Lineup announced for 2019-20 Songwriter Series in Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Songwriter Series at the Chief Theater is tuning up for its sixth season, and the news of who’s playing is in the spotlight.
The series’ performers were announced at the Chief’s fifth annual lip sync and air band contest, The Noise, on Wednesday, Nov. 6. The series of monthly shows, featuring singer-songwriters from across the world, includes Spinphony, Richie Furay, Joe Robinson, the Hazel Miller Quartet, Moors and McCumber, Patty Larkin and Kenny White.
Series organizer Arty Smith thinks this iteration of the series will be special in that it’s “probably the most diverse series we’ve ever had here.”
“Each performer has their own special thing — their own special type of music,” he said.
When booking shows, Smith considers a range of different genres and styles of music and a balance of men and women lead performers to provide completely different shows each month. This year also brings some of the largest music groups to the Chief’s stage that the series — which typically hosts solo and duo acts — has ever hosted. The bigger bands include Spinphony, Richie Furay and the Hazel Miller Quartet.
“I think it’s gonna be killer,” Smith said.
This year’s series also plans to bring three acts of local musicians as openers — a number a bit higher than past numbers of one to two local openers.
“We like to support local artists in Steamboat the best we can,” Smith said. “We can’t do it for every show, but we like to do it when we can.”
What: Spinphony with special guest and local musician Carolyn Alexis Burns
When: Friday, Nov. 22
Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.
Spinphony is a string quartet that mixes, mashes and breaks down barriers between the genres of classical, rock and pop music, including a mashup of Beethoven with Journey. Spinphony features Brett Omara and Anna Morris on violin, Michaela Borth on five-string and Kari Clifton on cello.
The quartet has played at Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Denver Museum of Art and the Summit Music Series and has collaborated with Josh Groban, Evanescence, the Pueblo Symphony and 2 Cellos. They also participated in numerous master classes with high school groups.
What: Richie Furay
When: Dec. 21
Meet and greet plus show: $75
Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Richie Furay has co-founded Buffalo Springfield and Poco, both groundbreaking and vastly influential bands with enduring legacies. Buffalo Springfield became known for blending folk and rock and for their trio of singer-songwriters, including Furay, Stephen Stills and Neil Young. After Buffalo Springfield disbanded in 1968, Furay and bassist Jimmy Messina created Poco on the premise of marrying the genres of rock and country — a risky endeavor but one that kicked off the entirely new genre of country rock.
In the meet-and-greet session during the same evening as the show, guests will have the opportunity to meet Furay, ask him to sign a poster, snack on a selection of hors d’oeuvres and sip a glass of beer or wine.
What: Joe Robinson
When: Jan. 18, 2020
Joe Robinson grew up in Temagog, Australia, and started learning guitar at age 9. At 13, he won the Australian National Songwriting Competition. Two years later, he released his first collection of original songs, and a year after that, he competed in “Australia’s Got Talent” and won first place, claiming a $250,000 prize.
Robinson went to Nashville in 2009 to play with mentor Tommy Emmanuel and later that year, beat out 70,000 other contestants for the Senior Grand Champion Performer of the World award at the World Championship of Performing Arts in Hollywood.
“Scott Parker (executive director of The Chief)’s mother came across Joe Robinson,” Smith said. “He’s fabulous — we had to have him.”
What: Hazel Miller Band
When: Feb. 7, 2020
Special guest: Local group the Steve Boynton Trio
Hazel Miller is known as Denver’s own Queen of Soul. Her group has been playing together for more than 20 years, blending jazz, R&B, blues and soul. Miller spent more than five years touring with Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and she’s played shows across the world, including both opening and headlining performances at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Smith has seen the quartet perform several times in Denver and has always known he’d love to have them play in Steamboat. It should be noted that this show is set for the Friday of Winter Carnival, which won’t interfere with attendees experiencing the Saturday night fireworks.
“The fireworks are going to be in the theater that night,” Smith said.
What: Moors and McCumber
When: March 7, 2020
James Moors and Kort McCumber met at Lyons’ Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in 2005 and have been co-writing and playing music ever since. Both are multi-instrumentalists — their repertoire includes guitar, ukulele, mandolin, fiddle, bouzouki, harmonica and more — and incorporate elements of everything from country to roots-rock, folk to bluegrass and R&B to blues and Irish music into their songs.
What: Patty Larkin
When: March 29, 2020
Special guest: Michael Braunfeld, who lives in Philadelphia and has a home in Steamboat
Patty Larkin is known for her work in guitar, vocals and lyrics that rework the limits of folk-urban pop. After growing up in a family of Irish American singers, painters and storytellers, Larkin spent time in Oregon, California and Massachusetts and eventually studied jazz guitar at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. In 2005, Larkin released a complication of international female guitarists called La Guitara and has played music for several other compilations and film soundtracks. She’s been honored with numerous awards and often contributes to nonprofit organizations, which led to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino declaring “Patty Larkin Appreciation Day.”
What: Kenny White
When: April 10, 2020
Kenny White, of New York and New Jersey, kicked off his music career as a keyboard player for Jonathan Edwards and Livingston Taylor. During the 1980s and ’90s, White produced and arranged hundreds of television and radio commercials, during which he worked with artists including Gladys Knight, Linda Ronstadt, Mavis Staples and Ricky Skaggs. White also has worked on film soundtracks and Grammy-nominated songs; he recently won the International Songwriting Award at the Annual Premio Ciampi music festival and often shares a stage with Judy Collins and Cheryl Wheeler.
“I think our audience is going to really appreciate these choices,” Smith added. “All of these (artists) were first choice, and we got ‘em all.”
Season tickets may be purchased at chieftheater.com or at All That. A pass to all seven shows goes for $170. The cost is $195 to include the Richie Furay meet and greet.
Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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