The Spirit of Collaboration is the Defining Characteristic of Denver Music
Macon Terry (center) is one of Denver's many busy musicians.
Courtesy of Clouds and Mountains
Denver musician Macon Terry once joked that he should start working with mediocre
He’s not the only one sharing his talent with other local musicians. Accomplished solo artist Natalie Tate also plays guitar with Ark Life and lends her keyboard skills to
“There are varieties of musicians and artists in Denver — and, invariably, throughout the country and out into the rest of the world — who naturally overlap with other artistic individuals, and these individuals make it a priority to make art with those very people in their immediate surroundings,” Terry says. “I think people in Colorado like how our environments tend to make us feel; therefore, we are more interconnected with one another.”
This sharing of personnel is the reason the word “community” is so often used when describing the music scene in Denver. But the collaborative spirit has its drawbacks: Sorensen and Casey Sidwell both play with
“It works out well most of the time,” says Sorensen. “For instance, when both [acts] plan on touring, it’s been a two-weeks-on, two-weeks-off, back-and-forth sort of rhythm.” But, he concedes, “it makes things tough when one band gets a last-minute offer and the whole rhythm section is planning to be in another part of the country.”
This cross-pollination has also facilitated a constant reinvention that may be unique to Denver.
“In Denver, you see great musicians playing with great acts. It causes the scene to be very fluid, where acts come and go and reshape themselves all the time,” says Sorensen.
That sentiment has been shared by others. Terry has remarked in the past that the lineup for Clouds & Mountains is based more on whoever is around than on a set group of musicians.
At the Westword Music Showcase, there will be more than 100 bands and artists playing, and no doubt plenty of musicians running around the Golden Triangle neighborhood along with the fans. As the Raven’s Conroy puts it, “Denver is just a musician’s city.”
“Nobody supports Denver music more than Denver musicians,” he adds. “Nobody goes to more shows than Denver musicians. At any given show that I go to, I’m sure to run into a Denver musician that I know in the audience. This leads to an interconnected scene, because we’re all talking with, watching and listening to each other, learning who’s best, and using that info when we need a trumpet player, guitar player or singer in our band.”
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