MEGAN BURTT DEMONSTRATES THE POWER OF THE DENVER MUSIC SCENE
Megan Burtt’s release show at the Oriental Theater last weekend demonstrated the Denver music scene at its best. It was a celebration and release of her latest album, The Bargain, and the energy was explosive. Burtt has an amazing ability to bring together people who have been really good at music for a long time.
The Oriental Theater takes you back in time, keeping its old charm in spite of the massive growth seen in the surrounding neighborhood over the past few years. The early crowd at last weekend’s show comprised friends, family, kids and those on whom Burtt has had an impact.
Opening act Julian Peterson has played with Burtt for the past six years. He moved to the East Coast, but returned to Denver to pursue his solo endeavor. Peterson played a shining set with his emotive lyrics; a highlight was his swooning and singing of the lines “Can you take my arm as I pass through bad weather?/ I’ll understand if you don’t want a broken man.” Peterson also played some new material for the crowd — single “I Ain’t Ready for the Cold” was a showstopper. It was Peterson’s first time out with his new band, which includes a bassist and drummer, and they knocked it out of the park. (Peterson re-emerged later, in an all-white outfit, to play with Burtt during her set.)
Next up on the list of talented musicians was Strange Americans. Fresh off a tour of the Midwest, band-members Matt Hoffman, Trent Nelson, Murry Mercier, Trevor Sinnard and Michael McKee brought their A-game. They played a seriously heavy rock-and-roll set, with some of the subtle country and dance elements that made the seated crowd finally rise off their feet. Lead singer Hoffman stayed true to the band’s self-proclaimed “blue-collar rock and roll,” decked out in plaid and a trucker hat.
As Burtt took the stage, the entire crowd seemed to migrate to the front of the room to get closer to the badass energy that she emanates. In content, The Bargain is the account of a trying time in Burtt’s life, when she contracted a serious illness while living in Mississippi.
The amazing musicians playing with Burtt relived the experience with her, taking their time to produceThe Bargain with “blood, sweat, and tears,” as she aptly put it. The night featured five arrangements from her “Turn Over the Keys” show with the Colorado Symphony this past May to create the monumental and symphonic feeling this album craves.
Burtt herself, with her sequined guitar strap, red hair and bright smile, can seriously belt the blues. The Berklee School of Music graduate has been honing her skills with a rigorous touring schedule. We’re lucky that her travels brought her back home to the Mile High City.
Her favorite songs on The Bargain include “Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” “The Hurricane”, and “Was It Love.” Buy the new album on iTunes, and see more photos from the amazing night of music below.