Gregory Alan Isakov on 25 Years of Westword Music Showcase | Westword

Celebrating 25 Years of the Westword Music Showcase: Gregory Alan Isakov

Gregory Alan Isakov, who started his career as a singer-songwriter playing coffee shop gigs and open mics in Boulder, built himself a career as staple in Denver area music scene.
Gregory Alan Isakov remembers playing Westword Music Showcase.
Gregory Alan Isakov remembers playing Westword Music Showcase. Brandon Marshall
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On June 29, we'll present our 25th Westword Music Showcase. The event has grown dramatically since it was founded in 1995 with just a handful of bands playing around LoDo. In 2019, more than 75 local acts will fill venues throughout the Golden Triangle, while national headliners CHVRCHES, Jai Wolf, JAUZ, Bishop Briggs, Crooked Colours, lovelytheband, the Knocks, the Wrecks and SHAED will play the two main stages.

Many of the artists who have participated in Showcase have gone on to worldwide success, while others continue to perform for loyal local audiences. And some have cashed in and left music altogether.

Gregory Alan Isakov, who started his career as a singer-songwriter playing coffee-shop gigs and open mics in Boulder, quickly became a staple of the Denver-area music scene. Over the years, he took his carefully sculpted, introspective songs around the world, and in the process has been recognized as one of contemporary music's best singer-songwriters. We asked Isakov about his memories of playing Showcase and how the scene has evolved. Here's what he had to say:

Westword: Denver’s music scene has changed a lot over the past 25 years. What are your thoughts on its evolution?

Gregory Alan Isakov:
When we first started playing shows in Denver, we had the opportunity to play a lot locally (sometimes once a week) all over the city. We developed great affection for so many of the local spots: the hi-dive, the Meadowlark, the Larimer Lounge, Old Curtis Street, the Lion's Lair, the Walnut Room and the Mercury Cafe, to name a few. During that time, we played so many shows with other Denver bands, and we still have so much love for all of them: The Wheel, Bela Karoli, Bad Weather California, Ian Cooke, Porlolo, Joe Sampson, Dan Craig, Mark Darling, Rachael Pollard, Paper Bird and Elephant Revival, to name some.

Playing shows with these guys — at and around all these venues, including at the Westword Music Showcase — felt like such a great communal time.

And I am constantly blown away by the new bands I get to see in Denver. It's such a thriving music scene.

The 25th Westword Music Showcase
will sound off in the Golden Triangle on Saturday, June 29. Get tickets and more details at
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