When Leftover Salmon banjo player Andy Thorn read an old poem written by his wife, Cecelia, he decided to put some music to her words. The inspirational lines were written when Cecelia, a transplant from Connecticut and his girlfriend at the time, was working in the nascent legal cannabis industry in Boulder. The result of the husband-wife song collaboration, "Blazing New Frontiers," is an amusing peek into the zany ins and outs of Colorado's most famous business.
"[Cecelia] started working as a pot broker about ten years ago, and she actually got the first license for that line of work," explains Andy, 36, who migrated to the Centennial State from Durham, North Carolina, in 2008. At the time his wife penned the lyrics, Thorn was living out of his car at campsites all around Colorado and playing in the Emmitt-Nershi Band.
"It's a salute to all the growers and people who helped pioneer the industry," he explains. "She worked for a company that did pot brokering, but it was a gray area at the time. When she split from the company, she realized she might need a license to keep doing what she was doing, so she looked into it and wound up getting what was the first license of its kind.
"A pot broker is someone who links the growers with the dispensaries," he adds. "A lot of people do it now, but she happened to be the first person to officially get licensed."
"When I read her poem, I thought, 'Hey, this is pretty funny,' and I put it in the third person, so I'm singing it about her instead of it being in the [original] first person," he says. "The tune is about the legalization and corporatization of the industry. Some of the words are 'You can't grow a plant without a radio tag/You can't sell a pound without a barcode bag,' and the chorus goes, 'You can call us crooks and gangsters/But we'll still be pioneers/We're the first state to go legal/We're blazing new frontiers.'
"It's a cool song," he adds. "Since I have a new album on the horizon, I thought it would be fun to premiere the tune in honor of 4/20."
Thorn says he and his wife still heartily embrace Colorado's cannabis industry, though it's become a bit "overcrowded."
Listeners and fans can enjoy "Blazing New Frontiers" right here for 4/20; the song will also appear on Thorn's upcoming album, Frontiers Like These, which is scheduled to drop on June 21.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.