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Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews Play Benefit for John Hickenlooper's Senate Run

John HIckenlooper sitting in with Old Crow Medicine Show at the Paramount Theatre in 2017. The band is part of Hick-A-Palooza.
John HIckenlooper sitting in with Old Crow Medicine Show at the Paramount Theatre in 2017. The band is part of Hick-A-Palooza. Jacqueline Collins
When John Hickenlooper campaigned for his first and second terms as mayor of Denver, then his first and second terms as governor of Colorado, Chuck Morris helped organize benefit concerts for his campaigns. Now Morris, who recently left his post as CEO of AEG Presents Rocky Mountains but still acts as a consultant for the concert promotion company, has put together Hick-A-Palooza, a virtual concert benefiting Hickenlooper’s United States Senate run.

The concert, which starts at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30, includes performances by Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, Bonnie Raitt (whom Morris first booked while running Tulagi in Boulder in 1971), Old Crow Medicine Show (Hickenlooper has sat in with that act, playing banjo), Nathaniel Rateliff, Wesley Schultz of the Lumineers, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Michael Franti, Dianne Reeves, Spirit of Grace and Mary Chapin Carpenter, as well as Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd, and members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, both acts that Morris used to manage.

Also on the bill is fourteen-year-old singer Raquel Garcia. Morris first saw her at a Hickenlooper benefit last year and has been working with her ever since.

“She is just mind-blowing,” Morris says. “I’ve never seen anyone this talented at that young of an age in my whole career.”

Morris, who recently started a new music business program at Colorado State University, says that Hickenlooper, who has also sat in with Big Head Todd & the Monsters and the Avett Brothers, is a music junkie. “We used to joke that he went to more shows than three-quarters of my staff when I was at AEG,” Morris says.

He also thinks Hickenlooper did some amazing things as mayor and governor, and believes he would be great in the U.S. Senate. “He’s just a real special guy,” Morris says. “He’s one of the most righteous people I’ve ever known in my life, even out of politics.”

Mohr has known Hickenlooper since he ran the Wynkoop Brewing Co.

“When he first became governor, I asked him if I got in trouble if he would pardon me," Mohr remembers. "And he said, ‘No, you'd better not get into trouble.’ I've always thought of him as a centrist who loves democracy. That's kind of how I pigeonhole him.”

Hickenlooper was also a big supporter of music education in Colorado when he was governor, Mohr notes.

“I got involved in some of the programs, one called Take Note Colorado, which had to do with the goal of giving instruments to people who wanted them and music education resources and stuff like that," he says. "So I've always liked that, because obviously I'm an artist, and I think artists and culture are so important to society generally. I see music education and art education as being so important, and I appreciate that about him.”

Tickets for the virtual concert start at $20 and can be purchased here.
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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon