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  • The Haunted Windchimes will perform at Chautauqua Dec. 11.

    Kevin Ihle / Courtesy photo

    The Haunted Windchimes will perform at Chautauqua Dec. 11.



Twangy thwack twang a twang bee pa dee pee doo…

If you could hear the upbeat polka-gypsy-folk-jazz tune that’s echoing through my mind right now, you’d tap your toes too.

I’ve been listening to a lot of acoustic-ensemble music lately, and I love a large group that can do three- and four-part harmonies well.

I love stringed instruments, the chop of the mandolin on the off-beat, the thwack of the upright bass on the (fretless) fretboard… But being the son of a conductor, I’m just always a sucker for finely tuned harmonies and choral arrangements that showcase the best parts of the voices.

Americana acoustic-folk groups attempt this often, with varying success. So many in the region fit this bill, but among the absolute best are The Haunted Windchimes. They have some live recordings on Spotify — take a listen and marvel at the way the characters of their voices just meld into one another. Marvelous.

They’re blowing up the Chautauqua Music Hall later in the winter, Dec. 11 to be exact, but I wanted to highlight it as one to definitely not miss.

Shake shake shake

One of my favorite six-string crooners is Shakey Graves. With a lead voice reminiscent of folk hero Gregory Alan Isakov and the gritty steel growl of an angry Joe Bonamassa, Alejandro Rose-Garcia just gushes energy and emotion.

Live, he’s a sonic and visual delight. Be sure and grab a ticket to see him at the Ogden, 935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, on Oct. 23. Be slain by his axe and his velvet voice.

El Banditos… possibly borracho

Years ago, in wilder days, I rode hard in a bike gang called the Borracho Banditos.

This is Boulder, so our hosses were actually bicycles. And as the bilingual among you might surmise, not a one of us understood proper Spanish syntax.

We may have caused a little mayhem. Perhaps… OK, in reality we were pretty lame. We did nail the borracho part though. Just like real banditos would, we liked to think.

Banditos (or Bandits), the word carries fond memories, so I was pretty psyched to see one Boulder’s own Bandits on the Second Story Garage schedule back in June. I assure you they were not sidewinding the liquid snake when they set up, cranked the amps and blew the doors down. The three brand-new tracks were original, had great composition and sounded full, which can be difficult for a three piece. That was a really fun recording.

Last thing I’ll say. With this type of rock, I wanted to see what a vintage reel-to-reel could bring to the mix. I made a copy on 1/4-inch tape using a 60-year-old reel deck and then, after some tweaking, mixed it back into the digital recording. Subtly, mind you, but it added such a nice snap to the snare, among other things, and I had to go for it. Side note: I picked up that reel-to-reel recorder at Ares Thrift Store on Spruce Street a while back… that place has some occasional audio gems.

Check out our videos next week at Second Story Garage dot com, or on YouTube.


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