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Social Ward: Coloradoan Tyler Ward is among the growing trend of musicians using social media to launch their careers.



“When I step out on the stage, there’s thousands of fans and it’s amazing. It’s so loud and intoxicating. There’s just so many people out there and they actually care, it’s awesome,” Tyler Ward explained. When Tyler steps on to the stage at one of his concerts, there’s a huge crowd of people waiting to sing along with him to their favorite songs and it’s all for a Colorado native, that a lot of people are still discovering for the first time.

Tyler, an independent Pop musician based out of Denver, has quickly climbed the ladder of popularity. His claim to fame has come through the use of social media sites to grow his fanbase. Ward has had a lot of success on Youtube, gaining nearly a million views on each video he has made and he uploads about two videos a week, on average. Most of his early success has been through the internet liking his covers of songs. That has led to the label Sony Germany signing Tyler to a record deal.

He’s a rising star and he’s from Colorado, but he has national likeability. Ward brings a new energy to the music world with his smooth vocals, sweet lyrics and overabundance of charm. Though his good looks might bring in some of his female fans, there’s definitely some musical talent here that would attract fans all across the board.

Tyler was originally born in Houston, Texas and eventually moved to Colorado, while being enrolled in the United States Air Force Preparatory School. Early in Ward’s years, he was pushed to be an athlete and that’s why he was enrolled at USAFPS, to start a football career, but his heart had always been with music. So, that’s why he’s currently a musician and music producer.

“I actually didn’t play music at an early age, because I was into sports,” Ward said. “My dad even held me back a year so I would be 19 years old when I graduated from high school, which is kind of crazy.”

At school, he didn’t have much time to be a musician outside of sports, but it was his freshman year, in high school, when he first started to produce music. As a developing musician, he didn’t know everything he was capable of, so he didn’t make any big moves during high school, but that all changed once he was out of school.

“My mom had always played classical music on the piano, so there was always music in my home, but I just didn’t how to do any of that,” Ward explained.

After his brief stay at the University of Northern Colorado, to study journalism, Ward started diving into his music writing and it was all uphill after that. Ward decided that music was his passion and tackled it head on. Music wasn’t new to him at this point and he knew what path he needed to take. So, this was around the time he created his Youtube channel and started uploading covers of his favorite songs.

“I was kind of late to the Goo Goo Dolls party, but they have been a big influence of mine,” Ward said. “Ryan Tedder, too. He has been quite influential and inspirational to me.”

While Ward was plucking away at his music, he looked to other musicians to motivate himself to keep moving forward and he didn’t have to look very far with two big groups starting their music careers in Colorado. OneRepublic and The Fray were groups that helped motivate Ward, because it showed him that it was possible to create a fruitful music following from Colorado.

“Ryan Tedder is actually from Colorado Springs,” Ward added. “I remember, three years ago, waking up on his couch after a New Year’s party and listening to some of his new music. Being around that really inspired me to be in the business of music.”

With Ward living in Los Angeles he has been able to do a lot more work with bigger musicians, even though; he really misses his family back in the midwest. His first milestone moment came when he performed a duet with The Band Perry and then eventually did a cover of Jason Derulo’s “The Other Side,” with an actual appearance from Derulo. The acoustic version they did together actually made the studio cut of Derulo’s album, as a bonus track.

The biggest help for Ward has come from Youtube and other Youtube artists. Various artists and collaborations with people like Boyce Avenue and Alex G have helped out Tyler along the way. The relationship between Ward and Boyce Avenue is what led to him opening up for Boyce Avenue on their European tour, in 2011. This could very well be the reason that Ward now has a record deal with Sony Germany. With the record deal, this means he gets help in Europe, but still remains independent outside of Europe.

“The Youtube community has been a big help to me, as well as many other musicians,” Ward said. “I’ve gotten to work with Hunter Hayes, Jason Mraz and many other huge artists. Being able to do music has truly been a blessing.”

Ward feels that he has time left for another album under his belt, as a musician, but he has aspirations to help produce other artists. He wants to provide help to other artists, just like how others have been able to offer him help. Since Tyler has come from humble beginnings, it has really been a surprise to Ward that he has been able to do so much in the last three years and doesn’t take any of his success for granted. Through all the little obstacles, Ward has finally established himself as an artist and there’s so many things that he has left to do.

“It’s all been pretty crazy,” Ward said. “I look at everything I’ve done so far, and I just think to myself, I’m just a kid from Colorado doing it!”

When Ward finally finds time outside of his busy schedule, he likes to hang out with friends and just relax, but that’s only after he gets in his work out. The inner athlete, that still remains in Ward, comes out of him when he finds time to exercise and go running.

“I love staying in shape and hanging out,” Ward explained. “But I really, really love staying in shape.”

So, in between music, exercising and having a huge crush on Taylor Swift, Ward has been able to go out, but not without getting noticed. His new found fame has him getting noticed when he goes out to the store and other places, but he quickly explained that it isn’t on a superstar level and he’s glad it isn’t.

“I don’t know how superstars do it,” Ward said. “But I really enjoy my fans.”

Ward described his fans as his friends. “They’re my frans,” Ward said. All his fans know everything going on his life, because he manages to stay connected with everyone through social media sites. They constantly get Twitter updates, photos on Instagram and even video updates through his Youtube channel, so when people start following Tyler Ward, they’re going to be added to his family.

Ward is is thankful for his fans and he’s extremely thankful to his team, because he would be lost without his partners. They do a lot for him, in the areas that Ward don’t have time for. Due to all the things that need to be done, Ward can’t handle the whole load on his own as an independent artist.

“I love my fans and I love the team I work with,” Ward said. “But my message to my fans is, without you… I’m nothing.”

By Felix Cordova (@fazeisfamous)

For more on Tyler Ward:

Website Twitter | Youtube | Facebook – 


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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet




Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.

Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.

Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.

Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.

All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days



There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

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Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter



WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

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