I love music, and I love musicians. I grew up in a house full of musicians and as a maestro's son, I bore witness to hordes of them throughout my childhood. Not only do I love that special personality trait that leads one to become a serious musician, but I have the utmost respect for those willing to bet on themselves and make a living from it.
So living in an area that produces so much music means that I can mostly stick to the local stuff and be happy listening all year round.
I only drink Colorado brews for the same reason. There's just so many damn good beers brewed around us — why buy anything else?
I'm sure I'll forget one or two of my local faves from this last year, and one of these bands actually moved away from the area in 2017. But the now Brooklyn-based duo in A Shadow of Jaguar have made so much music here as members of local bands over the years (and they still visit) that I had to include their new record.
Let's get to it.
My favorite local album of the year goes to Boulder-based reggae and world music all stars Intuit. Their 2017 album "Canyon Roots" has received considerable play in my audio system this year, for good reason. Top to bottom, it is polished and catchy, and the sound is full bodied. This is a rare album you can play on repeat a couple times before changing it.
Runner up is Ted Thacker's release under the moniker The Red Tack, "(K)Night Of The Sorrowful Face," because it likewise is one you can not only listen to all the way through, but a few times over. Ted's songwriting is the main event in this wide-ranging alt-rock album with synth touches. My 2-year-old and my wife love it just as much as I do.
Boulder/Denver's own Yawpers made a splash this year by releasing a big-time album on an actual label. The local boys done good. But fire up "Boy In A Well" — a mind bender of an album — and you find it's a storytelling concept record with twists and turns galore. My favorite aspect is that its recording and production quality is of the highest caliber.
Not an album, but Fort Collins-based guitar wizard Grayson Erhard has been busy this year. He's begun to release an album's worth of recorded material, one track at a time as singles. The young virtuoso is as impressive as ever in these new solo guitar tracks, and you should really give them a listen.
Fort Collins sisters SHEL (Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza) are really killing it lately — scoring movies, slaying it on social media and cranking out the best-sounding albums you can find of anyone their age making anywhere. "Undercover" is a recent release of cover songs, but the arrangements are so fresh and engrossing that you end up feeling like it's a new disc of SHEL tunes. Incredible.
I'm outta column space, but here are the fave runners up: A Shadow of Jaguar's "Raw," The Railsplitters' "Jump In," Gypsy Moon's "Songs of Olde," Monocle Band's "The Clearing," and Masontown's "In This Time."
Shop local! Check out these awesome 2017 albums as we celebrate another great year of excellent local music.