(This post was created as a guest post for another blog, and may still be migrating to her site soon. The logistics of actually migrating a guest post from one blog account to another have so far defeated all our valiant efforts, though, so for now there will remain 2 different posts here on John Runnels’ show and music. -JB)
Denver musician John Runnels was invited at the last minute to open last week’s Friday night concert at the Downtown Artery. The Downtown Artery Acoustic Showcase, a brand new weekly music event sponsored by Scene Magazine and KRFC 88.9, brings music to the main gallery space of one of Fort Collins’ coolest new arts venue every Friday. The Artery already brings in live music once a month for First Friday artwalk events, and hosts additional, occasional music events, but this new music event may help to introduce more people to this fantastic gallery in between First Fridays.
Filling in for Lexi Shanley at the last minute, John Runnels opened the show for an old friend of his, Grayson Erhard and his band, Aspen Hourglass. These two talented musicians have been playing music together for about 3 years now. John played an impressive set of original songs, sounding a bit like a blend of George Michael and Ross Crean. He has a dynamic voice, and could pull off a believable cover set of George Michael tunes if he wanted to. John’s songwriting, however, is a bit more nuanced and personal than what typical pop songs offer. In addition to playing his solo set, John and Grayson performed a song together before the rest of Aspen Hourglass took the stage. Grayson’s impressive guitar skills blended beautifully with John’s singing, perhaps begging the question, why aren’t these two fellows playing in a band together? While I was looking forward to seeing Lexi Shanley again, I was certainly not disappointed at the way the evening worked out. John Runnels’ long-standing relationship with Grayson provided a nice continuity for the evening, and an opportunity to enjoy music from both of these artists that we would not have heard otherwise.
John included songs in his set off his Echoes EP, which he told the audience is only available as a limited edition item, with just 100 copies printed. John Runnels will be forming a band and no longer performing under his own name. The new band, Morning Bear, is still a work in progress at the moment, but if they sound at least as good as John’s solo work, they will be a band to watch for sure. Hopefully before then he can find fans to buy up the rest of his copies of his EP, because otherwise he said he might take all the leftovers and burn them in a grand pyre, a sort of cathartic cleansing before moving on to his new music identity with the new band.
In the meantime, if you are in Denver you can catch John Runnels at the Larimer Lounge on December 19th.
This week’s show at the Downtown Artery will feature the a capella group Elevation and looping electric violinist Annelise Zaring. This free showcase event starts at 7:30 and free snacks and beverages will be provided.