Austen Carroll Grafa stays busy in the Colorado music scene as frontman for Grayson County Burn Ban and bassist for Bud Bronson & the Good Timers. The Denver musician just released his debut solo EP, "Do It While You Can." Grafa cites singer-songwriters who infuse humor into their lyrics like John Prine and Robert Earl Keen as influences on the record. Grafa and his band visited our studio last month to play some new songs from "Do It While You Can." He also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about his decision to go solo, writing about his home state of Texas and the country-western scene in Denver.
CPR Performance Studio
The Colorado Pubic Radio Performance Studio provides a stage to showcase the depth and variety of both classical, and new and independent music coming to, and from, Colorado. CPR's OpenAir also offers a podcast of interviews and performances from select musicians, and additional performances from the archive available here.
Aly Spaltro released "Even in the Tremor," her third album as Lady Lamb, earlier this month. The New York-based singer-songwriter takes plenty of musical twists and turns in her music, shifting from charming and lively pop to contemplative folk at a moment's notice. The connecting thread is Spaltro's poetic and reflective lyrics. Spaltro visited our studio to play four songs from "Even in the Tremor" on acoustic guitar with bandmate Marian Li Pino on backing vocals. She also spoke with Bruce Trujillo about how her songs have become more autobiographical, why she arranged the album herself and how a traumatic childhood experience at Pizza Hut led to the song "Young Disciple."
The Copper Children formed in 2015 when frontman Zea Stallings booked a performance at the Gothic Theatre and needed a band to back him. Since then the Denver group has released three albums that blend jam, folk and psychedelic rock, the most recent of which is "Speaking in Spirits." The Copper Children visited the CPR Performance Studio before an album release show at Denver's Larimer Lounge. The members played three songs from "Speaking in Spirits" and spoke with Bruce Trujillo about the band's origin story, how they view their music as prayer and writing lyrics spontaneously during jam sessions.
The members of Oko Tygra shared their hypnotic, '80s-influenced dream pop in our studio four years ago. Since then the Denver quartet -- led by singer and guitarist Joshua Novak -- has remained relatively quiet, playing intermittent local shows and working on new music. The band is back in the local spotlight this month with the release of its debut album, "Assistoma." Oko Tygra recently returned to the CPR Performance Studio. The band members played three songs and spoke with Jeremy Petersen about why they don't play as many concerts as some bands, the years of work that went into "Assistoma" and the themes of solitude and isolation behind the new music.
Daniel Rodriguez has been a guest in our studio several times as a member of Colorado folk band Elephant Revival. That band went on hiatus last year, but its members remain busy. Guitarist Rodriguez has done so by recording his debut solo EP, "Your Heart, The Stars, The Milky Way," which he released earlier this year. Rodriguez returned to the CPR Performance Studio to play four songs from his new record. He also spoke with Bruce Trujillo about the differences between performing solo and with a band, how writing music helped him come to terms with a recent breakup and exploring a more "electric" sound.
We first welcomed Whiskey Autumn into our studio in 2016 after catching wind of their submission to that year's Tiny Desk Contest from NPR Music. Three years later, the Denver band brought their eclectic indie pop back into our studio just before releasing the new album "Modern Doubt." Whiskey Autumn played four songs from the new record and chatted with Bruce Trujillo about the political edge behind their songs, the ambient beach sounds on the record and the advantages of recording in their home studio.
J.S. Ondara's humble musical beginning is a central theme of his debut album, "Tales of America." The singer-songwriter grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, with little opportunity to hear or play music outside of listening to his parents' small radio. After moving to Minneapolis, Ondara cut his teeth in that city's music scene before gaining a national spotlight for his poetic folk songs influenced by gospel and the pursuit of the American dream. J.S. Ondara stopped into the CPR Performance Studio before a show at Denver's Lost Lake. He played three songs from "Tales of America" and spoke with Bruce Trujillo about how hearing Bob Dylan for the first time led to his move to the U.S., teaching himself to play guitar and whether or not he plans to "go electric."
Hop Along began as songwriter Frances Quinlan's solo acoustic project, but has since evolved to a full band signed to the Saddle Creek indie label. The Philadelphia quartet self-produced its third album, "Bark Your Head Off, Dog," which features an eclectic sound influenced by folk, pop, punk and classical music. But it's Quinlan's effervescent vocal delivery of her thoughtful lyrics that might be the band's most remarkable element. Hop Along stopped by the CPR Performance Studio before headlining the Bluebird Theater in Denver last week. The band played three songs from "Bark Your Head Off, Dog" and Quinlan spoke with Jeremy Petersen about adding a cinematic quality to her music, the legacy of Saddle Creek's catalog and what it's like collaborating with her brother Mark, who plays drums in Hop Along.
Dilly Dally released its sophomore album, "Heaven," last September. The Toronto band takes on subjects like trauma, depression, sexism and angst behind punk and grunge-inspired guitars. The record came together after a difficult tour cycle that nearly ended the group. Dilly Dally visited the CPR Performance Studio before a show at Denver's Larimer Lounge. The band members played four songs from "Heaven" and spoke with Bruce Trujillo about taking a break to focus on mental health, the band's newfound optimism and working with a new producer to tweak their sound.
Slow Caves release their debut album, "Falling," this week. The Fort Collins indie rock band has been a presence in the Colorado music scene for several years and they represented the Centennial state last week at the SXSW music festival in Austin. Before that trip to Texas, we welcomed them back into our studio for the first time since 2017. Slow Caves played three stripped-down versions of songs from "Falling." The band members also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about recording the album in Austin and signing to the Cincinnati indie label Old Flame Records.