Ten of the Best Country (and Countryish) Artists in Colorado

Ten of the Best Country (and Countryish) Artists in Colorado
Danielle Lirette

Up here in the Rocky Mountains, the popularity of country music seems like a given. While there is crossover with the bluegrass and folk scenes, traditional country and blended takes on the genre have an audience here, and there are local gems to be found across the eras. Hell, Willie Nelson made his home in Colorado decades ago (though he's not associated with Colorado closely enough to be included here). John Denver is a notable omission, thanks to his inclusion in the recent "folk musicians" list; he's a crossover. Some of the following names (in alphabetical order) are nationally famous, others are hidden treasures, but all are part of what makes this state so rich with musical talent.

Audy Baldridge
Audy Baldridge
Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame

1. Audy Baldridge
A 34-year resident of our state, Baldridge has been playing country music his whole life, and he was inducted into the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. He currently plays with the Red River Band, as he has done for seventeen years. Baldridge is showing no signs of slowing down, and according to the Hall of Fame website, “his love of country music is rooted in the broad range of places he has performed and all of the wonderful people he has met.”

Beau David
Beau David
Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame

2. Beau David
Sadly, Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Beau David passed away in 2010 at the age of 73. Still, he packed multiple lifetimes' worth of work into just one. Alongside Charlie Pride, David is one of the men of color who changed the face of country music. Born in Cincinnati, David started out playing blues to his fellow troops in the Air Force, but he taught himself other styles, and country happened to be his favorite. He moved to Colorado in 1975 and was a founding member of the state's Country Music Hall of Fame.

Courtesy of artist
Courtesy of artist
Slim Cessna's Auto Club

3. Slim Cessna's Auto Club
Call it alt-country, call it outlaw, call it cow-punk. All you really need to know is that this group of local insult-flinging shit-kickers is one of the most raucous and riotous groups from any genre in the city. They’ve been in the game for more than twenty years, and have performed on bills with artists as diverse as Johnny Cash and the Dresden Dolls. In a rock-and-roll evangelist, Reverend Horton Heat sort of way, Slim Cessna's Auto Club delivers gospel music for people trying to reach the horned one down under. And that’s fine with us.

Leo Everett
Leo Everett
Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame

4. Leo Everett
Everett might be known as the Montana Yodeler, but he moved to Denver in 1981 and was inducted into our Hall of Fame in 1999. And that's wonderful, because yodeling is a bit of a lost art here in the United States, but it's a perfect fit here in the mountains. An acquired taste, maybe, but Everett is as good a talent as exists in the U.S.

Lannie Garrett
Lannie Garrett
Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame

5. Lannie Garrett
A Denver favorite, Garrett can perform a set of originals or a comedy-tribute set like the Patsy DeCline Show. She’s a dynamic performer, regularly found at the top of best-female-vocalist lists in mainstream newspaper polls. She's performed with the Colorado Symphony, headlined at Red Rocks, and worked with the likes of Roseanne Barr, B.B. King and Jay Leno.

Read on for more of the best country artists in Colorado.



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