Bruce Cockburn and Nanci Griffith to Headline Swallow Hill's Second Annual Denver Folk & Roots Music Festival at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House

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Swallow Hill Music Association is proud to present the Second Annual Denver Folk & Roots Music Festival on Saturday, March 29, 2008, in one of the finest acoustic concert halls in the United States, the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 950 13th St., Denver, Colo., 80204.

Swallow Hill Music Association is proud to present the Second Annual Denver Folk & Roots Music Festival from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, March 29, 2008, in one of the finest acoustic concert halls in the United States, the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 950 13th St., Denver, Colo., 80204.

Tickets will be available on Monday, December 3 at 11 a.m. online at, by phone at 303.777.1003 or at our box office located on 71 E. Yale Ave., Denver, Colo., 80210.

After a successful start last March, the Denver Folk & Roots Music Festival has become the flagship of Swallow Hill's fundraising efforts. Showcasing six hours of live, world-class performers, the Festival has attracted audience from California to Maine.

We are pleased that two legendary artists, Bruce Cockburn and Nanci Griffith, headline the 2008 Denver Folk & Roots Music Festival.

"The whole point of writing songs is to share experiences with people," says Bruce Cockburn, looking back on a career that includes 29 albums, numerous international awards, including an induction to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2001, and countless concert performances since he released his first solo work in 1970. Born in Ottawa in 1945, Cockburn attended Berklee College of Music in Boston in the early 1960s, but found he was too spiritually restless to settle into studies of jazz guitar and composition, and in 1965 he moved back to Ottawa to play in a series of rock 'n' roll bands. He eventually found his voice as a songwriter and developed a highly personal finger picking guitar style that merged Mississippi John Hurt blues with modal jazz harmony as well as melodic lyricism and cycling rhythms that suggested an ear for Indian, Asian, and African music.

Cockburn's music has also reflected the turmoil of our times, with anti-globalism manifestos, a reflective coda on his experiences with the poor and downtrodden in Nicaragua, and environmentalist anthems. His collected work is a journey--both moody and revelatory--into the dark night and the sweet laughter of the soul, traveling around the world with vivid imagery and unflinching observations of human cruelty, greed, courage, and survival through faith, and back home to the peaceful forests and vibrant cities of his native Canada. Over the years, artists as diverse as Barenaked Ladies, Jimmy Buffett, Anne Murray, Maria Muldaur, The Rankins, Dan Fogelberg, Holly Near and Chet Atkins have interpreted Cockburn's work, and he was particularly flattered to have his "Waiting for a Miracle" covered by Jerry Garcia.

His latest album, Life Short Call Now, found the singer and guitarist traveling, as he puts it, "a bit further afield" than usual. Cockburn says, "I went to Baghdad in 2004 and spent a week there, which produced the song 'This is Baghdad.' I wanted to see what was going on for myself, because I didn't believe what I was reading." On the other end of the spectrum, there's an instrumental called "Jerusalem Poker," a song with provenance derived from a happier occasion--a holiday trip to the holy city with his girlfriend. As the 29th album in a career that's midway through its fourth decade, it is wide-ranging, playful, and adventurous, eager to take chances and happy to push limits.

Whether performing her own poetically evocative material or the compositions of her influences, friends, and peers, Nanci Griffith possesses a powerful gift for inhabiting the songs she sings. Her tender voice and lilting, delicate phrasing communicate unspoken intimacy and heartache. At the outset of a career that has now spanned nearly three decades, she has received numerous Grammy nominations and became a winner in 1994 for her album, Other Voices, Other Rooms. Born in Austin, Griffith began performing at the tender age of 14. Legendary songwriter Tom Russell, her earliest champion, heard her singing around a campfire that year at the Kerrville Folk Festival.

Her career started to blossom in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the release and eventual re-release of her first two independent recordings, There's A Light Beyond These Woods and Poet In My Window. These were followed by the release of two other albums on Rounder, Once In A Very Blue Moon and Last Of The True Believers, which included Nanci's signature songs "Love at the Five and Dime" and "The Wing and the Wheel." Her latest album, Ruby's Torch, is an intriguing experiment that brings together both Griffith originals and a selection of material from some of her favorite writers, giving them a unified, intoxicating treatment by Griffith and her longtime band, the Blue Moon Orchestra, who lend rich strings and gently punctuating brass.

Her admirers are legion (Bob Dylan specifically requested that she sing "Boots of Spanish Leather" at his historic Madison Square Garden anniversary concert), and she has penned some of country music's most enduring compositions, including Emmylou Harris' and Willie Nelson's "Gulf Coast Highway," Kathy Mattea's "Love at the Five and Dime" and "Listen to the Radio," and Suzy Bogguss' "Outbound Plane." She was the first to record Julie Gold's Grammy-winning classic, "From a Distance," which found wider commercial success with Bette Middler. A survivor of breast cancer and thyroid cancer, she's continued to not let anything hold her back and has lent her aid to various charities, including Campaign for a Landmine-Free World.

Swallow Hill is honored to have these two amazing artists headlining their largest, most ambitious event of the year.

About Swallow Hill Music Association
Helping people make music since 1979 years, Swallow Hill Music Association is one of the largest institutions of its kind in the United States as a source for folk, roots and acoustic music. With more than 2,100 members--some of whom are also volunteers--Swallow Hill provides a place to celebrate music that is rarely heard elsewhere in the Rocky Mountain Region. Three concert venues house more than 150 performances a year, featuring some of the world's great artists as well as up-and-coming new talent. The Julie Davis Music School at Swallow Hill provides a valuable and affordable extra-curricular educational resource to the community with more than 50 music instructors involved in more than 240 adult classes and 70 children's classes annually. A Tier II member of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), Swallow Hill has won both the Mayor's and Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts, countless "Best of Denver" awards, has been recognized by the the North American Folk Alliance, and is one of the most sought-after venues by folk and roots performers in the country.


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Rodolfo Betancourt

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