Music » Reverb

CO Local compilation keeps the Springs’ music past alive


  • Anthony Borders
As the momentum of any given music scene ebbs and flows, and as its ecology transforms through time, it often falls to the participants themselves to act as curators and historians of the artistic happenings of the day.

The 1988 LP Dark Horse Dreams, for example, is a cherished piece of my own record collection, and I know a great many Colorado Springs musicians and music fans feel the same way. Aside from holding some pretty outstanding tracks from The Autono, The Bo’l Weevils, Rich Mouser and many other standout acts, the compilation will always be a window on the sound and character of local rock in the late ’80s.

Despite everything “staying on the internet forever” in the digital age (usually in the worst possible sense, of course), media can often seem even more ephemeral, so locally sourced compilations not only catalog music that deserves to be heard, but also fulfill a greater need as artistic artifacts of their times. And not in the sense of those K-tel disco samplers that are now probably used most often as Frisbees.

In that spirit, the Black Sheep is a great place to be this Thursday, Feb. 21, when attendees can celebrate the release of CO Local’s second annual compilation of independent music from the Colorado Front Range. This is CO Local, Vol. 2, featuring 13 original, unreleased tracks from a variety of artists, from Sonic Vomit and ULTRAVIOLET to BullHead*ded and Abriel Peralta, all presented in a rather distinctive thematic format — CO Local’s Schylar Woods and Ely Pierce being captured by the “thrash zombies” of Night of the Living Shred. A “concept compilation,” if you will.

The night will feature live performances from compilation artists Ourfather, False Report, BullHead*ded, Oh, Whale and Night of the Living Shred, and attendees will receive a free copy of the album until they run out.

Night of the Living Shred, incidentally, have a busy week ahead of them, as you can catch them again at the Black Sheep the following night, Feb. 22, in support of The Sleights, who are set to celebrate their own album release.
Something Wasted This Way Comes, The Sleights’ first 12-inch vinyl effort and first release since signing with the Dayton, Ohio-based Rad Girlfriend Records, is a fantastic listen from start to finish, full of high-octane punk energy and indelible pop hooks. Of course, if their songwriting and performance are this irresistible on the record, that’s sure to translate to a killer live show. The night will also feature performances from Salt of Sanguine and Albuquerque’s Subtle Knife.

Finally, Stargazers Theatre will pay homage to another era of Colorado Springs music and history. Friday, Feb. 22, will see The Hazel Miller Band and poet Ashley Cornelius take the stage to celebrate the legacy of civic activist and philanthropist Fannie Mae Duncan.

The daughter of Oklahoma sharecroppers, Duncan moved with her family to Colorado Springs in 1933 and opened the local night spot the Cotton Club in the 1950s. The venue not only brought jazz legends such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Count Basie and Etta James to Colorado Springs, but even more significantly the Cotton Club was a beacon of peaceful integration and inclusiveness. As the permanent sign in the window said — “Everybody Welcome” — Duncan was dedicated to serving clientele regardless of their ethnicity, employing a multiethnic staff and becoming a local institution. In addition, Duncan purchased a 42-room mansion to provide accommodations for visiting African-American musicians and dignitaries, who would otherwise have suffered at the hands of the city’s racially restrictive hotel policies. Duncan’s efforts were praised by civil rights activist Medgar Evers, one of her guests.

While the original Cotton Club was lost to, ahem, “urban renewal,” the spirit of the place and its historical and moral importance will be honored on the Stargazers stage for the night. The event is organized by the Pikes Peak Diversity Council, and a portion of the night’s proceeds will help fund the downtown statue of Fannie Mae Duncan, sculpted by Fort Collins-based artist Lori Kiplinger Pandy and expected to be installed later this year.

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