I hope you’ve been out enjoying this awesome weather recently. The dog and I logged nearly 600 miles driving around the state last weekend chasing fish, and everywhere we went it seemed others were getting out too.
That’s apropos of nothing… I just love Colorado, and I hope you do too.
The last two weeks we talked about two awesome young artists who began life in our glorious state, but due to their blind ambitions and ruthless quests to achieve unassailable greatness they both decided to move to Brooklyn, N.Y. As you do, I suppose.
This third artist we’ll look at today took the exact same route initially, but recently she seems to have come to her senses and is based back home in Loveland while pursuing her solo career.
Her name is Courtney Hartman, and she may have come across your radar first as guitarist in the bluegrass band Della Mae. Just like the artists from the last two weeks, Courtney attended the Berklee School of Music, and Della Mae was formed with her friends at the venerable music school.
You can count on Berklee to admit and develop the nation’s best talent, at least in the bluegrass/folk/acoustic scene that we love so dearly here in Colorado. Everyone I’ve recorded or heard that attended is just astonishingly good.
The solo gig looks great on Ms. Hartman, as she last year produced an astounding and excellent debut full-length album called “Ready Reckoner.”
She’s recorded lots of albums before — a few with Della Mae, a solo EP, a tribute album to John Hartford that she recorded with Robert Ellis, a couple of duo albums — but “Reckoner” is both an audiophile recording and a seductively intimate experience for a first major record.
Hartman manages to be two things at once. She’s the haunting vocalist, with a delivery that locks you into it like a Star Wars tractor beam; she’s the deft guitarist, who hides complexity inside a butter-smooth delivery. It’s hard to think that the two are one person.
It’s hard to think at all when I’m listening to her new album — I’m just mesmerized.
Check it out wherever music can be streamed or searched.
If you’re a musician and you live in the expensive AF town of Boulder, Colorado, you likely have another job to make the ends meet. Maybe your day job is music related, but odds say that the time and quiet that is necessary to create and perfect your own music can be hard to find.
One of my favorite bands in the area, bluegrass Americana foot-stompers The Railsplitters, seems to be revving up the creativity engine again, after a couple of years without a new record.
The band’s first three albums, “The Railsplitters,” “The Faster It Goes” and “Jump In” still get regular play time in my house, mostly because they’re just really, really good.
The music is bluegrass, yes, but it’s so well formed, succinct and catchy that it could easily be pop music or rock music if you just change the instruments.
The guys and gals of The Railsplitters proved that point again with the release of a single — a cover of a pop song, Grizzly Bear’s “Two Weeks.”
Have a listen to this gem, and tell me your brain doesn’t do tricks at first, wondering if this is the original. The cello or the violin give it away at some point, and it’s just solid all the way through.
I hope this means more is coming! Stay informed at therailsplitters.com.