We asked some notable members of the Colorado arts scene, our so-called "VIPs," to share their favorite music experiences of 2015.
Some of them chose live performances. Others chose the moment they heard a new artist for the first time. Whatever they picked, each contributor shared a profound and unique experience.
"Last year Patrick (Riley, also of Tennis) and I were shocked and honored by an invitation to perform at a tribute for David Lynch. It was called The Music Of David Lynch, and participating artists were asked to play songs from the soundtrack of his film career. Angelo Badalamenti led the house band through his original score for 'Twin Peaks' (gasp!). I sang Roy Orbison's 'In Dreams' and was so nervous I could barely think, breathe or move. Somehow I managed to make it through the song without physically dissolving or forgetting all the words (two very real fears).
"After our performance, Rebekah Del Rio took the stage and sang 'Llorando.' It was a stunning recreation of the scene from 'Mulholland Drive.' Everyone was weeping or cheering. In the brief history of our band, I've had so many moments where I ask myself, 'How did I get here? How is this happening to me?' But this one takes the cake. That night was without question my most cherished experience of the past year."
"Illegal Pete’s turned 20 this year. Founder and owner Pete Turner decided to celebrate by inviting all current and past employees to Red Rocks for the party and concert. A highlight was watching 8,000 people sing along to "S.O.B." by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats while headliners Lucero and Built to Spill looked on from backstage. Nathan McGarvey from Nathan & Stephen said it best: 'This is Red Rocks! Did you guys know this is Red Rocks?'"
"I was driving around with my dial set to 102.3, half-listening to an anemic-sounding guy mope about a girl, when out of nowhere I was hit with the kind of line that made me think I might connect with this sad stranger after all: 'I hate that soulful affectation white girls put on / Why don't you just move to the Delta?'
"Shazam told me that my new buddy was none other than Father John Misty (performing 'The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment'). While upon further listening I've decided that The Father is indeed a little too dark and dreary for my liking, I feel like he's right about a lot of things, including singers with forced accents. Sing in your own voice! We can't all be John Fogerty."
"I think the most memorable musical experience I gained from 2015 was definitely the UMS (Underground Music Showcase). Not only was it my first time playing, it was also my first time going. What a thrill it was to see local musicians come together and show the city the rhythm of their heartbeats. I made a few new friends that are also musicians and I can truly say that I admire their work because it's organically homegrown and so are their personalities."
"If you haven’t haven’t had the pleasure to listen to John Moreland you should do so quickly. Hailing from Broken Arrow, Okla., John Moreland has been a favorite for musicians and industry insiders for the past three years. I first watched him work his magic through his heartbreaking songs like 'Cherokee,' 'Gospel' and '3:59AM' at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, Mo.
"This past summer he played an emotional set at the Hi-Dive and followed it up the next night at the Illegal Pete’s corporate headquarters as the voice of the first of Virgil Dickerson's Kitchen Concerts. Moreland, more than any other artists I know of, sings from the depth of his own experience and emotions. He forces you to take stock of your own life while living through his pain."
"Charles Bradley (the 'Screaming Eagle of Soul') & His Extraordinaires and Phosphorescent headlined a brilliant lineup of local and national acts at the Bristol Freewheelin’ Music Fest at the Ivywild School in Colorado Springs in September. It also included Joe Pug, Paper Bird, Natural Child, PUJOL, Patrick Dethlefs, Porlolo, Chimney Choir, Ian Cooke, Brent Cowles, Indy Music Award winners The Reminders and more.
"This was what felt like a rare opportunity: two days celebrating an emerging music community while Colorado Springs rallied around their new cultural institution. Standing only feet from the Screaming Eagle, I contemplated how long it might take the rest of Denver and Colorado to realize what a gem Ivywild and Bristol are for our community – and one that could be a model for Denver’s new development boom."