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It's a big week for Had I Known, holiday music, and cowboy balladry 

click to enlarge Local indie rockers Had I Known explore moodier territory on their second EP, Refraction, to be released on Dec. 8. - BRIAN TRYON
  • Brian Tryon
  • Local indie rockers Had I Known explore moodier territory on their second EP, Refraction, to be released on Dec. 8.
This week brings word that the Triple Nickel Tavern, one of our cornerstone local venues, will be returning to its original location, which isn’t terribly far — back next door to the former bar area, which has been housing Studio A64. Though they’ll be moving away from the “back area” with the familiar stage, the Nickel still plans on having shows in the new (or old, if you prefer) setting, according to Flux Capacitor mastermind/booking manager Bryan Ostrow — but likely more on a weekend basis and in a more intimate setting.

In the meantime, previously-booked shows at the Nickel are being moved to new locations. The Dec. 7 lineup of Tristan Puig, The Christmas Bride, Ticket Master, Violet Valentine, and Bryan Sespico will now be held at The Side Door, as will the Dec. 11 offering of 20 Watt Tombstone, Granny Tweed, and Grant Sabin. Look for further details next week.

In other news, local indie-rock trio Had I Known is closing out the year with the release of its second EP, Refraction, and will celebrate its launch with a show at Bar-K on Saturday, Dec. 8. Recorded with producer Schylar Woods at Wescott Pro Audio, Refraction features contributions by former members Jameson Becker and Daniel Snyder Jr., but the material will be brought to life onstage by new bassist Alex Ben-Kori and drummer Lucas Huffman, who now round out the lineup alongside guitarist/vocalist Brian Eastin.

“Each are amazing players that have brought their own style to each song,” says Eastin of his new bandmates, praising their subtle dynamics and contributions to the band’s versatile live sound. The trio is hoping to both tour and release a full LP in 2019.

Meanwhile, the three tracks on Refraction nicely showcase Had I Known’s atmospheric, sonorous take on math rock, achieving a particularly beguiling melodicism on “Painter’s Picture” and exploring moodier territory on the oblique instrumental “Sayonara.”

You can also catch Had I Known in Denver at the Seventh Circle Music Collective on Wednesday, Dec. 19, with Adventurer, Bloom, Paperback and Denver prog-math band Endless, Nameless.
This will also be a big week for both country and holiday shows. One prominent example is singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey’s 25th annual Cowboy Christmas Tour, which makes a stop at UCCS’ Ent Center for the Arts on Dec. 6. The cowboy balladeer’s holiday tour was inspired by Anson, Texas’ Cowboys’ Christmas Ball (inaugurated in 1885 — a bit before Murphey’s time) and will hit 20 cities.

Attendees can expect arrangements of popular Christmas tunes by Murphey and his Rio Grande Band, as well as signature hits like “Wildfire” and selections from his latest LP, Austinology: Alleys of Austin. Austinology celebrates the proto-Americana music scene of Austin, Texas, which was populated by the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker, Gary P. Nunn, Willie Nelson and, of course, Murphey himself.

At the Pikes Peak Center on Dec. 6, the seasonal festivities continue with Jim Brickman’s A Joyful Christmas Tour. While Brickman might not quite be a household name, you’ve almost certainly heard his Grammy-nominated piano and songwriting handiwork, as he’s collaborated with the likes of Lady Antebellum, Jane Krakowski, Michael W. Smith and Martina McBride. Joining Brickman on the tour are vocalist and frequent collaborator Anne Cochran and electric violinist Tracy Silverman, a multi-genre virtuoso who has worked with the Turtle Island String Quartet, cellist extraordinaire Yo-Yo Ma, and composers John Adams and Terry Riley.

Moving back into the realm of cowboy balladry, on Dec. 8 at Stargazers Theatre, local favorites the Flying W Wranglers bring a holiday twist to their mix of western swing, gospel, and country and western stylings. Despite the Flying W Ranch itself being a prominent casualty of the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire, the Wranglers have continued to perform regularly.

Finally, on a more contemporary country note, Dec. 6 at Cowboys brings Y96.9’s Acoustic Christmas, a benefit concert wherein all ticket proceeds will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Grand Ole Opry regular Craig Campbell, best known for his single “Family Man,” will headline the proceedings, supported by Jillian Jacqueline, Seth Ennis, Dylan Schneider and Ashlee and the Longshot Revival.

Send news, photos, and music to reverb@csindy.com.

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