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Playing Around

Amy Speace



Front Range Barbeque, 2330 W. Colorado Ave. Wednesday, Aug. 23, 7 p.m. free.

"All music is folk music," Louis Armstrong said. "I ain't ever heard a horse sing a song."

In a modern music scene sans Satchmo, where genre barriers remain, Amy Speace's pop-inflected songs are classified as folk because they communicate real human emotion.

Speace, who taught theater in a former life, says her background helps her stay comfortable onstage but her performance is never an act. "I like to stay close to the audience, and the best way to do that is to be myself and stay in an honest place," Speace says.

That honesty made her newest release, Songs for Bright Street, one of the Top 10 albums played by folk radio DJs in June. In tracks that sit somewhere between folk and alternative country, there's nary a clich to be found. You're no more likely to hear "17 verses about hobos and trains" than a "2 1/2-minute pop song about teenage love."

Neither contrived nor overly intricate, the songs are tales plucked from reality's ether. "I find inspiration in everything," Speace says. "Other people's stories, newspaper clippings, things that have happened to me. Each song has its own process."

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