For songwriter Chuck Pyle, becoming a great storyteller is simply a matter of learning to listen. And he should know: He's written songs for the likes of Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Linda Ronstadt. In addition to establishing himself as one of country music's premier songwriters, Pyle is also an accomplished musician with nearly 30 years of touring and recording experience.
Pyle, who recently released his seventh album, Affected by the Moon (Bee 'n Flower Records), is a practically unknown Colorado legend. Having spent the better part of his life trouncing across the southwestern United States playing festivals and shows, he managed to scrape by thanks to his distinctively percussive guitar playing and metaphysically minded cowboy poetry, which separated him from the pack of other campfire troubadours hoping for a big break.
Lucky for local music fans, The Black Rose Acoustic Society will present the Chuck Pyle Writers Roundup, an ongoing series of monthly concerts in which Pyle and two handpicked guests will share songs and the stories behind them. Each month, Pyle will choose one accomplished songwriter and one amateur songwriter to share the stage with him. The debut concert will feature talented locals Tom Kimmel and Dave Zobl.
"I want to turn my fans onto other artists who are 'under the radar,' but deserve to be known," said Pyle, who first approached the Black Rose Society several months ago about hosting a monthly series at the organization's brand-new venue -- the Benet Hill Center at 2577 N. Chelton Road.
"The inspiration for the writer's roundup is a combination of the Black Rose tradition, and some of the experiences I had as a touring musician," noted Pyle. In particular, he said that listening to various singers exchange songs and stories around a campfire following the Kerrville Folk Festival in the early 1980s allowed him to the see the simplistic beauty of music told as a story in an intimate setting.
Created specifically to emulate the campfire vibe, artists featured during the roundup will play one song at a time, taking turns performing and giving the audience various background tidbits along the way.
"The energy just gets higher and higher as we go along," said Pyle. "By the end of the night, everybody is usually jamming and singing together ... By performing in a casual atmosphere, the stories can flow. Before too long, the stories are etched into your body."
The Black Rose Acoustic Society, which was founded in 1994 with the intent of supporting the "preservation, education, and enjoyment of traditional acoustic music," recently began leasing offices and teaching space in the Benet Hill Monastery complex in order to reach out beyond its digs at the Black Forest Community Center.
"With this series, we are hoping to attract a lot of people in central Colorado Springs," said Black Rose president Jim MacWilliams.
For local folk music supporters, the Writers Roundup is a chance to see great musicians in action while supporting a burgeoning local scene.
-- Joe Kuzma
capsule Chuck Pyle Writers Roundup
Featuring Chuck Pyle, Tom Kimmel and Dave Zobl
Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Benet Hill Center, 2577 N. Chelton Road
$10 members/ $12 non-members