Second Story Garage: A tribute to great songwriting

The annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, Colorado, is all about songcraft. Its tagline is “summit of the song.”

The 2014 Folks Festival takes place Aug. 15-17, and it features some of the great songwriters of our time — Randy Newman, Ani DiFranco, Josh Ritter and Greg Brown, among others. Newman alone, through studio work and movie soundtracks, has contributed incalculably to the contemporary song scene, and DiFranco is single-handedly responsible for a whole sub-genre of angsty-girl song style.

On the occasion of this chords-and-lyrics-based event, we’ve decided to look back at some of the most skilled songwriters who’ve come through the Garage. (Click on the photos below to access the videos.)


Bonnie and Annie Paine: “Stolen”

One of the featured Folks Fest artists is Elephant Revival, of Boulder, Colorado, which includes Bonnie Paine on washboard, vocals and songwriting. Paine and her sister, Annie, performed a haunting song in the Garage. It was brand new at the time, and on the spot they dubbed it “Stolen.” With only two instruments, plus Bonnie’s ghostly voice and a tragic story, the Paine sisters created an uncanny mood in the studio.


A Boy & His Kite: “Cover Your Tracks”

The songs of Lafayette, Colorado, resident Dave Wilton, who performs as A Boy & His Kite, grab your attention with their emotional vulnerability, which is inherent in the material but heightened by Wilton’s charged performance style. A prime example is “Cover Your Tracks,” which was featured on the soundtrack of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part Two.”


The Lone Bellow: “You Don’t Love Me Like You Used To”

The Lone Bellow’s main songwriter, Zach Williams, first started writing songs after his wife was severely injured in a horseback riding accident. He started a journal during his wife’s recovery, and a friend suggested he turn these entries into songs. He had a natural talent for this new endeavor, as we discovered when The Lone Bellow, of Brooklyn, New York, treated us to an unforgettable set in the Garage.

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