By Noah Hubbell
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By Tom Murphy
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By Darryl Smyers
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The rest of the country is warming to Xiren. The Denver-based singer, songwriter and guitarist has been performing for almost a decade, and his efforts are beginning to pay off on a wider scale. Earlier this year, "Ship of Fools (Big Enough)," a track that blends layered guitar tracks with Xiren's understated, urgent vocals, began registering on national radio websites, rising to the rank of one of the most added songs alongside acts like Bon Jovi, Five for Fighting and Rob Thomas. The success followed last year's inclusion of Xiren's tune "Butterflies" in a nationwide Volkswagen ad campaign. We recently talked with Xiren about the challenges of translating his wider successes into recognition in his home town.
Westword: The upcoming gig at the Soiled Dove is being billed as a "once-a-year event" on your website. You're a band that's built up a reputation locally for many years; what makes this performance so significant?
Xiren: We haven't headlined really at all this year. We've done a couple of things at Herman's Hideaway on that Friday-night cast of bands and things like that, where we were technically the headliners, but we haven't really headlined a show this year in Denver. It's been a while since we've really taken it on and done our thing and had the show look the way we want it to. Really, the purpose of this show, above all the other shows that we've done in the past, is to really have people look at their tickets twice and say, 'Oh, my God, I only paid ten bucks to go to this? It looks like a Coldplay concert or something!"
For more of our interview with Xiren, visit blogs.westword.com/backbeat/qa.
Do you think the scale of the upcoming Soiled Dove show is tied pretty closely to the radio success of "Ship of Fools"?
That's the other thing that makes this special. The single is doing really, really, really well. It's number twelve in the country.
We're just kind of starting to get a little bit of love from Colorado radio, but believe it or not, most of the radio play is elsewhere, not in my home town. Other than the local shows, in the big radio markets we're just now starting to get love. We're really trying to have this show be an industry guest list. We're really opening this up to make sure that Denver's kind of aware that they're invited to be part of this. Hopefully, we're going to start cracking a little bigger into the radio market here.
So in essence, is this an effort to bring the momentum "Ship of Fools" has built elsewhere in the country to your home base?
Absolutely. Frankly, we've had a manager flying in from New York to check us out. We've got another musician from Washington flying down. This is an important show for us; we're building a team, and some of these people have to see it now live. In addition to making sure Colorado is aware of everything, it's a big move for us in just logistically getting our team together.