Please forgive the free-form nature of this week’s MusicShare post. It came together this morning during a 17 hour drive home from covering a slice of Colorado’s presence at SXSW Music in Austin, TX. I promise this post only meanders a little before arriving at a free download of something brand new and great.
Perhaps no other Northern Colorado artist can claim the notoriety of a one Michael Kirkpatrick. If you ask somebody for a bluegrass concert recommendation in Ft. Collins they will likely steer you to his band, The Holler!—which is completely disconcerting because although he does play mandolin (not ukelele) the similarities end there.
I had never met him when I started at KRFC, but over the last few music-packed years our paths have crossed countless times. I suspect some day I’ll get a call from 20th Century Fox asking me to consult for his biopic about what they will hopefully call “the NoCo years.” I suggest that title because Michael’s life in this community has seen him rise from playing guitar in bands and throwing parties in barns to performing on multiple instruments, building a stellar solo set, leading bands, arranging, playing studio sessions for national artists, and all the while camouflaging his operatic performance training, an asset that makes him an ideal contemporary showman.
Doubtless, the folks who hail The Holler!’s driving rock rhythm and “mid-tempo psychedelia” as NoCo’s best bluegrass will soon be sending audiences Michael’s way to enjoy some of his signature Colorado folk music. This is where I must implore you as an informed reader of this blog and/or a listener of KRFC to end the madness. Kirkpatrick’s Seattle indie-pop heritage shines through every time he steps on stage with The Holler! and on each and every track of “Key To My Cage,” To discount his unabashed love affair with and flair for melancholy rock arrangements is a crime.
So, with great excitement, I share a track that first debuted to an audience of a handfull of friends and colleagues gathered for the holidays in a cozy South Fort Collins living room. After more than a year of cajoling by Michael’s solo acoustic audience, that night was the first hint for many that a new recording would be in the works. After a little tuning and a few unanswered refrains of “What should I play, what should I play” there was a pregnant pause as his breath dropped in and our little gathering leaned forward in our seats. Yours truly, half way in to the poetic and melancholy masterpiece (already full of the holiday spirit and overjoyed by this early present) began to well up with tears as I thought back on some of the bitter struggles so many in our community faced last year between drought, fire and whatever the city has going on down Mason Street (I just close my eyes and pray when I have to bike across now). By the end of the song, the mix of joy in our hearts and the plaintive performance had the tissue box circulating around the room.
So, if you’re feeling sensitive at the moment, you’ve been warned about this track. It’s a soaring roller-coaster ride with a gentle ending that will make you want to hit repeat.
Please note that downloads offered via KRFC MusicShare are intended to introduce you to great talent in KRFC’s community, and are NOT CD-quality recordings. If you want those, please support the artists by buying their music and/or seeing them live.
If you’re in a band or are a musician looking to share your music, email your tracks to Andrew [at] krfcfm [.] org for consideration.
Andrew Schneider is a volunteer host and booker for KRFC’s Live@Lunch, bringing the best local and visiting talent to Northern Colorado’s airwaves every Monday-Friday, Noon-1PM. He is also a veteran web developer, filmmaker, DIY venue collaborator, and KRFC’s digital media lead.