Celebrating Black History Month: An Interview with Freddi Gowdy

By Connor Lukes, University of Denver Journalism Intern

We catch up with the 2019 Hall of Fame inductee and honoree for Black History Month Freddi Gowdy, founding member of the Freddi-Henchi Band alongside the late Marvin “Henchi” Graves. From growing up poor in the projects to performing overseas, Gowdy humbly shares his experiences as a small-town musician who grew into his groove ahead of the ‘70s funk boom. Originally known as Freddi-Henchi and the Soulsetters, the band slowly grew their influence over the course of fifteen years playing venues across the western United States. Freddi & Henchi gained a significant following in Boulder with their rockin’ performances and signature dance moves. It wasn’t long before they were named Colorado’s “Crown Princes of Funk.” Freddi & Henchi served as co-bill and opened for other iconic acts such as Steely Dan, the Nitty Gritty Band, Chicago, John Denver, and Earth Wind & Fire, just to name a few. The Colorado Music Hall of Fame is proud to be featuring Freddi & Henchi as part of our renovated exhibits coming in March and April to the Red Rocks Trading Post.

When did you decide to become a professional musician?

I started off in Arizona. I was in the choir in high school, and my music teacher, a beautiful lady, her name was Mrs. Light, kept telling me ‘you have talent and you should keep going.’ I took the class as an easy grade, and I started listening to different types of music. Then one of the guys in my chorus suggested that I try out for this band that was around Arizona, and they were called the Soul Setters. I waited and waited, you know, wasn’t ready to do it. They kept calling me and calling me…a lot of it was I didn’t think I could sing like the other guy; he was a good singer, but then he got drafted. The guy that put me in the band came over to my house, and we sat down and he talked [me into joining].

As a black musician in the ‘60s, what sort of obstacles did you face? Were there any clubs that would not let you play?

Right, that’s a good question, because it did hold us back a couple times. A lot of the time [club owners] would look at the lineup, and they would see two Black guys, two Hispanic guys, two Native American Indian guys. They would say to themselves, ‘What the hell? Who the hell are these guys!?’ Then we had the flashy stuff! We were all flashed out. Colorado was, you know, [wasn’t] used to that. California, yes. Arizona, yes. Colorado was not used to the flashy stuff. Colorado was mainly folk music back in the day.

A couple of times we got stuff thrown at us up in Fort Collins. Really, those five clubs were, there was nothing around those places. I mean, it was out in the country [in the ‘60s].

The performance was there. Vocals, kind of there. But the live stuff, the back flips and lifts and all that stuff, we killed on that! We knew we had our ace in the hole when we performed. All the records we recorded just couldn’t get over the hump. That’s the only thing that held us back was the records that were recorded. We opened for a lot of big acts before they were big acts. You know what I mean? We were like the second bill or third bill.

Your band got its big break in Colorado in Fort Collins?

Sort of, yeah. One of the first places we played in Colorado was Fort Collins. Then, we went to Boulder and played the Skunk Creek Inn. It was owned by Al Roth. He owned Herman’s Hideaway. [Skunk Creek Inn] was rockin’. It was one of our better places to play. And it was fun. We played with Chuck Berry there…Bo Diddley, too. Their careers, you see them with the Stones and all that. But back then, they were just doing the old nightclubs the way we were doing.

Everyone talks about Henchi’s nickname from his wrestling days, but how did your nickname “Freddi Love” come about?

The agent that we were working with said Freddi Gowdy just doesn’t have that Umph! So from now on your name is Freddi Love. I hated that name! I said, “oh, okay, can you change it?” No, and when I get back to Arizona, sometimes I hear “Hey! Freddi Love!” Yeah, I don’t particularly like that name. But I had to use it.

Could you talk about your fashion from the era? You’ve loaned several items for The Hall’s display, including some of Henchi’s beautifully crafted outfits by designer Valerie McCreary. How did the band get in contact with her?

She made clothes for Elton John, Tommy Bolin, a bunch of acts. And she was very, very good. She would come and see the band. It took her maybe two weeks [to make the costumes] if she didn’t have one of the big bands from Caribou [Ranch] or something. [Henchi] would give his input on what he wanted.

Sometimes the whole band would wear [the costumes]. Especially on special shows when we were second or third bill, we would dress splashdown.

You’ve lately been performing with fellow Colorado Music Hall of Fame inductee and former Director of The Hall, Chris Daniels; how did you guys start playing together?

He called me. Chris got sick, and I went to see the band over at Elway’s and he had just got out, maybe two weeks out of the hospital. He tried to get up there and play, and it was like 100 and something [degrees] out. He got up there, and he was doing fine. Then he got sick up there on stage…I’m sitting there, and he called me over and said, ‘You think you can do a couple of numbers and help me out?’ I go, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ll do a couple of numbers.’

Then a month later, he called me and asked me if I wanted to join the band. I really don’t sing his type of stuff. He does R&B, but he also does swing, rock and roll. He’s not locked into funk, and I wasn’t sure if I could do it, so I said ‘Yeah, let’s try.’ We got together, rehearsed and then it worked out fine.

What career moments or successes are you most proud of?

When I went to play for the USO show, we went overseas to Japan [and Korea], ‘89, ‘90, something like that. We played for the troops…It’s one of the wildest things you’ve ever seen. 5,000 guys dancing with each other. It’s like, wow!

[Another moment is playing] third bill with James Brown in the ‘70s; it was in Arizona. Then there was the first time we ever played the Whisky a Go Go, and the first time we ever played Troubadour.

The Hall of Fame, for me, after all those years being on the road and opening up for these guys and coming close, very close to making it, the Hall of Fame has got to be up there. Number one for me.

Meet the Hall’s Fall 2021 Intern

Bella Zafer, a Junior Film Studies and Production major at University of Denver

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Who is your favorite band/musician? Remi Wolf

Who is your favorite Colorado band/musician? Big Gigantic

What sparked your interest in interning with Colorado Music Hall of Fame? I knew it would be an awesome opportunity to combine my passions for music and film in a nonprofit organization setting.

What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on during your internship? Why? I really enjoyed making the video about the new museum renovations. I was able to go film at the Trading Post and really work on my video editing skills. (check out the video here)

Announcing the Colorado Music Hall of Fame Induction Class of 2021!

Colorado Music Hall of Fame Announces 2021 Induction Class:
The Flatirons Sessions honoring The String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Hot Rize and the Fox Theatre

DENVER, CO (October 21, 2021) — Colorado Music Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2021 induction class: The Flatirons Sessions honoring The String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Hot Rize and the Fox Theatre. In an abundance of caution for the bands, crews and concertgoers regarding Covid-19, the Hall is postponing the induction concert and ceremony, originally scheduled for December 6 at the Mission Ballroom, until Spring 2022. The rescheduled date will be announced after the new year.

The members of our 2021 class join almost fifty musicians, bands, music industry professionals, venues and organizations that have been inducted into Colorado Music Hall of Fame since its inception ten years ago.

The Inductees

The String Cheese Incident: Over the past decade, The String Cheese Incident has emerged as one of America’s most significant independent bands. Born in 1993 in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, The String Cheese Incident has since released ten albums, six DVDs and countless live recordings from its relentless tour schedule. The act’s twenty-year history is packed full of surreal experiences, epic moments, groundbreaking involvement and huge accomplishments. Its members have been recognized for their commitment to musical creativity and integrity, their community spirit, their philanthropic endeavors and their innovative approach to the business of music.

Leftover Salmon: For three decades, Leftover Salmon has built an audience through exhilarating live shows, musicianship and an eclectic blend of musical genres. Providing a template for a new generation of string bands, such as fellow inductee Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon has been one of Colorado’s most beloved musical exports with its own potent brew of bluegrass, rock and roll, folk, Cajun, soul, zydeco and jazz and blues. Leftover Salmon’s acclaimed new album, Brand New Good Old Days, marks its return to Nashville label Compass Records.

Yonder Mountain String Band: With their latest album, “Get Yourself Outside,” Colorado-based quintet Yonder Mountain String Band continues to solidify its place as not only a pioneering jam-grass act, but also one of the most innovative groups in live music—something the group has proudly held high for the better part of a quarter-century. From selling out Red Rocks Amphitheatre at a time that was unheard of for string acts, to performing festivals like Bonnaroo, Yonder Mountain was the initial spark in an acoustic inferno that endures headlong into the 21st century—one burning brightly in an ongoing movement that is jam-grass.

Hot Rize: Bursting onto the scene in 1978, Hot Rize quickly became the “godfathers” of Colorado’s modern progressive bluegrass movement, inspiring younger bands – including fellow inductees – along the way. The band played at most of the major festivals, produced eight studio albums and three live albums, did countless tours across four continents, and appeared many times on television and radio. Accolades include the International Bluegrass Music Association’s very first Entertainers of the Year award, a Grammy nomination and a four-star album review in Rolling Stone. Hot Rize was also known for incorporating its Western swing alter-ego band, Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers, into performances.

Fox Theatre: The Fox Theatre, an iconic music venue located on The Hill in Boulder, opened in March 1992 and quickly became a “must-play” venue for some of the best artists of our time. The Fox regularly showcased its fellow inductees early in their careers and still does today. Named by Rolling Stone as one of the top live music clubs in the nation. The Fox has hosted a broad spectrum of world-class artists such as Dave Matthews Band, Willie Nelson, Chance The Rapper, Tyler, The Creator plus Radiohead, Ween, Billy Strings, Phil Lesh Bonnie Raitt, Widespread Panic and Griz.

About Colorado Music Hall of Fame:

Founded in 2011, 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. The Hall’s eleven induction concerts have drawn more than 35,000 attendees, while more than 150,000 visitors annually have flocked to the Hall of Fame museum at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre Trading Post. The free museum is open to the public 363 days each year and is undergoing a refresh with new exhibits in early 2022. The Hall has published three coffee table books about the state’s musical history, which are for sale at the museum, at our online store (cmhof.org/shop) and at Twist & Shout Records in Denver.

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: Charles Burrell, Denver’s East High School Music Program, Earth Wind & Fire members: Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn and Andrew Woolfolk, Bill Frisell, Ron Miles, Dianne Reeves
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 — A Virtual Induction: eTown
2021 – The Flatirons Sessions: Fox Theatre, Hot Rize, Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band

Meet Colorado Music Hall of Fame’s Summer 2021 Interns

Tori Everson
Senior at the University of Denver majoring in Journalism and International Studies and minoring in Marketing
Hometown: Orono, MN

Who is your favorite band/musician? SZA

Who is your favorite Colorado band/musician? The Lumineers

Tori Everson

What sparked your interest in interning with Colorado Music Hall of Fame? I have family that works in the music industry in Nashville and they always have the most interesting and unique stories, so I thought it would be fun to start working in the music industry in Colorado. I also love attending concerts, Red Rocks being my favorite venue, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to gain internship experience in a field I am interested in and genuinely enjoy!

What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on during your internship? Why? My favorite project I have worked on during my time with CMHOF would be researching all of the Hall of Fame’s around the nation. This was fun to see how other states have designed their hall of fame’s. Towards the end of my internship, I began designing and typing content for a docent training guide. This was fun as I got to further research the artists/bands inducted into CMHOF.

Lorne Fultonberg
Master’s student at the University of Denver studying Media and Public Communications with a focus on strategic communications
Hometown: Superior, CO

Who is your favorite band/musician? The Beatles

Who is your favorite Colorado band/musician? Earth, Wind & Fire

Lorne Fultonberg

What sparked your interest in interning with Colorado Music Hall of Fame? First and foremost, it was a love of music! I wanted to see what life was like in a nonprofit with a mission I believed in. And the Hall’s work was so valuable (and so cool!). I realized that, despite growing up in Boulder County, I knew nothing of the Hall. I wanted to change that and use my skills to spread the word.

What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on during your internship? Why? Personally, researching and updating several of the inductee pages on the Hall of Fame site has been a true treat. It’s been so much fun learning more about the artists and venues that make our state great! Professionally, I’ve enjoyed strategizing ways to put the Hall and its great work in front of a larger audience.



Abbie Smith
Junior at the University of Denver, Political Science and Journalism double major
Hometown: Richmond, VA

Who is your favorite band/musician? The Beatles

Who is your favorite Colorado band/musician? Judy Collins

Abbie Smith

I’ve always been passionate about music and journalism, and when I discovered the internship with the Colorado Music Hall of Fame I thought it was the perfect way to explore both areas of interest. I was absolutely right! I have been able to discover more about Colorado music history and have exponentially improved my writing and editing skills over the course of my internship.

What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on during your internship? Why? My favorite project that I worked on this summer was the interview I conducted with museum archivist Dave Aldridge. I felt very lucky to be able to sit down and discuss music history with Mr. Aldridge and to hear about his experience and involvement in the Colorado music scene.

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
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.”



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


• 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
• 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)