Swallow Hill Music
71 E Yale Ave
Denver, CO 80210

Swallow Hill Music is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving acoustic and folk music through concerts and music lessons for all ages. It has served Colorado’s Front Range for almost 40 years. It is the second largest acoustic music school in the country and produces more than 250 concerts each year to a total audience of almost 100,000 people.

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One of Swallow Hill’s outreach programs involves providing music education to young students in the Denver metro area, who attend schools which do not offer adequate music programs due to budget cuts.

Swallow Hill Music On CBS4

In November CBS4 This Morning began featuring the music of five different bands who regularly perform at Swallow Hill Music. Many of the band members also are music instructors as well.

Here are bios of some of those bands:


Swallow Hill Connection: Guitarist Casey Hrdlicka is a longtime Swallow Hill Music Instructor

About: Since their inception in 2011, ATOMGA has continued to be a unique staple in the Colorado music circuit. For the past seven years, ATOMGA has evolved their sound to be a unique brand of afrobeat infused with elements of rock, jazz, hip hop as well as classical. Using this foundation, they are able to build poly-rhythms which always gets their audience moving!

On a national and international level, ATOMGA has had remixes by artists such as Craig Welsch at Rear Window Studio in Boston MA and Grant Phabao at Paris DJ’s in Paris, France. They also have a gold medal winning beer named after them in Brazil from Bodebrown which is served periodically at Banded Oak in Denver. ATOMGA has supported artists such as Femi Kuti and the Positive Force and Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 from Nigeria and many nationally touring bands. Seven years in and ATOMGA shows no sign of slowing down.

ATOMGA’s latest release, “AGA”, shows the band’s evolving sound of high energy music that will get your blood moving and the sweat pouring down! This body of work shows a new side to the band with a certain musicality that highlights each of the nine band members and lyrical messages that tastefully question the powers that be.

ATOMGA has a reputation for live performances which provide a fun filled dance party for all ages and all walks of life.

Website: atomga.com

That Damn Sasquatch

That Damn Sasquatch is a Denver based band with multi musical interests and instrumentation. While blending the genres of Bluegrass, Country, Blues, Zydeco, and Rock, the band’s mixture of versatile originals and eclectic covers ensure every show is an amazing and unique performance.

Swallow Hill Connections: Multi-instrumentalist Spencer Crawford, who specializes in vocals, banjo, accordion, fiddle and more, is a Swallow Hill Instructor. Mandolin player Max Paley has worked at Swallow Hill in the past.

Website: damnsasquatch.com

Matt Skellenger Group

Electric bassist Matt Skellenger is a Swallow Hill instructor who teaches music lovers of all ages. He has always been an exception to the rules. By combining forward thinking creativity, progressive techniques and natural musicality, Skellenger displays a uniquely identifiable sound. Born and raised in Denver, Matt has been composing, performing, and recording in the Front Range for 23 years. In 2002, he earned a B.A. in Music from Metropolitan State College of Denver where he studied with internationally renowned trumpeter Ron Miles. Skellenger’s fierce dedication to the electric bass led him to attend Steve Bailey and Victor Wooten’s Bass At the Beach Workshop in 2004, as well as five of Victor Wooten’s Bass Nature Camps from 2004-2010. There he had first hand experience studying with world class musicians including Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey and Chuck Rainey who are full time instructors at the camps and some of the most influential musicians to ever play the electric bass. At the 2005 BNC, Skellenger was awarded one of two scholarships to attend The Bass Collective in NYC for a week long intensive course. The versatility of Matt’s playing can be heard on music ranging from solo bass, jazz sextet and modern rock power trio to folk, Americana, funk, blues and pop groups. In 2003, Matt released his first solo bass album On My Way Home.

Website: mattskellenger.com

Strange Americans

Swallow Hill connections: Michael John McKee: Outreach Coordinator, Percussion Instructor, Trent Nelson: Guitar and Ensemble Instructor

It’s the kind of music that the Carhartt-wearing, hard-working, industrial beer-drinking, regular Americans would listen to — the ones who could end up on an episode of TV’s Dirty Jobs. It’s a little raw, a bit loud, unapologetic and honest. It’s Americana rock and roll and it’s something that Denver’s Strange Americans are crafting with both brawn and finesse, like a hot rod mechanic bringing back an old barn find.

In a sense, Strange Americans are rescuing something from the rust pile — straight-forward, no frills rock and roll, and a matching aesthetic that is heavy on songwriting and storytelling, but presented with reverb-drenched punch and passion — the way The Band or Crazy Horse would have done it.

Strange Americans have three full-length records, Royal Battle (2012), That Kind of Luster (2014), and Borrow You, Brother (2017), along with the 7″ Vinyl Places (2015). Borrow You, Brother was recorded with Echo Lab engineer and producer Matt Pence (Centro-matic, Justin Townes Earle).

Website: strangeamericansmusic.com

Martin Gilmore

Martin Gilmore is a singer-songwriter, music educator, producer, guitarist, writer and artist from Denver.

Martin is a Swallow Hill Music Instructor. He teaches Bluegrass Ensemble, Guitar, Songwriting, and more. He is also the host and producer of Swallow Hill’s Front Row Podcast.

The University of Northern Colorado Bluegrass ensemble features traditional Bluegrass and Old-time music. Comprised mostly of music students this year’s repertoire focuses mainly on the music of the Stanley Brothers and John Hartford. A traditional bluegrass ensemble, the group features mandolin, banjo, guitar, bass and fiddle as well as strong vocals and full harmonies.

Martin Gilmore isn’t afraid to explore genres. As a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, he brings a lot of music to life. Throughout his sound, there a common thread of American music — folk, bluegrass, country, swing and jazz. Martin Gilmore is a noted solo performer and has just returned from two years living in Cairo, Egypt. He has performed all over the United States, as well as in Europe and Africa. He has shared the stage with members of Hot Rize, Uncle Earl, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Nashville Bluegrass Band and many more. In August of 2017 he opened two shows for Stephen Stills and Judy Collins.

He was a founding member of the Award winning bluegrass band Long Road Home, as well as the vintage Honky-Tonk band “The Semaphores.”

He is also a well known music educator teaching at Swallow Hill Music, The Olde Town Pickin’ Parlor and his own private studio. In 2017, he joined faculty at the University of Northern Colorado teaching bluegrass guitar.

Website: martingilmore.com | EPK

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See recent CBS4 reports about Swallow Hill below: