By Joseph Boven

Musicians from the Mile High City have surged into the U.S. music scene over the last few years, giving national audiences just a small taste of the feast of sounds that Denverites have been enjoying for years. With the emergence of Denver bands like the The Fray, Devotchka, and The Flobots garnering repute in national music markets, music lover’s eyes are increasingly being drawn to the Denver stage, and the best of Denver’s musicians are holding their gaze.

Laura Goldhamer was awarded Westword's 2010 Master Mind award and a featured artist at Denver's Biennial of the America's celebration. (Credit: Laura Goldhamer)

Laura Goldhamer and the Silvernail

The haunting beauty of Laura Goldhamer’s voice weaving between the folksy banjo strums of her band – the Silvernail – becomes a savored memory for any who have heard it. Awarded Westword’s 2010 Master Mind award and a featured artist at Denver’s Biennial of the America’s celebration, Goldhamer turns her performances into multi-media experiences. Blending stop-animation films into her performances, Goldhamer uses the visual to elucidate the trio’s eclectic mixture of styles and instruments, while developing another layer that wraps the audience in spectacle. Goldhamer is a don’t-miss on anyone’s list of Denver’s best musicians.

With a gritty indie-wave of sound, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake (SRRS) has blasted onto the Denver music scene. (Credit:

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake

With a gritty indie-wave of sound, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake (SRRS) has blasted onto the Denver music scene, winning a following that dangers on becoming explosive. SRRS is a six-member dream-team from some of Denver’s most celebrated former indie groups, including former members of Monofog and Mr. Pacman. Now the members have fused the lush and vital voice of Hailey Helmericks with the dark underpinnings of a musical score that drives a sound both elative and melancholic. Playing regularly around the Denver area, SRRS is a phenomenon that may not be just a local band for long. SRRS is made up of Kit Peltzel, Hailey Helmericks, Doug Spencer, Wilson Helmericks, James Yardley and Andrew Warner.

Ian Cooke

Ian Cooke is a musician’s musician. Skilled on the cello and piano, Cooke’s avant garde performance is punctuated by his unique understanding of tonal complexities that his voice often rhythmically accentuates. With a sound foreboding and yet playful, Cooke creates mash-ups of ABBA while delving into his own pop/folk based songs, exposing the not-so-insignificant side of the human endeavor. While Cooke has toured the country playing with The Dresden Dolls, The Decemberists, Flaming Lips, Built to Spill, and many others, his solo appearances in Denver and abroad should not be missed.

Slim Cessna is like stepping into a Southern Baptist spiritual frenzy. (Credit:

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club (SCAC) isn’t just a performance for many Denver locals, it is a revival for the musical soul. Like stepping into a Southern Baptist spiritual frenzy, SCAC is considered one of the top live performances in Denver, if not the country. Currently fronted by Denver favorites Slim Cessna and Jay Munly, the band has developed a reputation for inspiring audience participation while they fill the room with a soulful Gothabilly sound that defies true definition. When not on tour, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club can be found playing a number of venues around the Denver area.