Stop the presses! John-Alex Mason, a true institution in Colorado Springs' original blues scene, is jumping ship, with his guitar-shaped paddles pointing him to Portland, Ore. More family decision than career move — "although I don't think it will hurt any," says Mason — the relocation is sure to disappoint his loyal Colorado fans. Mason assures that he will be coming back to Colorado, at least for a short tour, at the end of December. Fans, whom he wanted me to "thank for everything," can keep up with him at johnalexmason.com.
And speaking of exceptionally talented songwriters, the Durango Songwriters Expo hits the DoubleTree World Arena this weekend, Thursday, Oct. 8, through Saturday, Oct. 10, with its patented, hit-pumping "Petri dish" of music industry insiders. The weekend basically serves as a high-intensity boot camp for aspiring country/pop songwriters, while at the same time providing a gaggle of "experts" with plenty of fresh meat for their masses. Representatives from numerous record labels, publishing houses, and radio, television and film companies will host panel discussions, listening sessions and numerous showcases.
They'll be joined, of course, by many successful songwriters, including Al Anderson, Shawn Mullins and relative youngsters Tony Scalzo and Miles Zuniga of the Grammy Award-winning one-hit-wonders Fastball (whose song "The Way," which tells the tale of a married couple abandoning their children in the middle of the night, I actually really like). Now, as much as I love to poke fun at "industry experts," the Expo does appear to have a record of not only getting songs heard, but paid for as well. For more information, visit durangosong.com.
This season's Showcase at Studio Bee is now underway, having kicked off last month with sets from popular local groups Low Down High and the Mitguards. This month's showcase is set for next Thursday, Oct. 15, and is scheduled to feature the heavy rockin' blues of the Anthony Davis Band, along with some smooth and engaging acoustic folk rock from Jeremy Facknitz, who will be, with much anticipation, debuting his new backup band.
Now, all Studio Bee Showcases, you'd be smart to remember, are on Thursdays and are absolutely free and open to the public (with concessions and a cash bar, no doubt). They feature only original bands and artists from El Paso, Teller and Pueblo counties, and are held nowhere else on Earth but at Studio Bee, located on the north end of the Pikes Peak Center at 190 S. Cascade Ave. You may want to write that down. Or, to get more information on this and other upcoming showcases, or to see if your band qualifies for inclusion, visit pikespeakcenter.com/showcaseatstudiobee.
On the bar front, Albuquerque, N.M.'s Coma Recovery will be lighting up the Rocket Room on Saturday, Oct. 10 with a batch of its decidedly impressive experimental progressive indie-gaze music. Along with "Gothicana" Salt Lake City tourmates God's Revolver (think Tom Waits meets Glenn Danzig for drinks at Rob Zombie's house), Coma Recovery lays out long and winding roads of sound, with names like "Red Lightning Child, Great Emptiness" and "Varanasi/Infinivoid," reminiscent of the old Mind's Eye series of computer animations that totally melted our primitive brains back in the 1990s. Anywho, my absolute favorite local indie noise trio, Enemyswim, is also on the bill, so really, there is no excuse to skip it. I am sure the kids can look after themselves.
That's all the Reverb I got, smell you later!
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