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

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“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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Acoustic heartbreak in the Colorado San Juans with John Statz

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John Statz by Veronica Holyfield

Songs about heartbreak should resinate. And with John Statz they do. They’re equally soft and striking.

His new full-length album “Darkness on the San Juans,” available May 11, takes an acoustic turn from his other recent work. Then, he had full bands in studios. With this project, he gathered a few friends in his living room to record.

Like heartbreak itself, the album is more personal, more raw and more intimate. The Wisconsin native who now calls Denver home said he hasn’t done something quite as stripped down in a while, and when it came to get back into songwriting after the release of his last album last summer, there was also a reason to write.

It was the aftermath of a breakup.

“We retrace our steps. We look at what we thought we knew. We ultimately discover and face the truth under the stories we told ourselves along the way,” he says of the album.

In addition to the post-love songs, the album features a few songs Statz previously worked on but didn’t have a place on an album, and songs that are meant to be more acoustic. “Presidential Valet” is the story of Armistead, President John Tyler’s valet, or slave, who died alongside seven others in an explosion after Tyler and members of cabinet were watching the firing of the “peacemaker” in 1844.

So, this album is about heartbreak. Did that change how you wrote or approached the album at all?

Yeah. It just kind of comes out more — I don’t know — when you’re writing about heartbreak it’s just seems like the easiest type of writing. It’s just pouring out of you. You don’t have to come up with a concept or a story or any of that.

In the bio you released ahead of this album, it references a pretty famous Ernest Hemingway quotation: “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” Maybe as a writer I hear about this all of the time, but there’s definitely a writing style associated with Hemingway — to write very concise and clear. Did you take any of that with you into the songwriting or was it all about the emotion?

You know, it was the emotion part. I didn’t think about that, but the songs are fairly concise and short. So I appreciate that might also be relevant there even though I didn’t intend that.

The title of this album is “Darkness on the San Juans.” Explain that a little bit.

It’s a line in the song “Highways.” Geographical references are all over my songwriting. On every album I’ve ever written. So it’s a song about driving places with someone and either ending up back at those places later and having other memories being their previously. The San Juans was one of those locations that was important.

Why do you think you end up writing about places so much?

I mean, an obvious answer is that I spend a lot of time driving around to gigs, and I’ve been a lot of places because of that. And just for fun. I love roadtripping around Colorado, and camping and that sort of thing. So it’s not a planned thing. I’m living and breathing this lifestyle from A to B to C and that infiltrates the writing. But also, it’s a convenient rhyming scheme. Sometimes it can be hard to find a word, but there’s usually a city that will fill in.

How long did it take you to finish this album, being that the concept is fairly raw?

It all happened pretty fast. The two non-heartbreak songs, “Presidential Valet” and “Old Men Drinking Seagrem’s,” were older. They’re social commentary tunes. But I just hadn’t recorded them to yet and I was waiting for an acoustic album to do that. I started writing in the summer. I decided in December to record them. I called my friend Nate, flew him out in January. And we recorded it in three days in my living room.

Had you recorded like that before?

It’s been a while, but yeah. My first couple albums that I made when I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, were like that: recorded at home and more stripped down with the production and just making use of what we had. The last three albums were full bands or went to a really professional studio. This is how I made records way back.

Why did you decide to do it this way?

The songs mostly had an acoustic feel, and I sing in my living room a lot. I have this open, high ceiling. So I play my guitar and sing in my living room a lot. I think it sounds cool in there. I thought we could make a cool recording there. I liked the idea of making this intimate album in my home. It was a comfortable, cozy way to make an album.

So everything about this album seems more intimate that what you’ve done in the last few years.
Yeah. Definitely. Everything is. There’s only four musicians on this album, and one of those is my roommate who did knee slaps.

I also noticed on the album credits was an oatmeal container.

So I bought a plastic egg shaker because I thought I maybe wanted to some percussion. But it just didn’t sound that cool. I was like, well we have oatmeal around the house. There wasn’t much left in one container and so we shook it and it was a way better shaker sound, you know?

The inspiration for these songs were the feelings that linger after a break-up. Was there a cut-off point there since emotions always evolve, especially in these instances?

It’s a process. A relationship ends and we all go through the phases. Months go by and you change how you feel. The me that wrote those songs and recorded them months back is a different person. I’ve evolved in the process.

Did you have to simmer to write these songs or was it immediate?

I wrote the first song like a month after. I was trying to write again because I write in cycles. I had just put out an album at the beginning of last summer and when I’m in album release mode I’m not writing as much. But when that’s over I want to write. This time I wanted to write again and I had a fresh reason. I find it a little uncontrollable. I’ve never not written about any breakup I’ve ever had. It’s just part of the territory of being writer. I haven’t written anymore since I wrote those. I’m in album-release mode. I think I decided I’m done with these songs on this album. That’s part of the reason why I wanted to get it out. This part of my life is completed and now I will write a bunch of songs about U.S. presidents or something like that.

I noticed on your social media you like presidential biographies.

Yeah, I do. My friend Jeffrey Foucault is a songwriter and he gave me a LBJ biography. I really liked it, so I thought I’d give George Washington a try and I just kept going.

How many are you up to?

I’m almost done with Grant, so 18.

So far do you have a favorite based off of biographies?

Grant has been really interesting. Lincoln was fascinating. Martin Van Buren. Great sideburns.

Back to the album. Do you think the listener can hear an evolution throughout the album?

Yeah, those songs were written at different times, so probably. I’d say it’s a snapshot of what somebody goes through, or at least what I went through. But I think what most of us go through after a breakup.I just think most people have been through it so I hope they can identify.

I just think most people have been through it so I hope they can identify.

You can purchase Darkness in the San Juans at johnstatz.com. 

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet

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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!

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days

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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.

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.

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