The Colorado Sound’s My5 – January 2021

by Kevin Johnston

((( Don’t forget: each My5 title is a link. Click on, NoCo! )))

1. Ken Burns Jazz Box Set I picked up an item from Craigslist and the guy tossed in some CDs, including the 5-CD box set that went with the 10-hour Ken Burns Jazz film from 2000. It’s 94 tracks, from the Original Dixieland Jazz Band to Cassandra Wilson. 

2. Those ‘End Of Year’ Lists As we continue to hunker down and keep our distance this winter, why not grab some of those End Of Year lists and work your way through them? Music, books, movies, etc. Take your pick!

3. Our Top 20 Marches On! Colorado Sound listeners loved our monthly Top 20 polls, so in 2021 they’ll continue! For January we’re asking: What’s your favorite song about a real person? There’ve been many songs about Martin Luther King, Jr, for example, whom we celebrate this month. Tell us your favorite biographic song at

4. Shop & Eat Local Many small stores and locally-owned restaurants have not survived these past 10 months.  Do what you can to give your local shops ‘n food joints your biz! You really can have a hand in keeping them around!

5. Virtual Events While we wait for live music to come back strong, The Colorado Sound keeps you up to date with ‘shows on your screen’ at

Here’s the the new year!

1. The (Album) Class of 1996 Want to feel old? These albums turn 25 this year: Odelay (Beck), Tidal (Fiona Apple), Alice In Chains Unplugged, Fashion Nugget (CAKE), Down On The Upside (Soundgarden).

2. The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt Have you ever wondered about the fluorescent spray-painted symbols on sidewalks? Or who gets to name the streets of your city? This book will demystify those questions and more. Buy it locally from Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins!

3. Your Family Tree Curious about the history of your family? There are lots of online sites that can help you build a family tree. If it’s been a minute since your last try, there are now thousands of records available online. A great free place to start is

4. My Colorado App Go digital! Including your driver’s license, Colorado now makes it possible to do a lot of routine chores digitally with the My Colorado app. More info:

5. New Albums in 2021 Already, 2021 is shaping up to be a year of great releases. New albums from Foo Fighters, Hiss Golden Messenger, The Hold Steady, Arlo Parks, Daniel Lanois, and St. Vincent are expected before this Spring.

Checking in on SoundCheck – every weekday at 4:20 The Colorado Sound plays a new track for your review. Here are the listener’s top 5 from November and December.

1. Baby Strange – “More More More” – This Scottish band swears they aren’t named after the T Rex tune. Their blisteringly fun single earned them the highest SoundCheck score of 2020. Look for the band to tour in 2021 including an opening slot for Semisonic in the UK.

2. The Suitcase Junket – “Can’t Look Away” The Suitcase Junket is the brainchild of singer songwriter Matt Lorenz, who truly is a one-man band. His new album The End is New is a heavy mix of hope and desperation which fills that doom-folk-niche you may not know you need!

3. ONR with Sarah Barthel of Phantogram – “Must Stop” Another Scottish artist, ONR (pronounced “honor”), crafts a toxic-love anthem speaking to anyone who’s suffered self-loathing following a relationship gone bad. The perfect pairing of male/female vocals makes this dreamy, synth laden track fun to sing along to – no matter your level of heartbreak.

4. Synthia featuring Lady Wray – “Tonight You Might” This super chill groove is a boogie synth pop gem. Sit back and drink in the vibe brought to you by Big Crown Records while the one and only Lady Wray’s soulful and sultry voice sets the mood.

5. The Kills – “Raise Me” While not officially a new song, “Raise Me” (recorded in 2009) made its debut on a new compilation of Kills rarities and B Sides. Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince, The Kills founding members, showcase their songwriting prowess on this collection going back almost two decades.


1. Chris Stapleton: Starting Over Stapleton has delivered another terrific record with everything you’d expect: Thoughtful lyrics, great musicians and some of the catchiest melodies you will find. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when the title track is already being used in truck commercials.

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: Netflix If you’re a fan of old school blues, you will love Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the new biopic on Netflix produced by Denzel Washington. Viola Davis does an amazing job portraying the ground-breaking musician Ma Rainey, the mother of the Blues.

3. Langhorne Slim – “Mighty Soul” Langhorne Slim was challenged by a friend to write a song a day for 30 days during the pandemic. He accepted. One result is “Mighty Soul,” establishing right from the start that Slim is with us in our daily struggles. There might be tornadoes and plagues, but music will always be here to get us through tough times

4. Manhunt: Deadly Games: Netflix We all know what happened, but the details behind the story will have you on the edge of your seat. Cameron Britton does an excellent job portraying accused bomber Richard Jewell. You’ll find yourself rooting for Jewell and upset with each setback.

5. Valerie June: “Stay” Until she releases her new record, Valerie June has given us a lovely preview of what to expect. “Stay” shows June as an artist and a terrific musician in the next step of her evolution.