HEART OF GOLD
Dating back to his early '90s years with The Autono, Chuck Snow has earned his reputation as one of Colorado's most enduring songwriting geniuses. In unguarded moments, he can even be among its most endearing — although you wouldn't necessarily know that from his snarkier songs about the Uncle Wilber Fountain and obsessive-compulsive disorder, let alone band names like The SIDS and Sandusky Youth.
CASE IN POINT
On his new Death Comes for Ella Mae Pixley EP, Snow casts irony aside for a collection of mostly acoustic songs that, in their most poignant turns, approach the depth of Steve Earle's latter-day work, or of Snow's own Waldo Canyon Fire song "Whichever Way the Wind Blows." The title track, a guitar instrumental with cello accompaniment, is more John Renbourn than Johnny Cash, while "The Dead Travel Fast" isn't. "Still Waters," a song that he performed with the largely defunct Lo-Fi Cowboys, is among his best.
COMING UP NEXT
The Colorado Springs native says he's currently working on an all-instrumental album of theme songs for imaginary TV shows, which may or may not be true. He also describes himself as a solo performer who "probably will never play live in Colorado Springs ever again," which, barring unforeseen circumstance, is not true at all.
Second place: Andy Clifton
Third place: Conor Bourgal