Denver singer-songwriter Rachael McCuaig was one of thousands of artists around the country who submitted an original video to NPR’s second annual Tiny Desk Concert Contest earlier this year. She used a simple setup in her contest submission -- just vocals and guitar -- but it was enough to make our list of 10 favorite Colorado entries from 2016. McCuaig hasn't recorded an official release, so we were thrilled to host her in the CPR Performance Studio recently and share her music with our audience for the first time.
Check out these thoroughly modern takes on Italian Baroque classics.
Brooklyn composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone formed San Fermin for a one-off performance of his sheet music compositions in 2012. However, that music would live on past that show: The band recorded and released those songs in 2013 on San Fermin’s debut self-titled album. Ludwig-Leone then solidified San Fermin as an eight-piece touring band with two lead vocalists and a blend of rock and orchestral instruments. Last year San Fermin released its second studio album, "Jackrabbit," which came to life as Ludwig-Leone and his band adapted to life as a touring band and became a close-knit musical family.
Dan Boeckner puts most indie musicians to shame as far as his energy and sheer output. The Canadian musician co-founded the pioneering indie band Wolf Parade, fronted Handsome Furs and collaborated with Spoon’s Britt Daniel in Divine Fits. Now, he leads the new band Operators. The band played at OpenAir on the release day of its debut album, "Blue Wave." The record is a continuation of the synthesizer-driven sounds of Handsome Furs with contributions of drummer Sam Brown and keyboardist Devojka.
The group champions music by contemporary composers, including local artists.
Karen and Ryan Hover are the married duo behind Fort Collins band Sound of Ceres. They recorded three synth-pop albums as Candy Claws before venturing into ethereal space-rock territory with their new group. The Hovers recruited members of The Polyphonic Spree and Brooklyn indie rockers The Drums for "Nostalgia For Infinity," their debut album as Sound of Ceres. The band stopped into our CPR Performance Studio shortly before heading to Austin, Texas, for SXSW.
Colorado-born rapper and singer Turner Jackson set out to tell a coming-of-age story based on his life with his new EP, "Red Plastic Cup." The MC, who's now based in New York City, breaks away from a pure hip-hop sound on "Red Plastic Cup" and verges into soul and rock. Jackson and his band stopped into the CPR Performance Studio for an OpenAir Session.
Seattle artist Austin Crane started Valley Maker as an undergraduate thesis project in 2010. He's a doctoral student in geography at the University of Washington but still finds time to play his folk music. His most recent album is last year's "When I Was A Child." He stopped into our CPR Performance Studio while on tour last month to play a solo set.
Montoneros is a Denver-based space rock band formed in 2014. Argentinian-born singer Gaston Leone fronts the group, which is set to release the new EP "Heat Horse" this week. The band performed three songs at OpenAir and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about recording at the local Black In Bluhm studio and writing lyrics in two languages.
Fort Collins band Pandas & People crafts energetic folk music. The group began in 2013 as a side project of singer and bassist Joshua Scheer and guitarist Johnny Day, and has gone on to open for acts like The Doobie Brothers and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.