If you’re of a certain age in Boulder, chances are you don’t go out to hear live music much anymore, because you don’t want to go to a STO venue (that’s Standing Room Only) where the music doesn’t get started until 10 p.m. And many don’t want to go to a show where the crowd is actually louder than the music on stage. For that crowd—and any true lovers of original music—there’s now Boulder in-the-Round at eTown Hall on the first Wednesday evening of every month.
Boulder in-the-Round is a singer-songwriter showcase, featuring four different singer songwriters every month. If you’re over 50, you’ll love the fact it starts at 7 p.m. and you’re out the door by 9:30 p.m. Not bad for a school night. It beats another night on the sofa. And what a showcase it is.
Four artists take turns playing one of their original songs, often sharing the story behind it, not unlike the famed Bluebird in Nashville. And while these local, regional and national artists haven’t had a song on the top 20 charts yet, once you hear them, you’ll know it’s just a matter of time before they DO chart.
Boulder in-the-Round was birthed by local singer-songwriters Theresa Peterson, Hunter Stone and Wilson Harwood, although Peterson and Stone are now the “curators.”
“We all met while doing various Open Mics around town, and started talking about putting a songwriter night together; some kind of roundtable platform,” said Peterson. “We started at Hunter’s house, and then connected with the folks at Vapor Distillery in East Boulder, where we performed for two years. They were so supportive of what we were trying to do.”
Ultimately a friend connected Peterson with eTown Hall Facility Director John “Digger” Pelaez. eTown is the nationally syndicated radio show that features live performances and is hosted by Nick and Helen Forster. The rest, as they say, is history.
“eTown is the ideal venue for musical performances such as these,” said Peterson. Every month eTown graciously provides the space, a sound engineer, volunteers and even bartenders. While Boulder in-the-Round currently takes place downstairs at eTown Hall, Peterson hopes to grow the monthly event into the big performance hall one day.
If you haven’t had the chance to be in a true “listening” venue, you’ll want to download your free—yes, free—tickets to Boulder in-the-Round. The four singer songwriters that are performing on Wednesday, June 7 are diverse, as they always are. You’ll hear from Dechen Hawk, a Boulder songwriter with neo-soul style. Heatherlyn is a nationally touring songstress offering pure, soaring vocals and songs that radiate love. John Statz, who recently returned from an international tour and is releasing a new record in June, brings poignant lyrics and a classic folk sound. Pamela Machala delivers fun, smart and heartfelt indi pop.
Peterson will be on hand as the evening’s “curator,” and a local artist is always on hand, painting to the inspiration of the music. The artwork is usually for sale or raffled off. While the tickets to Boulder in-the-Round are free, if you attend, you’ll need to fill the tip jar, as that’s how the artists get paid. And after you experience the show, you’ll want to stuff that jar to the brim. The talent is that good, the listening room environment is that unique and the venue is ideal. Plus, it’s not every day you look around a concert or performance of any kind that attracts a mix of 20 somethings, 30 somethings and even 60 and 70 somethings, all enjoying the same music in the exact same way—respectfully, quietly and appreciatively.
“If you enjoy live music, if you appreciate hearing songs as they are born and the backstories behind them, if you appreciate artistry and value a true listening environment, you need to come experience Boulder in-the-Round,” said Peterson.
For free tickets, visit www.etown.org. You can also check out Boulder-in-the Round on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.