Avett Brothers + Sturgill Simpson, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, July 11, 2015
All the important memories in my life, or at least a majority of them, are tied to music. In somehow, someway, my most cherished moments seem to be connected with a song, concert, or a band.
Cooking for my parents with the omnipresent George Harrison playing in the background, driving overnight through the Utah desert with my best friend for a Dave Matthews Band concert, sharing a beer with Wilco at the Rockslide, my first performance with Dreamboat at Tenacious Brothers — the list goes on and on.
Music has meant so much more to me then I can describe here. Yes, it’s been the soundtrack of my life but it’s also been the gateway to so many great relationships. From melancholy and joy to heartbreak and romance, I would simply not be the man I am today without harmony and melody.
For the average music fan there’s nothing particularly special or memorable about the Parlours, a mildly successful indie band from Iowa. Yet for me, they are one of the most important bands of my life. At their Mesa Theater and Club lounge show, Saturday night, August 25, 2012, I met the love of my life.
Even today, as the opening synth chords fade into my favorite Parlours song “Dreamers,” time stops, and no matter my surroundings, I’m reminded of when I met Jamie.
I see the tiny giraffes on her patterned blue dress. I see her long, loose curls lightly falling on her grey cardigan sweater, and her warm, heart-melting gaze like it was yesterday.
I also see the terrible outfit I was wearing, ragged cut-off jean shorts and one of my dad’s old plaid button up shirts, and wonder why she ever gave me the time of day.
I can’t tell you if it was love at first sight, but seeing her and realizing that the rest of the lounge had vanished around us, the connection I felt, and continue to feel today, was undeniable. Truth be told I can’t recall anything about the night, other than the moments spent in effortless conversation with her.
Almost a week later we meet again at another concert, Jack + Jill with opening support from Dreamboat, the band I was playing bass with at the time. Feeling unusually confident, perhaps the result of the full blue moon hanging overhead, I asked her out after our set. She said yes.
Since those late August nights we’ve made countless memories together. We spent our second anniversary at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, weathering a torrential downpour to see the Arctic Monkeys. We went to the Postal Service reunion show and “Motown: The Musical” together. We’ve spent date nights at our friend’s band and DJ shows. We’ve dressed up as zombie Ewok and zombie Hunter S. Thompson for Zombie Prom.
When I play an Avett Brothers song on guitar I think about our annual pilgrimage to Red Rocks to see them live. I think about filling our house with their music and the promise I’ve made to learn banjo because that’s what Scott Avett, her favorite Avett, plays.
The past three years have been the best of my life, filed with great music, yes, but more importantly, priceless memories. Jamie’s made my ordinary life extraordinary and I can’t help but wonder, if it wasn’t for the Parlours, or Dreamboat, or the Avett Brothers, would we still have found each other?
Coincidentally next Friday, July 31, is the first blue moon since August 2012. It is also our wedding day. I love her today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives, and feel lucky to store yet another treasured memory with this perfect girl.
Local indie band Mount Orchid will officially release their new, self-titled album this Saturday with a concert at the Local. Comprised of former members of the band Dreamboat, Mount Orchid will debut several new songs as well as perform old Dreamboat classics. The new album is already available for streaming and purchase at bandcamp.com.
Sharing the stage will be Denver based Indie/Folk artists Anthony Ruptak and the Midnight friends. They have been featured on Open Air CPR and have been making waves in the exploding Denver music scene. Also performing is Denver musician Jacob Russo.
The show starts at 10 p.m., tomorrow (July 18), at the Local in Downtown Grand Junction.
Icelandic folk band Árstíðir (Arstidir) and Brooklyn piano-violin duo Gracie and Rachel perform tonight at the Coloraod Mesa University Moss Performing Arts Center.
“Árstíðir is a group I have known and loved for many years. When we got in touch with them, Lauren and I jumped at the chance to bring them here to share their incredible music with the Grand Junction community,” Joseph Moher, a music performance major at CMU who is promoting the concert, said.
Arstidir’s music defies genre borders and like fellow Icelandic musicians Sigur Ros, might best be described as classically influenced indie folk rock.
Accompanying Arstidir is Brooklyn-based piano-violin duo Gracie and Rachel. Their forthcoming debut album "Go" is a penetrating record of a lifelong friendship, which flows freely between virtuosic violin textures to sylphlike melodies, highlighting seasoned songwriting. The result is a heartfelt glimpse into two artists' intertwined lives.
Exterior view of the 970West Studio, looking northeast from Fifth Street and Ouray Avenue.
Mesa County Libraries plan to break ground in early July on a digital recording and production studio that will offer opportunities for the public to learn and perform professional-level audio and video recording.
The studio also will enhance Mesa County Libraries’ ability to document and preserve Mesa County’s unique and vanishing cultural assets.
Approximately 3,000 square feet in size, the studio building will be constructed on vacant land owned by Mesa County Libraries at Fifth Street and Ouray Avenue. As designed and proposed, the studio will include a 654-square-foot studio/training room (capable of holding 10-20 people for training), a 436-square-foot control room, a 245-square-foot space for an artist in residence, storage space for equipment and materials, and parking for approximately 10 vehicles with access from the alley. Visually, the exterior will resemble the Central Library building.
The facility will be named the 970West Studio. 970West is a pioneering digital initiative by Mesa County Libraries to provide the community with unique, locally focused online content and the technological tools to produce such content.
“The 970West Studio is a huge step forward in bringing 21st century library services to Mesa County,” said Library Director Joseph Sanchez. “New media and digital technology enable people from all walks of life to create high-quality audio and video content for a variety of purposes. This studio gives the library an opportunity to create unique, valuable content of local importance, and it also gives the citizens of Mesa County a chance to learn and use professional-level facilities and equipment for their own projects.”
Several potential users already have indicated interest in using the studio upon completion. For example, K-12 students could use it to produce audio-visual senior portfolios, local bands could use it to record music, and individuals could use it to produce video histories of families or local businesses.
Library staff also will make significant use of the studio for various projects associated with 970West Digital, an online collection of photos, videos, artwork, and other elements that visually capture the unique aspects of life in western Colorado. 970West Digital includes collections such as Veterans Remember, landscape and wildlife photography, and images and information about hand-tied flies for fishing in western Colorado. 970West Digital can be found at mesacountylibraries.org.
Estimated cost of the 970West Studio is approximately $1,350,000, funded primarily by the Mesa County Public Library District’s cash reserves. Library administration is confident that construction of the 970West Studio can be accomplished while maintaining a safe and prudent balance in the library district’s reserves. The Mesa County Public Library Foundation has launched a capital campaign for the studio and has committed $250,000 toward the project. The capital campaign will continue through Dec. 31, 2015.
Asset Engineering of Grand Junction, which provided preconstruction services on the project, is expected to be the general contractor. Construction is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2015.
“The Board of Trustees is excited about the potential that this studio holds for Mesa County Libraries,” said Elaine Barnett, president of the Mesa County Public Library District Board of Trustees. “Not only will the library be better able to provide technology education and training to the community, but our capacity to help record and preserve many of the unique aspects of Mesa County will be greatly improved. We view this studio as an important and critical investment in the future of Mesa County Libraries and our community.”
With the snow-capped San Juan Mountain Range in the background, the reception was picturesque.
Snatched right out of the pages of a Colorado wedding magazine, the Wild Bunch Ranch was the perfect setting for a perfect evening.
The DJ table was set up next to manicured lily pond, lined with a brilliant selection of wildflowers. As the warm western Colorado sun slowly set behind a grove of mature willow trees, I checked then rechecked all my cables and connections to make sure I had everything in line.
A couple weeks earlier, as a favor to the bride and groom, I agreed to DJ their wedding. Having never done it before, I did what I do best: over-prepare.
Determined not to ruin the happiest day of my friends’ lives, I bought backup XLR cables just in case something failed. I even downloaded an app that would allow me to mix on my smart phone in the event my whole system went down.
To my relief, everything was in working order.
As guests arrived, I kicked the music off with classic Motown, “My Girl” by The Temptations, and sprinkled in little shots of 1970s-era pop such as “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone.
Hovering right around 110 beats per minute, the energy level was perfect for settling in, sipping cocktails, snacking on smoked barbecue, and enjoying each other’s company.
I kept one eye peeled on the crowd, looking for any indication that the music was not totally on point. So far, so good.
As the evening continued and dinner finished up, I started to ratchet up the BPMs and build momentum for the ensuing dance party. First though, it was time for the wedding toasts. After some nice words from the best man and a ballsy musical dedication from the bride’s sister, the celebration was officially under way.
White Christmas lights twinkled against the night sky and camera flashes popped across the property. The mood was celebratory so I opened up the playlist, dropping House of Pain, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bee Gees, Taylor Swift, ABBA and Run DMC. People were dancing and having a great time.
As the guests loosened up, they approached me with request after request.
All my preparation and planning went right out the window as they started asking for songs such as the “Chicken Dance” and the “Hokey Pokey.” Someone asked for a random country song I didn’t have. Another person requested the title track from a Disney TV show. Someone even requested that I play a YouTube video.
As a DJ, especially at an event like a wedding reception, you try and accommodate everyone’s requests. I briefly did my best to comply, franticly attempting to download songs to my iPhone. However, with no Wi-Fi and a weak cell connection, it was futile work trying to pull songs from the Cloud down to the banks of the Uncompahgre River where the reception was in full swing.
Some of the requested songs I did have. Michael Jackson, ACDC, Calvin Harris and others. Those led to some interesting dance floor moves, memorably the child who busted out of the kiddie coral and did an excellent rendition of the running man.
Thankfully, I was able to meet the only request that truly mattered, that of the groom’s grandmother. She wanted only one song for one last dance with her grandson, the appropriate “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge. Fulfilling her request made the whole night worth it.
The wedding DJ experience pushed me out of my comfort zone, but you know what? Everything turned out great. That wild bunch lead me down some interesting paths and looking back, I can’t imagine a more lovely event to play.