Tag Archives: music

Joe Cocker’s Mad Dog Ranch: the late singer’s home sweet home in Colorado

Mad Dog Ranch in Crawford, CO

The architect John D. Kelley designed Joe Cocker’s 16,000 square feet home situated on 243 acres. The property sold in 2017 for $3.875 million

I’ve been a fan of Joe Cocker’s music since Leon Russell produced  “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” in 1970, so this assignment from Colorado Expression magazine to write about the late singer’s Colorado estate was a high note.

“We can safely assume that the British Blues-rocker Joe Cocker sang in the shower at Mad Dog Ranch,” I wrote. “Yet the home was intentionally designed without a music studio, according to the gritty-voiced Grammy-winner’s widow, Pam Cocker. Her favorite place in the mansion was the library.

The architect John D. Kelley’s primary influence was Glencraig, an estate in Newport Rhode Island, designed in 1926, by Harrie Lindenberg.

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Chuck Morris: Colorado’s music man is a rock star of concert promotion

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Gregory Alan Isakov, one of hundreds of artists promoted by AEG Presents, performs at Red Rocks.    — Photo by Colleen Smith

 

Chuck Morris’s half-century career in the music industry is well documented.

So is his signature look with a laid-back wardrobe akin to Neil Young’s and a collection of eyeglasses to rival Elton John’s. A native New Yorker, Morris perhaps more than any other individual has struck chords in Denver’s live music scene, growing the concert market into one of the most vibrant in the nation.

I reported on Morris, who heads up AEG Presents Rocky Mountains, for the Denver Business Journal. For my article, I interviewed the former governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, and the founder/CEO of MOA (Museum of Outdoor Arts) which owns Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, the largest outdoor concert venue in the region.

Having reported on live music for many years, I was interested to learn more about how the music business runs. “It’s not a science,” Morris said.

 

 

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Will Write For Music

“I got the music in me.” The year before I was born, Buddy Holly died when his plane crashed in a field not far from my family’s home.

Born and raised in Mason City, Iowa—portrayed as River City in Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man”—I always took note of music. My great-grandfather was an amateur Irish fiddler who played at wakes and weddings, in parlors and barns.

My childhood household had an eclectic soundtrack: Peter, Paul & Mary; Simon & Garfunkel; Petula Clark; Gene Autry, the Chipmunks. We listened to records and the radio. We sang in the car, my mother on lead vocals for “This Old Man” and “On Top of Old Smokey” and “Kumbaya.”

I started buying records while in elementary school, but even earlier, I was a pop music fan. My family’s lore includes a tale about the time when a little older than a toddler, I asked to stay in the car so I could listen to the end of “Georgie Girl” on the radio. My mother agreed, but warned me not to touch anything. Evidently, I put the car into gear, and my mom’s car rolled down our steep driveway, toward the street. Fortunately, my big brother Danny had left his big metal truck out, and the toy truck stopped the car from crashing into the street.

Each summer, Band Festival Day celebrated my small town’s big connection to the Music Man with parades of marching bands. The Presentation Sisters at my grade school emphasized musical education, too. They allowed us to sing songs of the times from Jesus Christ Superstar or John Denver. They taught us a long list of songs celebrating our Irish heritage. I sang in school choir and a small choir that sang at funerals in our parish. But even then, I felt more comfortable in the audience than performing on stage or from a choir loft in our church.

I never had music lessons and learned only the basics of reading music. I was a fan, and something of a fanatic, but I was on the receiving end of the musical spectrum. As a teenager, I started attending concerts. One of my first concert venues was the Surf Ballroom, the Clear Lake, Iowa, venue Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson played the night of their deadly plane crash.

I instinctively loved the music scene as well as the live music. I loved some musicians, too. I invested in the best stereo equipment I could afford, and played my music relentlessly. Just ask any of my college roommates.

My adulthood moved from vinyl records to 8-track tapes to cassettes to Walkmans to CDs to iPods to iTunes. I’ve kept music close along the way. Now a middle-aged adult, I find myself writing regularly about music. A longtime freelancer for newspapers and magazines, I’ve interviewed a number of musicians, published a number of features on musical festivals; in addition to several multiple choice musical quizzes.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band quiz

70s Rock quiz

The Eagles rock quiz

Sweet Strains of Outdoor Music Fests

Jackson Browne Red Rocks Date

As a member of The Denver Post’s heyreverb.com staff, I’ve covered dozens of concerts ranging from Jackson Browne to Maroon 5 to Denver Brass to Train to The Fray to Los Lobos to Trace Adkins to Sheryl Crow to Carrie Underwood.

• Here’s a link to my concert reviews on heyreverb.com

Reporting on rock and other genres is a sweet note. Some of the happiest times of my life have been at concerts where music transported me above and beyond the cares of my everyday life and into another realm of harmony and good vibrations, dancing or singing or just listening my cares away. I’ve always respected musicians as magicians, of sort, with instruments as their magical wands. Music continues to sustain me. As I’ve grown older, and as I’ve reported on music, I’ve learned a lot more about different genres: Classical, reggae, roots rock, Blues, and more. I still obsess about songs, playing tracks over and over until somehow I’ve absorbed every note, every lick, every lyric.

One of my goals in life was to learn to play the piano, but at this stage, I’m willing to admit it’s a goal I may never accomplish. I’ll settle, though, for playing out my musical interests on my computer keyboard: Will write for music.

Colleen Smith’s gift book “Laid-Back Skier” celebrates alpine skiing and life.

Colleen Smith’s first novel, “Glass Halo”— a finalist for the 2010 Santa Fe Literary Prize — is available in hardcover or e-book.

To learn more:

• FridayJonesPublishing.com

• GlassHaloNovel.com

• Become a friend on Facebook, or follow FridayPublisher on Twitter.

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Independent publisher Colleen Smith wags her tale at the Friday Jones Publishing blog

WAG YOUR TALE ~ I’ve always had an independent streak;
and in 2009, I founded an independent publishing company,
naming my underdog literary venture
in honor of my late, beloved, 3-legged rescue best friend: Friday.

So far, Friday Jones Publishing has published two of my books:

Friday Jones Publishing celebrates three-legged underdog spirit;
and also books, music, art, plants, animals, skiing, yoga, swimming pools,
and, in general, the joys of living.

I’m an award-winning, freelance writer/art director
and a compulsive communicator.
I believe entertaining and informative communications
help take the bite out of life.

With an upbeat attitude, Friday Jones Publishing’s trademarked tagline—Wag your tale—
allows for random posts, anecdotes, and stories from everyday life.

In addition to regular posts on Facebook (“Like” Friday Jones Publishing),
Tweets on Twitter (Follow @FridayPublisher),
and Pins on Pinterest (Colleen Smith or FridayJonesWags);
on the Friday Jones Publishing blog
I’ll share small publisher tales,
inspired and inspiring design,
practical news you can use in your home or garden,
and easy yet efficient ways to support ourselves,
our communities, and even our world.
Friday Jones Publishing also advocates for books and reading.
We’ve donated copies of our books far and wide to people or organizations in need.

What’s your story?

Wag your tale!

Friday Jones Publishing blog departments:

  • “Wanderlust” ~ Travel reports, photos, tips
  • Laid-Back Skier” ~ Snow skiing reports, photos, tips
  • “Stuff My Yoga Teachers Say” ~ Reflections on yoga from a practitioner with nearly 20 years of practice in traditions including Iyengar, Bikram, and Baptiste Power yoga.
  • “Treble Clef” ~ A lifelong music fan, I’ve published a number of features on major musicians. I’m a reporter for The Denver Post music blog, Reverb.
  • Gardening ~ For the last 15 years, I’ve reported on gardens.
  • Architecture & Design

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