Music Blog

Best Albums of 2013...So Far

Kanye West - Yeezus

2013 is half over and music pundits have been hard at work identifying their favorite albums of year so far.

Here's a sampling of the "Best Albums of 2013...So Far" lists that I've happened upon:

Colorado Music Festivals

Meadowgrass Music Festival

Now that the whole snow thing is out of the way, it's time to think about summer. Colorado hosts some amazing music festivals. Big and small, single day and weekend affairs, there is something for almost everyone to enjoy.

To kick off the summer, my family is trying out Meadowgrass Music Festival near Colorado Springs on Memorial Day weekend. In its 6th year, Meadowgrass may be smaller (and more affordable) than it's Planet Bluegrass rivals, but it's beginning to draw larger crowds and a notable lineup.

Jon Sousa In Concert at DPL This Saturday

The Weekend Music Series at Central Library continues this weekend with a free concert featuring acoustic guitarist, Jon Sousa.

A friendly and generous musician based out of Boulder, Colorado, Jon is best known for his love of traditional Irish music, solo fingerstyle guitar, and rock music. He approaches the guitar with tenderness and a depth of feeling that is rare.

Fingerstyle Guitar with Jon Sousa
Saturday, May 11, 2-3 p.m.
Central Library, Level 1 Schlessman Hall

Nyckelharpa. It sounds prettier than it sounds.

Denver Public Library's Schlessman Hall hosts some of Colorado's most talented musicians in the Fresh City Life Weekend Music Series -- free! This Saturday, concert-goers will hear the strange and beautiful sounds of the nyckelharpa played by Sandra Wong.

The nyckelharpa might be the duck-billed platypus of the music world. Swedish in origin, it combines the strings of a violin, the shape of steel guitar or violin and keys used to change tones or pitch. A cousin of the hurdy gurdy, this odd instrument always delights audiences.

Heavy Petal

If you think the only thing heavy metal and gardening have in common is Robert Plant, then I have news for you!

Award-winning gardener Chris Beardshaw, perhaps best known in the UK for his work on the BBC’s long running television series, Gardeners’ World, has released the results of a horticulture study he conducted with a group of students looking at plant growth and health. The study confirms what head-bangers and junior high science fair participants have known for decades: heavy metal music acts as a nutrient for healthy growth.

Our Iconic Red Rocks

Crowd at Red Rocks 1952

This isn't the first blog post written about Red Rocks here at DPL, but if anything in our fair metropolis deserves renewed attention and accolades, Red Rocks is near the top of the list.

In high school, I was a Dave Matthews fan. Of course being in a suburban, middle class high school, almost everyone was a Dave Matthews fan and DMB's concerts at the local, grassy amphitheater were the peak of summer socializing. By the end of high school, I'd discovered punk and obligatorily disavowed any interest in Dave Matthews.

Sound City

Music geeks won't want to miss this inspiring documentary of musical legendry made by Dave Grohl (of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters) detailing the history of the little music recording studio that could, California's Sound City.

Yes, it's true, it turns out Dave Grohl can make movies, too, and this debut is exceptional. Utilizing studio footage and interview commentary from many of the greatest rock musicians of our time, the film brings to life a golden era of music that is in many ways becoming a thing of the past. Although a strong message is presented about authenticity and the human element in music, the film decisively stops short of being preachy or tiresomely adherent to a bygone past.

Austin Piazzolla Quintet Plays Denver Public Library

Our live music series continues with a spectacular concert featuring the Texas group APQ Tango (AKA The Austin Piazzolla Quintet). Monday, April 1 at Central Library.

They're one of the most popular tango groups in the region, and APQ will be playing a special, free concert for us this Monday night! As an added bonus, dancers from Parasol Arts will be on hand to add traditional tango dances to some of APQ's music selections. Hope you can join us for a memorable evening.

Nuevo Tango with APQ
Monday, April 1, 7-8 p.m.
Central Library, Level 7 Vida Ellison Gallery

Sympathetic Strings: Modern Sitar

Chris 'Citrus' Sauthoff

The soulful music of the Indian sitar is an unmistakable sound of the East. Fresh City Life plays host to Denver's favorite sitar and tabla musicians this weekend.

Heart and Soul: Sitar and Tabla Concert

Saturday, March 23, 2-3 p.m.
Central Library, Level 1 Schlessman Hall

Underappreciated Songwriters (Spotify playlist included!)

Damien Jurado

On the unique occasions that I listen to contemporary pop radio (usually caused by CPR pledge drives), I'm always struck by the superficiality of the songwriting. The songs aren't always of bad quality, but their priorities lie more with fun, sugary sounds. That's okay, but much like a nutritional diet, balance is key. In case your portion of substantial songwriting is meager, here are ten underappreciated artists just waiting to be discovered at the library.

I go through phases of saturating myself in the canon of older songwriters; Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Gillian Welch, and Patty Griffin are among my favorites. But I've been fortunate enough to come across great young songwriters of different genres whose words stick with me long after I've turned off the stereo.

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