Coming Attractions

Avourneen trio’s ‘Sparrow’ album takes wing

Recommended activities for the coming weeks

Column by Clarke Reader
Posted 3/4/20

When talking about the Irish music he’s been playing as part of Denver band Avourneen for the last six years, guitarist and vocalist Adam Goldstein warmly quotes English writer and philosopher G.K. …

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Coming Attractions

Avourneen trio’s ‘Sparrow’ album takes wing

Recommended activities for the coming weeks

Posted

When talking about the Irish music he’s been playing as part of Denver band Avourneen for the last six years, guitarist and vocalist Adam Goldstein warmly quotes English writer and philosopher G.K. Chesterton’s thoughts on the uniqueness of the Irish: “All their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

As the group prepares to release its debut full-length album, “Sparrow,” on March 8, Goldstein, violinist CL Morden and bassist Kenny Martinez are ready to show a wide audience that Irish music has a range that goes beyond sad songs. The music is thrilling, dynamic and thoroughly modern.

“This music goes back hundreds of years, but we still have the freedom and space to put our own stamp on it,” Goldstein said. “What we did was assemble our own creation within this hundreds-year-old framework. There are certain rules to the game, but within those confines, there’s a whole universe.”

Over the 15 tracks of “Sparrow,” the band explores traditional tunes (with a unique spin) like “Rising of the Moon,” and debuts originals “Sparrow,” “Banks of the Liffey” and “Cork March.” Fittingly, the journey of the originals on “Sparrow” started with a trip Goldstein and Morden made to Ireland in 2015.

“Sparrow” was recorded at Sawtelle Studios in Denver’s historic Swallow Hill folk music center in 2019. The album is the group’s first since its debut EP, which was released in 2014 when Avourneen first formed.

Goldstein describes “Sparrow” as a testament to how much Avourneen has grown over the last six years — growth that is largely the result of a passionate and varied performance schedule. They frequently can be found at Irish pubs all over the metro area, and also perform at marathon contra-dance festivals throughout the state and Western region. A traditional form of line-dancing, these events require musicians to play up to eight-hour shifts.

While such a range of performances takes a lot of work, Goldstein said it did wonders for the group, and helped build a fan base.

“It’s exciting to have a document of what we sound like now. In a way, all the live playing we’ve been doing over the last years has been practice for this album,” he said. “This is a bridge to a really exciting new phase, one where all the hard work will pay off.”

Avourneen will unveil the album at a special performance at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 8 at the Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe St. in downtown Denver’s Daniels & Fisher Tower. The group will be joined by former members, as well as appearances from some of Colorado’s best-known Celtic musicians. And moving into the spring and summer, the band will be back to doing what they do best — taking their music out to the people who love it.

“There’s a timelessness to this music, and it takes such chops to do well,” Goldstein said. “But when it’s done well, it is some of most beautiful music around.”

“Sparrow” will be available on streaming services, at the group’s live shows and on www.avourneen.com. Visit www.clocktowercabaret.com for tickets to the album release show.

Mark a century of suffrage with Molly Brown

Denver’s Molly Brown was an active member of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association, which worked hard in the early 20th century to ensure women had the right to vote. As 2020 is the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, the Molly Brown Museum and Historic Denver are hosting a slew of events this spring and summer to honor the historic efforts of the women who fought for its ratification.

As part of the organization’s tea time events, a discussion on Brown and Alva Belmont, who worked side-by-side in the fight for women’s suffrage, will be held at 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, at the Molly Brown House Museum, 1340 Pennsylvania St. The tea includes a tour of the museum.

Get tickets at www.historicdenver.org.

Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Thundercat at the Ogden Theatre

If you’ve dug contemporary jazz music or some of the best recent hip-hop, you’ve enjoyed the work of bassist Stephen Lee Bruner — better known as Thundercat. The man has worked on albums from everyone from Suicidal Tendencies to Kendrick Lamar.

His 2017 album “Drunk,” was one of the year’s best. It’s home to the slyly beautiful love song “Show You the Way,” which features the following lyrics about the power of love, “Wake up and dream, tear down the wall/Of all you believe that might not be true/Long as love lies waiting there.”

Thundercat is gearing up to release his new album “It Is What It Is” in early April, and in support of the album, he’ll be performing at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave., at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 12. Get tickets at www.ogdentheatre.com.

Capturing a day in a picture

Photographer Stephen Wilkes goes beyond capturing a single moment in his photos. Instead, he photographs the progression of time from a fixed camera position for up to 30 hours and then blends the results into one picture. This blending process takes months of work.

In the last entry of Lone Tree’s National Geographic Live series, Wilkes’ images of cityscapes and landscapes is showcased in all its timeless beauty on a massive screen. Day to Night will be 8 p.m. on Friday, March 13 at the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St.

Get tickets at www.lonetreeartscenter.org.

Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.

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