Every city’s music scene is made up of extremely talented musicians that don’t make it big for a variety of reasons. But that certainly doesn’t mean their art isn’t worth celebrating and preserving.
That’s the goal of Denver Jamgrass, a 501(c)(3) arts and culture group that provides low-to-no-cost promotion for Colorado bands. And it’s made a new effort in that aim with June 26 release of its first annual Stone Soup compilation album. The release features musicians like Meadow Mountain, Thunder and Rain, and That Damn Sasquatch.
“We have such an amazing folk and acoustic scene here in Colorado, and we wanted to archive and preserve the music for contemporary and future consumption,” explained Max Paley, Denver Jamgrass executive director and album producer. “We gave groups an hour in the studio and received some enthusiastic responses. So, we were able to get pieces from some of our favorite bands.”
The album was recorded at Swallow Hill Music in South Denver, and Paley said the hope is this will become an annual project, allowing Jamgrass the opportunity to share new talent every year.
As Paley explains it, Jamgrass was founded by Kirk Hubbard in 2014 out a fandom of musicians like the Grateful Dead. The organization started out recording shows at Cervantes and sharing information about upcoming performances on its Facebook page.
Eventually their efforts grew to include a podcast that features local bands, and is now up to about 23 episodes. Most recently Jamgrass started an assistance fund for musicians who have lost income due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
“The thing that most surprises people about the scene here in Colorado is the variety and diversity of musical styles, which really came through on the album,” Paley said. “The album really shows all the Jamgrass is, which is not one particular genre or style.”
According to information provided by Paley, the name Stone Soup was suggested by Jamgrass founder Kirk Hubbard after “a folk story that emphasizes community and encourages all parties to share a little of what they have for the betterment of the group as a whole.”
Once the album gets out into the world, Paley hopes it will inspire people to learn more about the artists and thriving Denver scene.
“We want people to go and listen to the bands and get excited about the songs they hear,” he said. “We want this to be a kind of megaphone for these great bands.”
For more information on the organization and to find the album when it is released, visit www.denverjamgrass.com.
Seriesfest season 6 goes online
This year’s Seriesfest - which allows television fans to immerse themselves in events and programming, including premiere screenings, conversations with creatives and industry insiders and samples of exciting pilots - will be entirely available to stream.
Running from June 18 through 24, this year’s “Fest / Differently” event includes premieres and panels featuring creatives from shows like Apple’s “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet,” BBC America’s “Killing Eve,” AMC’s “NOS4A2” and more.
In addition to screening numerous new programs, there will also be the Innovation Talk series, discussion of how COVID-19 is affecting the entertainment world and analysis the media landscape in regards to the 2020 election.
For information and passes, visit www.seriesfest.com.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week - Archival My Morning Jacket concerts
If you’ve ever seen Kentucky’s My Morning Jacket live, you know they’re easily one of the absolute best in the business. The group - fronted by Jim James, he of one of the best falsettos in rock - perfectly blend rock, funk, R&B, jamband and alt-country into a heady mix that’s difficult to deny.
For the last several weeks the group has been releasing videos of archival shows on their YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as Nugs.tv. For each webcast the band encourages donating to a different charity.
One of the highlights thus far has been a performance record at Red Rocks on August 2, 2019. It can’t beat the real thing, but visit www.mymorningjacket.com for all the necessary information.
Streaming style - ‘The Death of Stalin’
Many of our politicians these days are doing a laughably poor job are providing much in the way of leadership during these extraordinary times. Instead, it’s all power-jockeying and influence collecting. Which makes Armando Iannucci’s (creator of the bitingly funny television shows “The Thick of It, “ and “VEEP”) darkly hilarious “The Death of Stalin” the perfect comedy for these days.
The film takes audiences to Moscow 1953, where the infamous dictator has just died. Everyone in the government’s upper echelons, and Stalin’s own family, are fighting to take his place. What ensues is utterly funny, but not so much so that it lessens the sting of the connections to modern times. Thanks to a bulletproof cast, you feel every comic punch.
The film is available for streaming on Netflix.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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