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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.
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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

Flobots

Colorado Artist Spotlight: Flobots

Colorado has been the source of many popular bands, such as The Fray, OneRepublic and The Lumineers. Another band, the Flobots, quickly gained popularity after its formation in 2005.

The band made an impression on music lovers not just in Colorado but around the country, and the influences of its members extends well beyond just entertaining.

 

Type of Music

The type of music the Flobots create is a refreshing change from traditional pop or rap. The group plays alternative hip-hop/progressive rap with a focus on political and social consciousness.

The band practices with artistic integrity, and the music inspires activism and challenges perceptions. Influences on the Flobots’ music include hard rock bands like Tool and Rage Against the Machine, as well as such progressive rappers as Common and the Roots.

History of the Band

Although the band was formed in 2005, founding member Jamie Laurie began creating music back in 2000. In 2005, Laurie, known as Jonny 5, joined with Brer Rabbit (Stephen Brackett), Andy “Rok” Guerrero (guitar), Joe Ferrone (trumpet), Mackenzie Roberts (viola), Kenny Ortiz (drums) and Jesse Walker (bass).

The band’s first album, Platypus, was released in the fall of 2005, and its second (but first full-length album), Fight with Tools, was released in 2007. The single “Handlebars” became a popular mainstream song by 2008.

After a concert at the Gothic Theatre in Denver, the band was approached by Universal Republic; the Flobots signed a major label deal with the company and released the album Survival Story in March 2010. The band decided to leave Universal Republic Records that December, and the lead guitarist left the group in 2011.

The group’s third full-length album, The Circle in the Square, was released in 2012. Noenemies, its fourth album, was released in 2017 and contained several songs that tackled sociopolitical issues such as immigration reform and climate change.

Flobots Brick Wall Photo

The Band’s Impact on Colorado

The Flobots quickly gained a strong following in Denver following the debut of the full-length album Fight with Tools. In fact, the band’s entry into a local radio station contest resulted in a win of both the contest and an award for best live performance. This was the beginning of the immense popularity of “Handlebars.”

As the band rose in popularity, it continued to have an impact on the state. Along with performing, the band members spent much of their time focusing on service. They began a non-profit organization known as flobots.org, now called Youth on Record, that focuses on using creative education to empower young people.

The mission of Youth on Record is to create positive social change in communities and to harness the power of music while doing so. In support of this mission, the Flobots performed at the annual A Day Without Hate rally in Jefferson County in 2013 and 2014, providing a free concert for students in high school. Youth on Record provides a series of programs for youth, including:

  • For-credit classes
  • Job training opportunities
  • Treatment center programs
  • Side-by-side coaching
  • Open music labs
  • Music club for young women
  • Ten-month fellowship program
  • Podcast creation by young artists

The band’s work in the community has earned its members countless awards. They have given back to the state not only with their music, but also through various types of service.

Learn More About Music in Colorado

The Flobots have contributed a lot to Colorado, and this band is not the only one. The Colorado Music Hall of Fame captures the history, stories and sounds of musicians and others who have contributed to Colorado’s music scene over the years.

The Hall also offers educational opportunities and a variety of events throughout the year. Visit us and explore past and upcoming events that celebrate music in Colorado.

 

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A Glimpse into the Life of Otis Taylor

Though he was born in Chicago, Otis Taylor grew up in Denver, where his family moved after his uncle was shot to death. He was the son of two parents who loved music, especially jazz, and when he was fourteen years old he wandered into the Denver Folklore Center, the acoustic-music shop run by Harry Tuft. He soon formed his first band, the Butterscotch Fire Department Blue Band. His next was the Otis Taylor Blues Band.

He moved to London in the ‘60s and signed with Blue Horizon Record, but the label did not share his vision and he soon returned to Boulder, where he played with the likes of Tommy Bolin, Zephyr and the Legendary 4-Nikators. In 1977, though, he took a break from the music business, starting a successful business in antiques and helping to develop one of the first African-American bicycle racing teams.

He didn’t get back to making music until 1995, when Taylor returned to the stage of Buchanan’s Coffee Pub on the Hill in Boulder, alongside Kenny Passarelli and Eddie Turner. That performance drew such a response from the crowd that it brought him back to recording and performing with a renewed passion for writing fresh music in the blues genre.

  • His 1996 album, Blue-Eyed Monster, produced by Passarelli, was his first solo project.
  • The 1997 followup, When Negroes Walked the Earth, was also a collaboration with Passarelli.
  • White African, a third Passarelli production released in 2000, this time with NorthernBlues Music, is widely considered Taylor’s breakthrough album.
  • Respect the Dead was released in 2002 to broad acclaim.
  • The most recognizable Otis Taylor album may be Truth Is Not Fiction, released in 2003 on Telarc Records.

Accolades for Otis Taylor include:

  • In 2000, Otis Taylor received a fellowship at the Sundance Composers Lab in Park City, Utah. That opportunity helped him connect with Hollywood for music-sourcing contracts.
  • The album White African earned four W.C. Handy nominations and a Best New Artist Debut award.
  • In 2003, Respect the Dead received W.C. Handy nominations for Best Acoustic Artist and Best Contemporary Blues Album.
  • Truth Is Not Fiction made the New York Times’ Top 10 Album of the Year list and won a Downbeat Critics’ Award for Blues Album of the Year.
  • Double V (2004) won another Downbeat Critics’ Award.
  • Definition of a Circle (2007) scored yet again with a Downbeat award for Blues CD of the Year.

How Has Otis Taylor Influenced Colorado’s Music Scene?

Taylor is proficient in several instruments, including the guitar and harmonica. He has a much more complicated relationship with the banjo; as a young musician, he turned away from the instrument because of its connections to the minstrel shows in the American South.

But when he later learned of the banjo’s African roots, he embraced the banjo, winning awards for his music in that category.He also started tackling difficult topics in his music, including racial injustice and inequality, and even the lynching of his great-grandfather.

Today Taylor is known not just for his fearless exploration of history with his music, but also his trail-blazing style known as “trance blues.”

Learn More about Otis Taylor

On December 3, 2019, the Colorado Music Hall of Fame welcomed Otis Taylor into the family. To learn more about him and his music, visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

Image Credit: Shutterstock By Robert Crum

Dj mixing outdoor at beach party festival with crowd of people in background – Summer nightlife view of disco club outside – Soft focus on hand – Fun ,youth,entertainment and fest concept

A Look into Colorado’s Growing EDM Scene

EDM found its way into the Denver music scene not through external interlopers, but homegrown artists whose mixes and tracks range from intricate compositions to funky chaos.

With a drastic increase in the number of local EDM festivals and venues, there’s no denying this genre’s place in the Centennial State.

 

Check Out These Artists

From Pretty Lights to Big Gigantic, Colorado’s EDM scene is thriving. Not all of the artists mentioned in this story got their start in Colorado; however, all of them either now call Colorado home or have touched the state in a remarkable way.

 

Pretty Lights

Hailing from Fort Collins, Derek Vincent Smith rose to the top of the local EDM world with an array of interlacing mixes that beam you to the past and future all at once. His EDM persona, Pretty Lights, is known for selling out local venues, including Red Rocks, as well as its synonymous festival in Telluride.

 

Breathe Carolina

Originally started in 2006 with two members, Breathe Carolina now tours with its lead member, David Schmitt, and a live backing band. With a sound that at times balances extremes like melodic beats and hardcore screaming, there’s no other band quite like Breathe Carolina. The act’s music has somewhat mellowed since bandmate Kyle Even’s departure in 2013, but it still invites raucous energy.

 

Illenium

Chicago-born and San Francisco-raised, Nicholas Miller (a.k.a. Illenium) became inspired to devote himself to his musical craft after a show at Red Rocks in 2012. Since then, he’s released two EPs and three studio albums. On the back of his most recent release, Ascend, Illenium now finds himself on a thirty-city North American tour, mixing his unique, electronically-backed singer/songwriter-esque singles.

 

Dabin

Despite his reputation as a performer whose live shows push the boundaries of what electronic music can do with live instrumentation, Dabin initially found fame online; his mixes have been played millions of times across all of his streaming platforms. Dabin’s most recent album, Wild Youth, also brought his first headlining tour and further recognition in the melodic bass subgenre.

 

Said the Sky

A musician from before he hit double digits, Trevor Christensen, professionally known as Said the Sky, began taking piano lessons when he was eight years old. He later blossomed as an electronic dance artist, releasing singles throughout the mid-2010s, and eventually dropping his first album, Wide Eyed, in 2018 to rave reviews. Christensen brings technical craftsmanship to his often emotional work, which mixes sunny melodies with evocative basslines.

 

GRiZ

Before you try to look up “energy” in the dictionary, you should probably put the book away and play GRiZ’s latest album, Ride Waves. Playing a genre he calls “future funk,” GRiZ, known offstage as Grant Kwiecinski, brings the dynamite to his live shows, which feature his patented mix of soul, funk, electronic and live saxophone. Whatever you call his multi-hyphenated genre, you’ll find yourself getting up and dancing when he performs at local venues.

 

Big Gigantic

With its home base in Boulder, Big Gigantic deserves praise for its role in Colorado’s EDM scene. Its beats mix funk, jazz, hip-hop and electronica, and its Rowdy Town festival supports local artists year after year.

 

Where to Find Them

EDM’s burgeoning place in Denver’s music scene brings with it an increase in the number of festivals catering to fans of the genre. The Global Dance Festival began at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre but recently moved to Broncos Stadium at Mile High to provide space for growing attendance numbers.

Combining the ultimate party scenario of a New Year’s Eve bash and EDM performance space, Decadence proved to be a big hit in 2018. With a vast lineup, including many of the homegrown artists listed above, it’s hard for the year to end (or begin) poorly at Decadence.

While the Global Dance Festival changed locations, that shouldn’t discount the importance of Red Rocks to local musicians. An outdoor venue chiseled out of a rock, Red Rocks holds more than a hundred concerts throughout the year.

 

Colorado Music Hall of Fame

If you’re excited about Colorado musicians, check out more from the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Our calendar shows upcoming music events, such as Hall of Fame inductions and performances.

Image Credit: Getty Images / DisobeyArt

The Fray - Colorado Music Hall of Fame

Colorado Artist Spotlight: The Fray

The Fray is a pop-rock group that made a name for itself around the globe within the span of just a few years in the 2000s. Led by Isaac Slade’s piano, power-ballad sound and songwriting, and distinctive vocals, the group eventually claiming double-platinum status in four countries and establishing a huge presence on the world stage. But the group got its humble start in Colorado, performing at events like Film on the Rocks and using early social media platforms such as MySpace to build its fan base.

The Members

The core group consists of four members: Slade, lead vocalist and pianist; Joe King, who pulls a triple as a rhythm guitarist, bass guitarist and backup vocalist; Dave Welsh, the lead guitarist and bass guitarist for in-studio recordings; and Ben Wysocki, percussionist, and drummer. These four often work alongside additional members on tours, including bass guitarist Einar Pederson.

Building the Band

The Fray marks its official beginning as 2002. However, the act’s roots can be traced back further, to when three of the four members attended the same Christian school and led the musical portions of worship services in a number of Denver churches. Several of the members enrolled at the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Arts and Media, where they studied music, music business and recording. That’s also where they wrote some of their most iconic songs. The band went through a few member changes (for a time, Isaac Slade’s brother was a part) before settling on the current lineup, and each change seemed to further inspire the Fray’s instrumental chops along with its songwriting.

Early Success

The Fray might enjoy global acclaim today, but the four-man band’s earliest successes came in Denver. The act recorded the Movement EP in 2002, but it wasn’t until the production of the Reason EP that the Fray began to find a measure of local success. Despite this acknowledgment, the band still struggled to get good reviews and to have its songs played on the resident radio station, KTCL. This changed when the Fray submitted “Cable Car” (later changed to “Over My Head (Cable Car)”), the song that launched the group straight to fame.

Biggest Hits and the Rise to Fame

This band’s biggest hits were released early during its rise to fame and helped carve out a place for this pop-rock group on the ever-competitive Billboard sales and airplay charts. “How to Save a Life” was released on September 2005, and despite the initial success of “Over My Head (Cable Car),” it was this song that would become an anthem for a generation, an iconic statement of hope and perseverance. It was incorporated into an episode of the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy, with various members of the cast singing along to the song as it was woven into the plot. The act’s next big success came in 2008 with the release of You Found Me, an award-winning track that nearly topped the How to Save a Life album in popularity.

Awards

Over the years, this band has collected its fair share of awards. Some of the most noteworthy wins:

  • Digital Album of the Year, 2006 – How to Save a Life
  • Digital Album Artist of the Year, 2006
  • New Rock Artist of the Year, 2007
  • International Work of the Year, 2010 – You Found Me

A Colorado Inspiration

Isaac Slade and other members continue to give back to Colorado through their work going back into CU Denver’s classrooms, doing seminars for high school students, working with Take Note Colorado and performing for the CMHOF at various induction events. You can visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame to learn more about other famous talents from this state, as well as check out upcoming events.

Image Credit: dwphotos