A Message from Professor Storm Gloor

In my role as part of the IM Tour program, I’ll be providing the educational element.  Through interactive presentations and discussions, my aim with the workshops will be to provide insights and information to local artists in a way that best meets their needs and pursuits. 

 The workings of the music business have been forever changed by technology in the past few years.  Though there are new opportunities for independent musicians and songwriters as a result, everything is transforming so fast that the best and most current information and resources are not only challenging to find, but constantly changing as well. 

 In these workshops we’ll make sense of social media and music marketing, entrepreneurship for musicians in the digital age, and other topics from the most current perspective. We want to ensure artists have the most useful information, tools, and support to achieve their goals at any level.  We’ll tailor the content to the particular needs and characteristics of the local community.

 As a music business professor at the University of Colorado Denver, I teach a diverse group of aspiring students pursuing a career in the music business as an artist or a professional in one of the many areas of the industry.  Courses and topics instructed include music marketing, record labels and retailing, and the future of the music industry, among other subjects. In the Denver community I’ve led seminars, workshops, and panels to help local musicians thrive. My research is focused on the effects of the changing industry and how it will affect music and the artists who create it, music business education, and technology as it’s applied to learning.

 Feel free to find more information at www.stormcitings.com or follow me on Twitter (@stormsignal)

IMTour Artist Profile: Paper Bird

While we are in the process of accepting applications from nonprofit presenters in the West, we would like to give some information about each artist through a series of artist profiles. 

Next up is Paper Bird.

Since the band’s formation over five years ago, Paper Bird has been playing its joyful blend of folk, roots, and Americana to delighted audiences across the country. Their unique sound is a combination of a dynamic and energetic rhythm section intertwined with effortless and flowing harmonies. The group’s backbone is their songwriting, musicianship and general allergy to all limitations and trends. With seven members and no leader, the possibilities are ever unfolding, with fluctuations in style and mood akin to weather patterns. A household name across Colorado, Paper Bird continues to tour and develop its voice and presence across the country. With three full-length albums and several national tours under their belt, Paper Bird has steadily grown in both their success and sound while continuing to expand and explore what the band can do musically.

The seven members of the band include Mark Anderson (drums), Sarah Anderson (voice, trumpet), Paul DeHaven (guitar), Esme Collins (voice), Genevieve Patterson (voice), Caleb Summeril (banjo, guitar), and Macon Terry (bass). Each individual writes songs for the group, and this keeps new material rolling of the shelf at a healthy pace. Paper Bird’s live performances showcase the diversity and good-time vibe of the group while providing a fresh and unique take on a sound that has a tendency to bring the listener back to a different era. Young in age but timeless in spirit, Paper Bird continually captures the hearts of new listeners and long-time fans. Their rare and beautiful approach to music led them to be featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and were voted in the Top 10 Best Underground Bands by the Denver Post three years in a row, as well as being 5280’s Top of the Town 2009 “Top Local Band”.

Paper Bird has released two studio albums, Anything Nameless and Joymaking (2007) and When the River took Flight (2010), and also a live album, Carry On (2011), which was the score to a collaboration with Ballet Nouveau Colorado of the same name. 2012 has the band on the road once again while releasing Carry On, remixed and remastered on vinyl in the fall. A new studio album is being written and recorded and is set to be released in early 2013. The band is just returning from a tour of the West coast.

Check out this live video of their new song, “Light of Day:”

IMTour Artist Profile: The Changing Colors

While we are in the process of accepting applications from nonprofit presenters in the West, we would like to give some information about each artist through a series of artist profiles. 

Next up is The Changing Colors 

Hailing from the tiny town of of Manitou Springs, Colorado, The Changing Colors - comprised of Conor Bourgal and his twin brother, Ian - create music that poetically sums up the stark yet beautiful landscape they grew up in. The duo sings of longing, beauty and hope while touching upon the regret that comes when these values fall by the wayside. 

Their latest album, Ghost of Red Mountaintakes its entire theme from the legendary story of Manitou resident Emma Crawford. Sometime in the early 1900’s Crawford’s coffin was washed down onto Main Street from it’s perch above town on Red Mountain. The story is the source of Manitou’s biggest festival – the internationally renowned Emma Crawford Coffin Races held each Halloween. Bourgal chose to look beyond the gothic story and to bring a hardscrabble pioneer woman’s life to light.

The result is a set of songs that are poignant and moving and carefully crafted. Using the simplicity of acoustic guitar and the melancholy tone of a lap steel, Bourgal sings of promises of remembrance and anticipated romance. Bourgal’s narrative style creates stories of the human experience that are sparse, haunting and unforgettable.


"Conor’s melodic purr is like a morning winter snowfall." - C to G Magazine

"The brothers Bourgal tell stories and create atmospheres that will have you seeing ghosts." - Reverb, Denver Post Music Blog

"The Bourgals excel at making sparse songs sound resonant and atmospheric." - Frequency

IMTour Artist Profile: The Photo Atlas

While we are in the process of accepting applications from nonprofit presenters in the West, we would like to give some information about each artist through a series of artist profiles. 

Next up is The Photo Atlas

The Photo Atlas have been a staple of the Denver music scene for years - improving on their brand of At The Drive in style post-punk with each high energy show and each cleverly complex song. 

Forming in 2006, the band, called just Atlas at the time, quickly released their first EP, Handshake Heartattack. From there, the group devoted themselves to becoming a full-time band, adhering to an exhausting tour schedule which has allowed the group to earn fans and accolades across the country. 

Since their inception, the group has released two more EPS, a full-length record, (No, Not Me, Never) played SxSw, CMJ, Warped Tour and Monlith, were named “Artist of the Day” by Spin Magazine and have played shows with such notable acts as Alkaline Trio, The Bronx, The Appleseed Cast, These Arms Are Snakes, Unwritten Law, The Bravery and more. 

Currently, the group is wrapping up their second, still untitled, full-length album, hoping to elevate their status to that much deserved ”next level.” 

All the years of experience and hard work have turned the Photo Atlas into a band with an indomitable DIY spirit and a total package chock full of intensity, passion and longevity. 


"The Photo Atlas create the perfect recipe for dance punk perfection that makes it impossible to remain stationary.”  - hearnebraska.org 

"The Photo Atlas are superb songwriters; their edgy lyrics overlap with wonderfully-realized music that enters your ear and seeps into your memory. This is memorable music that elicits a variety of different responses from the listener." - Sputnik Music

"The Photo Atlas are getting better with every release. Their mixture of Faint hyperactivity and pop choruses has truly blossomed." - Absolutepunk.net

Non-profit presenter application deadline is July 20th!

WESTAF’s inaugural IMTour national music industry panelists curated an immensely talented list of popular artists to tour the West, and the deadline for non-profit presenters to apply to participate in the IMTour program is July 20th.

Folk band Paper Bird 

These include the Spin-approved cellist/songwriter Ian Cooke; “Band of the Year” winners (303 Magazine and Westword) Snake Rattle Rattle Snake; local hip hop luminary sharing the stage with legends like KRS-One, Mane Rok; poignant and atmospheric songwriting from the mountains, The Changing Colors; joyful roots and folk band featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, Paper Bird (pictured above); and the ever-touring dance-punk quartet, The Photo Atlas.

Please take a moment to check out these artists, and don’t hesitate to apply to host them. To apply, go to https://amp.cgweb.org/ and create a new user profile on that site to access the IMTour presenter application. Mane RokSnake Rattle Rattle Snake and Ian Cooke have profiles on IMTour.org, and we’ll be posting more artist profiles up until the deadline of July 20th.

IMTour Artist Profile: Mane Rok

While we are in the process of accepting applications from nonprofit presenters in the West, we would like to give some information about each artist through a series of artist profiles. 

Next up is Mane Rok

Time Tested. From having shared the stage with Hip-Hop legends like KRS-One to smashing festivals as a precursor to Gnarls Barkley (with his group ManeLine), Mane Rok’s solid foundation has never been more evident.

A student of Hip-Hop via graffiti, Mane is schooled in the art of Hip-Hop and slowly turning into a full-time career. The outspoken MC has never stopped learning, and is working harder than ever, creating the art he had always set out to make.

Recently, Mane became engrossed in the “Occupy” movement releasing the song and video “99th Problem” at an event - hosted by The Redline Gallery  - entitled “Beyond Occupy: An MLK Dialogue for 2012.” 

For the song, Mane approached his cohorts Bravo One as well as his most recent collaborator Dyalekt (Diamond Boiz.) Dyalekt handled the production on the track while also lending his vocals.  Recognizing the idea that “99%” is a rather encompassing number, Mane then reached out to The ReMINDers stand out vocalist Aja Black to add her take, which led to the including Denver’s political and musical champions Jonny 5 of the Flobots and T Minus Katlyn of Wheelchair Sports Camp - In essence, giving a representation of who the “99” are.

Never satisfied, Mane Rok continues his quest to become a knowledgeable student of hip-hop, cultivating his career one intelligently written verse at a time. 


"Mane’s writing is on another level, and his choice of features is even more on point." - Westword

"A well-balanced, thought-provoking project backed with neck-snapping beats.” - Boulder Weekly

IMTour Artist Profile: Snake Rattle Rattle Snake

While we are in the process of accepting applications from nonprofit presenters in the West, we would like to give some information about each artist through a series of artist profiles. 

Next up is Snake Rattle Rattle Snake

Denver’s Snake Rattle Rattle Snake’s debut album, Sineater, is a black tapestry of pulsing, macabre rock n’ roll that feels as if it is being slowly slashed apart by bright head-nodding hooks—-deconstructing the sinister underbelly only to sew it back together. 
At its opening, guitars weave together playfully on “Hastily,” and as the song progresses, its ominous mood is carried through to such key tracks as “NOPD” and “Break the Same,” with the help of growling bass and pounding drums. Singer Hayley Helmericks’ skilled vocals are the powerful constant, providing a seamlessness as the album moves from the dance-floor-jungle “Kafka and the Milk” to the cooing, frightening calm of “Warning”. 

Sineater was written, recorded and produced by Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, and its release is a benchmark for a band that has already received several accolades. The band gained national momentum in the press with a Daytrotter session in 2011, also winning local awards for “Band of the Year” (303 Magazine and The Denver Post) and “Best Indie Rock” band (Westword).  In addition to playing the historic Red Rocks Ampitheatre and multiple SXSW appearances, the band returned from a West Coast tour in October with a stint in Idaho for Treeford Music Festival, where SRRS shared the stage with Of Montreal, Built to Spill, and more. Snake Rattle Rattle Snake has played with notable national acts as The Dead Weather, The Rapture, Devotchka, Pink Mountaintops, Wovenhand, and The Fresh and Onlys.


“There’s nothing that we like more than a singer, and a band, that dive into dark matters, into the realm of great uncertainty and crawl around in there, on their hands and knees, getting down with it and then putting it all together into a musical thought…Snake Rattle Rattle Snake makes a sound that simulates this movement of temporarily epic energy and force.” -Daytrotter

“The band’s unusual approach to rock recalls for fans of alternative rock a sexier Joy Division, a less spastic Gossip and a four-on-the-floor Hole. Its sound is very current — next- wave, even. There aren’t enough rock bands that inspire dance parties, but like a modernized (if less anthemic) Jefferson Airplane, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake makes you move. ” - Ricardo Baca, Denver Post

For more than two years, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake have been the darlings of Denver. “Best New Band” by Westword? Yep. Top finisher of the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase poll? Done. So the only question that remained of the band, who had only released an EP to date, was how Snake Rattle Rattle Snake’s debut would stack up. Not surprisingly, they’ve hit another home run. - Marquee Magazine

IMTour Artist Profile: Ian Cooke

While we are in the process of accepting applications from nonprofit presenters in the West, we would like to give some information about each artist through a series of artist profiles. 

First up is cellist/pianist/singer/songwriter, Ian Cooke

Ian Cooke released his second album, Fortitude, in January 2012. Produced by Ian O’Dougherty and mixed by Bob Ferbrache (Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Wovenhand), Fortitude showcases the wide array of musical proficiency that Cooke possesses as he switches from playful to dark and sincere at the flick of a cello bow. Splicing in elements of indie, classical, progressive rock, and more, the album builds on the foundation laid down by his previous album, The Fall I Fell, and expands it with stronger writing and loftier concepts.

Cooke’s talent coupled with his diligent work ethic has earned him several accolades, including features in SPIN, a Daytrotter session, a #1 ranking in the 2009 Denver PostMusic Poll and “Best Singer Songwriter,” “Best album,” and “Best Avant-Garde” nods by Westword. Cooke was featured alongside Billy Bragg, M. Ward, Owen Pallet, and more on a Joanna Newsom tribute.

He has toured in the US and Australia playing with The Dresden Dolls, Crooked Fingers, Built to Spill, The Decemberists, The Flaming Lips (Monolith Festival), Blonde Redhead, Devotchka, Rasputina, Wovenhand, Pedro the Lion and many more.

With packaging as engaging as the music it contains, Fortitude is a direct copy of nothing – a truly original and unique endeavor.


“A one-man chamber ensemble, Ian Cooke specializes in forlorn folk built on cello-heavy arrangements and vocals that mimic his instrument’s mournful modulations.”-SPIN Magazine, Sept ‘08

“If Sufjan Stevens had been weaned on nothing but recordings by Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Bach and “Eleanor Rigby,” his take on chamber pop might sound something like Cooke’s work. But as it stands, Cooke makes Stevens’s elaborate compositions seem almost prosaic. ” - Dave Herrera, Westword

“Cooke, his cello and his looping effects pedal are now fixtures — icons, even — in Denver’s thriving independent music community. And after years of climbing the ranks, playing clubs, galleries, living rooms and museums, the singer-songwriter-cellist-pianist was voted the top musician in the 2009 Denver Post Underground Music Poll.” - Ricardo Baca, Denver Post

2012 Awardees Announced!

WESTAF is proud to announce the recipients of the first ever Independent Music on Tour (IMTour) Program grant. 

Over 50 artists applied to the inaugural IMTour Program. Our national panel selected the following artists from the Front Range of Colorado:

IAN COOKE // bio / video / music

MANE ROK // bio / video / music

PAPER BIRD // biovideo / music

SNAKE RATTLE RATTLE SNAKE // biovideo / music

THE CHANGING COLORS// biovideo / music

THE PHOTO ATLAS // biovideo / music

These musicians will receive financial and technical support for touring in the West and will be made available for performance to nonprofit music presenters in the West through additional IMTour grant funds. 

The final artists were chosen by a national panel of music industry professionals, consisting of  Erick Carer from Uncle Booking, Stefan Goldby from Buzzine and Craig Grossman and David Priebe from Green Room Music Source

WESTAF is excited to begin working with this diverse and talented roster. The level of artistic talent and professionalism will ensure program success and give valuable national exposure for these great Colorado-based musicians. 

Sincere thanks go to all artists who applied. WESTAF is currently reviewing additional ways we can support independent music touring in the West. 

For more information on these artists and their involvement with IMTour, please contact Bryce Merrill at bryce.merrill@westaf.org or 303-629-1166.