Music

Review: Classic Albums Live “Chronicle, Vol. 1”

headerBy Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

Chronicle, Vol. 1, also known as Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits, is a greatest hits album by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) released by Fantasy Records in January 1976. Classic Albums Live honors the legacy of CCR by performing their Chronicle album without changing any of the music. Each song is played with every note and rhythm of each song perfectly replicated.

As the lights dimmed and the musicians unceremoniously came on stage, there was a hush that came over the audience as they anticipated the performance that was about to begin. The band members were not in matching costumes, or sequins or flashy attire. They are dressed in black and were all about the music. Without any introductions, the band began to tune their guitars and prepped to perform “Susie-Q,” the first song of the album.

Being a part of the audience, I found myself along with many others, bobbing my head, clapping and tapping my toes as we all sang along with the band. Once “Susie-Q” came to an end, the band performed “I Put a Spell on You,” followed by “Proud Mary” and “Bad Moon Rising.” Mike Slute, the lead vocalist, nailed the vocals. It was as if I was there in 1976 when the original album was released.

In the first half of the show, there was very little to no interaction between the band and the audience. Mike Slute explained at intermission that they rather play the music just like the original album. After intermission, during the second half, they took liberties.

The second half was kicked off with the second album.  The band played “Run Through the Jungle,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” and many more. Lead guitarist Shane Honkonen blew the audience away with his ability to play the guitar, replicating each note as it was originally written and performed. It was mesmerizing to watch him play and I got lost in the music.

James Taylor, who played the bass and vocals, was very connected with the audience.  He seemed to really enjoy himself.  This translated to the audience.  He joked with drummer Ryan Granville Martin, who also kept the audience entertained.  Included in the performance were some local musicians. These musicians only met the band the day before.  They were incredible together! One would have thought they were all on tour together. On percussion and sax was Eric Natsuhiro Jordan, Bill Stephens was on keys, and on trumpet and percussion was Dylan Vessel.

The night ended with everyone signing “The Midnight Special.”  It was the perfect ending to an amazing show.

If you have not seen Classic Albums Live, you will want to check back often on the Lone Tree Arts Center web site.  Classic Albums Live is an all-time favorite and performs here frequently. The next title they will perform is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on Saturday, June 8. Tickets for that performance are available here.

Preview: Ranky Tanky

headerBy Theresa Allen, guest blogger

Get ready for a rich evening of storytelling though song when Ranky Tanky takes the main stage on Friday, April 26 at 8 p.m., at the Lone Tree Arts Center. Ranky Tanky brings the rich tradition of Gullah music of the Carolina coast and infuses it with its own spirited influences of jazz, funk, gospel and R&B. The evening will feature tender lullabies, playful game songs, and elegiac spirituals.

The members of Ranky Tanky include Quentin Baxter on drums and percussion. Baxter is a Grammy-nominated performer and producer of music. Quiana Parler brings her beautiful vocals to the group. Parler studied opera as a child and then gospel, pop and R&B. Clay Ross, founder of Ranky Tanky, performs vocals and guitar. Charlton Singleton, whose family comes from the Coast, plays on the trumpet and Kevin Hamilton performs on bass.

Gullah is a tradition of food, art, music and other cultural references that are deeply rooted in West African culture and have significantly influenced American culture. Gullah tradition has given us songs like “Kum Bah Ya” and “Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore” as well as influenced George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God and children’s literature like Br’er Rabbit from Uncle Remus Songs and Sayings.

Join the Lone Tree Arts Center as it “gets funky!” (a loose translation of Ranky Tanky), on Friday, April 26. Tickets are on sale now from $25 to $45 and can be purchased at www.lonetreeartscenter.org. The Lone Tree Arts Center is located at 10075 Commons Street in Lone Tree. Free on-site parking is available.

Preview: Ivy Street Serenades

An Evening of Classical Music with the Ivy Street Ensemble

By Theresa Allen, guest blogger

Colorado’s own Ivy Street Ensemble will be performing on Wednesday, April 17 at 7:30 at the Lone Tree Arts Center. Whether you’ve heard them on Colorado Public Radio or seen them perform in Denver, the Ivy Street Ensemble features nationally-known violinist Erik Peterson performing with fellow chamber musicians Cathy Peterson on flute and Phillip Stevens on viola.

An Evening of Classical Music will feature the enduring compositions of Beethoven and Mozart along their influences in the works of Ferde Grofé who composed the Grand Canyon Suite, Alberto Ginastera and his Impressions de la Puna as well as the works of Maria Newman. This intimate evening of chamber music will be narrated with stories about the pieces that you’ll hear by Betsy Schwarm, a local music historian, who regularly gives talks for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

The Ivy Street Ensemble has been performing together since 2001, and they are all members of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Dedicated to instilling a love of music in the next generation, the Ivy Street Ensemble also gives back to our community by engaging children through performances at local public schools.

Come hear this elegant and eclectic concert of early and modern classical compositions. Tickets range from $30 to $40 and can be purchased at http://www.lonetreeartscenter.org. The Lone Tree Arts Center is located at 10075 Commons Street in Lone Tree. Free on-site parking is available.

Preview: Beehive the 60’s Musical

beehive headerBy Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

Beehive: The 60’s Musical

Created by Larry Gallagher

Directed and Choreographed by Candy Brown

Musical Direction by Dr. Michael Williams

You don’t want to miss this party! Beehive is the ultimate celebration of female empowerment of the 1960s. It is the genre that really paved the way for female vocalists ranging from Diane Ross and the Supremes to Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin.

This wild and happening musical is a collection of female musicians who made the ‘60s truly memorable and will take you on a journey through the look and the feel of the times.  Beehive features classic jukebox chart toppers and Aqua net coiffures, with groovy hits such as “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Be My Baby,” and “Son of a Preacher Man.” As the music plays, there is a guarantee you will find yourself wanting to get up and do the pony, the shimmy, and the locomotion.

In the late 1950s and early ‘60s, the Beehive was considered the height of fashion. The Beehive was created by a hairdresser named Margaret Vinci Heldt who designed it to make women look taller. Beehive: The 60’s Musical nostalgically recalls the days of big hair, hot pants, and flower power.

So, tease up your hair, put on your “baby doll” top and be prepared to sing along and dance in the aisles to one of music’s truly golden eras.

Beehive Insta Pic

Check out this sneak peek of the set!

Beehive: The 60’s Musical will be on stage at the Lone Tree Arts Center Wednesday, April 3rd through Saturday, April 13th. Get your tickets now before they sell out! Click here for tickets!

Review: The Choir of Man

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By Cassie Schauer, guest blogger

Raise a pint to pub culture! We joined the cast for a fun night of dance and song when the Choir of Man hit the stage at the Lone Tree Arts Center on Thursday night, February 21, 2019.

With the stage set as an actual working pub (complete with Lone Tree Brewing Company beer on tap), we were invited to grab a pint as the cast members (all from the U.K.) mingled with the audience sharing selfies, and laughs. Blurring the line between stage and audience continued throughout the performance. It kicked off with the 80s hair-band hit “Welcome to the Jungle” which played surprisingly well with a folksy, Celtic twist. The cast dashed through the audience, on top of the bar, around the tables, playing all manner of instruments. Denis, the narrator, invited us “to be present for tonight: dance, sing, laugh, join in!”

We were drawn into the camaraderie between the men as Denis presented each one in funny vignettes of song and dance. An astoundingly multi-talented cast of Irish actors and singers, the performers played the piano, guitar, banjo, accordion, drums, ukulele, bagpipes, and fiddle. They pounded on trays and crates, and clapped beer mugs together. As Denis was weaving his tales, the energy of the pub was swirling around him. The boys were chatting, arguing, mopping the floor, talking on the phone, and spinning on the bar stools.

Playing the fiddle and banjo while singing Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” they danced into the theater aisles, grabbing people from the audience to join them for a pint. Peter sang Katy Perry’s hit “Teenage Dream,” while staring longingly at his guest. As the song ended, she surprised him with a kiss on the cheek.

Andrew, “with the voice of Pavarotti, but dressed like an Agatha Christie character,” sang “The Impossible Dream” in a deep, rich tenor, while challenging his guest to build a card tower. The tower grew as the song crescendoed, and the rest of the crew joined in, topping the tower with a pint of beer and tossing cards at the audience.

“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” showcased Freddie’s tap dancing skills and featured a piano solo by Connor. As Denis joked, “the more you drink the better we sound and the better we look” he decried the loss of local pubs to make way for chain restaurants and bars.

In a break from the action, Tom sang Adele’s hit “Hello.” Cleverly presented in freeze frame, the cast stood in suspended animation as if they were watching their team on TV. Mark shared his love for his wife while singing “Pina Coladas” into a mop handle. The crew joined in with exaggerated hip swinging, a cheesy flute solo, and disco lights.

We sang along to “500 Miles,” dubbed as “Scotland’s Most Famous Song.” An acapella version of Sia’s “Chandelier” was sung under prism lights as if reflected off the baubles of a chandelier.

One of the funniest scenes featured Aidan facing us in front of a bank of urinals, relieving himself as he sang “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The other cast members joined in as the never ending “flow” splashed onto the stage.

As the performance began to wind down, Denis raised a pint to his mum, stating “don’t treasure the moments only when they are gone.” This lead to the Luther Vandross hit, “Dance with My Father,” with the emotional “dear lord, she’s dying to dance with my father again” tugging at our heartstrings.

As a final statement to the brotherhood of pub life, Denis proclaimed, “when I come through those doors I feel at home.” They ended with the traditional Irish goodbye song, “The Parting Glass,” embracing us on their first North American Tour. A funny, energetic, and joyful celebration!

Review: International Guitar Night

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By Michelle Marx, Guest Blogger

Last Friday, International Guitar Night made its only Colorado stop for its 2019 tour at the Lone Tree Arts Center. The sold-out crowd was treated to a guitar extravaganza featuring four accomplished guitarists: Luca Stricagnoli, Antoine Boyer, Samuelito, and Cenk Erdogan.

Stricagnoli runs on stage, picks up a guitar, and starts playing. His music is his introduction. Playing a mix of original songs and covers, he has excellent stage presence. He doesn’t just play a simple acoustic guitar, he also plays a guitar with three fingerboards. Not just a showman, Stricagnoli is also the evenings host.

Antoine Boyer gets his solo moment next. The 22 year old gypsy jazz guitarist from France also begins his set by playing. He explains to the crowd how he likes to play with the harmony of famous songs and then punctuates his explanation with his playing. He dazzles with a cover of The Sound of Silence.

Samuel Rouesnel, stage name Samuelito, is a Flamenco guitarist from France. Both a composer and player, Samuelito began with classical guitar at age seven. He plays several songs by Paco de Lucia, a Flamenco virtuoso and a great inspiration to Samuelito.

From Turkey is Cenk Erdogan and his fretless guitar. He introduces himself with an original composition. He explains the fretless guitar and its range of sounds and tones. Erdogan has played and taught around the world. It shows through his ease with communicating with the audience and improvising as he plays. His music is beautiful and my personal favorite of the evening.

All the performers have the opportunity to showcase their skill and I appreciate that they all talk about themselves and their influences. They are all engaging and humorous storytellers.

International Guitar Night is known for rotating through only the best of the best guitarists and  highlighting each individual artist, but they also celebrate their skills through collaboration. After the solos come the duets and final quartet performance. These range from a raucous cover of “Another One Bites the Dust,” to beautiful ballads and fun pop culture references.

International Guitar Night tours annually highlighting new and fabulous talent. Keep your eyes open for their next tour and hopefully their next trip through Colorado. For samples of each musician visit https://internationalguitarnight.com

Review: RESPECT – A Tribute to Aretha Franklin with the Mary Louise Lee Orchestra

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By Kristi Andrus, guest blogger

I typically pick the shows I want to see to review. That’s my entire process, nothing complicated, just personal preference.  Occasionally, however, my process is unintentionally complicated, like for instance, when the show I pick is performed by a local legend who is paying tribute to a national treasure. Oh, and did I mention she’s married to Denver’s mayor?

I went to Saturday night’s sold-out show Respect: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin with the Mary Louise Lee Orchestra knowing it would be a cool night out, but it was way more mellow and vibey and fun than I even expected.

Was it the red dress? The red shoes? The 13-piece orchestra? The gravelly infectious vocals? The selfie with my brother and the mayor? Or something else?

Let’s dissect the night. Here’s a look at the songs, the lyrics, and the moments that stood out.

But first, the facts:

Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee (MLL) of Mary Louise Lee Band (MLLB) has incredible range, perfect pitch, is a blend of liveliness, sultriness, confidence, good energy, and a warm hug. She’s a Denver institution married to a Denver institution. She commands the stage, works the room, and knows when it’s time to take off her shoes, symbolizing to the audience that it’s also time to party.

Now, the rundown: (Try to sing everything in italics if you will).

The band was dressed head to toe in black with red accents, ties for the men, shoes for the women. MLL was wearing a red dress and red shoes and comfortable in the spotlight. She was welcoming and ready, her band equally ready to rock.

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Review: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

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Review: And We Drop The Needle Once Again!

By Theresa Allen, guest blogger

If we could only step back in time… Well, you can, with the Lone Tree Arts Center’s Classic Album Live series. This spring, two new shows featuring the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Pink Floyd will be performed on the LTAC’s stage. On Saturday, January 19, I attended Classic Albums Live: Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and was pleasantly surprised to get caught up in the excitement of listening to the Beatles play once again.

What was really amazing was the faithfulness of the sound to the original album. Craig Martin, founder of Classic Albums Live touts the series as a “note for note, cut for cut” endeavor. The clean, clear voices of the singers, the precision playing of the instruments, and the distorted noises that we all remember from listening to the Beatle’s vinyl versions are all there.

There are a couple of reasons why this unique type of performance works for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. The band follows some of the conventions of the symphony. The eleven performers on stage are anonymous to the audience—their names are not listed in the theater program nor announced during the show, they all wear black, they play numerous instruments, and no one acted the part of being a Beatle. Whether they were playing the violin, piano, or bass guitar, they were all extraordinary musicians playing a rock masterpiece that has stood the test of time. Songs like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Lovely Rita,” and “Within You Without You” were sung by the performers with strong voices, and no fake British accents. Now you might say, the Beatles had strong Liverpool accents, how can the song sound the same? But remarkably, it does. Perhaps, it’s the instrumental accuracy paired with the audiences’ deep love for the album that really breathes life into the music.

The Classic Albums Live band had a great rapport with the audience whether they were tuning an instrument or moving to perform some other function. The full performance of the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was completed in about an hour. The second half of the performance focused on many of the Beatles hits, demonstrating that these musicians really prepared for a deep dive into Beatles history.

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was performed to a sold out audience both nights. At the end of the performance, there was nothing more inspiring than to see the response of concert goers singing along with the band and enjoying the beat of the music. The Classic Albums Live band received a standing ovation and as I left the building I heard many people remarking on their wonderful performance.

The Lone Tree Arts Center will be hosting two more events in this series including Creedence Clearwater Revival’s, Chronicle Volume 1 on Saturday, May 11 at 8 p.m. featuring the songs “Bad Moon Rising,” “Proud Mary,” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” The series has become so popular with local audiences that a new concert has been recently added on Saturday, June 8, at 8 p.m. featuring the music of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

So, it is possible to step back in time and to once again hear the music that is the soundtrack of your life. Tickets for the next two Classic Albums Live concerts are going fast, but still available from $32 to $45 and can be purchased online at www.lonetreeartscenter.org. The Lone Tree Arts Center is located at 10075 Commons Street in Lone Tree. Free on-site parking is available.

Review: Sons of the Pioneers

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By Janice Hubbell, guest blogger

“Yipee Tie Yie Yay, get along little doggies!” crooned the Sons of the Pioneers at the Lone Tree Art Center this weekend. This enduring western trio formed by Roy Rogers in 1933 is now ably led by his son and emcee, Dusty Rogers. Original compositions such as “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” “Cool Water” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky” have become beloved American classics capturing the mystery and romance of the early cowboy.

It was an icy-cold night with snow packed streets as we made our way to the Arts Center and were surprised to see a sold-out crowd ready to take a deep dive into Roy Roger’s western music. As the music began, I took a trip back to my childhood as the group sang familiar tunes I had grown up with and was surprised to realize I could still remember almost every word! My parents had played quite an eclectic mix of music on our family record player–from Beethoven and Mozart to Burl Ives, Glen Campbell, Sons of the Pioneers and various gospel music artists.

All that was missing was the campfire smoke as the evening progressed with “trail boss” Tommy Nallie playing the guitar and singing a couple solos. Ken Lattimore sang tenor and played several instruments including the mandolin, as well as providing light hearted banter with other members of the group. Dusty Rogers, the lead singer of the group, shared childhood stories about his famous father and stepmother Dale Evans. Baritone John Fullerton played rhythm guitar and yodeled beautifully. Last, but not least, star talent Paul Elliott expertly played the fiddle, keeping the audience spellbound.

The evening ended on a high note with the group singing “Happy Trails.” Truly, as declared by the Smithsonian Institute, the Sons of the Pioneers are one of our cherished national treasures in their timeless documentation of the Great American West.

Review: Bettman and Halpin – Christmas is a Funny Thing

headerBy Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin have a well-earned reputation for delivering a quality show.  During the Bettman and Halpin Christmas is a Funny Thing holiday concert, the duo kept the audience riveted with songs, storytelling and fantastic fiddle playing.  The duo appeared to be having a great time performing and this enthusiasm affected the audience.   They both have an easy, mellow way about them.  They created a relaxed, homey feeling in the audience.

Christmas is a Funny Thing was a combination of well known, traditional Christmas tunes performed by Bettman and Halpin and original music written by Bettman and Halpin.  Some of the traditional songs performed included Drummer Boy,” “Blue Christmas,” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”  Some of the original songs written by Bettman and Halpin included “Fruitcake for All Seasons” and “We’ll Miss You Mama.”  Ms. Bettman told the story of how she was inspired for each song she wrote.

The duo also performed some songs from their soon to be released CD.  Ms. Bettman wrote and sang a song titled “White Rose.”  The inspiration of this song is based on the Cherokee Nation’s Trail of Tears.  I believe most of the audience felt the sorrow in this song.  As I said before, Ms. Bettman tells great stories through her songs.  I can’t wait for the CD to come out!

Stephanie Bettman is an all-around entertainer.  Not only can she sing with a clear, smooth voice but she writes her own songs and plays the fiddle like no one I have ever heard.  She comes across as a regular person with the keen ability of telling stories through songs.

Luke Halpin is the jokester of the group.  He wore reindeer antlers when the show opened then changed into a “naughty” Santa hat later.  He made funny faces, comments, and gestures.  He is a gifted mandolin player.  During this performance he played several different instruments, including the mandolin, and played each instrument expertly.  The audience kept their eyes on this funny man, not knowing what was coming next.

The stage was decorated in festive Christmas decorations.  The atmosphere was relaxed, fun and a great way to prepare for the holiday season.   Bettman and Halpin included the audience in many of their Christmas songs.  These sing a-longs created a warmer holiday feeling in the audience.

The rest of the quartet for this program were local performers.  Bettman and Halpin, the bass player, and drummer only met for the first time the day before the program.  No one would have known this group had not been playing together for years.

The bass player Alex Goldberg is a graduate from University of Colorado Denver with a B.S. in Bass Performance.  He has several years of experience performing in many different venues.  He is currently performing with the local band Chris Daniels and the Kings.

Ryan Elwood is also a local performer.  He has performed with several different bands, including Adrienne O and the Austin Young Band.  He has played at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Gothic Theater.  He also teaches private lessons.

Bettman and Halpin: Christmas is a Funny Thing was a very entertaining show.  I recommend that you try to see this group the next time they come to town.  At the very least pick up their CD.  You won’t be disappointed.