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Preview of new music in 2022 from The Lumineers, Bluebook, Yonder Mountain String Band and other artists from Colorado and Denver

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Preview of new music in 2022 from The Lumineers, Bluebook, Yonder Mountain String Band and other artists from Colorado and Denver

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Like the paper-white flowers her grandmother sends her every Christmas, Julie Davis surprised herself during the pandemic with a sort of cloistered resilience, despite periods of intense doubt.

The flowers “start to grow as the days grow longer,” said Davis, a Denver freelance musician known for projects such as Bela Karoli, Fairchildren and Bluebook. “I was so depressed last Christmas that I didn’t take them out of the box. When I finally opened it I noticed that they had already started to grow in the dark.

Bluebook, “Optimistic Voices”. (Blue Book)

“Paperwhites” is just one of nine striking tracks from Bluebook’s new album, “Optimistic Voices,” which premieres when the album releases at Hi-Dive on February 12th. It’s a triumph of musical evolution for Davis, and a recovery of his confidence in songwriting.

It’s also just one of many highly anticipated albums by Colorado artists for 2022, following an unusually strong run in 2021 from the state’s most prominent musicians, such as the royalty of the Leftover Salmon jam band ( May’s “Brand New Good Old Days”), EDM juggernaut and The headliner of the Red Rocks Illenium (July’s “Fallen Embers”) and folk-rock legend Neil Young (December “Barn”, recorded near Telluride where Young owns a ranch).

You might have also missed the “Rainbow Brain” from GRiZ; Velveteers’ “Nightmare Daydream”; “What We Did” by Chris Daniels, Hazel Miller and Dana Marsh; AJ Fullerton’s “The Forgiver and the Fugitive”; “No Praise, No Blame” by Porlolo; and Centennial’s “Buried Gold,” among many others, said Denver music experts and radio DJs.

All are worth looking for, according to Alisha Sweeney, local music director at Indie 102.3 FM, and Chris Kresge, host of “The Colorado Playlist” on 105.5 FM. Sweeney, for example, approved the release of Alison Lorenzen’s “Tender” in November, as well as N3ptune’s December album, “Renaissance,” which heralded a brilliant new artistic and genre force in Denver.

The glut is a sign that Denver artists, forced out of performing live, have increasingly turned to notebooks and studios and are making music that reflects even traumatic times. In Davis’s case, she wrote new songs for the first time in years while also adding to Bluebook’s lineup with stage veterans Jess Parsons, Hayley Helmericks (Snake Rattle Rattle Snake) and Anna Morset (The Still Tide. ).

Preview of new music in 2022 from The Lumineers, Bluebook, Yonder Mountain String Band and other artists from Colorado and Denver

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Photo Illustration by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Bluebook (Left to Right) Hayley Helmericks (drums and vocals), Julie Davis (bass and vocals), Anna Morsett (guitar and vocals) and Jess Parsons (keyboards and vocals) pose for a portrait on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.

Recorded with James Barone (Tennis, Beach House) in June and August, “Optimistic Voices” also features Brad Cook (producer for Bon Iver) and the mastering of Chris Colbert (Mazzy Star, Pedro the Lion).

Such a pedigree is common in a city with a humble music scene that still boasts international touring, platinum certified and Grammy nominated artists The Lumineers, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Ingrid Andress as its own. But not being able to promote new releases in person has been difficult.

Rateliff and the Night Sweats, which were just confirmed for Bonnaroo in June, watched a summer 2020 tour opener for Bob Dylan get canned by COVID, as well as Rateliff’s sold-out tour for the ‘solo album’ And it’s always good. “

While the Night Sweats returned to the road last year, Rateliff told The Denver Post this week that the band had also been talking about a North American tour in January 2022 to promote their new album, “The Future” – released in November as Night Sweats’ third full-length. This would have followed their slashing performance of “The Tonight Starring Jimmy Fallon” of “Survivor” in November (Fallon is a longtime fan and supporter). But the idea was dropped due to worsening COVID-19 conditions. (A publicist would not say how many dates he would have included.)

“This was going to be a lot of bigger venues than we’ve ever done before,” said Rateliff, who also recently purchased the beloved South Broadway Skylark Lounge with manager Chris Tetzeli and longtime friend Bob Ashby. . “We were a little reluctant and just decided to wait and let people sit down with the record for a bit. … We always keep the dates for Europe in May and June.

A pair of revealingly named “The Future” singles – “Survivor” and “Face Down in the Moment” – have already made it to Night Sweats’ Top 5 Greatest Songs on Spotify, alongside hits such as “SOB” (132 million streams) and “You Worry Me” (65 million). The marriage of Rateliff’s once divergent personalities – quiet folkie and, since 2015, soul band leader – feels natural on “The Future,” bringing the Night Sweats to a hazy America while honoring their beat-heavy work.

“I’m definitely becoming a character of myself in this group,” Rateliff said. “It will be interesting to get back up there (on stage) and see if I can continue to be that person. … I put myself (sometimes) in my head: “Maybe I do what I want when I want? But I still want us to feel like a group, so the opinions of these guys are important to me.

Preview of new music in 2022 from The Lumineers, Bluebook, Yonder Mountain String Band and other artists from Colorado and Denver

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The Lumineers, “The Brightside”. (Dualtone music)

Indie-folk actor Covenhoven – who quietly went on to become one of Colorado’s most-listened to artists with several songs licensed for television and commercials – has released another album worth revisiting, “IV,” which debuted in October. And The Lumineers, the biggest group to call Denver home, are releasing their fourth album, “Brightside,” on Friday, Jan. 14.

The title song is already a # 1 hit on AAA radio.

“We were supposed to shoot last summer and fall and made the tough decision not to do it,” Lumineers frontman Wesley Schultz said. At press time, her group was scheduled to appear on “The Tonight Show” on Thursday, January 13. “It was like we were pessimistic, but you could also read the tea leaves.”

Schultz isn’t taking anything for granted in 2022, he said, while crossing his fingers that spring and summer are healthier times. The band’s new album, “Brightside” certainly lends itself to the stage, with a louder, more rock sound than what fans may be used to. Schultz and Lumineers co-conspirator Jeremiah Fraites also released their own solo albums last year, hinting at the prolific nature of their songwriting during the lockdown era.

“We try not to have (expectations) and treat this album like a $ 100 bill that you just found lying around,” Schultz said, adding that “IV” is his favorite album from the band. “This album reaffirms a certain confidence in ourselves, because when Jer and I started writing together 16 years ago, we were so full of doubts.… But recording it felt like we were free to express something, instead of letting that inner critic rule our heads.

Preview of new music in 2022 from The Lumineers, Bluebook, Yonder Mountain String Band and other artists from Colorado and Denver

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