Dec 202011

Denver act I'm With Her. (Photo: Lucia de Giovanni)

It’s no secret that while I spotlight music from all over the world on this blog, I’m a particular fan of the Denver music scene. I’ve covered the music scene here for for a couple of years, and I’ve become friends with a lot of the local talent–and we do have some great talent here, IMHO.

So…’tis the season for end-of-the-year lists, and I thought I’d jump onto the wagon this year by sharing a few of the Denver bands/songs I thought were standouts for 2011. I initially thought I’d just do a Top 10 list or something, but I found it a bit difficult to place certain songs above others–too many “ties”–so I thought the best way not to slight anyone was just to list them in no particular order (except for a couple of honorable mentions at the end of this series), and share them in a series of four parts. So if you’re part of a Denver band and you’re on this list, know that this means you’ve earned my respect, regardless of where you appear on the list. And if you’re not on the list–chances are you still have my respect. I just had room for 10. :)

That said, here are some basic criteria I set up to be eligible for this list. If a local band met these criteria, I considered them for the list:

1. It had to be a band/artist from the Front Range area (i.e., Denver, Boulder, Ft. Collins, Co. Springs).

2. I had to be familiar with the band/artist. (Duh.)

3. The song had to be released (either as a single or part of a project) in 2011.

4. I had to be able to access the song for sharing/streaming.

Fair enough, right? So…here are the first three of my picks for the Best of Denver Locals 2011:

The Heyday: “Somebody to Someone”

Pop/rock outfit The Heyday has been a staple in Denver for several years, regularly placing at or near the top in local band competitions. This single was released a few weeks ago as an entry in KTCL’s annual Hometown for the Holidays competition, and in my opinion it is their best work to date–so it comes in as a last-minute favorite for the year.


Wire Faces: “Cloak and Dagger”

I haven’t had a chance to see Wire Faces live yet, but I was impressed with their record (which I reviewed here earlier this year)–and this song in particular has stayed in my head, and on my ipod, pretty much since.


I’m With Her: “Let Me In”

When Denver country-folk artist Angie Stevens teamed up with Haley E. Rydell (formerly of South Dakota, recently moved to Denver) to form I’m With Her earlier this year, I immediately liked the chemistry and the vibe. This tune has been my personal fave on their EP (reviewed here), and stayed on my playlist all year long.


More to come over the next few days! Stay tuned…

Nov 052009

Excerpted from my article on

Backbeat Magazine has rated Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge among the top 100 jazz clubs in the world. Westword has listed it as the best jazz lounge for five years running.

There’s a reason for the accolades.
Even visiting on what might be considered an “off-night”, Dazzle presented enough atmosphere to make me wish I’d brought my wife and made a date of it….

Oct 142009

The following is an excerpt from my recent article on

If you look in the paper or online for events here in Denver, the name “Swallow Hill” will likely come up somewhere. That’s because there are so many things happening there that it’s hard to keep up with everything.

This year, Swallow Hill Music Association is celebrating 30 years of existence. Born as an extension of the Denver Folklore Center, Swallow Hill is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving roots, acoustic and folk music. But don’t let those terms fool you into thinking this is some stereotypical group of bearded mountain men gathering to jam on their homemade instruments. Some of the most recognized names in folk music have passed through the old music store and/or played in the music hall, including legends like Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Doc Watson and Bonnie Raitt.

Read the rest here….