Fraser/Live Music: Listen to this " you’ll be better for it |

Fraser/Live Music: Listen to this " you’ll be better for it

by Cyndi McCoy
Fraser, Colorado

When folk guitarist Aaron Espe plays, people can’t help but tune in. The musician is among the top-ranked, unsigned folk artists of today. And for that, he feels “truly blessed.”

The musician, said to be “the total package,” is set to perk up audiences at Fraser’s Rocky Mountain Roastery as the next Java Mic Night feature. He’ll be putting on a solo acoustic performance with Isabelle, his guitar.

Espe has been compared to John Mayer and said he also reminds people of James Taylor. Others say he sounds unlike anyone they’ve ever heard. His voice is beautiful, his lyrics are honest and deep, he packs the stage with his presence, and his demeanor is modest ” what more could a fan want?

“Hearing his music is like the experience of not realizing how thirsty you are until you start drinking,” reported CD Baby. “There’s no doubt that this is some of the most gorgeous male folk you’ll hear.”

Espe’s live performances span a variety of thoughtful originals, including two new ones he’ll share tonight. His songs are about life and the human experience. They also touch on the stories of others, he said, the different responses to things around us, and “just figuring stuff out as you go along and get older.”

He plays a couple covers, from artists like the Beatles and American

singer/songwriter Bill Withers, and said he likes to play Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” every now and then. New influences include Wisconsin band Bon Iver (Espe and his wife discovered them this past year). Others include The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack, Dino, The Imperials, Led Zeppelin, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, Ryan Adams, “and my family’s kindness, my mother’s good cooking and friends I don’t deserve.”

His CD “My Whole Life” was a top-20 album for 2006 and CD Baby President Derek Sivers said it was one of the best he’s ever heard. Espe’s newest album, “Songs From a Small Town,” came out last May. It is said to transport listeners into his world “and you will be better off for having visited,” states

This will be his third performance at the Roastery, and Espe said he loves the chance to play for people who don’t get down to the Front Range (he and his wife live in Fort Collins).

“All the shows are excellent this year,” said Ali Grayson, Java Mic Night promoter who helps the Roastery schedule its musicians, “but his is one of my personal favorites.” She said Espe and Zach Smith, who is opening for Espe and is a mini version of him, both have gentle, beautiful melodies.

Every Friday night through the winter season, the Roastery is hosting diverse talent from throughout the Grand County area and Colorado region. Season tickets are available. Schedule for the event’s fifth year includes a Grand County Blues Society show featuring the Dan Treanor Trio Jan 23, Yaniv Salzberg and Mike Music Jan. 30, The Really Serious String Band Feb. 6, a collaborative jam Feb. 13, Jasco Jazz Feb. 20, Brad Pregeant Feb. 27, Open Mic March 6, open events March 13 and 20, Haas ‘n’ Friends March 27, and Ali ‘n’ Friends April 3.

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