- nineteenth century used terminology from railroads as a secret language for assisting slaves to freedom, it is often speculated that songs like I got my ticket may have been a code for escape.”

In the 1960’s the song “Dancing in the Streets” was released just as the Vietnam War escalated. It became “a call to arms” song, for protesters. Time happens and the world ages, but it is clear that music is the vehicle of peace.

In the most recent election, “30 Days and 30 Songs,” was released on an Independent Website. Modern Day artist wrote songs to protest Trump. To learn more listen to the Spotify playlist.

 

Tallgrass:Songs of Happiness and Sorrow

Everything Can Be Art

 

Adam Morford, Austin Morford, and Matt Skinner make up the eclectic band Tallgrass. This band delivers riveting melodies, three-piece harmonies, and transformative ways to provide sound. They are an auditory delight.  The way they bend sound and structure songs are like a metamorphosis of music. It is conceptually built to delight and challenge what you have ever thought a song could be.

 Morford, percussionist, and producer speaks about the band,
“Tallgrass was the first project I had been in that allowed me to be myself.  My quest for sounds was encouraged.”
14183756_1071648066204291_578112825594020536_n

 

Adam goes beyond a drum kit and sticks. His musicianship showcases obscure objects and altering the methods of playing the kit. It is no rare sight to see him bust out various sizes of bows to stride across the symbols to make a melodic steel melody.  Those sounds he has been encouraged to play have set him a sail on a discovery beyond just playing percussion. He has begun a design studio called Morfbeats where he creates original percussion pieces for others.

 

 

Adam talks about the process,
“This eventually led to the idea of me building percussion from scratch to produce sounds I wanted to hear and use.  A few days after I began I started to make instruments with promising tones.  From there I have just let my imagination run wild, and it has allowed for me to work and perform with some of my favorite musicians.”

 

 

Tallgrass writes and performs original music. They are currently in production of their 3rd album, laughing. As they have taken their time for this concept album, they hosted many guest artist to play. This collaboration led to Tallgrass producing other local artist albums from their home studio.

 

 

They have shared the stage with President Barack Obama, Melissa Etheridge, Sublime with Rome, The White Buffalo, and The Ben Miller Band, Ben Sollee, and so many others. The evolution of this band can be one for the records. They are not stopping and only getting better each day.
When a band can write, perform, produce, manage, tour, and build instruments, you have a rare find. There is a uniqueness about their gifts. They are humble with their approach.
Adam’s great words of inspiration to anyone pursuing creative arts is,

 

 

 

“Be honest and sincere in what you do and you will find your true potential.”

 

 

 

Things are connected, and one decision can quickly lead you into the direction of your dreams. Your gifts will shine if you stick to it. Something is waiting for you to take that chance.

 

 

 

What is on the horizon for Tallgrass?

The calendar has only a few dates posted. Hopefully, that means lots of work and surprises to come. These guys are hard working with the potential for anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longmont’s Bridge Studios:Both Sides of the Glass

Everything Can Be Art

Paul Andrews is the owner of Bridges Studios in Longmont, Colorado. Paul built this studio originally for his personal use.  The more people he told about his “passion project”, the more interest developed to open the doors to his local community as a production studio.

Paul expresses: “I am finding myself now on both sides of the glass, In the control room as the engineer but in the recording room as the artist.”

paul3

His whole home is a living studio. It has a warm ambiance and a comfortable feel. The colors are vibrant, and the instruments are fluid. Every moving component of this production base is eclectic and hand chosen because of its ability to create alluring music.

Paul uses a technique of recording that is faithful to his origin, the analog recorder. He has mastered recording analog  and making it available to digital channels without loosing the quality that analog brings to the sound. The actual essence of the studio is to capture an old world style of recording into a modern world.

paul4

Andrews studied and performed for most of his life, he once was solely a recording artist. He was in the process of writing and producing an entire album while living in Denver a few years ago. This collection represents the pinnacle of change for his career. He placed this album on the shelf for two years.

He decided to move north, design his dream studio, and continue recording.  He settled in a new town, rebuilding his studio for his own creative use. He unveiled the album and quickly realized that wasn’t who he was anymore.

Since then, he has spent extensive time engineering albums for others. He has taken on a new role, as a mentor and leader in his craft. He has a gentle spirit and world of experience to offer to his studio clients.

paul2

Beyond that, music scores have sparked up his inner creative flame. He has been creating music for film. He works with Hannah Holbrook, from the band SHEL, on original musical scores.  He has found a balance and a new place in this studio world.

His current project in development is for a short film, proposed to be named “Rebel Girl.”  This is worldly and transcending because the boundaries it pushes in the creator’s society. It is born of a young woman in Pakistan. Her vision is to follow the story of a girl who rides horseback. The provocativeness of this story is that it is unheard of in her country for women to be filmmakers, and it is shameful for them to ride horseback due to purity interest.

The story line is breaking all the rules for women. There is little information about the young women other than her vision and her need to execute it.The music created for this short film embraces those feelings. The use of dissonance in the songs anticipates the moment where the resolve happens.

Paul is a visionary, and he helps so many artists achieve their musical dreams. He uses his studio as a vessel for people’s visions to become reality. Paul speaks about becoming successful with your passion, “It rarely falls in people’s laps. It is the kind of thing where you find something you love and you just go for it, you are continually chasing that, whatever it is on the inside of you, that pushes you forward.”

Always chase the art inside of you.

To learn more about Paul visit: Bridge Studios