I didn't know Bob Dooney. But judging from the slew of messages that started flooding my e-mail box last week, the guy somehow knew me. The missives weren't identical, but they all had one thing in common: Bob Dooney. "Hey, Dave, this is such and such from such and such," one would read. "Bob Dooney gave me your information. We're playing in Colorado in a few weeks..." Aside from name-dropping Bob Dooney, they were your typical pitches — except that every act also happened to be playing at this thing called the Colorado Music Summit.
Beyond a post on a message board a month or so ago, I'd never heard of it. Which isn't that surprising, because as it turns out, the Summit was conceived just a few months ago. And yet Dooney — who eventually reached out himself last week — and Jay Bianchi, CMS's co-founder, somehow managed to put together what looks to be an impressive little conference with over a hundred performers, including Bernie Worrell (yes, that Bernie Worrell) and Arrested Development.
The idea was to create an event for true do-it-yourself-styled artists, giving them a chance to network with industry types who can offer invaluable, real-world advice. "We were literally just in the office talking about it," says Dooney, who'd owned Boulder's Guitar Cellar for a few years before he moved to California a little more than a year ago and was back in town visiting his friend Bianchi. "We both sort of came up with this. We started talking about a DIY conference, and that's really what this whole idea was. That was four months ago. This typically takes about a year to put together, and so our biggest question at the beginning was, 'Do we want to do this in a year and four months, or do we want to do it in four months?' We thought about it and said, 'Well, let's try to do it this year, and we'll do a smaller version of it this year from what we're sort of envisioning for next year.'"
Four months? Hell, it takes me that long just to write some reviews. Seriously, though, props to Dooney and Bianchi. For the CMS's panels, which will take place at the Curtis hotel on Thursday, November 8, the pair recruited some well-regarded luminaries: Chuck Morris and Don Strasburg from AEG Live — who just announced their Mile High Music and Arts Festival in City Park next summer (see the Backbeat Online blog for more details); Airshow Mastering founder David Glasser; BandGuru Management's Mark Bliesener; Virgil Dickerson from Suburban Home Records; Dan Rutherford from Morning After Records; and Hapi Skratch's Morris Beegle, among others.
I'm less familiar with most of the artists slated to play the four-day confab, which runs through Sunday, November 11, at seven venues (visit ColoradoMusicSummit.com for more details). Beyond the marquee acts mentioned above, Wicked star Shoshana Bean and the Eric McFadden Trio will be on hand, as will such longtime local faves as Storytyme and Oakhurst, up-and-comers like U.S. Pipe and my new favorite, Paper Bird. Otherwise, expect to see a diverse array of musicians from across the country — each handpicked for his or her musicality, Dooley says.
I haven't had a chance to listen to all of them, but right now I'm diggin' Seneca, a band that's flying in from Ireland on its own dime just to play here. If that group is any indication, the Colorado Music Summit should be just as enlightening for music fans as it is for musicians.