A 31 Year Celebration for Big Head Todd

Fort Collins Music, Touring Bands


Big Head Todd originated in the great state of Colorado. They got their feet wet in the Poudre in the early years. Big Head Todd will play a sold-out show sponsored by the Colorado Sound at the Aggie theatre on Dec.21 for their hometown crowd. The band went to Columbine High School together. Lead vocal and guitarist Todd Mohr spread his wings to Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Drummer/vocalist Brian Neven and Bass/vocal Rob Squires attended the University of Colorado in Boulder. The trio has toured extensively along the Front Range as Big Head Todd and the Monsters since 1987.

Todd talks about coming back to the Fort:

“The band grew up in Colorado and I went to school at CSU for a spell.  Fort Collins was one of the early adopters for our band and it feels terrific to come home!”

They have a new Album, New World Arisin’ that sticks to their roots but exemplifies a maturity and synchronicity only a band who grew up together can produce.

After so many years of playing music together there comes an evolution of sorts. Morh says, “This tour represents success for us as a band in many ways.  Firstly we have been together for over 31 years, and we still love what we do.  Secondly and more significantly, we still have fans that want to hear the music we are creating currently.  It’s one thing to survive but its quite another to be putting out great new material. I don’t know that our music has evolved, but I would hope that we’ve gotten better as a band.  I know I’ve gotten to be a better musician because I am really starting to enjoy learning!”

His favorite thing to do when visiting Fort Collins is to fish Poudre Canyon.

As for the music ecosystem in Colorado, Todd is grateful to be one of the significant successes. He says: “Colorado is a great place as a home for any band because there are so many music lovers and it seems concerts are a way of life.  There are also incredible venues – Red Rocks for one.”

For any band wanting to grow and thrive in the Front Range, Todd offers his expertise:


“My advice to young bands is to develop a great relationship with your audience.  Also I suggest focusing on songs and songwriting.  Probably one of the main things most new bands neglect.”

Big Head Todd and the Monsters paved the road for the Colorado Music Scene. To see them live on Dec. 21st visit the Aggie theatre for tickets.


Adam of Tallgrass plays at Avogadro's number in Fort Collins.

Monday Montage

Around town, Fort Collins Music, Monday Music



There is never a shortage of things to do in FoCo. Want to discover a new band or explore the creative nightlife this week? Here are the top picks that will inspire you and maybe make you dance a little.



Monday, September 25:


Where to go?

Surfside 7. One of Fort Collins top dive bars. Surfside has a  full menu of mouthwatering delicacies like falafel burgers, homemade corndogs, and even Poutine. Full bar and eclectic décor. Take a selfie in the bathroom to mark your visit. Must bring friends.


Who’s playing?



“This is the first visit for every band & MF’s 1st show ever. They include members from “wire faces, fierce bad rabbit and somerset catalog”!”


This is a blended band from some of Fort Collins favorite local bands of all time. If you do anything this week…this is it. $8 cover.



Tuesday, September 26:


Where to go?

Music District Fort Collins musicprenuer hub. For all people who love music. A gathering place for events, workshops, rehearsals, lessons, and coworking.


Who’s playing?

John Zorn, New York-based composer and saxophonist involved in a variety of genres: jazz, rock, classical, world, improvised, and soundtracks.

And Matt Smiley, bassist, composer, and educator who has performed in a variety of musical settings over the last fifteen years.


Together they will lead the audience in John Zorn’s musical game piece “Cobra.”


“ Musicians are welcome to bring their acoustic instruments, as we will be teaching the composition throughout the performance, and have people from the audience sit in at the end.”


This is simply for the enjoyment of creating music. All are welcome. This is a free event.


Wednesday, September 27:


Where to go?

Wolverine Farm and Publick House. A nonprofit event space, letterpress print shop, and bar/cafe in the River District of Fort Collins, CO. Local beverages, pastries, handmade gifts and local authors. They even have a serve yourself popcorn maker.




What to do?

Pecha Kucha 20X20 people share their stories, art, and ideas in a simple presentation format–20 images for 20 seconds each–and talk along with the pictures. Pechakucha is a national event in over 900 cities worldwide. This event is meant to inspire, and unite friends while cultivating an open sharing environment.

The speakers for this event are:
* Brandon Buttry
* Mike Bartelme
* Colin Garfield
* Jeff Baldwin
* Patrick Edmiston
* Shari Due
* Natalie Scarlett
* Jana Knapp Sanchez
* Alisha Jacobs and Debi Kennison
* Whitney Wells
* Kirk Scramstad and Maka Kala.’


See Facebook event for Full details on each speaker.



Thursday, September 28:


Where to go?

Avogadro’s Number An original staple on the local bar and pub scene in Fort Collins.


Who’s playing?

Nice Hat Mister. Local progressive bluegrass family band featuring young musician Eli Slocumb, 16 and full of talent. He is a rising star that has shared the stage with national and local talented bluegrass/newgrass players throughout his life. The band includes his father Ben, Rob Blackburn, Luke Albright, and Jan Peterson. $7 Cover



Friday, September 29:


Where to go?

New Belgium’s Fat Tire Friday. $3 Fat Tire and Fat Tire white. Fires when it’s cold and outdoor lawn games to keep you active.


Who’s playing:

Tallgrass, one of the most underrated and talented in bands in Fort Collins. They are producers, inventors, creators, and authors. They are soundscape dreamers and instrument builders who arc sound in a way that captivates your spirit. Not a bluegrass band.  Free.





Saturday, September 30:


Where to go?

Music District. They have been open a year. If you haven’t yet discovered your place in music in our community, this is your chance.


Surround Sound Bash:

“this walkable mixtape-inspired party with live performances, multimedia interactives, a music video marathon, pop-up art show, photo op, themed activities, Silver Seed food truck, and cash bar, and explore the entire Music District campus with an immersive scavenger hunt game. Featuring performances by Lois and the LanternGuerrilla Fanfare, Household Collective, DJ TwoScoopS, DJ Jimeni, Emma Marie, and The Rickshaw Live, interactives from Cloverlick Banjo Shop, Meep Records, Magic Cyclops, KRFC FM, Woodshed Music, multimedia projections from EvrGlo Media, Rhythm EFX, prizes from Vinyl Me, Please, and much more.”


All ages. Free. Party of the year.

Q&A with Noah Gundersen

Touring Bands


Noah Gundersen can’t pin point the exact moment he fell in love with music, but it has always been a part of him. On the release of his sixth album, White Noise, the evolution of his sound is quite prominent. Noah plays the Armory in Fort Collins presented by the Colorado Sound. Saturday October 7, 2017 Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

Noah shares that, “Music has always been around. My dad made music. I would sit on the piano bench with him and hammer out little melodies, or I would watch him record on his 8-track in the garage. It’s hard to pin point a beginning for a thing that has felt so eternal and intrinsic to my existence.”

The echoes of his passions reveal through the melodies. There is an airy yet complete notation within the songs. Noah explains the process of writing a song, “Often it starts with space. Giving myself space, staring off into space. Sometimes it comes in a flash, and I’m just trying to keep up. Other times it’s like dragging a mule through the mud.”



Promotional photo from Red Light Management


Past albums had a true singer-songwriter feel with acoustic rhythms focused on faith, death, and past relationships, success, failed relationships, religion, and sexuality. The state of affiars in the world today have more pressing ideals. The new release, White Noise, devels into the current issues. Noah talks about the release, “It seems all that’s left is politics. And anxiety. And the confusion of living in a digital world. What’s real anymore? How do we even hear ourselves think over all the noise?”
Even at the present times, it is hard to write about the past or lingering feelings. Noah talks about where the songs come from, “I can only speak from the place where I am now. Even memories or past thoughts are filtered through my present experience. So everything I wrote came from where I was when I wrote it.”

Devoted fans are discussing the new sound, on the albums first two released songs. It is not a new sound, per say, just a new level in his musical progression and growth. Noah devotedly spoke about this,”I only have roots in music. I’m doing my best to stay true to those.”


As for the album, it was produced in his home town,“We made the record in Seattle, mostly at our loft space in Ballard called The Baitshop. It took almost a year.”


Noah has a  love for many cities, “I think favorites are reductive. I love New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago, Toronto, Austin. Wherever there is good food and wherever my friends are.”


Check him out in a city nearby.

Monday Montage : The week of 8/7/2017

Around town, Monday Music


So much to do this week in Fort Collins. Here is a daily rundown of the best in music this week.


Song Writers Workshop:


A gathering of songwriters in Fort Collins at the Music District on the 2nd Tuesday of each month for the purpose of giving/receiving feedback on new songs, creating deadlines to write new songs, building comradery, networking, and meeting collaborators and fellow writers.

RSVP here: http://bit.ly/2eIdiSI



Dome Lab Meetup


Dome Lab at FCMoD is an open meetup for anyone who wants to stretch their creativity in the dome. Whether you are a digital artist, painter, musician, DJ, VJ, photographer, or even a programmer this is for you! Dome Lab is open and free to anyone interested in creating and collaborating on projects of all types so bring your creativity and #doitinadome!




Musician’s Help Desk: Building Your Audience Away from Home Our band in residence, Parsonsfield will be joining the conversation with a wealth of experience touring and building audiences across the globe. Come with your own experience, burning questions, or just bring lunch and hang out while we shake down this conundrum for DIY, independent, touring bands.

RSVP here: http://bit.ly/2w71a28





Finger picking workshop with Jared Janzen:


Free at The Music District. Bring your acoustic guitar for an interactive clinic and performance on percussive finger style playing. Join local musician Jared Janzen as he shares his original techniques, tunings, and insights into writing. After some demonstration, the group will work together to improve their skills. After the workshop, Jared will be performing an hour long set.

Jared Janzen is a Fort Collins, Colorado native whose music is new and intriguing to listen to. His main style emphasis is contemporary finger style guitar with singing, blending traditional genres such as folk, r&b, and rock into one. Influences include Andy Mckee, Michael Hedges, James Taylor, Ray LaMontagne and much more. He plays in Blue Taboo, Breakfast for Dinner, and also collaborates with several artists in the Fort Collins and Boston, MA areas. In spring of 2015, he released a solo EP titled “Truth”, and plans to release new music this year. His band, Blue Taboo, also plans to release their second album this coming summer. Jared has performed at many venues throughout his musical career on the front range, has been teaching private guitar and vocal lessons for 5 years, and has 6 years of studio experience. Jared is currently attending Berklee School of Music in Boston, and will be going on his first solo tour this summer.



Songwriter Showcase


featuring Robin Lewis, Matt Skinner, Pappy Longlegs and Dimitri Zaugg at Hodi’s Half Note


Concert with Skylar Grey:


Head to New Belgium Brewing for a special release party with five-time Grammy Award-Nominated multiplatinum singer, songwriter Skylar Grey. Doors open at 7PM with The Other Black opening. Free Admission.


The Deer with Paul Dehaven of Paper Bird:


Head to the Downtown Artery where Vocalist Grace Park (formerly Grace Rowland) fronted acoustic trio The Blue Hit. With guitarist/producer Michael McLeod (Good Field), upright bassist Jesse Dalton (Green Mountain Grass), and drummer Alan Eckert (Dimitri’s Ascent), The Deer create a tonal landscape that blooms into orchestral depths. Their debut album, An Argument For Observation, represents their formation as a songwriting endeavor known as Grace Park & The Deer. They began touring and collaborating as a group, and changed their name to The Deer. Their second album, On the Essence of the Indomitable Spirit reflects their union, and is dedicated to the memory of their friend and backup singer. They continue to write and tour, and are currently recording a third album, due in Spring 2016. More at www.thedeer.org.




The Weekend: New West Fest


There is something for everyone. There is so much music in Fort Collins. Please explore more resources to find exaclty what makes your heart beat.




Fort Collins is the Startup City Built on Rock-n-Roll

Fort Collins Music

Fort Collins, Colorado is a collaborative, non-competitive, startup music city without a big ego. Fort Collins is a city built for musicians by musicians. For over ten years, musicians laid the groundwork for the next golden era of “musicprenuers“ by constructing an ecosystem built on encouragement, support, and empowerment. This shifts the paradigm and disrupts the music industry systems of the past.

The foundation without ego

Ten years ago, some “small time” local bands needed a place to play in Fort Collins. The Venues wanted to attract big national touring acts, not book local bands. Fort Collins was not a town thriving on a local music scene, just yet. Greta Cornett, a member of one the few ska bands in Colorado, 12 cents for Marvin, was one of the Fort Collins musicians experiencing the ramifications of this. The musicians wanted more gigs, and they wanted them to be in their own backyard. Instead of moving away or playing on the street, they rallied together and converted a local bar, Road 34, into a performance venue.

Greta Cornett is the Co-Founder and President – Board Member of Fort Collins Music Association. Photo by Marc Leverette Photography

The community of musicians flocked to play at Road. When they were not playing, they were supporting each other. As much as they needed to be on stage, they craved good live music. It was evident the level of talent in this town and the need for venue support. Tight relationships formed. The ties that fated them were the kindred desires to unify the musicianship of FoCo. Musicians sought to build awareness of the burgeoning music scene in their hometown. The newfound friends talked about how to support music in this town every Sunday, unofficially over beers. As much as it looked like just a “Sunday-Funday” inadvertently, they started a music revolution.

That is how Fort Collins Music Association (FoCoMA), a nonprofit musicians association, originated.

FoCoMA wanted to celebrate the performers and their successes with a local “Grammy style” awards ceremony, The Peer Awards. Regional awards ceremonies were not aware of the talent in Fort Collins. Bands vote on the winners in the respective categories, discover another local band, go out, and support. The first Peer Awards bands were clueless on how to cast the vote. The lack of venue support and exposure in this town was showing and something had to change. That led to the next great innovation of the FoCoMA, which was a “local mini-fest,” to highlight the bands before the Peer Awards so the musicians could give an educated vote. It would also turn the community on to the emerging local music scene.

The original idea consisted of four venues with only a hand full of Fort Collins bands. The association introduced the idea to the City of Fort Collins, who rallied with abounding support. In its first year, FOCOMX, the Fort Collins Music Experiment, booked over 111 bands in 19 Fort Collins venues, well over what they thought. Over the next few years, FoCoMX evolved into a Front Range musician festival. Acts from Southern Wyoming to Denver all apply to play.

Greta Cornell talks about the progression of FoCoMx:

“We may have started the festival, but I feel like the musicians have the ownership of it, and the people who help, who care about it, and come out and support it. We all have an input on what a sustainable model for the festival should be. What do we want it to be? It is whatever we make it. That is why it is the Experiment.”

The Fort Collins Music Experiment is a two-day festival in Fort Collins with a diverse inclusive lineup mixing local favorites, youth, and newcomers. As they celebrated the ninth year of the festival this year, 1259 submitted applications with 258 bands on the playbill.

A booking committee listens to every single submission and makes the decisions. FoComx is all volunteer led. Even the venues close their doors for two days to the outside world and donate their space to the festival. All the ticket sales go to the artists who perform.

Eric Gilbert, Co-founder of Treefort Music Fest and Alysia Kraft discuss the logistics of a local music festival.

Eric Gilbert, Co-founder of Treefort Music Fest and Alysia Kraft discuss the logistics of a local music festival. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

There are Pro Development workshops during FoCoMx in addition to live music, which is to inform and educate the community about important issues affecting musicians. This year Eric the Co-founder of Treefort Music Fest, and current festival director and talent buyer emerging arts and music festival based in Boise, Idaho spoke on a panel with local musicians to discuss the synergy and dissonance betwixt the two festivals. As well as an affordable housing for the creative community talk evaluating the current housing needs for the creative artist.

Sitting on these panels are members of the FoCoMx board, musicians, professionals and employees from organizations that serve as relationship builders for the creative art scene in Fort Collins.

All of Greta’s hard work and persistence created a scene that is bursting at the seams with growth. The musicians are pliable, innovative, and integrated with musicpreneur credibility.

Supportive synergic relationships

The Music District is a hub of education, performance, and support for musicians and aficionados in Fort Collins. Erin Roberts is the Community Manager. She duals her time as the lead singer of soul rock band Porlolo and she is a lifetime trumpet player.

Erin Roberts of Porlolo and the Music District playing at FoCoMx 2017 on the main stage of Downtown Artery.

Erin Roberts of Porlolo and the Music District playing at FoCoMx 2017 on the main stage of Downtown Artery. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

As the community manager, she manages the internal operations of the District. She is akin to the air traffic controller of the music district in a broad way. Erin is new to living in Fort Collins but moved here because she believes in the vision of the musicianship in Fort Collins. The scene has outgrown the Status quo and is building up a strong foundation to propel. Erin is a key player in the strategic plan. She took a role at the Foundation knowing the strength of the roots in the local scene. Like the FoCo music scene, she is just as hungry to grow.

Erin Roberts discusses her decision to commit to a life in Fort Collins:

“I have been in bands for as long as I could remember. I have played the trumpet since the fourth grade. I needed this to be a place where I thought my music career would thrive. It felt like a scene that loved music and supported music.”

Erin Roberts is the lead singer of Porlolo and the Community Manager at the Music District

Erin Roberts is the lead singer of Porlolo and the Community Manager at the Music District. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

She did not come alone. The Bohemian Foundation also hired the drummer from her band Porlolo, Ben Desoto, as a talent buyer. Roberts knew the hire would enrich her vision of music in Fort Collins and enhance her role as community Manager of the Music District.

Erin suggests:

“It all worked together in a very symbiotic way.”

The most rewarding part of her position is overseeing the tenants and Co-workers of the Music District. Ten music-related businesses with devoted offices that are 80% music related are her responsibility to nurture. She gets to see “Music as a business” prosper and thrive in the community. Each one is interdependent of one another but a whole subset of community is being born within the walls of the space.

“It blows my mind that so many smart entrepreneurs and individuals that are making a great living off of music in this town. It is not just musicians but a whole industry that supports musicians integral to the industry. I think is important for a music scene. You cannot just have the musicians. Management, sound, lawyers, and everything else that connects to that. Knowing that element is here in Fort Collins it gives me great faith that this will be a great music city.”

The tenants have below market rate rent and add value to the workspace through a community contribution. This free programming event is a workshop to the public in the Music District. The whole idea is not that they come to the district, shut their doors, and work away in the office, but to have an open door and to give back to the community. Offer a bit of guidance, or expertise in their field and to interact with the community in multiple ways. This community gives back for the sake of enriching others lives with knowledge.

The philanthropic spirit of the future

Julie Sutter is the Programs Director of the Music District. Organically through her passion and philanthropic spirit, she has enriched the culture of music in Fort Collins. Sutter grew up in Colorado. She went away to College in Dallas, TX at Southern Methodist University where artist surrounded her and musicians that immersed her in an artistic culture as a journalist. Julie traveled around after college, compelled to come back to Colorado, she returned to be near to family.

Thirteen years ago Julie Sutter was working remotely for a software company. After a few years of being a digital nomad, she craved community. Julie sought out opportunities to get involved with music and creatives, two of her favorite things. Sutter volunteered for Bohemian Nights, a fun citywide festival built on community volunteers and touring musicians. The following year the Bohemian Foundation hired Julie as an official contract writer for Bohemian Nights.

Julie speaks of the relationship of the music ecosystem:

“I think the thread through all of this is, there is the artist and then there is the audience. The art can happen without the audience but at some point, it is so much more fun when you are both there and you can break down that barrier between the two.”

Julie Sutter is the Programs Director at the Music District

Julie Sutter is the Programs Director at the Music District. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

Julie is avant-garde in the Fort Collins music industry.  She is a long time music fan and her most notable work is empowering Fort Collins musicians with the non-profit organization, SpokesBUZZ. SpokesBUZZ was foundational in creating the Fort Collins music scene. SpokesBUZZ incubated local Fort Collins bands with education and training on how to be a band. They elevated local bands to national platforms and empowered them to be professional performing entities. They started the Colorado Music Party at South by Southwest and Band swap.

Sutter met Dani Grant, owner of Mishawaka Amphitheater and fellow music supporter while volunteering at Bohemian Nights. They connected on a deep level almost instantly. Dani formed SpokesBuzz and Julie accepted a role of Marketing Director where she remained for six years.

Julie speaks about her relationship with music:

“I was never classically trained in music, I was never immersed in art history, but it feels a spot in my heart and in my life that nothing else does. Nothing else works as quickly, nothing else works as easily. It is the ultimate healing experience and the ultimate joy. I always feel that when I am exposed to any sort of art. But music is really the short circuit for me that is a quick way.”


The Music District is less than one-year-old but it is constantly evolving. The main goal is to take the relationships that all the staff makes out in the world with artist, musicians, and music business and to bring it back through programs and community. These are both educational and inspiring programs with a component of savoir-faire from seasoned, well-established, musicpreneurs, performing artist, and industry leaders.

Programs and partnerships

Programming at the District is two-fold. It attracts industry experts to come into the space and use it as a platform for education, but it acts as amplification to the industry as a whole. Geographical location does not restrict a musician. They are out on the road touring most of the year. The District can be home for a creative project, it can be an inspiration polestar to create an album. It can be where a new band convenes once a week to practice. It can be the home to magic within your instrument. It is where you can find your place in music. It is whatever you want it to be. It is an open door for anyone, fans, globetrotters, community members, and professionals. A number of programs are evolving at the Music District.

The staff director, Jesse Elliott, who is a national touring artist, will help shape these ideas and nurture them with Julie. He does a big deal of outreach to research new concepts and they work as a unit to transpose these ideas to working programs, that will enrich the community of musicians that live here, and be a home for a touring musician while passing through.

Julie expresses the communication of music:

“I am not a musician myself but it is such a universal language we can all connect really quickly to one another.”

Artist in residence is a program that allows a touring musician passing through to stay in an Airbnb-style apartment on campus. The musician is to contribute a program open to the community. Joe Pug was one of the many touring musicians that took part in the program.

Joe Pug leading the workshop, “How to Steal like a Professional Songwriter

Joe Pug leading the workshop, “How to Steal like a Professional Songwriter” during his artist in residency stay at the Music District. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

Pug performed at the Downtown Artery in Fort Collins. While visiting the Fort he took advantage of the residency at the Music District and taught the “How to Steal like a Professional Songwriter” workshop.
It was an intimate experience where Pug seemed more of a peer than an icon. It broke down the audience to artist barriers by opening the door to discussions, and questions for musicians to hone their own songwriting craft.

Joe Pug smiles as he plans his delivery on how to steal like a professional in his artist in residency at the Music District.

Joe Pug smiles as he plans his delivery on how to steal like a professional in his artist in residency at the Music District. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

A newly formed partnership between Colorado Sound, Colorado State University and on site videographers, to produce national programming for the Colorado page on the national VuHaus page. Vu Haus released the first of many Colorado Music performances with local musician Brent Cowles playing at the Colorado Sound birthday party. This is a unique model of students, professionals, and the organization working together to create a nationally aired production.

VuHaus filming Brent Cowles at the Colorado Sound birthday celebration.

VuHaus filming Brent Cowles at the Colorado Sound birthday celebration. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

A video is an important part of marketing for a band. As an expansion of this idea, a series workshop for musicians that teach skills in creating video is in the process. It ends in a- 48-film fest for musicians and is free to attend: Music Video Creation Series II: Working Together. All you have to do is Rsvp free on the Music District website. The district programming aims to give a working musician access to tools or knowledge to become a sustainable professional.

Vu Haus Colorado filming Dragon Deer at the Colorado Sound birthday party in Fort Collins at the Aggie Theater.

Vu Haus Colorado filming Dragon Deer at the Colorado Sound birthday party in Fort Collins at the Aggie Theater.

Programs aim to educate and inform musicians and the community. As the district matures, they will continue to have programming that elevates the musicianship of the city.


Community building through organizations

Angel Meakins Kwiatkowski is a nationally recognized Co-working expert that creates Co hubs for people to work in shared spaces. Angel had musician friends in Fort Collins that had gotten their gear stolen. This is one of the most common occurrences in the music world. Often musicians do not have insured gear, so it is a loss of their livelihood if stolen. Out of a need for secure, safe rehearsal space and a realization that musicians are essentially freelancers, Angel, Julie Sutter, and Shane Zweygardt, Technical Manager of the Music District, all pulled their innovative spirit together to create a Coworking-style rehearsal space-Cohere Bandwidth.

Angel shares about the scene:

“The thing I have learned because I haven’t been in the music industry except through Cohere Bandwidth is that the people who are supporting the musicians in Fort Collins are musicians. They form the foundation of the fan base.”

Angel Meakins Kwiatkowski is a nationally recognized coworking expert who started CoHere Bandwidth - a shared workspace for musicians.

Angel Meakins Kwiatkowski is a nationally recognized coworking expert who started Cohere Bandwidth – a shared workspace for musicians. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

Mishawaka marketing manager and longtime Fort Collins musician, Tim Massa is the Community Cultivator. He plans and carries out events and is the main contact for bands using the space. Cohere is a shared rehearsal space that is back lined. All you have to do is book a room, bring your instruments, and plug in. Besides the rehearsal space, they have educational resources and networking opportunities. Twice a month there is an opportunity to meet individuals who are seeking new band members, want to form a new band or just want to mix and mingle. Local bands provide a live show after the meetup. They helped bands prepare for FOCOMX  with workshops and prep playlist.Cohere has an upcoming play date for musicians’ which happens monthly. The next workshop is Social Media for bands, RSVP here.

Tim discusses the ways he brings organizations together:

“We always try to make it a community building event. On our panels, we try to get representation from as many bands, FOCOMA, the Music District.”

Timo Massa is the Marketing Director of the Mishawaka Amphitheatre and formerely the Aggie and Hodi's Half Note.

Timo Massa is the Marketing Director of the Mishawaka Amphitheatre and formerly the Aggie and Hodi’s Half Note. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

Angel is bringing big town ideas to a small town of Fort Collins. She hopes it adds value to the community and the bands keep showing up. She bases all her decisions on market research and data collected. The latest research for the creative community is the issue of affordable housing. Creatives can take the survey and give input on the future of housing in Fort Collins. These efforts are directed through the City of Fort Collins, the Downtown Development Authority, Bohemian Foundation, and national nonprofit Artspace Projects are leading the Arts Market Study phase.

Overall, the efforts from all the organizations build a community so much that people are attending shows from genres out of their norm. There is a comrade around supporting friends, not taste. They are learning to work together as a stronger unit so they can act as a united force of music. There is a crossover of member sharing that happens.

Local involvement

In the summer, you can see live local and national music free almost every day of the week.

Noontime Notes Concert Series in Oak street plaza every Tuesday starting June 6 featuring local music.

The Lagoon Concerts are every Wednesday at the Lagoon on the Colorado State University Campus. The line-up is all local bands.

Thursday Night Live is every Thursday in Old Town Square featuring all Colorado lineup starting June 1.

Downtown Sessions every Friday featuring an all Colorado Lineup.

Sounds of summer every Saturday at Front Range Village.

Summer Sunday’s at Foothills mall every Sunday starting May 28.

For the grand finale, stay tuned to Bohemian Nights at New West Fest free three-day festival in August.

To learn more about the local artist or get involved check out organizations and sponsors that host weekly free music events. Fort Collins is a city built on rock-n-roll, aside from these events there is music in venues, festivals, and patios throughout the town.

There is inclusiveness and a startup mentality encompassed within “FoCo Music.” Musicians are bonding together to raise the bar on the industry. They are working to take a grassroots approach to music and build a new ecosystem that thrives and supports musicprenuership locally and globally.

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.


Chad Fisher: Fort Collins Bluegrass Musician and Teacher

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music


Chad Fisher is a Fort Collins Bluegrass Musician and a Teacher. He got his start from listening to music, and it pulled on his heartstrings so much that he devoted his life to becoming an artist. His home was remarkable, but no one was a musician. That did not stop him from pursuing his passion.

Chad sitting in his home studio

Chad fell in love with the Mandolin after a good friend left one at his house and a co-worker gave him a couple lessons on the side. After a failed business attempt his passion for music took over. He casually created a Bluegrass Band of friends and his wife Olivia’s family to perform at his wedding. That band stayed together and called themselves Lonesome Traveler and in the act of kindness and support asked him to join their band and musical journey.

Chad developed the “Strings Program” at Laurel Elementary. He created a mandolin program and afterschool program call bluegrass club which fostered the growth of young musicians. Fisher believes firmly in not only teaching children how to play an instrument but also supporting them throughout their journey. He has moved into a full-time role in his home studio and passed the torch of his school program to his fellow band mate Lydia Demi-Smith.


Chad’s dog sits by his side through every lesson he teaches

Chad Fisher’s home studio has children from age four and up. He teaches mandolin, violin, and guitar. In addition to weekly lessons, he has a group jam session. These happen once a month. They begin with a lesson and then break out into smaller group jams. This helps the students learn how to use the repertoire they spend hours memorizing and actually applying it to musicianship with a group.


Chad loves that he gets to share his love of music with the youth in Fort Collins

There will be jam sessions in February at the Music District and in March at the Downtown Artery.

Chad will be performing with the Lineage Band for a Bill Monroe tribute. He will also be playing at Jerry Garcia and David Grisman tribute show with Lineage and Switchman Sleeping. Linage Band has a unique model of acting as mentors to their students and peers. They have discovered their greatest joys come from expanding their circle of musicians and sharing the knowledge, they each have learned along the way.

For Lessons: please visit Chad Fisher .

For Performance: visit Linage Band.

For Monthly Student Jams: visit Lineage


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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.


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

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.

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.”


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.



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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


Watering the West: Funding the Documentary

Everything Can Be Art, Social Causes

Community Funded Campaign

Shari Due and Mona Masser are the founders of Be Reel Parthena, a Film and Video Production company in Fort Collins, CO. They just launched a Community Funded Campaign for “Watering the West: The Story of the Cache la Poudre River.” This project is in pre-production but needs financial backing to become a reality.  Be Reel have set a 30-day campaign to raise $63,000 to fund the documentary. They are hoping to get the local community behind this project and expand their production team.

There is a significant war on water rights in Colorado, and this film aims to show who is battling.

According to Be Reel,

“Municipalities, oil companies, beer brewers, and recreational interests compete to buy farms with water rights and convert those rights to new uses in water court. This keeps Colorado’s numerous water lawyers in business. “It’s not the farmer that can afford to buy water in this state anymore,” says Brian Werner, Northern Water Conservancy District. Some say Colorado’s 150-year-old system of allocating water by seniority is outdated as every drop of precipitation is owned by someone, resulting in bidding wars.”

The Itemized Budget is below. The objective is not to make millions of dollars but to shed light on a pressing concern within the state of Colorado.




Be Reel Productions has one documentary under their belt, Desplazado, a gentrification film. It took two years to make and includes an animated art history of Hispanic settlement in Fort Collins. They are hoping the experience will bring insight into the production, budget, and distribution of their sophomore film. These issues are relevant to our community, but they offer value to the rest of the world as well.

In the shifts and the transitions our community is facing today, the growth plan and the becoming a creative arts community, there are underlying issues that occur that are not mainstream. The water that flows from our river feeds the whole United States. The culture that has built our town gave us the opportunity to be so nimble. With great growth comes great responsibility. It is all a process synced together. Be Reel acknowledges the creative opportunity this transition will give them. The story they tell in both films brings light to simple things that may go under the radar.

There are many ways to support beyond just giving money. Be a spokesperson. Tell a friend. Share the stories Be Reel is telling. Filmmaking is an art. The craft is the story.

Within the process, they bring together a collection of creatives from every medium. Pat them on the back and applaud their unique vision.

To fund this project and support local film click here: Community Funded