Mile High Music Festival – Must Hears

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Hill Country Revue

Saturday, July 19

Hill Country Revue was launched by Cody Dickinson and Chris Chew of the North Mississippi Allstars. It also features the talents of Garry Burnside and Kirk Smithhart on guitars, as well as the vocal treatment of Dixie Hustler’s Dan Coburn.

Dickinson and Chew are better known as the rhythm section of the three-time Grammy nominated North Mississippi Allstars. Dickinson is known as a powerful and creative drummer who occasionally graces the audience with his psychedelic electric washboard performances.

Chew’s bass is a steady rhythmic force that could fill a cathedral and it has been said that his performance is integral to the charisma of a show.

Both Burnside and Smithhart are modern guitar legends. The son of R.L. Burnside and protégé of Junior Kimbrough, Garry Burnside has an intimate knowledge of blues woven into his life fabric. Smithhart won the Blues Foundation’s coveted Best Guitarist award at the tender age of 19.

Coburn, having been reared in the punk scene, took a turn around the corner and ended up forming Dixie Hustler. Their self-titled CD release was produced by Cody Dickinson and Aaron Julison of Kid Rock. This team also produced the Hill Country Revue CD, which will be available at their live shows.

- Emily H. Lanigan

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The Railbenders

Saturday, July 19

Denver’s own The Railbenders will bring hard country to the Mile High Festival — not Nashville country that you buy at Target, but real country.

The Railbenders aren’t necessarily pioneers in this realm, but in the Denver scene they are the go-to country act and have been since their formation in 2000.

In fact, they’re so much the go-to country band of the region that few awards competitions even give other bands a fair shot. They were awarded the Top Country Band position by the Rocky Mountain News in 2004 and 2005 and they were awarded the Best Country title from Westword every year from 2002 to 2006.

Vocalist/guitarist Jim Dalton has a voice made for country music, and his cohorts Tyson Murray on bass and Graham Haworth on drums lend their punk and country influences to one of the region’s most spectacular live shows and sounds.

- Brian F. Johnson

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Ingrid Michaelson

Sunday, July 20

Selling 210,000 albums and nearly 700,000 digital downloads is impressive for any artist these days, but when you’re devoutly independent those numbers become staggering. Ingrid Michaelson has done just that, and part of her success lies in her song placement on Grey’s Anatomy. Late last month, Michaelson’s song “Giving Up” was featured on the season finale of the show, marking the second year in a row than an unreleased song of hers has been played on the season-ender. Last year, that placement prompted her lyrics to become the #1 and #2 most-searched for items on Google, helping her to launch her self-released album Girls and Boys into the iTunes Top 100. In addition to those placements, the marketing savy Michaelson has been featured in a whole slew of other television spots ranging from Old Navy sweater commercials to “The Real World” and “Good Morning America.”

It’s no wonder that the 28-year-old singer is an artistic success. Her father is composer Carl Michaelson and her mother Elizabeth Egbert is a sculptor as well as the executive director of the Staten Island Museum. Michaelson started playing piano at the age of five and trained at the prestigious Third Street Music School.

- Brian F. Johnson

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Photo by Lisa Siciliano -dogdazephoto.com

The Black Crowes

Sunday, July 20

While Dave Matthews and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers may be the true headliners of the Mile High Music Festival, The Black Crowes will be in charge of the rock and roll for the weekend.

The Crowes have been heralded as “the world’s most rock and roll, rock and roll band.” Their newest album, Warpaint — which drew huge attention because of a poor decision on Maxim magazine’s part to run an “educated guess” review of the album before copies were available — isn’t quite the stomper that their albums Southern Harmony and Musical Companion and Amorica were, but the band’s live show is still nearly unparalleled in its raw, rock-fueled delivery.

Joining The Black Crowes onstage these days is guitarist Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, who is pulling double duty with his band and The Crowes. With Dickinson’s brother, Cody, and fellow Allstar Chris Chew in town with Hill Country Revue, collaboration possibilities abound.

- Brian F. Johnson

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