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The Show(case) Must Go On!

Clearly, Storey is taking a proactive approach to her career. "I've never waited around for, like, the magical hand from the sky. I've worked really hard to put out my music, because I feel like I have a musical purpose." Still, she adds, "It's always great to work with people who can take you to other avenues and other levels. I'm open to that in whatever form it comes." -- Roberts

SWITCHPIN
NOMINATED IN HARD ROCK
8 P.M., LA RUMBA
Switchpin's Chris Scott sums up his band's philosophy succinctly.

"We don't play for Satan, we don't play for politics; we play for us," he says. But the members of the hard-rocking Denver act find time to play for fans, too: Their live debut in December 2000 packed 400 people into the Bluebird Theater. A subsequent show the next year won the admiration of -- and a sponsorship from -- Airwalk Shoes.

It was an apt pairing: Good foot support is imperative for a Switchpin live show, where the six players do a lot of jumping, leaping and flailing around. Rooted in solid metal, the band is fond of mixing things up with a mishmash of influences for a result that ain't pretty. Switchpin makes music by "pouring every angry, pissed-off, stepped-on emotion" into its songs.

Last year, the group's self-recorded, self-released CD, Redemption, grabbed the attention of reps from Roadrunner Records; the deal fell through when the label decided it was looking for a softer, more radio-friendly sound. No matter. Switchpin has sold more than 5,000 copies of the disc since its release in July 2002 and landed tracks on KBPI's The Pit program; the band has also spurred a flurry of downloads through MP3.com.

"Everybody is set on going all the way," Scott says of his mates -- vocalist Jon Novak, drummer Pat Anderson, guitarist Tano Archuleta, bassist G-Off Frantz and guitarist Joe Oaks.

Switchpin recently revised Redemption for a 2.0 edition, polishing the rough home recording for a smoother sound, and is gathering tracks for an all-new CD. The band is planning moves into other markets, as well, with an East Coast tour tentatively planned for this summer. Switchpin's commitment to success is tempered with realism; Scott, for one, has a worst-case scenario laid out in his personal mantra: "Please God, do it, or I'm going to end up working in a gas station all my life." -- Soltero

OTIS TAYLOR
NOMINATED IN BLUES
9:30 P.M., ACOMA CENTER
The news just keeps getting better for Otis Taylor. In 2002, he was nominated for four W.C. Handy awards [the Grammys of the blues field] and took home the trophy for Best New Artist -- a designation that doesn't bother him in the slightest, even though he's been part of the Denver music scene for long enough to have played alongside guitar god Tommy Bolin, who died in 1976. The Handy prize, not to mention a pair of 2003 nominations for the brilliant long-player Respect the Dead, undoubtedly helped convince Telarc Records, a large presence among jazz and blues labels, to ink Taylor to a deal that kicks off this month with the appearance of his latest disc, Truth Is Not Fiction. But these glad tidings don't mean that the new CD, produced by Taylor regular Kenny Passarelli, is peppy and upbeat. "It's got the most depressing songs you're going to hear this year," he promises.

An exaggeration? Not as judged by "House of the Crosses," a composition set in St. Petersburg, Russia, that's "real twisted," Taylor acknowledges. "It's about a woman who gets raped, and years later, she takes her son to prison to show him what his father looks like. And the son becomes a prison guard to watch over his father and make sure that he never hurts anyone again. It's the deepest, darkest shit I've ever done."

As this tale demonstrates, Taylor is unafraid to take the blues to places it's never been before -- and thanks to his intelligence and intensity, more and more listeners are willing to follow him on his journey. For him, the traditional conflict between art and commerce isn't a fight at all. "I'm not that concerned about selling records," he says. "That's not me. But maybe by doing what I do, I'll help change the taste in some people and make them hear the blues in different ways." -- Roberts

TEMPA AND THE TANTRUMS
NOMINATED IN BLUES
Tempa Singer is no run-of-the-mill blues diva. That is, unless the blues in question contain a healthy dose of bluegrass. While this chanteuse possesses a set of pipes steeped in the blues, she's not about to be painted into any corners.

Raised by her grandparents until the age of five in a place she refers to as a "West Virginian holler," she garnered an appreciation for the banjo-based genre from her Uncle Harold, who toured with esteemed bluegrass troubadour Ralph Stanley. According to Singer, this time period was pivotal in her musical development.

"When you start with music other than rock or pop, it gives you more of an open mind," she says.

She also credits the time she spent growing up on a school bus in the Florida swamplands -- sans electricity, with her hippie parents -- listening to worn-out cassette tapes of Cat Stevens, Waylon Jennings and the Beatles for providing her with a profound appreciation of "an amazing plethora of anything musical."

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