Hot Rize Inducted into Colorado Music Hall of Fame at 50th Annual RockyGrass!

While the band was all in town, Hot Rize was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame at their headlining show at the 50th Annual RockyGrass Festival on July 31st. Hot Rize is part of The Flatirons Sessions induction class of 2021, which the pandemic has delayed making official.


Hot Rize is truly a music legend– the patriarchs of Colorado’s modern progressive bluegrass movement, inspiring so many bands – including fellow Colorado Music Hall of Famers: String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon and Yonder Mountain String Band. From their 1979 self-titled debut album through their live 40th Anniversary Bash album, Hot Rize and their western-swing alter-egos, Red Knuckles and The Trailblazers, have championed traditional forms of Americana music for a modern audience.


The Grammy-nominated band has played at almost all of the major festivals, produced eight studio albums, three live albums, did countless tours across four continents, appeared many times on television and radio and was awarded the International Bluegrass Music Association’s very first Entertainers of the Year Award.


Following the induction, banjo player, Pete Wernick expressed his appreciation for being recognized as a Colorado Music Hall of Famer: “It was meaningful to me to be inducted, as Colorado is the main place I’ve lived, and this is quite a high honor for a musician.” But the honor is all ours.


Big congrats to Hot Rize members – Nick Forster, Tim O’Brien, Pete Wernick and Bryan Sutton

Read more about Hot Rize

Photo caption: Patty Calhoun (left), Hall of Fame Board Member and Founder/Editor of Westword, and Karen Radman (right), Executive Director induct Hot Rize at RockyGrass. Photo credit: Benko Photographics

Photo caption: As seen from backstage, the induction of Hot Rize (Nick Forster, Tim O’Brien, Pete Wernick and Bryan Sutton) at RockyGrass. Photo credit: Stephen Ramsey

SUGARLOAF Album Release Party

SUGARLOAF Album Release Party – September 11, 2022

A tape long ago misplaced in a case of cables was found in 2020, after almost being tossed into the trash. The tape was a recording of a live Sugarloaf concert from 1975 that had never been released. Original guitarist, Bob Webber, restored and remastered the production for vinyl. Now, almost fifty years after the original recording, 2011 Colorado Music Hall of Fame inductee Sugarloaf will be hosting an Album Release Party of Sugarloaf Live 1975. The release party will be held on September 11th from 6 pm – 10 pm at the Wild Goose Saloon in Parker and will include musical performances by JR Rabbit, Shiver and an encore appearance by original members of Sugarloaf.

Celebrating Our Museum Refresh at Red Rocks Trading Post

Photo Caption: Michael Burgermeister (event sponsor and exhibit donor), Jay Elowsky (Pasta Jay’s event sponsor and Hall of Fame board members) and Freddi Gowdy, inductee with Freddi & Henchi, in front of new exhibit of Freddi’s induction class, Going Back to Colorado. 
Photo credit: Dan Fong

Joined by old friends and new, Colorado Music Hall of Fame celebrated our new exhibits at an event on June 13, 2022 in the backyard of the Red Rocks Trading Post. Graciously sponsored by Pasta Jay’sCTS Distributing and Michael Burgermeister, the Italian Food and Wine Event included a delicious buffet of Pasta Jay’s Italian specialties, a wine tasting hosted by the 30 year-old Colorado-owned and -operated wine and spirits distributor, CTS Distributing, and delectable desserts provided by Hall of Fame donor, Michael Burgermeister.

Guests were also treated to musical performances by inductees, Jock Bartley of Firefall; Freddi Gowdy of Freddi & Henchi; Chris Daniels of Magic Music and Chris Daniels & The Kings; and Kenny Passarelli of Barnstorm and bassist for Elton John, Dan Fogelberg, Stephen Stills and Hall and Oates.

 More Photos from the Event:

Hall of Famers, Chris Daniels, Kenny Passarelli and Freddi Gowdy, entertaining our guests with some live music.
Photo credit: Dave Aldridge


Charles Burrell, the “Jackie Robinson of music,” in front of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame museum.
Photo credit: John Shackford


Scott Tobias and Paul Epstein, Board Co-Chairs of Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
Photo credit: Bob Fontneau


Jock Bartley of Firefall, 2014 Hall of Fame inductee, performing for event guests.
Photo credit: Dave Aldridge


Karen Radman, Executive Director of Colorado Music Hall of Fame, and her husband (and Hall volunteer), Michael Farrimond.
Photo credit: Bob Fontneau


Hall of Famers: Freddi Gowdy, Bob Webber of Sugarloaf, Chris Daniels and Harold Fielden of Flash Cadillac.
Photo credit: Dan Fong


Hall of Famers from The Mother Folkers: Carla Sciaky, Rebecca Leonard, Eileen Niehouse and Ellen Audley.
Photo courtesy of Carla Sciaky


101 year-old Hall of Famer, Charles Burrell, with his daughter-in-law, Jen White and family friends, Barbara and Tom Humphrey.
Photo credit: Bob Fontneau


Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon and 2021 Hall of Famer with Bob Fontneau, The Hall’s volunteer Social Media Manager.
Photo Credit: Bob Fontneau


Michael Burgermeister, Hall donor, with Freddi Gowdy, inductee, in front of Freddi & Henchi stage costume and concert poster displayed at Red Rocks Trading Post.
Photo credit: Dan Fong


Carla Sciaky, member of The Mother Folkers, 2019 inductee, in front of her induction class exhibit.
Photo courtesy of Carla Sciaky


Hall of Fame board member, Rob Blume, with inductee, Charles Burrell.


Guests enjoying the Red Rocks scenery.
Photo credit: John Shackford


Event guests.
Photo credit: Dave Aldridge


Hall of Fame board member and event sponsor, Jay Elowsky, Hall Executive Director, Karen Radman, and event sponsor and Hall donor, Michael Burgermeister, under the strawberry full moon.
Photo credit: Brooke Gordon

An Interview with Paul Epstein, founder and former owner of Twist & Shout and board co-chair of Colorado Music Hall of Fame

By Connor Lukes, University of Denver Journalism Intern

Paul Epstein is a man with roots deeply embedded in Colorado’s music scene. Many undoubtedly know his name because he owned and operated the iconic Denver record store Twist & Shout for 33 years. What you may not know is that Epstein also co-founded Colorado Music Hall of Fame, and now is The Hall’s board co-chair and go-to music historian, with a command of modern music history that’s almost encyclopedic. 

After over three decades of running Twist & Shout, overseeing everything from rainy days in the record business to the rise of international superstars, Epstein finally decided to hand over the reins of the store to the next generation and devote more time to his family and The Hall.  In this interview, the nostalgic and optimistic Epstein reflects on his long and fulfilling career cultivating Denver’s music scene and looks forward to what the future has in store.

As both a founder of Colorado Music Hall of Fame and the current board co-chair, you’ve been a key player in its growth over the past ten years. What are you most proud of?

My career with The Hall has been an extension of what I also did in my career with Twist & Shout. It’s the coalescing of, maturity of, growth of and glorification of the local scene. This was a big thing when I first started the store. There was a very weak local music scene in Denver. The audience wasn’t supportive, and the bands were not supportive of each other. In the course of my career, I’ve seen that Denver’s changed a lot, and I hope we had some small part of fostering that at the store and at The Hall of Fame,…making the scene more cohesive. Denver is known as a really incredible music market with possibly the greatest venue in the world at Red Rocks. That’s something we all need to be really proud of. We also have this huge network of small theaters and scenes and genres of music, and these gigantic institutional festivals like Telluride and the Lyons Folk Fest and Central City Opera. There’s just an enormous history of all kinds of music in Colorado. I want that to be known, and I want to make it a bigger and bigger deal.

How did The Hall of Fame land at the Trading Post at Red Rocks, and are there plans to expand?

Well, there are a couple factors at play there. Our mission is, I’d say, sympatico to the destination, to Red Rocks. Our first founding member of The Hall, Chuck Morris, had a lot of sway at Red Rocks. 

It really seems kind of miraculous that we’re there, and we’re incredibly proud of what’s there. That said, we also have hopes for a larger, permanent home closer to the city, too — although I’d love to keep the Trading Post as a part of our portfolio of locations going forward.

Especially since Karen Radman became the director of The Hall, we’ve been laser-focused on becoming a more and more professional and focused group. That caused us to be very thoughtful and slow in our process about where or what, exactly, our permanent home would look like. I would say we are circling. Our ultimate vision is beginning to become clearer and clearer to us. It is in the future, it will happen, and we would like it to be part of the central Denver scene. 

With more free time as a retiree, what are you most excited about regarding your involvement with The Hall?

Well, I look forward to getting involved in the content on the website, both the creation and curation of it. Also, the project of figuring out where a home, in addition to the Trading Post, would be in Denver—what that would look like and how it would get funded. I look forward to being part of all those decisions. My interest really lies in the records, the ticket stubs, the posters, stage-worn outfits and guitars, the physical remnants….Being a music historian, those are really the things I’m the most qualified to help with. 

At Twist & Shout, you brought in musicians for in-store performances. What is your favorite memory of a Colorado musician who played at your store?

We grew as the scene grew. In our early era, it was all about 16 Horsepower—David Eugene Edwards— and they did numerous in-store appearances and built a huge following. He went on to form a band called Wovenhand, which is now gigantic in Europe. We were friendly, and I really admired him. That was kind of an alternative Gothic country sound, and Denver was really off the radar still.

After that, there were bands we specifically had a hand in helping. In each case, the bands had an independently produced release that we would start selling. They had a lot of fun playing in the store multiple times, and I’d see the crowd get bigger. Eventually a label would call and ask me about them. The ones I’m thinking of specifically are The Fray, and then the Flobots. We were there when they put out their first independently released album. We sold over 1,000 of them before they got signed to Republic Records.

In the more recent era, absolutely from his earliest days, we’ve watched Nathaniel Rateliff. His group the Wheel played in our store, and then a couple of my employees started the label that put out his very first release. Then I had him play at an independent record-store convention in Denver. He was just starting to break, and we had him play for all the record-store owners. It was a watershed moment. [With the Night Sweats, he’s grown] nationally bigger, and he’s broken into a huge star.… Of the ones that paralleled the store and that I’m most proud of, if I had to pick one, I’d say Nathaniel Rateliff. But there’s been a lot of them throughout, and I only touched on a few.

What will you miss most about your interactions with Twist and the customers? 

Well, it’s all great! Watching my employees go from being punk kids to being authors, actors, rock stars, lawyers, doctors: I’m so proud of the way they have grown up and stayed in touch.

My wife really described it well in one of our earliest newsletters. On a rainy Saturday when there’s a bunch of people in the store and the music is just right, nothing needs to be spoken. There’s just this record-store magic that happens. I’ve had so many people tell me, “I’ve heard this album a million times, but it has never sounded as good as just hearing it in the record store.” That is something I’ve noticed listening to records in that community atmosphere. It’s what I grew up with, and what many people, young people today, don’t have — but I think they may recognize in places like Twist & Shout. It is a magical thing to be in the presence of great art with other like-minded people.

After 33 years of operating Twist & Shout, what are your plans now that you’ve sold it?

Well, I got my first job when I was fourteen, and I pretty much never stopped working since then… I want to continue working in the music world, but not with deadlines and a work schedule the way I’ve known it for most of my life. I plan on still being fully involved in music, still being involved heavily in Colorado Music Hall of Fame – loving music and, of course, loving my family; loving Denver and being part of the many things I’m involved with in Denver. 

So many people told me, “I don’t know how I worked all those years” once they retire. I always laughed and would be like, “Yeah man, give me an extra eight hours a day; I can’t even imagine what I would do with that.” Almost immediately, I was not bored. I was not at loose ends about what to do with my day. I do almost feel like, how did I work all those years? There’s so much of interest to me in my life still; I continue to be involved in music and my family. That’s how I see the rest of my life kind of going. 

You know you’re doomed to be a boring old fart if you only look at history, so… I never stopped listening to or going to concerts of modern bands. Although that wanes as you get older, and that’s one of the reasons I decided to sell Twist & Shout to a person of another generation. He’s eleven years younger than me, and his musical tastes totally reflect that. I want the store to go on and do what it does in the future with modern music. I want The Hall to keep its eyes and ears entirely on the horizon, not on the rearview mirror.

Music In Our Schools Month

An interview by Connor Lukes, University of Denver Journalism Intern

March is “Music in Our Schools Month.” To commemorate, Colorado Music Hall of Fame is celebrating one of our inductees — the East High School Music Program – by interviewing one of the Denver school’s historians, Dr. Marcia T. Goldstein of the East High Alumni Network.

East High, Denver’s largest public high school, is considered a “descendant” of Denver’s first one-room school, The Union School, which opened in 1859; East moved into its current location at 1600 City Park Esplanade in 1925. Over the years, East has produced some of the world’s finest musicians, including the late Ron Miles; Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn and Andrew Woolfolk of Earth, Wind & Fire; Bill Frisell; Judy Collins; and Paul Whiteman.

Can you tell us about some notable East High alumni who became professional musicians?
Oh, yes, Alan Titus. He was an opera singer, world-renowned. He’s still alive. He’s older, of course, and I believe he lives in Germany. He was right out of high school and went to Germany and became this really young up-and-coming opera star.

His music teacher [at East] was Marion Padboy, and she was also the inspiration for Philip Bailey. I’ve read a few interviews with [Bailey], and he recalls she taught him how to do falsetto. She encouraged him to try it. He got good at it, which, as you know, is one of his trademarks. Taught him breath control, intonation and pitch which lifted his soaring, four-octave voice.

Judy Collins is another. She was a classical musician and highly trained. Her father encouraged her to study piano. She did have the opportunity to have professional music lessons and, well, she had her own private teacher, and that was Antonia Brico. Antonia Brico was an early woman symphony conductor in our country, but she was here in Denver. A highly, highly acclaimed musician, she took Judy under her wing as a piano teacher. But she didn’t teach at East High. So [Collins] was in high school as an [already trained] classical musician, but while at East High, she took up the guitar instead of the piano. This was sort of her early days of folk music.

What is the history of the music program and why do you think it has inspired so many talented musicians?
I think one of the things was the…music teachers at East High. As with a lot of the faculty, they were there for many years — decades, some of them. So they had an influence on a lot of different people. From what I can tell with the ones who are more prominent that I’ve researched, they were really good at mentoring. They’d see a talented person, and they put them in a special category and made sure they were encouraged. Part of that is they maybe knew [the student’s] family couldn’t afford music lessons.

But don’t forget, because East has been around so long as an institution, a lot of times in those earlier years — the late 1800s and early 1900s and even through the ’20s and ‘30s — this might have been one of the only places people went to school.

What are some unique features about this Denver Historic Landmark?
[The small room in the clocktower] has been used for rehearsals. It’s a really beautiful room with windows on all four sides, and you get a 360-degree view of Denver. It’s an example of how the building itself —  the architecture and the history of the building — can be inspirational.

The choir room is up on the third floor, and the windows open out onto the front of the school. So if they’re having choir practice, in front of the school…you just hear this beautiful music coming out. The kids all hear it. The physical architecture is very storied, historic and inspirational. It’s top-quality design. The auditorium has been renovated in recent years, but it’s a classic auditorium stage for performing.

Currently there are seven East High alumni in the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Are there any others that you think should be considered as future inductees?
Pernell Steen. He plays all the time at Dazzle. He’s sort of the Five Points jazz history buff. If you ever have the occasion to induct him, he would be a good candidate. He plays piano and sings, and he has a group called Le Jazz Machine. He graduated in 1950. He’s in his eighties now, but he still performs regularly.

And then…Hattie McDaniel. She’s exceedingly important. She was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Gone With the Wind. She is best known as a film star, and she was even on the radio and TV as an actress. But she got her start as a musician in her father’s traveling jazz show. She actually dropped out of high High school to join her brother and her father. [East has] since given her an honorary diploma. Anyway, the point about Hattie is that she got her start as a musician, a jazz singer and performer.


Above photo of East High Jazz Band with Ron Miles and Don Cheadle, 1981; Courtesy of East High Tower Museum Archives


Ron Miles, Legendary Jazz Cornetist and Hall of Fame Inductee, Dies at 58

Photo credit: Elliot Ross

By Connor Lukes, University of Denver Journalism Intern

The jazz world experienced an unexpected loss as Ron Miles, esteemed cornet and trumpet player, passed away Tuesday, March 8, at the age of 58. A teacher, creator, husband and father, Miles leaves behind a monumental legacy of music and love for his community. Miles’s first instrument was a flugelhorn, which he learned to play at age 11 after moving to Denver. He studied the trumpet and cornet at East High School, the University of Colorado Boulder and the Manhattan School of Music as a graduate student — the only time since childhood he lived outside of Denver. Miles was a music educator for 35 years at Metropolitan State University of Denver, most recently as Musician in Residence, Jazz Studies.

He starred on twelve jazz albums recorded since 1987, the latest 2020’s Rainbow Sign on the Blue Note Records label. Miles was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame’s Jazz Masters & Beyond class in 2017. The Hall’s executive director, Karen Radman, laments the loss of Denver’s jazz titan. “Ron Miles’s talent is undeniable and his music legendary,” she says. “But what was also so striking about him was his genuine warmth, humbleness and gentle spirit. Whenever I communicated with him, he always asked after my family. His legacy will live on in not only his music but also in the music of the many, many students he taught and mentored. He will be missed. My heart goes out to his family and close friends.”

The Colorado Music Hall of Fame’s updated exhibits at the Red Rocks Trading Post this spring will feature Miles and display his first flugelhorn.

Read more about his career as an internationally renowned composer, collaborator and educator by clicking HERE

Additional coverage on his life and death:

The New York Times


National Public Radio

The Denver Post

Rocky Mountain PBS

The Denverite