Music News

Colorado Music Hall of Fame Announces 2021 Induction Class

The String Cheese Incident (pictured), Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Hot Rize and the Fox Theatre will be inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
The String Cheese Incident (pictured), Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Hot Rize and the Fox Theatre will be inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Jacqueline Collins
Colorado Music Hall of Fame, which is celebrating it tenth anniversary this year, just announced its latest induction class, dubbed The Flatirons Sessions. It includes The String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Hot Rize and the Fox Theatre.

Twist & Shout owner Paul Epstein, who co-chairs the Hall of Fame’s board of directors, says this year’s class represents three generations of bands that have “flirted in that borderland between rock and roll and roots, and approached it in different ways.”

Epstein recalls that Hot Rize, which formed in 1978, was playing very traditional roots music, but with kind of a rock-and-roll attitude — particularly with its Western swing alter-ego band, Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers.

“It definitely had a rock-and-roll vibe to it, even though they were playing traditional music,” Epstein says. “They were on the leading edge of reintroducing genuine, authentic roots music to a rock-and-roll-leaning audience — [but] they were also totally accepted by the more traditional audience because they were completely legit in their in their bluegrass chops.”

According to Epstein, the String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon, which both formed about three decades ago, are part of a second generation of Colorado bands that fused bluegrass and rock.

“They took the lessons and concert performing style of psychedelic rock and the social lessons of the Grateful Dead and kind of revved it up back to a bluegrass sound but kept the accoutrement of rock and roll,” he explains.

Yonder Mountain String Band, which started in Nederland in 1998, is part of the third generation.
“They kind of almost turned all the way back to the roots again, because they play almost exclusively acoustic instruments,” Epstein says. “And it's really rootsy-sounding, although they cover a lot of rock-and-roll songs and the audience is a rock-and-roll audience.

“You go to their shows, and these young kids jumping up and down dance to their fairly traditional-sounding bluegrass and country, and it's revved-up, it's fast, and it's played with rock-and-roll energy,” he adds.

Epstein caught the String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon and Yonder Mountain String Band in their early days at the Fox Theatre, which opened in 1992 on the Hill in Boulder.

“Besides being one of the premier venues in the state for sound and location and hip vibe, the Fox was home to each one of these bands; this is where they broke out,” Epstein notes. “I remember seeing each one of those bands at the Fox early on and saying to myself, ‘Wow, each one of them is going to go somewhere.' And they did. They all transcended that market.”

An induction concert and ceremony was originally slated for December 6 at the Mission Ballroom, but the Hall is postponing those events until spring 2022. The rescheduled date will be announced after the new year.

The members of the 2021 class join nearly fifty musicians, bands, music-industry professionals, venues and organizations inducted since the Colorado Music Hall of Fame was founded a decade ago.

For more information, visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame website.
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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