To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BIFF Singer-Songwriter Showcase, we asked all past performers – more than 90 different acts – if they wanted to be considered for the Best of BIFF Fan Favorites selection survey. More than 1,000 fans made their selections and the top 14 acts will perform this year at our new venue, The Spotted James.
We have a host of performers from showcase years 1-9, including top favorites such as Otis Taylor, Rebecca Folsom & Tom Wassinger and Magic Music. We’re thrilled to continue our commitment to local, original music with these and other great performers.
Incredibly Unfamous award-winning indie pop-folk artist Finn O’Sullivan, described by former Rolling Stone managing editor John Dioso as “the lovechild of Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift,” writes about the universal themes of love and loss with both humor and compassion. O’Sullivan’s chord progressions and turns of phrase are a testament to her musicianship and a true poetic gift. Her lyrics range from old soul to millennial quirky, and her clever, catchy tunes simply get stuck in your head.
As songwriter with Bob Story, for Boulder’s quirky Martian Acres Band, Dennis won two John Lennon International Songwriting Awards, as well as a nationwide OurStage Songwriting Competition. Along the way, the Martian Acres Band picked up serious fans from Australia to Paris (France and Texas).
Dennis has since moved in the direction of solo work. His two solo albums have been well-received critically. Of the 2012 effort (Running on Gravity), a national reviewer concluded with the comment: “at times one hears a classic like Graceland in this work.” In 2018, Dennis’s second solo album (The Stranger), was released—again to a very warm reception, most recently in the industry-respected Creative Culture Journal.
Wrenn & Ian are young musicians based out of Lafayette, Colorado. They play an eclectic mix of original music and cover songs with Wrenn on vocals and Ian on guitar and keys. Ian’s dexterity on the guitar provides a balanced foundation for Wrenn’s powerful and expressive voice. They have a unique sound of their own and a musical finesse beyond their years. Don’t let their youth mislead you; the energy they bring to the stage is powerful. They turn heads with their polished sound and electric talent. Having played the Arise Music Festival in 2019, they are continuing to build their following and working hard to earn their place in the industry. Honored to have played BIFF in 2021 they are excited to return for the 10th Annual BIFF Singer-Songwriter Showcase.
When playing at Boulder International Film Festival, Wrenn & Ian will be joined by Dalton Vaughan on percussion. Dalton has been playing drums and percussion for over thirty years in Colorado.
Billboard Magazine award recipient, Laurie Dameron, has been playing the guitar for nearly 50 years and singing even longer. Between solo performances and performances with her band, Laurie D and the Blues Babes, she has performed for hundreds of venues in and out of Colorado over the past 25 years. A broad repertoire of folk, blues, and jazz allows her to perform in many different venues. She has produced three CDs and currently working on the fourth and fifth.
Dameron is also an environmental activist and in 2012 started her project Space ship Earth: What Can I Do? Multimedia Presentations hoping to inspire folks to be better stewards to our beautiful planet Earth! Her song “What Can I Do?” made it to the top ten finalists in the 2011 Tipperary World Peace Song Contest. She passed the first round of auditions for America’s Got Talent in Denver in December of 2013. In 2015 she was elected chair of Environmental and Sustainability Development for BPW Colorado and is past chair for NFBPWC (National Federation Business and Professional Women Clubs). In 2017 she was awarded “Trailblazer Woman of the Year” at BPW Boulder’s biggest annual event Celebration of Women.
Laurie is a long-time member of the Colorado Music Business Association (1987) and has won numerous other songwriting contests including COMBO.
A veteran of Colorado stages, Mark’s national performing roots include stints with chart topping country rock stalwarts Pure Prairie League and Firefall. From there, Mark had the good fortune to work with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Richie Furay, Garth Brooks, Amy Grant, John Oates, Jeff Hanna (Dirt Band) and many more. A 5-time Emmy Award winning producer/composer with multiple works featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Mark was a 2012 Grammy Finalist for his Children’s Jazz Symphony JumpinJazz Kids—A Swinging Jungle Tale, featuring the great Al Jarreau. In 2019, Mark released his “High Water Line” album, which garnered a host of national reviews, press and radio airplay on both commercial and noncommercial Americana and AAA formats. Tour dates included shows in New York City at The Rockwood Music Hall, iHeart Radio and the iconic Cafe Bohemia and The Bitter End.
Unabashedly uplifting, undeniably soulful and irresistibly catchy, Janis Kelly writes, records, performs and instigates music that she calls, “Higher Vibe:” Soul-stirring, hip-shaking, heart-opening and thought-provoking, guaranteed to lift your love vibration. Over the past 15 years, Janis has recorded six albums of original material, including her latest projects, Sing! Praise! Chant! Breathe! (2019) a sing-along music and meditation album and Say, ‘Yes!’ (2016) her first studio album recorded in Colorado. During her 40+ year career as a professional touring vocalist, Janis was honored to share the stage and studio with artists and musical influences such as Carole King, Chaka Khan, Tower of Power, The Neville Brothers and Maurice White from Earth, Wind & Fire. Listen/learn more at https://janiskellymusic.com. “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song”-Maya Angelou
Cari Minor and Ray Smith became Strangebyrds in 2011, writing moving songs about times past and present. Their blend of spot-on harmonies and commitment to finessing and honing their craft has developed into a sound they call “Blue Collar Folk”. Their fifth album, Highway Islands was released in 2022 with the support of fans who raised above and beyond their Kickstarter goal in just thirty days. Strangebyrds have recorded four award-winning releases recognized by both the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Songwriting Competitions. The magnetic synergy of Strangebyrds’ unique Americana music has forged a reputation for captivating audiences with powerful, universal truths layered within stunning musicianship.
Kenny Lee Young has been an active performer in the Colorado music scene for 15 years. His soulful and rhythmic acoustic tunes have landed him a sponsorship with Teton Guitars and supporting national acts like Common, Brad Corrigan, Katy Z, Kenneth Stringfellow, and Rich Robinson. Outside of performing, Kenny has been concentrating on writing music for sync and publishing opportunities with a team at a Lionsgate Recording Studio. Kenny keeps a close hold on creating thought provoking acoustic pieces but has enjoyed venturing into other genres that challenge and encourage growth as a musician.
Abby’s first live gigs started at the age of seven in her then hometown of Cohasset, MA, where she soon rose to prominence at the local level with her two sisters in a band that would eventually become known as Flatiron Junction when they moved to Boulder, CO. The sister trio has since performed around the country, and most notably, the National Anthem at Boston’s legendary Fenway Park and at Coors Field for the Colorado Rockies. Abby has since released 2 solo EPs, “Gypsy Soul” and “Heart on Fire”, with her label Pure Music Nashville. She currently lives in Denver and can be found performing across Colorado.
“Like Stevie Wonder and Jeff Buckley thrown in a blender,” Indie Soul Balladeer Dechen Hawk creates music that ranges from beautiful ballads to gritty throwback funk and soul. He believes conscious music has the power to heal and transform humanity for the better. He imbues his songs with the Buddhist teachings of love, respect, and expanding consciousness that he was raised with. Though musical his whole life, it wasn’t until the death of his father when he was 14, and the search for a way to express that loss, that Hawk found his calling as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His desire to create and express the joy and fragility of life has kept him busy for the past 24 years performing locally and internationally. He has a wealth of unrecorded songs and plans to continue writing, recording, and performing for the rest of his life. His work creates community by bringing people together from all walks of life to do something they all have in common and enjoy. He wants to change people’s hearts, minds, and actions.
Mojomama combines Old School Rhythm and Blues and Funk influences from Aretha Franklin to Susan Tedeschi to Steely Dan leaving you with a new familiar sound. The music is a mix of Funk, Rock, Blues and Soul. The band recorded some new songs during this pandemic and the results has been regular airplay on the radio. Mojomama can be heard locally on 105.5 fm The Colorado Sound and 88.9 fm KRFC Fort Collins. The band has received recognition not only in Colorado as they ranked top 10 for Colorado Airplay according to the Roots Music Report, but also have stayed in the top 5 of Radio Guitar One UK rankings since April. In 2018 they were semi-finalists at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and was awarded Best Band from Colorado Blues Society Members Choice Awards in February of 2019. Members include Jessica Rogalski singing lead vocals, Paul Rogalski playing bass, Bob Murnahan playing guitar, and Colin Brown playing drums. The band continues to move forward and stay creative with no intentions of letting up in the future!
Colorado-based legends Magic Music – dubbed the state’s first “jam band” – have a storied history that truly complements their name. The story began in 1970 when guitarist and songwriter Lynn “Flatbush” Poyer from Boulder, met George “Tode” Cahill, a high school trumpet player and musician in Middletown New York. They headed back to Boulder where Cahill (flute) and Poyer (guitar) eventually teamed up with Will Luckey (guitar and mandolin), who came to Colorado from Martha’s Vineyard. Together, they added Rob Galloway (bassist with Carole King and Leftover Salmon) which created the lineup that became the early foundations of the group. In 1972, after a particularly frustrating gauntlet of hopes being dashed, Luckey and Cahill parted ways with Poyer and brought Chris “Spoons” Daniels (guitar, flute, banjo, and mandolin; Chris Daniels & The Kings) into the band, who had been part of the Magic Music extended musical family since 1970. For the next four and a half years, along with Bill “Das” Makepeace and Kevin “CW” Milburn on tabla and percussion, Magic Music toured across the country. People who heard them still remember them to this day, performing at places like the 2nd and 3rd Telluride Bluegrass Festivals, sharing the bill with Sam Bush and New Grass Revival, Cat Stevens, the Youngbloods, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Steve Martin, and more. In 2018 Lee Aronsohn (co-creator of Two And A Half Men and the Big Bang Theory) made a documentary about the band titled “40 Years In The Making: The Magic Music Movie.” The film appeared at festivals across the US and won the “Best Music Documentary” award at BIFF. The last time Magic Music played in Colorado was at Folks Fest in Lyons Colorado shortly before the passing of Will Lucky. But the music and the magic live on with Chris “Spoons” Daniels and Rob Galloway from the original band joined by Mark Oblinger for a trio performance of songs and stories from Colorado’s first jam-band, Magic Music.
Rebecca Folsom wields a 4 octave range and sings tender hit-you-in-the-heart folk ballads to wailing blues and gospel. Tom Wasinger is a musical wizard who has won 3 Grammys for musical production. Together they create a sum that is altogether unique and different from their individual parts. Their shared musical offering is a combination of poppy grooves, lean-in-to-listen lyrics, aching Appalachian harmonies and diverse sonic landscapes that you can’t help but get lost in. Together they are creating and releasing in 2022 the much anticipated Sanctuary album which is a part of the multimedia Sanctuary project. (Includes Open Your Voice Writing and Performance Workshops, The Sanctuary Musical Recording and the Sanctuary-Stories Behind the Songs Documentary Film.) Come be nourished with the uniquely beautiful music made by two local natives who have taken the sound of Boulder to global and national platforms.
Roots music visionary Otis Taylor is an international blues artist, award-winning singer/songwriter and shaman from Boulder, CO. His music has appeared in the Public Enemy, starring Johnny Depp, in the Mark Wahlberg vehicle Shooter and in Billy Bob Thornton movie The Badge, on television shows and in several independent films. He was also a fellow in the Sundance Institute’s Film Music Program.
Mark’s hard-grooving acoustic bass sound was birthed in the New York area, where he learned to play many musical styles. In 1980 he moved to Colorado with the band Arabesque and has since been a sought after sideman on over 100 albums, including Grammy award winner Tim O’Brien, Mollie O’Brien, Sally Taylor, (daughter of James and Carly), James Van Buren with Richie Cole, Keith Oxman, Mary Flower, and Mary Ann Moore. He has played for President Bill Clinton and other luminaries over the years. Mark has toured Europe, regularly appears at festivals and clubs across the country and has performed with legendary performers such as Earl Klugh, Nnenna Freelon, Spike Robinson, Richie Cole, James Moody, Ernestine Anderson, Ben Sidran, Peter Rowan, Kenny Loggins, Henry Butler, Fred Wesley, Buddy Tate, Bruno Carr, Eddie Kirkland, Mark Hummel, and New York based jazz vocalists Allan Harris and Tom Lellis. Mark has opened shows for B.B. King, Kenny Rogers, Wilson Pickett, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, to name a few.
Scott Martin has performed professionally in a wide variety of musical styles and roles. As a studio musician in New York City with Carly Simon, he sang background vocals, arranged and played synthesizers on the hit, Coming Around Again, theme song to the movie Heartburn, starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. He worked with Mariah Carey on her first recording session and her first album, as well as with singers Philip Bailey of Earth Wind and Fire and Robert Lamm of Chicago. He co-wrote and produced the title track to the album, Magnetic, by the jazz group Steps Ahead, featuring vocalist Dianne Reeves and saxophonist Michael Brecker. As a jazz pianist, he has played with Mike Stern, Bill Watrous, Miroslav Vitous, Billy Hart, Mike Mainieri, Joe Lovano, Victor Lewis, Javon Jackson, Harry Allen, Ron Miles, Carl Fontana, Pete Condoli, Red Holloway, Hiram Bullock, Tia Fuller, and many others. He has performed two national tours with the Broadway hit musical Jersey Boys. He currently runs the record label Liberian Handshake Records which donates a significant percentage of proceeds to African education outreach and other charitable causes. He hosts Duke’s Garage Jam, a popular Facebook Live Stream session, and Sundays at Vic’s, a long running Boulder-based jam session.
The Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band (or simply Guerrilla Fanfare or GuFa) brings the high energy funk of New Orleans-style Brass Band to the Northern Colorado area. Our mission is always to get everyone up and grooving to our relentlessly fiery and funky sound. GuFa is composed of some of the finest and rowdiest horn players and percussionists in Northern Colorado, and performs hard-hitting funk, New Orleans Second Line style, fiery originals, and raucous arrangements of modern pop hits. For more information on booking, visit us online at gufabrass.com\or facebook.com/guerrillafanfare, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Colorado-based band Espresso! merges two musical traditions with red-hot interpretations of American swing and Gypsy jazz favorites. The traditions of the past come alive with powerful instrumental leads and vocals in French and English. Espresso! includes an abundance of Colorado talent: Bill Pontarelli (clarinet), Jordan Ramsey (mandolin), Emily Reynolds (rhythm guitar), and Duane Webster (bass). Bill and Emily have performed Gypsy Jazz and American Swing for many years at venues in and around Boulder and Denver, Colorado. Jordan Ramsey came on board in 2010, greatly enriching the new group dynamic. Bass man Duane Webster has been putting it all together since 2016 to create our saucy swing sound. Very danceable, this music is infectious. “You owe it to your ears.”
is life. You’ll get it once you hear Jeremy Mohney and His Band. Tight improvisations in an always fresh occasion will twinkle your toes and enchant your ears. Saxophone, bass and guitar are the backbone of the sound and swing abounds. A big sound is the result. Mohney’s vocals are genuine and soulful, as are his band’s sounds. He and his band have graced the stages of The Mercury Cafe, The 1940s Ball, and toured to all parts. We invite you to dance, listen and make yourself at ease and Mohney will make it easy.
Rabblefish performs an intoxicating mix of jazz, funk, rock, blues, and R&B, featuring original compositions, heavy grooves, and virtuoso players. Guitarist/composer Chris Malley leads the band, accompanied by a rotating lineup of Colorado’s finest musicians. BIFF 2022 features Brian McRae on drums, and Paul McDaniel on bass. More at www.rabblefishmusic.com.