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Community Spotlight: Ron Bostwick and The Colorado Sound

Community Spotlight: Ron Bostwick and The Colorado Sound
October 27, 2021

While it’s easy to throw on a playlist and let the algorithm take over, stations like The Colorado Sound remind us that nothing beats the radio. In the last five years, the station has devoted itself to connecting listeners in the Boulder/Denver area to a wealth of vibrant, local artists doing their thing right there in the Centennial State. We’re thrilled to be teaming up with The Colorado Sound to bring a series of Sofar live concerts curated by The Colorado Sound team, connecting the state’s local artists to listeners throughout the Denver/Boulder area (and soon enough, across the country). We recently got to chat with Ron Bostwick, DJ and Head of Promotions at The Colorado Sound, about the upcoming series, and his love for the Boulder/Denver community.  

Sofar: You were in Boston for a long time prior to Boulder– What drew you to the Boulder area?

RB: When I first came to Boulder I remember saying to myself- this is part of the country? I truly fell for Colorado and the mountains. I did that thing that your parents tell you you should never do– I quit my job, I sold my stuff, I moved to Colorado with no job and no place to live. I was that headstrong about needing to be here. Wish I’d come earlier. 

You run the morning show at The Colorado Sound. What’s something you consider when bringing people music during those early hours?

Here’s the simple answer– I look out the window. Is it raining? Is it snowing? What’s life like out there? A little more than a year ago, as the pandemic was really kicking into gear and everyone was staying home, we started a listener-built playlist of pandemic music that we called QuaranTunes. It connected our community as we all dealt with a difficult time. It gave people a reason to sit up straight, to put a little more energy into their world as everything out that window was pushing them down and keeping them isolated. We were trying to bring people together and open up the windows, so to speak. 

What makes the Denver/Boulder area’s music community? What feels unique to it?

Colorado– and specifically Boulder, and a lot of Denver– has always had a history of music coming from it, and growing in it. We could go back to Stephen Stills and Dan Fogelberg, Joe Walsh, who all lived here. You have Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, The Lumineers– even if they moved here, they grew their music while in Denver. There’s always been this history of Colorado attracting creative people. When I came out here, there was something that I physically felt about this environment. Musicians have always felt that– Colorado’s open spaces, it seems like it’s always been a perfect place to cultivate the arts. 

As you mentioned, there was a strong folk wave for a while in the area– The Lumineers, Nathaniel Rateliff, Gregory Alan Isakov– is there any specific movement, currently, you’ve been noticing, or are things feeling eclectic?

This geographic area tends to be creative, no matter what the medium. In the music world it’s wide– it’s EDM, stompy folk (that I call The Lumineers). Gregory is a great example of somebody that maybe on the outside, he’s a guy who plays guitar, but not really– Gregory is a very unique artist, who actually lives about three miles from my house. I have two friends whose sons are both rising in the EDM world as club DJs, one has played Red Rocks, the other has a record deal. I really feel that all kinds of music are getting their fair share in this state. It’s really a growing place. 

With that in mind, how are you approaching the “Curated by The Colorado Sound” shows with Sofar?

We signed on the air as a radio station five and a half years ago with the name The Colorado Sound and that was a specifically chosen name to highlight what we have in this state. It’s not one kind of music, it’s all kinds of music that comes from here. We don’t only play Colorado musicians, but we highlight them. When I got approached to build a partnership [with Sofar], I knew it was a perfect thing. Sofar puts a spotlight onto musicians in the area, city, town where they are based, worldwide. I felt the combination of our desire to highlight Colorado artists, [and] Sofar’s desire to put Colorado artists in person in front of the public is a great partnership. I feel like the combination is only going to be great for Colorado musicians. I’ve been to Sofar events before, and I got to discover artists. That’s what Sofar is about– showing your attendees the wonderful musicians that are right in our backyard. Sometimes we just need someone else to put them in front of us. That’s what Sofar does.

Is there a particular upcoming “Curated by The Colorado Sound” show you’re extra excited for?

There [are] a lot of great Colorado artists here. You have The Lumineers and the Gregorys, who have built their audience and are doing pretty well on their own. But there’s a lot of other Lumineers and Gregorys that are on their way up that people don’t know about yet, but they will. We want the Colorado audience, and hopefully the world, to know all of them. 

Don’t miss out on this special series and chance to support the Colorado music community. 

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Photo: Ron Bostwick, courtesy of The Colorado Sound