Sounds Like Colorado: The Best of the Centennial State

Last time, we brought you the best music that the Golden State has to offer. This week, it’s time to crank up the altitude. This week, check out reviews of two of Colorado’s native bands!

The Lumineers
The Lumineers

With this album, The Lumineers have created something that’s immediately fun and gratifying. There’s no adjustment period here—from the very first track, you’re hooked on the band’s strings, drums and folk-y sound. Unlike others in the recent folk revival, however, The Lumineers consistently keep the sound fresh.

Although this album is practically overflowing with upbeat tracks, The Lumineers don’t skimp on lyrical content. There’s great feel-good material here, notably on tracks like “Flowers in Your Hair”, but the band really shines when it works a little sadness in with all the Americana vibes. The real power lies in tracks like “Slow it Down”, which let the band’s somber side show.

One of the most wonderful things about this album is its ability to mix in numerous elements without ever sounding overcooked. The Lumineers seamlessly incorporate unusual instruments and chords without ever pushing it too far. Such creativity even on a debut album stirs up hope for even better material to come.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Dead Sea”, “Slow it Down”

John Denver
The Essential John Denver

When John Denver died in a plane crash in 1997 at 53, he left behind a career of creating music that evokes images of his home state of Colorado. The Essential John Denver is a collection of Denver’s greatest hits and highest points, giving his fans the best possible tracklist to remember him by. This album does Denver’s career—and his legacy—justice.

The album includes the songs that captured the ears—and hearts—of Denver’s fan base. As Denver ascended to musical stardom, he did so by perfecting fresh, folky sound with beautiful orchestration and a heartfelt, genuine feel. Famous Denver gems like “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane” show Denver’s range—he transitions from soft string arrangements to somber piano tracks seamlessly.

As a Colorado native, Denver was deeply inspired by the nature around him. “Windsong” plays like a tribute to his home state. Denver’s love for the natural world remains clear on “Rocky Mountain High” and “Take Me Home Country Roads”, one of his best-known tracks.

For existing Denver fans and those interested in getting a quick taste of his music, this album is an excellent collection of his finest. There are no unnecessary tracks here, just a strong collection tat showcases John Denver’s range of material. An excellent slice of one of America’s finest.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Leaving, On a Jet Plane”, “Sunshine on My Shoulders”

Paper Bird
Rooms

Listen to Paper Bird’s Rooms with an open mind. This seven-piece band from Denver certainly knows how to create an unusual sound. The band mixes unexpected world beat rhythms and seamless harmonies with occasional psychedelia, resulting in a sound that is 100% their own.

For this band, the benefit of having so many members is the incredible effect that their voices and instrumentation make when they come together. Individually their voices might not stand out, but together they build a unique, colorful and layered feeling.  The album was recorded live, which only enhances this effect—it creates a live show feel without sacrificing sound quality.

This album keeps changing things up as it progresses, with each new track delving in to its own influences. “Seaside Lullaby” is fragile, light folk music, while “Blood and Bones” is a rocking track with guitar chords, stronger vocals and a country-rock beat. This album is a sure way to mix up your music library and introduce a bit of unpredictability into your day.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Blood and Bones”, “As I Am”

Interview with Paper Bird

Mark Anderson was a really great person to chat with earlier this year on the Murfie Podcast. He plays percussion in Paper Bird, a harmonious seven-piece band that’s gaining more and more national buzz each day. Here’s a transcript of our interview, and another chance to dig in to the interesting world of up-and-coming music.

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast, right from murfie.com: the world’s largest used and new CD store online. So, one band that I’m really diggin’ right now is Paper Bird. They’re a seven-piece indie folk band from Colorado. I had a chat with one of the band members, Mark, right after they released their new album, Rooms.

[MUSIC: “As I Am” by Paper Bird]

Kayla: Alright, so right now I have Mark on the phone, from Paper Bird. Where are you calling from?

Mark: I’m just calling from my apartment in Denver, Colorado.

Kayla: Ok, yes, I saw that you guys are from Colorado, and I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard a lot of great things about that place. So, are a lot of people in the band from Colorado, originally, or did you guys end up there?

Mark: Um, most of us are from here, originally. Some of us were born other places—like Sarah, my sister, and I, were born in Ohio, but moved here when we were really young—and then a couple of members were born in Texas. But all of us say we’re from Colorado—it’s where we grew up.

Kayla: Right—it’s your home, totally! You and Sarah are brother and sister—I did not know that.

Mark: Yeah, yeah. There’s another set of siblings in the band, too: Genny and Esme are sisters.

Kayla: Oh, awesome! That’s fun.

Mark: Yeah.

Kayla: How did you all meet each other?

Mark: Well, we’ve known each other for a long time—it kind of was a culmination of coincidence and then also just like, common interest. Like, we all moved to Denver—um, god, I don’t know, we’ve lived in Denver for a long time. And I think just like, through random acquaintances, and some people through school and things like that, a loose group of us started getting together—and then music is what pulled us in farther, and slowly our friendships culminated into the band, and we’ve been doing it for like, six years now.

Kayla: That’s the best way to get started, you know—the music brings you together, the common interests. And you guys have developed a really unique sound, because basically everybody in the band contributes to writing songs and that sort of thing; so is that how it usually works? Do you guys kind of come to each other and say, “I have an idea for a song,” and then do you work on it together?

Continue reading Interview with Paper Bird