The Women of Colorado Hip-Hop

Mic Check 1,2: The Colorado Hip-Hop Scene is Made by its Women

By: Haley Birt, University of Denver Journalism Intern

When thinking about the Colorado music scene, it’s common to refer to the labels of folk, country, and rock; however, Colorado is a little-known hotbed for hip-hop artists. In honor of Colorado History Month, we’re looking at two women who have been rewriting the definition of what it means to be a hip-hop artist.

From the soulful melodies of singer/rapper/songwriter Aja Black to the lyrical gymnastics of Lily Fangz, these artists are weaving powerful social commentary into ear-catching beats that keep heads nodding and minds turning.

Colorado Springs-based artist Aja Black put herself on the map over a decade ago when she and her husband, Big Samir, founded their group The ReMINDers. Black’s strong vocals and creative lyricism are consistently impressive. Her flow between rapping and singing plays into her remarkable ability to capture the fullness and complexity of life. In just a few stanzas, she can sing about everything from skyping her kids backstage to racism in America.

The group’s most recent release, 10k, is one more testament to Black’s talent. Within the first 30 seconds, Black is serving up her lyrical dexterity in the form of both rap and song. Her ability to convert emotions into music has been key in helping propel the group onto stages alongside musical legends Nas Lauryn Hill, and Snoop Dogg, to name just a few.

Black sings, raps, and composes with a passion and authenticity that transcend the airwaves. She brings what is traditionally invisible in hip-hop music — being an artist, emcee, mother of three, and wife — into the forefront of her work. It is her musical prowess that allows her to effortlessly marry and make visible all of these important and diverse life roles. From this, she and Samir have built the foundation for the signature sounds and rhymes of The ReMINDers.

Much like Aja Black, Denver-based Lileana Krenza, better known by her stage name Lily Fangz, stretches her talent far beyond the bars she spits on stage. If her loyal fanbase is not proof enough of her skill, her resume contains such feats as opening for Nas and SchoolboyQ at Red Rocks, hosting CHOMPcast and speaking at TEDx.

Fangz made a name for herself when she released her song “Lay It Down,” which reflected on the fatal drug use of a close friend. From that moment forward, Fangz continued to captivate audiences with her vulnerable and thought-provoking compositions. Alongside her lyrical skill, Fangz shows exquisite talent in blending her poetic prowess into her sonic beats.

In her February release, “RAW V.5,” Fangz exemplifies her adaptive competency. RAW V.5 is part of a larger project that Fangz describes as “experiments in courage.” She approaches this project with a refreshing vulnerability, weaving captivating stories into acoustically driven beats, spotlighting the thematic rawness of the project. She even goes so far as to abandon the beat at times and fall entirely into spoken word. It is Fangz’s openness to stylistic evolution paired with inventive poetics that leave anyone who listens breathless, reeling, and wanting more.

The authentic and grounded music of Fangz and Black creates a strong basis for their success. Their music offers a powerful coupling of authenticity and musical ingenuity; these women are the living examples of what it means to refuse to be silenced. Their work, and the work of many other women in hip-hop, is confident, bold and impactful.

During Women’s History Month, we honor their bravery, as well as that of the women who came before them and the women who will come. May they refuse to be silenced and empower others to do the same.

Colorado Music Hall of Fame Celebrates its 10th Anniversary and the Induction of eTown

DENVER, CO (February 26, 2021) – Colorado Music Hall of Fame (CMHOF) will celebrate its tenth anniversary with events throughout 2021. “Colorado Music Hall of Fame is ten years into an exciting journey of honoring and enjoying the music that makes our state unique….The most abiding takeaway for me has been the genuinely emotional connection that lives on between an artist’s output and the hearts and imaginations of the fans who experience that music,” says CMHOF board co-chair Paul Epstein, a founding board member and the owner of Twist & Shout Records.

CMHOF 10th Anniversary activities include:

March 24: In celebration of Women’s History Month, Patty Calhoun, founder/editor of Westword, will interview Lannie Garrett, 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, in a free, live Zoom that will include a Q&A session with the audience. Information on registration will be posted on cmhof.org.

April 22: On Earth Day 2021, eTown will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during a virtual concert celebrating eTown’s own 30th b’ Earthday Celebration. “We’re honored that eTown is being inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. We’ve been working hard for thirty years to bring great music to our audience and have featured so many Colorado musicians along the way,” says eTown founder and host Nick Forster. Additional event details, including the lineup of performers and how to watch the live stream, will be announced in March.

May: This spring, CMHOF will host a 10th Anniversary online auction offering one-of-a-kind music experiences with some of Colorado’s most famed musicians and music industry legends. Visit www.cmhof.org in April for more information. Later this year, new Hall of Fame induction class exhibits will be installed at the CMHOF museum located at the Trading Post at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. At the start of the year, the Hall of Fame launched an online shop featuring CMHOF-published coffee table books and other music-related merchandise. Proceeds from purchases support CMHOF’s mission, to start shopping, click here!

About Colorado Music Hall of Fame

Founded in 2011, Colorado Music Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization with the mission of celebrating our state’s music heritage and inspiring the future of Colorado music through our museum, educational programming, induction concerts, and events. Since the inaugural induction of John Denver and Red Rocks Amphitheatre on April 21, 2011, CMHOF has hosted eleven inductions, honoring more than forty musicians, individuals, and institutions who have made a mark on Colorado’s music history. Sharing the legacies of Colorado music, inductee biographies, videos and memorabilia are exhibited at the Hall of Fame’s museum, located at the Trading Post at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. In 2021, CMHOF welcomed three new board members: Carlos Lando, General Manager of KUVO; Troy Duran, CFO/COO of Growth Leasing LLC; and Yvette Pita Frampton, community leader/documentary filmmaker/musician. It also launched its inaugural Board Emeritus with former board members JC Ancell, Aaron Friedman, Phil Lobel, and David McReynolds.

About eTown

eTown, the internationally syndicated radio broadcast, podcast, and multimedia/events production nonprofit, was launched on Earth Day 1991 in Boulder, Colorado. Since then, eTown has produced musical, social, and environmental programming all focused on its ongoing global mission—to educate, entertain, and inspire a diverse audience through music and conversation in order to create a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable world. Prior to the pandemic, eTown recorded shows in front of a live audience in eTown Hall, a 17,000 square foot former church in downtown Boulder which has been renovated and transformed into a solar-powered performance and recording facility—likely the only zero-carbon facility of its kind in North America. Recently, eTown pivoted to all-virtual episodes. eTown has aired on over 300 radio stations nationwide, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podbean, Vimeo, on Facebook and Twitter @eTownRadio, on Instagram @eTown_Radio, on YouTube, as well as at www.etown.org.

Colorado Music Hall of Fame Induction Classes 2011-2021

2011- Inaugural Class: John Denver, Red Rocks Amphitheatre
2012- Setting the Stage: Barry Fey, Harry Tuft
2012- Rockin’ the ‘60s: The Astronauts, Flash Cadillac, KIMN Radio, Sugarloaf 2013- Colorado’s Folk Revival: Judy Collins, Chris Daniels, Bob Lind, Serendipity Singers
2015 – Country Rock in the Rockies: Firefall, Manassas w/Stephen Stills, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Poco
2016 – 20th Century Pioneers: Lannie Garrett, Glenn Miller, Max Morath, Billy Murray, Elizabeth Spencer, Paul Whiteman
2017 – Rocky Mountain Way: Caribou Ranch, Dan Fogelberg, Bill Szymczyk, Joe Walsh & Barnstorm
2017 – Jazz Masters & Beyond: Philip Bailey, Charles Burrell, Larry Dunn, Bill Frisell, Ron Miles, Dianne Reeves, Andrew Woolfolk
2018 – Live & On the Air: John Hickenlooper, KBCO, Chuck Morris 2019 – Old Folk, New Folk: Walt Conley, Mother Folkers, Swallow Hill Music, Dick Weissman
2019 – Going Back to Colorado: Tommy Bolin, Freddi & Henchi, Wendy Kale, Tony Spicola, Otis Taylor, Zephyr
2021 – eTown

Meet Our Board Emeritus

Moving into our second decade, the Hall’s board of directors is thrilled to present the inaugural members of the newly formed, Colorado Music Hall of Fame Board Emeritus. These four individuals consist of former board members (some, even founding members!) who have contributed to the Hall of Fame’s evolution and success.

Journalism intern from University of Denver, Haley Birt, interviews our inaugural Board Emeritus:

JC Ancell
Associate Director, University Memorial Center/ Staff Advisor, CU Program Council
University of Colorado (Retired)

What motivated you to join the board of Colorado Music Hall of Fame?

“I was at the University of Colorado and the staff advisor [for the Program Council]…and [Phil Lobel, a fellow board member] convinced me… that I might be useful to the board. I had lived in Colorado my whole life…I was a music fan and involved in the music business from the university perspective….Music business and artist recognition was sort of my forte and things that I was interested in.”

What has been most rewarding about your time on the board of Colorado Music Hall of Fame?

“I was instrumental in helping to develop the material and the presentation when Wendy Kale was inducted into the Hall of Fame. I contributed to her biography, contributed some photos and personal artifacts that supported her induction into the Hall. And I was fortunate, and grateful, that I was able to actually induct her into the Hall myself.”

What is your favorite Colorado music memory?

“Being involved with hosting back-to-back Rolling Stones concerts at Folsom Stadium in 1981….It took extensive planning and a lot of precautions and programs that weren’t necessarily common at other concerts we produced….We were recognized nationwide as being two of the smoothest run rock-n-roll concerts ever so it was a big feather in our cap…. It was a great show, full success, very smooth,… [and] it was an opportunity for me to see my favorite rock-n-rollers up close and personal.”

Aaron Friedman
Vice President, Finance
AEG Presents Rocky Mountains

What motivated you to join the board of Colorado Music Hall of Fame?

“Music is a big passion of mine; [it] always has been. Before I worked for AEG Presents, I was doing lots of things in the music business, as many people in the music business do…. I had various nonprofit experience as well as the music industry passion, and because I am in finance and accounting,…I kind of recognized that I might be a good fit and volunteered.”

What has been most rewarding about your time on the board 0f Colorado Music Hall of Fame?

“The most rewarding thing, I really do think, is celebrating the legacy of music in Colorado specifically. Colorado has this really rich and interesting and deep musical tradition, and both getting to explore that and learn about it, myself, and getting to celebrate it and publicize it is really the most exciting aspect.”

What is your favorite Colorado music memory?

“It’s really hard to distill down to a single favorite. You can’t not mention Red Rocks. That place just gives you the chills. I’ve been to hundreds of shows at Red Rocks, and, every time I go, I still get a feeling of it being the greatest place in the world….Going to Red Rocks is an amazing experience.”

Phil Lobel
Founder & Chairman
Lobeline Communications

What motivated you to join the board of Colorado Music Hall of Fame?

“From the moment I snuck into my first concert at the Folsom Stadium when I was a freshman in Colorado in Boulder,…my connection with Colorado music has always been a part of my life. I moved out to L.A. in 1986 to start my own PR firm but always stayed in touch with and worked with Barry Fey and Chuck Morris on various tours that I was working on. Ten years ago, when Chuck [Morris] was putting together the idea of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, I couldn’t think of a better way to renew my connection to the music of Colorado than to be one of the founding board members.”

What has been most rewarding about your time on the board of Colorado Music Hall of Fame?

“The induction of Firefall was just an incredible moment. That was probably for me personally one of the most rewarding moments of the last ten years of Colorado Music Hall of Fame-o have this band that I had a one-on-one relationship [with] in college, [and then] to see them recognized on stage and become one of the early inductees into the Hall of Fame….The other personal induction that really meant so much to me was, I had nominated Barry Fey,… who was at various times, my mentor, my boss,and in his last years, my client….So, to be able to nominate Barry Fey and to also at that time be his publicist for the book about his life was really very rewarding.”

What is your favorite Colorado music memory?

“In 1977, when Barry Fey and Chuck Morris called me about doing the first stadium show at CU, which was…FleetWood Mac along with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, the first thing I said to them was, ‘There’s no way we’re going to do this stadium show without adding Firefall onto the bill.’ So yes, Firefall played on that stadium show–61,500 people sold out, in advance…. To work so hard to get the University to change direction and allow us to book a stadium show and then to book the hottest stadium show in the country…was amazing.”

David McReynolds
President
Columbine Health Plan

What motivated you to join the board of Colorado Music Hall of Fame?

“When [Chuck Morris] first started talking about putting [Colorado Music Hall of Fame] together, I told him I would support him in any way I could. I love music as well, and I love [the] history of music and the history of the music of Colorado. So, it was an easy choice for me to join.”

What has been most rewarding about your time on the board of Colorado Music Hall of Fame?

“Being able to highlight to the public all of the bands that had history and a foundation in Colorado. Some of the bands people were aware of, the famous bands and what have you, people don’t really realize that they had roots in Colorado. So, exposing that to the general public and honoring [the inductees] for all the fine work they’ve done [was] certainly very rewarding.”

What is your favorite Colorado music memory?

“The [Colorado] Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Fiddlers Green where [Dan] Fogelberg and Joe Walsh were there. Essentially, that was one of the great pinnacles of music in Colorado…. That was a special, special night…It was one of the highlights of music events that I’ve been to.”

Black History Month

By Haley Birt, University of Denver Journalism Intern

February is Black History Month. For Colorado Music Hall of Fame this is a time for celebrating not only the successes of today’s black artists but also a time to reflect on the incredible struggle, sacrifice, and triumphs of the those who came before them, laying the foundation for today’s music landscape. 

Charels Burrell
Charles Burrell

Among the Colorado Music Hall of Fame inductees is groundbreaking artist Charles Burrell. Known as the “Jackie Robinson of music,” Burrell became the first black musician to be hired under contract with a major American symphony, the Colorado Symphony, in 1949. Here, his dexterity on bass as both a classical and jazz musician garnered him notoriety far beyond the borders of Colorado. After leaving the Colorado Symphony, Burrell continued to make a name for himself as a founder of the Five Points Jazz movement. The famous bassist developed a habit of passing his musical prowess onto various other family members including his cousin, George Duke, and his niece, Grammy award-winning jazz vocalist and fellow Hall of Fame inductee, Dianne Reeves. 

Diane Reeves
Diane Reeves

Dianne Reeves, a Colorado native from the age of two, began developing her signature style among the musically rich environment of her family. Her talent as an artist allowed her a diverse repertoire that seamlessly blended Jazz, Pop, R&B, Gospel, and African folk. Her genre spanning talent led her to Los Angeles where her preceding reputation promptly lifted her to the top of the charts. In her ongoing career, Reeves has been awarded two honorary doctorates, six Grammys, and has been recognized by the NME as a Jazz Master. 

Earth Wind and Fire
Philip Baiely | Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind and Fire began its exponential journey to fame in the early 70’s, bringing funk and R&B to the forefront of American music, consequently breaking down racial barriers and ultimately changing the landscape of the music industry forever. Lead singer Philip Bailey’s vocal arsenal was essential to this success. His talent as a vocalist and gifted songwriter led the group to seven Grammy-winning nominations. His talent gave him ample foundation to gain success in a solo career beginning in the early 80’s. His array of talents was honored further in 2008 when Berklee College of Music awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Andrew Woolfolk
Andrew Woolfolk

Saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk kicked off his career in 1973 when his instrumental prowess secured his spot alongside fellow bandmates and inductees, Larry Dunn and Philip Bailey, in Earth, Wind, and Fire. Throughout his career, Woolfolk has been a part of many Grammy nominated collaborations and has played alongside everyone from Phil Collins to Deniece Williams. 

Larry Dunn
Larry Dunn

Larry Dunn, performing from the age of 11, was discovered by Philip Bailey in a L.A. night club just a few years later. Dunn quickly found success as the keyboardist for Earth, Wind, and Fire. While continuing his work with the group, he was also a well-known collaborator. Dunn worked with various other artists such as Deniece Williams and The Emotions. His passionfor collaboration would help launch a solo career that would lead him down many successful paths as a composer and producer at his production company, Source Productions. 

Freddi and Henchi
Freddi and Henchi

The Southwest funk scene should not be discussed without a mention of Freddi “Love” Gowdy and Marvin “Henchi” Graves. Together, Freddi and Henchi stoked the soul-funk genre and music scene. Their work as the band Freddi Henchi and the Soulsetters earned them the title of “Crown Princes of Funk.” The group was known for their funky beats and enigmatic choreography. They became particularly popular across college campuses for their party atmosphere. Their reputation for a good time led to the success of their club Good Earth, which opened in Boulder and fortified their presence on the music scene. 

Walt Conley
Walt Conley

Denver native and multi-talented performer, Walter “Walt” Conley, was fundamental in establishing the folk music scene in the southwest. Early in his career, he shared stages with the likes of Judy Collins and The Harlin Trio. His success would lead him far outside of Denver’s city limits –from L.A. to New York where he stretched his talents beyond music, making a name for himself as a film and voice actor. Conley returned to Denver where he opened a folk music venue called Conley’s Nostalgia. On November 16, 2003 Conley passed away in Denver at the age of 73. His legacy is carried on in the hearts and minds of all true folk lovers, and he is annually celebrated during the Colorado WaltFest. 

Otis Taylor
Otis Taylor | photo credit by Jacqueline Collins for Westword

American Blues singer Otis Taylor has been carving out space for himself in the American Blues scene since the early 1970’s. Taylor, drawing inspiration from the diverse culture of the various 1920’s blues scenes, is a breath of fresh air with old school style. His exceptional talent led him to be featured in the inaugural exhibition of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and to 12 Blues Music Award nominations. Today, Taylor continues to produce music that transcends time, place and audience. His last ten albums have featured a wide variety of talented musicians, including fellow inductee, Ron Miles. 

Ron Miles
Ron Miles

University of Denver alumna, Ron Miles, has made his mark in the contemporary jazz scene as one of the most gifted melodists and cornet players of this era. Throughout his career, Miles has worked with many talented musicians such as Fred Hess and renowned composer Mercer Ellington. His improvisational talent and compositional expertise have most recently been produced under the legendary Blue Note Records label.

These men and women have laid, and continue to lay, the foundation for a creative industry that is more diverse and culturally abundant. Their talents and works deserve to be recognized not only in the month of February but throughout the year, every year. They have each individually and collectively molded today’s music far beyond the genres they call home. Colorado Music Hall of Fame is proud to honor these nine talented musicians as inductees and share their stories with the world.



Quotes from our Inductees

Ron Miles, Colorado Music Hall of Fame inductee, “Jazz Masters & Beyond” class (2017):

“My mom, dad, sisters and brother are my closest friends. They have turned me on to so much of the music I hold closest to my heart. I can remember us driving and listening to AM radio. Hearing my folks tell me about Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Ellington, Monk, Ella, Billie. And my younger siblings hipping me to Prince, The Bee Gees, hip hop. Them tolerating and supporting me practicing all hours of the day, taking me to concerts and lessons. One memory is I challenged a kid in junior high to move up in the trumpet section. My sister Shari was in the clarinet section. I started out with a huge clam, but I looked over and saw her — and she gave me a look that said ‘you can do this’. I regrouped and shocked the whole room (except for her).  I won and can still see her face as I walked up from last chair to first. I actually lost a week later, but I was convinced I could figure this thing out. God and family have been the constants through this journey.”

Otis Taylor (2019 inductee):

“My family’s past has had an enormous influence on my music. Both of my parents were part of the Great Migration of Black people from the south to northern cities. My mother’s family traveled from Louisiana to Chicago, and my father traveled from Memphis to Chicago, in the 1930s. Most of the Black people settled on the South Side of Chicago, and my parents joined this community. My father became a Pullman porter, a prestigious job for a Black man in those times. The Pullman porters helped to deliver the Black-owned Chicago Defender newspaper to southern cities, and it fueled the migration. 

My parents met and married in Chicago. I was born on the South Side in 1948. In the 1950s, after my uncle was shot and killed during a crap (dice) game, my mother moved the family to Denver where she had friends and relatives. She felt it was a safer place for us. Moving to Denver became a pivotal event in my life. 

My parents were social and had parties and played jazz records all the time. However, my coming of age coincided with the counterculture movement, and I was drawn to the people and the music of the times. I found my second home at the Denver Folklore Center and learned to play folk and acoustic blues songs from musicians there. It was a bit rebellious on my part to be a folkie and a hippie and not a sophisticated jazz fan. 

Later, when I wrote my own songs, I drew on many of my family stories and struggles including my father’s job on the railroad, lynching, racism, violence, civil rights history, and social justice. 

It’s important to me that I have shared my family’s history and my musical career with my own family– my wife of 35 years and our two daughters. My daughter Cassie has played on many of my records and toured for years with my band as a bass player and singer. She is also a songwriter who has drawn on these same topics. My younger daughter, Jae, has traveled with me as well, and, as the academic one in our family, she has been inspired to read and study about Black history, music, and literature.”

 

Pic_of_Chuck_on_The_Sink_wall_(1)

The Sink: Remembering Herbert Kauvar

Many members of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame board have a longstanding relationship with Boulder’s iconic restaurant, The Sink, whose former owner, Herbert Kauvar, passed away on October 24, 2020, at the age of 93.

“I became friendly with Herbie when I stopped by the Sink after I left Norlin Library. One day I told him I had dropped out of CU grad school, and he offered me a job managing the Sink….I started booking local bands in the back room and upstairs in the pool hall. After hearing their rehearsals, I booked the second show ever of Flash Cadillac in the back room of the Sink on a Friday afternoon and paid them all they could drink. That show broke every record for beer sales and they went on to a great career… Thanks to Herbie’s faith in me, my career really got started — and for that I will always be grateful.”

Chuck Morris, Founder of Colorado Music Hall of Fame; Chairman Emeritus, AEG Presents Rocky Mountains; Chairman, Music Business Dept., Colorado State University

“I worked for Herb in the early ’70s when I was a student at CU…He was such a nice man and a wonderful boss. My mom and dad had their first date at the Sink! That was long before Herb’s time.”

Kathie Broyles, Board member, Colorado Music Hall of Fame; Owner, Broyles Creative; Senior Vice President & Creative Director (retired), CBS

“When my dad brought me to the CU campus in Boulder back in the 70’s, we took a walk up to the Hill. We passed by the Sink, and my dad said “Stay here” and walked inside for thirty seconds. When he came back out, he said, “You don’t ever have to go here!” When he left to head back home to New Jersey, the Sink was the first place I went off-campus!”

Phil Lobel, Board member, Colorado Music Hall of Fame; Founder & Chairman, Lobeline Communications

Read more about Herb and Chuck here: https://www.thesink.com/blog-press/farewell-herb-kauvar-former-owner-the-sink

Herb’s obituary in the Daily Camera: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailycamera/obituary.aspx?n=herb-kauvar&pid=197179668

Colorado Music Hall of Fame Journalism/Communications Internship Feb-May 2021

Internship duties include:

• conducting online research on Colorado Music Hall of Fame inductees (musicians, music industry
professionals and institutions) and other Colorado-music related topics
• writing compelling articles and inductee biographies for the Hall’s website and monthly newsletter
• assisting in the roll-out of digital media campaigns for the Hall’s 10th Anniversary
• assisting in content development for marketing collateral
• identifying current news related to Colorado music to share on the Hall’s social media platforms and website
• potential opportunities to conduct remote interviews

Requirements:

• Demonstrated interest in print and online journalism
• Junior year+ of undergraduate degree, with a Journalism or Communications major
• Must have own computer, internet access and email
Qualifications:
• Excellent written communications and research skills
• Creative, energetic and driven
• Takes initiative and works well independently
• Adheres to deadlines
• Music lover

Internship Details:

Dates: February – May 2021
Hours: Flexible hours, approx.. 7-10 hours/week
Location: Fully remote position
Pay: This is an unpaid internship. Prefer candidates whose internship will be counted as academic credit at their university/college.
Reports to: Colorado Music Hall of Fame Executive Director

About Colorado Music Hall of Fame:
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Colorado Music Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization with a mission to celebrate our state’s music heritage and inspire the future of Colorado music through our museum, educational programming, induction concerts and events. Eleven Hall of Fame induction concerts and ceremonies to date have honored and inducted more than 40 musicians, individuals and institutions who have made a mark on Colorado’s music history. Sharing the legacies of Colorado music, inductee biographies, videos and memorabilia are exhibited at the Colorado Music Hall of Fame’s museum, located at the Trading Post at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

To Apply:
Send the following to info@cmhof.org with subject line, Internship, by January 29, 2021:
• A cover letter that addresses why you are a good candidate for a Colorado Music Hall of Fame internship
• Your resume, with names and emails of 3 references
• 3 recent writing samples (attachments or links)

El Chapultepec

Remembering El Chapultepec

Colorado Music Hall of Fame is grateful to have had several artifacts and newspaper clippings donated to our archives from El Chapultepec. The Hall of Fame will ensure its history is not forgotten.

 

Get your El Chapultepec t-shirt and other merchandise before they sell out – here.

Read more about the legendary club:

Westword: https://www.westword.com/music/covid-19-isnt-the-only-reason-el-chapultepec-is-closing-11858362
Denver Post: https://theknow.denverpost.com/2020/12/07/el-chapultepec-closing/250196/
5280: https://www.5280.com/2020/12/covid-19-isnt-the-only-reason-el-chapultepec-is-closed-permanently/
Denverite: https://denverite.com/2020/12/08/denvers-outgrown-us-el-chapultepecs-owners-and-friends-explain-the-demise-of-another-old-school-denver-landmark/

 

Photo Credit: El Chapultepec

SOSblack

#SAVEOURSTAGES

As a nonprofit organization founded to celebrate our state’s music heritage and to champion the future of Colorado music, Colorado Music Hall of Fame recognizes the impact that our independent venues have on our communities, both economically and culturally. As such, Colorado Music Hall of Fame is proud to support the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and officially endorse the bipartisan #SaveOurStages Act which will provide federal COVID-19 relief for our music industry. NIVA is comprised of more than 3,000 of the most influential independent music venues and promoters across the U.S, including almost 100 music venues in Colorado alone. These members have joined forces to collectively support each other and advocate to local and federal government to ensure that they have a chance for survival during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read CMHOF’s letter to Congress HERE.
Learn more about the Colorado affiliate, CIVA HERE.
Learn more about what happens now that #SaveOurStages has passed HERE.
Saveourstages graphic (1)
Colorado Gives Day

Colorado Gives Day 2020

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato

Dear Colorado music fans,

With large concerts cancelled and small venues struggling to survive, so many of us have had to experience music from our homes this year. Musicians and music producers got very creative, providing all of us, hungry for live entertainment, with a plethora of web-based “living room” concerts and previously recorded live shows. The music never stopped; it just came to us in different packaging.

Even so, many of our music friends – – musicians, venues, music stores, nonprofits and industry professionals –have had a devastating year with crippling financial losses that for some will be insurmountable. It’s been a year none of us could have predicted or prepared for.

As a nonprofit whose activities have centered around annual live induction concerts, Colorado Music Hall of Fame, like so many others, also felt this impact and had to pivot this year. Rather than venturing into the new world of virtual concert production (for now!), we opted instead to postpone our 2020 induction in hopes that we can all come together for a live show sometime in 2021. This shift was not an easy one to make, since, along with it, came the loss of our primary revenue source. Although the Hall of Fame maintains a lean budget, being a principally volunteer-led organization with only one staff member, we still had to dip into our cash reserve in order to remain operational. We recognize that our small nonprofit is one of the lucky ones in that we were able to make this choice rather than having the choice made for us.

Now, as we enter this season of giving, we encourage all of you who have the means to do so to consider a tax-deductible donation to Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Or, select another music nonprofit in our state. Support local musicians and music venues however you can. We need them, and they need us. This is the time to make sure that the music doesn’t stop.

We’re all in this together, and MUSIC WILL PREVAIL.

Colorado Music Hall of Fame is looking forward to a fresh start in 2021—which is a big year for us, our 10th anniversary! In our first decade, we captured the state’s music history, inducting over 40 legendary musicians, industry professionals and institutions. As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we plan to make more history, as a champion for all Colorado music—past, present and future.

This concert-less year of 2020 provided us with an opportunity to reflect on what the Hall of Fame has accomplished and dream about the road we can pave into the future.

JOIN US. Our next 10 years are going to be a journey filled with local-grown Colorado music!

Help us keep the music playing (loud!),
Karen Radman
Executive Director
Colorado Music Hall of Fame

Schedule your Colorado Gives Day donation today or give on December 8 by clicking the image below!

Colorado Gives Day

Colorado Artist Spotlight: The Czars

Colorado Artist Spotlight: The Czars

Colorado has been home to many legendary bands, including The Czars. The band formed in Denver in 1994, developing a sound that’s been classified as “slowcore, dream pop” and also under the catchall “alternative rock.” But the sound might best be described as a cross between 1970s Moody Blues and The Wallflowers. The Czars released five studio albums before breaking up in 2004.

History of the Band

The Czars were started by John Grant, vocalist, and Chris Pearson, bassist, who met at Rock Island, a downtown Denver club. It took around a year to gather the rest of the band members: guitarists Roger Green and Andy Monley, and drummer Jeff Linsenmaier.

The band started with its own label, Velveteen Records, and self-released the album Moodswing in 1995 and La Brea Tar Pits of Routine in 1997. Grant sent a disc of La Brea Tar Pits of Routine to Simon Raymonde, who had just formed the London record label Bella Union. Although Raymonde did not sign the band at the time, he did keep in touch with Grant, and The Czars continued to send Bella Union demos.

Eventually, The Czars signed on with Bella Union, the first American band to do so. While working on their album Before…But Longer, the band opened for Dirty Three, Ween and Low. They began their second album under Bella Union, The Ugly People vs the Beautiful People, in 2000. They also composed the soundtrack for I’d Rather Be…Gone, an independent film that only played at the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in San Francisco. The soundtrack, however, is a collector’s item.

The Czars opened for The Flaming Lips, 16 Horsepower, and David Gray during Europe tours. They also had three tours in the United States.

The band recorded two more albums, the self-produced X Would Rather Listen to Y Than Suffer Through a C of Z’s, and Goodbye, which was paid for by friends and fans. The critically acclaimed Goodbye was named by Mojo as 38th of the top 50 albums of the year. Despite the praise, this album was the last one The Czars recorded.

In 2004, all but one member of the band departed, leaving Grant, who continued to perform under the name The Czars for a while. After taking time off, he returned as a solo artist, debuting his album Queen of Denmark in 2010.

Impact The Czars Have Made on Colorado

The Czars began their career in Denver, and within five years won Westword’s top honors as Best Rock Band, in 1999. Westword also named the band’s 2002 album, The Ugly People vs the Beautiful People, “Album of the Year.” Along with bands like The Fray, 16 Horsepower and Nathaniel Rateliff’s Born in the Flood (2002), The Czars gave Colorado a deep catalogue of what is loosely called “alternative rock.”

Even after the band’s breakup, The Czars continued to have an impact on Colorado. In 2014, when Bella Union released The Czars: Best Of, Syntax Physic Opera held a tribute show for The Czars, to honor the band and celebrate the release. The venue was beloved by local musicians, and the show attracted both fans and artists such as Nathaniel Rateliff, Bill McConnell, Gary Isaacs, Chris Bagley and Mark Sink. During the show, former members of the band took the stage to showcase other projects and play songs.

The Czars’ contribution to Denver’s music scene continues, as can be seen in former member Monley’s projects Jux County and The Velveteen Monster.

Learn About Colorado’s Music History

If you would like to learn more about Colorado artists, visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, which shares musical history and hosts numerous events throughout the year. Check back for more news in 2020.
Image Credit: Sparty1711