My recap of my trip out to Boulder continues...You wouldn't think each day could get better, but each did - Had the best time on Friday!
Arthur Lee Land was the first performer at 10 am before the morning panel. He's one of those one-man-band types, with many loops and a variety of instruments - seemed like the guy could play everything! He'd have stood out more if the next band hadn't been exceptional...
I'd met Steven McMorran of the band Satellite when his record company brought him by the station earlier this summer to play us a couple of songs from their upcoming album.We had lunch together, had a great talk about the creative process. And with just he and his acoustic, the couple songs he played sounded pretty good. Flash forward to Friday when Satellite were the first band on after lunch - those songs came to epic life with a full band and Steven singing his heart and soul out on stage. Wow! Such passion along with expert songwriting combined to create something special. After hearing them live, Zeb and I decided we had to play them - their tune "Say The Words" went into rotation yesterday!
The Secret Sisters came on next - a radical shifting of musical gears! They were discovered by Jack White a couple years ago and have a sort of retro-southern, old-timey gospel feel to their music. They're still working on their next album, but played a bunch of the new songs for us. Their quirky, down-homey charm was, well... charming. But kind of low key after the nearly over-the-top delivery of Satellite - kinda like seeing a Salvation Army band after U2...
We headed back inside for another panel and band. I've seen the next group a couple of times now - and they don't disappoint. With three siblings singing together out of the four singers in the band, Delta Rae have killer built-in harmonies. They performed before the afternoon panel and so only had time for three songs, but they filled the conference room with their passion and certainly won over whatever part of the radio crowd there they hadn't yet. Then it was out to another afternoon Cocktail Party and performances by Marie Miller and Gooding. Have to confess - was in chat mode through most of this one, didn't really get to appreciate the artists' sets.
Went to a dinner with The Lone Bellow and Satellite that evening. Nice to see The Lone Bellow again - we had fun looking back on their performance at Sugarbush at one of The Point's apres ski parties. It was also nice to be able to congratulate Steven on Satellite's performance earlier! After dinner it was back up to The Fox Theater and the outdoor stage for the final night of shows on The Hill in Boulder. Grace and Tony were playing a nice acoustic set when I arrived, but I didn't stick around too long - Saints of Valory were about to go on inside the Fox! As the guy who broke the band at radio, wanted to be there for their breakout performance. Plus, I wanted to see what they'd decided on for a setlist after their discussions the night before. Godfrey got his way - they did "Rain Fall" - a tune that always gets the Burlington crowds going. They also covered Lorde - "Royals" - an odd choice, but... OK. Sounded good! It seemed like they won over the crowd as the performance went on - "Rain Fall" really connected! Great set from the guys.
When they finished, I headed quickly back outside and heard The Lone Bellow launch into "You Never Need Nobody" to start their set before I'd even gotten to their stage. We were the first station in the country to play them, as well, so it was a back-to-back breaking band experience ;) Zack from The Lone Bellow kind of lost his voice by the end of the set, but it was still a potent performance - they are so good! And, again, so cool to see a band I believe in winning over new radio converts.
When they finished it was back into the theater for the final two sets. City and Colour impressed - Dallas Green has put together a talented touring band to back him up on the road. The Airborne Toxic Event didn't do as much for me live. Strangely enough, they played the 2nd cover of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire" I'd heard that day - and Satellite's earlier version had been a a cool rearrangement, whereas Airborne's sounded a bit like a dirge.
Made it back to the hotel after their set for the last "Late Night Lounge" and a set by former member of Crooked Still, Aoife O'Donovan. She was good - I was losing steam, but she kept me entertained and awake. I met her after, turned out she was from Massachusetts, a few towns over from where I grew up. Kind of neat! After the set change Lucy Schwartz came on - I'd liked her last album, would have liked to hear her new material, but... I was done. Had to sleep!
Saturday morning brought our last event, The Triple A Awards Brunch. Truth & Salvage Co. played a spirited opening set, a bit heavy on the Nashville twang for my taste, though I did enjoy their cover of Joe South's "Games People Play." And it was nice to finally see Over the Rhine perform, although it struck me that The Civil Wars have kind of stolen their thunder - didn't seem quite fair. But life isn't fair. After all, I was nominated for Music Director of the Year again and didn't win. And Zeb got the nom for Program Director and didn't win. BUT then again... when they announced the winner of Station of the Year (Markets 50+) - we won! WNCS took the award! Zeb and I got to get up, make brief "speeches"... What a great finish to an amazing stretch of days in Boulder! After that, it was off to the airport and many hours of traveling to finally get home in Vermont just after midnight Saturday.
Quite a trip!