We all can name a few local bands from this awesome city, and not just artists from today, but from many moons ago. Denver has always been a creative hub, which continues to show through our music scene today.
Can you say "Ho" and "Hey"? This small but mighty folk rock band has had loads of success in the past few years and there are many reasons for that. Founding members Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites started the band as a way to cope with the loss of someone they held dear. Vocalist and cellist Neyla Pekarek joined the band in 2010 after responding to a Craigslist ad and the other two joined shortly after to further develop the band. Their debut album went platinum in both the United States and Ireland and behind the catchiest song in years, "Ho Hey" and "The Hanging Tree," that was featured in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1," this Denver band will continue to wow their fans and the music industry for many years to come.
This Denver hip-hop group continues to help the world through their music. Formed in 2000, Flobots found their success in 2007 with the release of "Flight with Tools," featuring their single "Handlebars." That same year they founded Flobots.org (now Youth On Record), an organization dedicated to empowering young people through creative education. Winners of countless awards for their work in the community, this group continues to give back through their service and music.
Colorado has a special place for electronic music and some of that may be because of Derek Vincent Smith, or as the music world knows him, Pretty Lights. Smith has been involved with music since he was in the eighth grade, and over the last few years he has continued to expand the sound of electronic music with his distinctive sound, like on "Finally Moving" and his incredibly complex lighting and laser displays during his performances. Recently adding live instrumentals to his shows, Smith continues to push the boundaries of electronic music and carve a path for the genre's future.
Who knew that two people could make so much good music? Dominic Lalli (saxophone/producer) and Jeremy Salken (drums) are the two members of Big Gigantic, a group they formed together in Boulder in the early 2000s. These two teamed up for their love of music and built a musical empire of devoted fans, or as they like to call their community, the "Big G Family." If you've not seen this duo live, with songs like "Sky High," put it on your list of must-see shows in your lifetime.
Denver Artists on the Rise
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Nathaniel Rateliff grew up in rural Missouri and learned to play the drums when he was just 7 years old and started writing his own music a few years after that. When he was 18, he found his way out to Denver for missionary work, but continued to pursue his music and released his first album in 2010 titled "In Memory of Loss." With his rustic voice accompanied by his Night Sweats band members, Rateliff's new Stax-inspired music is sure to keep you coming back for more like his 2015 smash, "S.O.B".
This indie-pop duo from Denver is made up of a husband-wife team, Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore. The couple met in college and decided on the name Tennis in reference to a joke about Riley playing the sport in college. They released their first EP in 2010 and have continued to wow audiences and fans to this day with upbeat, jangly guitar driven songs like "Never Work for Free."
Esme Patterson started off as a member of a Denver-group Paper Bird before deciding to go solo and share her work with the music world. Her sound is a mix of folk and pop with a touch of indie. Patterson writes her own music and constantly collaborates with other artists to grow the volume of her sound while still being able to stand alone as a prominent force, featured on her 2015 "Woman to Woman" album filled with response songs to famous songs about misbehaving ladies, including "Valentine." More of her music can be found on her website
This Colorado group does things a little differently than your average folk band. Their style of music is referred to as "transcendental folk," which mixes the typical folk sound with elements of Celtic fiddle tunes, traditional ballads, reggae, indie, bluegrass and an occasionally hip-hop beat or two, in songs like "Down to the Sea." The group of five members has found a dedicated fan following and they also individually and collectively lend their musical talents to other musicians. To hear more of this radical sound, check out the group's website.
Denver has become a home for many indie folk groups and all of them are at the top of the field. Paper Bird is no exception, having formed back in 2006 and self-released their first album just one short year later. Paper Bird is a six-piece band composed of guitar, drums, bass and three lead female vocalists who know how to carry a tune, like they do on their ode to their home state, "Colorado." A unique thing about this group is that they play in odd meters, which gives them a vintage sound unlike most bands. Paper Bird takes influences from all types of music such as gospel, rock ‘n' roll, soul, African rhythms and jazz. To read more about this amazing group, head to their website and put them on your next playlist.