CD Review: The Heartstring Hunters 

By Brian Rill

From my experience as a songwriter, most love songs start as a series of passionate screams inspired by a beautiful muse, only to end in a desperate, stifled echo never to be heard by the intended recipient. The Heartstring Hunters however have a very different story. Started by husband and wife duo Carolyn and Daniel Hunter, they have collected some premiere musicians and forged an extensive Indy-Folk team. The songs act as a sort of dialog between two lovers as they pass musical notes back and forth strumming pathos symbiotically within romantic spirits everywhere.

Lead vocalist and lyricist Carolyn Hunter soars, stretching her voice into other dimensions where shadows of true love hide slumbering like dreaming dragons snoring through fields filled with smoke, while lounging atop unstable mountains of gold. Musically solid, their self-titled debut album is impactful and well-recorded. Acoustic chords strummed quietly ring with precision. Harmony vocals from Rachael Sheaffer shatter the subdued back beat and steady drum rolls. Tempestuous runs from a Fender Telecaster guitar touch upon the heavily-hooked verses. Daniel Hunter joins his wife on vocals for some truly heartfelt folk duets.

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Rok Skool

By Mike Rosso

Since 2011, many Chaffee County teens have learned the fine art of rockin’ out, thanks to Rok Skool, a musical education program offered through Articipate, a Salida-based nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping arts education alive and thriving in the 21st century. The founders, Jill and Trevor “Bones” Davis, saw an alarming trend in the defunding of the arts in public schools and have created a variety of programs and scholarships to provide these needed artistic experiences to young people who may otherwise not have the opportunity.

Rok Skool currently has three levels; Junior Varsity (Middle School), Varsity (High School) and Collegiate (upper classmen). Each band meets once a week for an hour and a half; members are also required to be studying their instrument outside of Rok Skool and must practice Rok Skool material a minimum of 15 minutes per day.

Bones directs the bands, and the program also has a horn teacher, Mathias Roberts, and a string teacher, Alan Mueller, a sophomore who plays guitar, bass and drums for the Varsity and Collegiate bands.

“We let the members arrange [the music] as much as possible with a “guided discovery” teaching approach,” says Bones. Band members choose the songs they’d like to learn and perform, and those run the gamut from ‘70s classic rock to contemporary rock and pop.

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The Real Deal Music Review: SHEL Just Crazy Enough

By Brian Rill

SHEL – Just Crazy Enough

The 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche prefaced his book The Will To Power with this line, “Of what is great one must either be silent or speak with greatness, that means cynically and with innocence.” I will attempt to relate honestly the virtue of music amidst my own opinions in order to set free for the listener the product’s appeal and cultural relevance. Discovering pathos within modernity can be a difficult task, but within the right hymns sometimes there are steps that lead us to hope. Not outside the advent of SHEL’s present work lives this new faith.

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Still Sweeter Every Day

By Chris Rourke

With a sound as sweet as their name, “Free the Honey” blends three-part harmonies and traditional stringed instruments, while telling listeners about the simple goodness of life.
Yet this time the Gunnison Valley-based acoustic band has a new song to sing, as it returns to its roots as an all-female trio.
Its members – Jenny Hill, Lizzy Plotkin and Katherine Taylor – first formed the band three years ago. Each a talented musician in their own right, they learned of one another through the grapevine of a small community. Once joined, the magic began to happen, combining the best that the south has to offer with the support of a western community. Despite the demands of travel and their insistence upon professional excellence, the group has no intention of slowing down.
“I read a quote today … that compared music to fuel,” said Plotkin. “It’s the fuel of our lives right now, and it would be a shame to ever stop. It fuels us, it keeps us going and it keeps us authentic.”

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Music Review: Free the Honey – Fine Bloom

Fine Bloom is an album graced by three instrumental muses: mandolin player Jenny Hill, violinist Lizzy Plotkin and guitarist Katherine Taylor. In the hives of these queen bees dwells a lone upright bass player, Andrew Cameron. He works his tail off to bring home a steady beat that forms the bottom end of this talented bouquet. Gunnison-based Free the Honey was formed as a string quartet steeped in the Appalachian sound. Its traditional mixture of slow-brewed fiddle is simmered on top of a jangling banjo, which warms when cooked over hot coals. Deep, low tones of double bass penetrate, held together with the churning chunk of a mandolin. Three American girls descant a breathtaking three-part harmony, blending together their soulful whispering vocals into a thick syrupy flow. These three sirens are songwriters accustomed to the classic country tune. Southern heritage runs like long river deltas down their veins. The Central Colorado Rockies beckoned them all distinctly with an older bluegrass mythos. A simpler form of music then made its emergence from floral meadows deep beneath the shadow of a prestigious mountain.

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Leadville Cherokee: mountain music

By Tyler Grimes

“A funky jam band” is how the Leadville Cherokee were described at a recent show at the State Highway Theater in Buena Vista. The band of five from – of course – Leadville, can certainly be described as funky and jamming, with a dose of bluegrass, reggae and rock. They describe themselves as a “Country-Fry Jam Rock Reggae Bluegrass Band.” Whatever the genre, they know how to make people stand up and move.

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Meet Doctor Robert

By Elliot Jackson

For most of us, our first memory of “The Music” was mediated through the miracle of electronics, whether through the radio:

12 years old, rushing around getting ready for school, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” plays on the AM radio, stops me in my tracks, and I’m instantly in love – Lynn Wetherell, Paonia, Colorado

Ancient technologies like the record player:

 Had the 45 of “Yesterday” (still remember, the flip was “Act Naturally”). Summer of 65, I was four. Maybe the first record I ever owned. Played it over and over and over and over … Adam Davis, Kirksville, Missouri

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Honky Tonkin’ with The Frisco Canyon Ramblers

By Connie Vigil Platt

Cowboys have always been known as hard riding, hard working men. They are also known to be ready and willing to have a good time. Being accustomed to the rhythms of a horse, they are naturally good dancers. They also appreciate a lively foot-tapping tune.

Singing cowboys best describes the musical group once known as The Frisco Canyon Ramblers, as most of the band members also had day jobs as working cowboys.

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Earnest Irony

Salida’s newest rock band, Ironically Charged, proves it’s never too early to rock ‘n roll

By Jennifer Dempsey – photos by Mike Rosso

Ironically Charged

Lily Pinto, 10, lead and rhythm guitar

Musical inspirations: Michael Jackson, Chris Nasca, Bones and Sunga Jung.

Musical goals: to play lead guitar more efficiently and share my music with the world.

Alexandra Maes, 12, lead singer/songwriter, piano

Musical inspiration: Christina Aguilar, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beatles, Madonna, Bones.

Musical goals: to get more successful with the instruments that I play, to constantly learn more; keep writing songs that people love.

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