at www.RARWRITER.com      

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Volume 1-2019




What happened to the list?

As the CCJ transitions to a model better geared to leverage social networks, we are moving away from our past use of email notification services. If you would like to be added to our internal email distribution, please send your request to Rick@RARWRITER.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, which we will use to keep you notified of new features and news articles.


ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.



Use the RARADIO link to go to our radio page, where you will hear songs you are not likely to hear elsewhere.



"Music Hot Spots"




























Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page


CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively called ATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance is the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel











I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.



If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves at NOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.








This video of the Fort Collins trio Whippoorwill leaves one with the impression that not much has changed along Colorado's front range since gold was first discovered in the streams flowing down out of the Rockies. It looks just like how I remember the area when I was last there in the early 1980s, and these folks sound a lot like what Colorado sounded like then.

Alysia Kraft (guitar, vocals), Staci Foster (guitar, banjo, harmonica, vocals), and Tobias Bank (drums, vocals) have been touring this band for a couple years, and now have a debut LP, The Nature of Storms (November 2019). This production is coming out of Lexington, Kentucky's Shangri-La Studio. It was produced by J.Tom Hnatow (Horse Feathers, Vandaveer) and mixed by Duane Lundy (Jim James, Ringo Starr). They are a solid unit with a rich and authentic sound, even as it clearly invokes the spirit of previous wood music idols like Neil Young and Emmy Lou Harris. New isn't on tap so much as is reverence for the old stuff, but it is pleasurable listening if you have a yen for morning coffee. - RAR


Kramies (pronounced Kraim-iss) seems like a most un-Denver kind of a guy, which makes sense as he is Dutch by birth.

The dreamy prog-folk balladeer is out with an EP titled "Of All The Places Been & Evening The End" (see video right), a cryptic title that probably reveals something about the artist and his sensibilities. He is a little outside, a lot ethereal, a little like Thom Yorke minus Radiohead.

Kramies has been just beyond the periphery of big-time recognition for years, since he was signed in 2011 to Australia's Hidden Shoal Recordings. That produced an EP, but more importantly connected Kramies with Jason Lytle of Grandaddy and producer Todd Tobias  (Robert Pollard, Guided by Voices). Kramie's team produced a well-received 2014 EP, "The Wooden Heart". Kramies teamed again with Lytle in 2015 for a single titled "The Fate That Never Favored Us". In 2014, Kramies also worked with Grant Wilson, a pianist and composer best known from the Syfy TV show "Ghost Hunters".

Kramies has probably gotten his greatest traction to date in France, where he has sold out venues, with a recording of one of his live shows at the famous Le Grand Théâtre in Angers, France being released as a live EP titled "forêts antiques". That was listed among the Top Albums of 2015 by Paris magazine Pop Cultures & Co.


Why can't there be peace? That's the question Colorado progressive-jazz band Groover poses with their new 12-song digital LP. It sounds like something from the prospectus of a college class, and to the extent that Groover is an assemblage of studio musicians it is high-toned stuff. This is essentially a duo - drummer and keyboard player Steve Sirockin and bassist/guitarist Evan Strauss - supported by a strong cast. Paul Stadler plays Soprano and Tenor Saxophones, Jessica Jones provides vocals, Matt Flaherty contributes additional guitar work, and Bob Harris contributes a vocal. TrieuHuong Nguyen provided the nature photos for the jacket, while Sirockin provided other photos and graphic design.

Sirockin has been a mainstay of the Boulder music scene for decades, dating back to the early 1970s and his work with Navarro, which for a time served as Carole King's backup band. Holding a degree in Sound Synthesis, Recording, and Reinforcement from the University of Colorado, Sirockin has recorded as a studio musician in numerous Colorado studios, including Caribou Ranch, Northstar, Mountain Ears, and Applewood, and is the owner/operator of Altitude Recording. As a musician, Sirockin has shared a stage with many national acts, including Widespread Panic, Fishbone, Marty Balin from Jefferson Starship, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, Commander Cody, and more.

Evan Strauss is a Seattle resident and a founding member of the Seattle-based, all-improvised psychedelic-music collective SNOOSE JUNCTION (with John Foss, John Leighton Beezer and 5-Track). He also founded Yggdrasil In The Skunk Ape Moment, an experimental improvised-music trio (with Michael Beggs and Morgan Greenstreet).

Use this link to listen to tracks on "Why Can't There Be Peace" and place an order.

QUICK REVIEW: Groover is a really aggressive, in your face sort of collective. The opening track might lead you to believe it is a fraternity house rave band, but it turns out to be a one-off. This LP brings on the Funk - it's wah-wah wonderful - and the whole band is right in the high energy moment. They get a little loopy with the electronic effects from time-to-time, to no particular gain, but then again they also have songs that sound a lot like Spyro Gyra, and could plug into a lot of progressive jazz playlists. The players are great. Paul Stadler is a really standout player, and Sirockin does dynamite work on the keys and drums. Jessica Jones is a soulful singer, though she isn't really given much to work with. Evan Strauss is a fine bass player. I would say "Chorus of Doom" is my favorite track. It is really smokin' in a way that might even make a person think of James Brown's bands, kind of hard-core cool. "Discreet Muzeek" is a really cool track, with all sorts of call-backs to '60s sounds, especially The Doors, and the final track, "A Remarkable Day" is really strong, a beautiful composition beautifully performed. The LP is rich. My overall sense is that if you like energized party music, with a progressive-jazz flare, you will probably dig "Why Can't There Be Peace?" - RAR

Candy Claws

These Fort Collins kids -- Kay Bertholf, Karen McCormick, and Ryan Hover -- do a spacey dream pop, concept-oriented thing, as demonstrated on their album Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time album (2013). The bio reads that Hover and Bertholf met at an Evangelical church they both attended during high school. Together with McCormick, Hover’s fiancé, the three steer this collective and its concept-heavy, dream pop albums. Their most recent album, including notable collaborations with Chicago poet Jenn Morea and orchestrations by New York composer Bryan Senti, transports listeners to the Mesozoic Era where the album is divided into the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

I am not certain who the girl singing in the video below is, but she has a really special vocal quality.- RAR



The Centennial


Denver is home for Patrick Meese, his wife Tiffany, and his brother Nate who together make up The Centennial. They are an indie-rock and dream pop outfit. The brothers were previously together in their band Meese.

Elephant Revival

Elephant Revival bases out of Nederland, which has a well-established reputation as a hippie enclave. It is the kind of place where young hipster musicians go to live in old school buses just for the pleasure of being around like-minded Bohemians. The Elephant Revival folks - Bonnie Paine, Daniel Rodriguez, Sage T. Cook, Dango Rose, Bridget Law - are well-talented and sort of a throw-back to 1971.


Frances and the Foundation

Frances and the Foundation - Samantha Frances, Matt Simms, Johnny Angel - came out of Colorado Springs, though they now base out of Nashville. They are a solid pop-rock unit with strong material. This video below isn't their best resume credit, but you get the idea. Pretty solid guitar work.


Paper Bird


Denver band Paper Bird -- Sarah Anderson, Genevieve Patterson, Esmé Patterson, Caleb Summeril, Paul DeHaven, Macon Terry, Mark Anderson -- is really kinda special. This band has been playing big festivals and sharing stages with Neko Case and The Lumineers. They’ve also been voted as a “Top 10 Best Underground Band” by The Denver Post three years in a row.


Princess Music



Tyler Ludwick, Rachel Sliker, Psyche Cassandra Dunkhase, Robin Chestnut, and Jeremy Averitt hail from Denver. They are a folk and orchestral pop ensemble.



You Me and Apollo

You Me and Apollo is a Fort Collins collective including Brent Cowles, Tyler Kellogg, Jonathan Alonzo, Morgan Travis, and Dave Cole. They are an indie-rock and alt-country act that began as a solo project of frontman Brent Cowles in 2007 while he was working on an audio engineering degree in Arizona.



Head for the Hills

Out of Fort Collins, Head for the Hills (Mike Chappell, Adam Kinghorn, Joe Lessard, Matt Loewen) do a kind of Pop-Bluegrass that has been heard around Colorado for decades. They call it "Newgrass", just like Sam Bush and the Newgrass Revival did before them. Head for the Hills has drawn good reviews for their SXSW Festival shows.

Joseph Childress

Joseph Childress is a Colorado native who has been around a long time. He is a compelling singer-songwriter who seems to actually have something special in his sound. He could sure use a more recent and better set of videos to promote was is pretty significant talent. Perhaps a mentoring manager, too.

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West Water Outlaws 



Blake Rooker, Will Buck, Vincent Ellwood, and Andrew Oakley are from Boulder. They met as students at the University of Colorado and they do high-energy rock.



The Woodsman

Trevor Peterson, Mark Demolar, and Dylan Shumaker are "Brookyln-via-Denver" and they are a psych-rock trio who began performing in Colorado in the fall of 2008.


Caitlin DeMuth, a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and beat-boxer, lived in Colorado for 23 years before relocating to the Bay Area. According to her, “The Colorado scene in general definitely formed me as an artist.” DeMuth, under the moniker Lynx, combines elements of electronica into her brand of folk and indie pop.




Colorado Music Experience

Visit https://colomusic.org where long-time Colorado music writer G. Brown has a website focused on the history of Colorado pop music.

Colorado Music Experience put together this video on Colorado's "Golden Era" of Country-Rock, the early 1970s.

Colorado Music Archives

Previous Colorado Page


Boulder Archives

- Use this link to go to previously published articles on the Denver/Boulder music scene.

Anthony Ruptak

I can't make head nor tails out of this video, but I like the song by Denver-based singer-songwriter Anthony Ruptak. He is a multi-instrumentalist who is releasing his first full-length LP ("A Place That Never Changes") after three earlier EPs.

Ruptak's sound is modern, as folk-rock goes, if a little too familiar. He sounds like those bands that came out of Seattle that were so popular around the turn of the century.






Copyright © September, 2019 Rick Alan Rice (RARWRITER)