Unlike Detroit, New Orleans, Seattle and other musical hotbeds, the Denver/Boulder axis has yet to spawn a truly distinctive sonic style that influences other artists across the country. Perhaps that's because so many artists around here are busy replowing well-furrowed fields -- like, for instance, the ones associated with the hippie/neo-hippie subculture, which has cast an enormous shadow over the area scene for what seems like eons.
Jude Ponds works the singer-songwriter portion of this territory in fairly typical fashion on Songs From a Restless Sleeper. The opening cut, "Let the Love In," interpolates a portion of "Mockingbird," a tune popularized in the '70s by then-love children James Taylor and Carly Simon -- a reference that speaks volumes. Later, Ponds shares details of her early-morning doings in "Four A.M." (she puts butter on her saltines if it's soft enough) and offers an easygoing travelogue, complete with references to the Stanley Hotel and elk grazing on people's lawns, during "In My Car." There's nothing intrinsically wrong with such prosaic musings, and the accompaniment provided by bassist/guitarist Glenn Esparza, a longtime Sherri Jackson collaborator, is clean and tasteful. But anyone who's spent a few years or more listening to local music in this neck of the woods has heard albums just like Songs From a Restless Sleeper innumerable times. The new Colorado sound won't be found here. (See www.junisponds.com.)