I’m more than happy to succumb to peer pressure if it means my peers write and perform great music and challenge me to do the same.
A couple of years ago, I went to what has since become one of my favorite live shows ever: The American Songwriter “Ten out of Tenn” Tour which at the time featured Katie Herzig, Erin McCarley, Jeremy Lister, Griffin House, Butterfly Boucher, Matthew Perryman Jones, K.S. Rhoads, Tyler James, Trent Dabbs and Andy Davis. Not only am I a big fan and friend of several of these folks (two of which graced my last record with their voices in the background), I was so impressed with their magnetic and dynamic presence together on stage. PLUS I had more fun than I could shake a stick at. They all danced and sang along with each others best songs and I saw the kind of music community and camaraderie I hoped to someday have with my friends and colleagues. It brought together the best that everyone had to offer…and that was A LOT of a great thing.
So I decided to try to build it back home. I set about joining forces with my Denver music pals and create something akin, even if not as well-produced. The first “Denver Dozen” show sold out the Walnut Room to my pleasant surprise (it also happened to be my CD release party for “From Here”). The original cast was comprised of Megan Burtt, Stephanie Mabey, Ayo Awosika, Rachel James, Tage Plantell, Joel Van Horne, Andy Ard, Rob Drabkin, Nick O’Connor, Stacy Price, Jason Vigil and Dave Preston. Look them up, they’re quite the crew. At the end of the year, I wanted to wash, rinse, repeat. This time with Christmas-colored shampoo and a rotation of players. We let a few folks sit it out and added Hannah and Eva Holbrook of SHEL, Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin, Andy Palmer, Andy Hackbarth and Eric Forsyth.
We had a ball (yes, a glass one) playing traditional and pop Christmas tunes including Andy Ard’s “Father Christmas” by The Kinks, and probably the highlight of the evening was Andy Palmer’s gritty and unnervingly real interpretation of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” complete with a costume. We ended the evening with a Christmas carol sing-along with everyone on stage and in the crowd. My favorite show memories in Denver now are the ones I did with this little peer group project I spearheaded. I’m so glad I did! We are definitely greater than the sum of our parts.
Music, by its very nature, builds community. So I’m calling up the regulars and some new faces for our next shin-dig at The Soiled Dove on November 29th, and I can’t wait to see what develops. It is inspiring to be in the company of so many creative minds and their songs. I’m excited. Here comes “The Denver Dozen: Part III”.