Denver’s Underground Music Showcase (UMS) features over 150 acts from all over the nation. The festival, now in its 22nd year has a number of changes. We’re spotlighting 2 of them, and the artists involved here..
Youth on Record was founded in 2008 with the mission to designs and implements strengths-based, music-centered programs intended to equip young people from historically under-resourced communities with the skills needed to find success in life by advancing their academic success, increasing their economic opportunities and career skills, and strengthening their community connections and networks. This year Youth on Record took a 49% interest in UMS. As part of that they’ve brought their own signature events to UMS including:
Impact Show July 30, 2022 – New to UMS this year, the Impact Show is part of a festival-wide focus on supporting mental wellness and the prevention of substance misuse among musicians and an anticipated 10,000 festival attendees. The inaugural show will feature the Seratones, A funk-soul-rock band from Louisiana that marries spirituality, protest, Black feminism, and Afrofuturism.
Youth on Record will also have Impact Days preceding UMS on July 27 & 28, 2022 from 12-6 MST at Youth on Record.
A two-day intensive hosted by Youth on Record and open to all musicians and artists participating in the UMS, Impact Days will serve as an industry-focused kick-off for the festival. Artists, music industry and community leaders will provide skill-sharing workshops, networking, professional development, and wellness coaching opportunities to local and emerging artists. Focused on artmaking, Impact, and Economic Opportunity, Impact Days are designed to build the foundation for institutional resources that will serve musicians, artists, and the creative industries for years to come.
Dozens of industry and arts leaders will host panels, workshops and coaching sessions; industry and arts leaders will be paid for their time. During the pilot year, the event is free to all participating artists. Between sessions, participants will be invited to participate in “care” practices including yoga, access to mental health resources, sober bars, and healthy foods.
Black Fret is a nationwide membership organization with chapters in Austin, Seattle and now Colorado. Black Fret’s goal is to create a global network of connected communities, all supporting their local music economies. And in the process of creating this network, provide opportunities for our Black Fret bands to travel between cities, playing bigger gigs and being paid for shows they would not have had the opportunity to otherwise.
Recently Black Fret Colorado announced its 2022 Black Fret Awardees. The inaugural Black Fret Awardee artists were nominated by local industry experts and founding members in Colorado. They represent a broad spectrum of musical genres and reflect the depth of Colorado’s remarkable talent. They are:
As winter slowly fades to spring, Alysia Kraft reminds listeners of those glistening moments of warmth and connection under the summer sun. Detailing that whimsical and freeing moment when love finds you, Kraft’s “Hamilton Pool” is a candid indie-pop reflection of the unexpected beauty of life.
Kraft explains that the track is “about meeting Staci Foster, my partner for nine years and my musical collaborator in Whippoorwill.” Back in 2012, a friend recruited Foster to take Kraft out of the chaos of SXSW in order to explore the lesser-known parts of the city for a little while. “She picked me up and took me to the magic limestone grotto outside Austin that is Hamilton Pool,” she says. Arriving just 10 minutes before the natural area closed, the two decided to stake out their claim and hide while everyone else cleared out. “We had a magical 30 minutes or so of skinny dipping and basically falling in love until they found Staci’s truck in the parking lot and ultimately chased us out,” she explains.
Having amassed devoted regional followings for projects Whippoorwill and The Patti Fiasco as a celebrated songwriter and incomparably magnetic frontwoman, Kraft has sold out most of Colorado’s big stages and directly supported icons Bon Jovi, Blondie, Nathanial Rateliff and Bonnie Raitt on significantly bigger ones. Embracing the complexities of growing up queer on a cattle ranch in small-town Wyoming and choosing to love within a landscape that didn’t always love back, First Light is a triumphant homecoming and a defining solo debut. Smart, retro-influenced indie pop and lush, bioluminescent folk will find crossover appeal with fans of HAIM, Sheryl Crow, Sharon Van Etten, and Waxahatchee. Enlisting close collaborator J. Tom Hnatow & Grammy-nominated Justin Craig to produce and mix and acclaimed engineer, Sarah Register to master, First Light is open-hearted and thoughtfully hook-adorned– with soundscapes as dimensional as Kraft’s western upbringing and the liberated narratives contained therein.