Martin Sexton and Paper Bird at the Denver Botanic Gardens (8/3/2014)

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By Sally Tanner

Every summer, Swallow Hill Music draws thousands of Denverites to the Denver Botanic Gardens for a special concert series featuring local and non-local bands and musicians. At these shows, you’ll find more families, more old men dancing, and more wine than most concerts, in fact one member of the opener band Paper Bird called it, “the picnic olympics”. I have to say, it’s nice to be able to walk into a venue and not be searched up and down by a disgruntled security guard!

Local Denver band Paper Bird opened for legendary throat-yodeler Martin Sexton. It’s always exciting to see a local band with heaps of talent gain so much recognition. Paper bird has been on tour for the last 6 months, hitting up East coast towns and festivals, and they seemed happy to be home. The six band members have a wonderful energy up on stage, sharing microphones, dancing together, and chatting between songs. Sisters Esme and Genny formed the band in 2007, and they immediately began topping the charts in Colorado. Their folksy sound and poetic lyrics were the perfect fit for a sunset show in the gardens. If you haven’t heard their newest album, go listen to it now, and be prepared to want to drink moonshine on the balcony of your LoDo apartment.

Martin Sexton was a crowd pleaser as he took songs requests from the audience and joked with the kids dancing by the stage. As he stood up there with only his guitar, in his denim shirt and Sperry topsiders, you realize how intimate and low-key the setting is. Literally anyone could play there and it would be a fun show to go to. Sexton played his hits and a few other favorites as the Chihuly pieces surrounding the stage were slowly illuminated (If you haven’t been to see them yet, get there asap they’re amazing). Overall it was a fun evening in the gardens enjoying some great folk/blues/americana music, a reminder that summer is coming to a close. Get out there and enjoy the weather while you can!

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