Last year saw the release of the self-titled debut from Portland's Denver (not be confused with Denver's Portland, a band I just made up to confuse you), which, truth be told, sounded a bit lackluster. That's not to say Denver doesn't posses the country and western chops it takes to lose a few tears in your domestic beer, it's just that the band's stellar pedigree (a pair of Blitzen Trapper members, Tom Bevitori from Alela Diane’s Wild Divine, plus plenty more) wasn't particularly evident in their debut release.
At least, that was the case until Mike Coykendall darkened their doorway. The man behind recordings from M. Ward and She & Him remixed the self-titled recording, lifting the songs from the murky mire and representing them with a natural sheen. If Denver slipped through the cracks before—perhaps as just another lukewarm Flying Burrito Brothers appreciation act—they instantly became memorable.
Chances are you won't make a trip to Pendarvis Farms strictly for Denver—who are a late-breaking addition to the festival lineup—but as one of the many impressive acts tucked deep within the wooded confines of Pickathon, they might be the band that makes your weekend. Pardon the Pickathon fawning, but that is really how this festival works; the headliner (your Neko Case, or Mavis Staples, or Avett Brothers, etc) brings you to the farm, but it's the lesser name performers (your Langhorne Slim, or Joe Pug, or Strand of Oaks, etc.) that steal the show.
This just might be Denver's year.
Denver - "Reno"
Denver performs at Pickathon on Friday, August 3 (1pm at the Fir Meadows Stage) and on Saturday, August 4 (11:30pm at the Galaxy Barn).