How do you build a bluegrass band to be competitive in the teeming Colorado 'grass scene?
You fill it with the most technically proficient players you can find, you whip them into shape and then you get ready to whip all comers in well-established area festival competitions.
After that, you stoke your fan base, ask them to help you fund a record, and then you hook up with (and hopefully earn validation from) a well-established band in the genre.
If that's not a recipe for success, I'll never see one. But see, I didn't lift that from a coffee table book or magazine clipping. The Denver chefs that cooked up that hot meal are none other than Meadow Mountain, the winners of the 2017 Rockygrass band competition.
Their debut album, "Meadow Mountain," produced by Chris Pandolfi of the Infamous Stringdusters, will be released on the 'Dusters' own Tape Time Records label on Nov. 2. And wouldn't you know, these smart chefs chose the Gold Hill Inn as their venue for the release party.
If you've not read anything I've written before about high-energy shows at the Gold Hill Inn, let me sum it up for you with a stream of adjectives: lively, cozy, happy, jumpy, sweaty. Everyone there dances. And if you don't get in before they reach the fire marshal limit, you may have to watch from outside. It's a great experience, so mark your calendars now.
Hi-fi in our backyard
The reason your dad loves McIntosh audio equipment so much is that back in the day, a good hi-fi system was something you had to have. Music, before the internet and before video games, was much more the chief entertainment for everyone.
Back in the day, Dad pulled monstrous wooden speakers across the shag carpet into the living room and plugged them into a giant, hot amplifier or massive wood-paneled receiver. He'd turn on the lava lamp, turn down the lights, throw on a good old-fashioned vinyl record and crank it up.
The heyday of the hi-fi system may be behind us, but a sizable group of fanatics around the world still call themselves audiophiles, and they keep the tradition of big amplifiers and big speakers alive. To be fair, they don't discriminate based on the size of equipment — just based on fidelity to the music.
This weekend, the center of the audiophile universe is Denver. Hordes of manufacturers, dealers and consumers of high-end audio are descending on our area as I type, preparing for one of the biggest consumer trade shows in the business: the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival.
I say this every year, and it's never more true today: If you like music, put your favorite music on a thumb drive or CD and march down to the Denver Tech Center Marriott today through Sunday.
Tickets are cheap, and the experience is priceless. Walk from room to room, and politely ask to play your favorite song. I guarantee that you will hear this music in ways you've never experienced before.
Check out audiofest.net for more information.