A Groovy Big Band Experience

Bruce Von Stiers

I really like big band music. I also like the Christian kid's music that the Go Fish Guys put out. So I was very pleased when receiving a new album recently. The album was produced by Jamie Statema of the Go Fish Guys, Darren Rust and Denver Bierman. It was released on their GFK Records label. The artist on the album is Denver and the Mile High Orchestra.

The title of the album is Groovy. Now, for those of you who know Denver 's work, know that his band's songs have the big band sound blanketing faith based lyrics. But that is not what this new album is about. It, like its title implies, has pop flavored tunes that stray quite a ways away from the band's normal fare. But as the saying goes, it's all good.

With the success of several albums and appearances on shows like The Next Great American Band, Denver and his band mates felt the need to bring the energy and uplifting message of their music to kids. That's where Jamie Statema and the other Go Fish Guys stepped in. They are constantly looking for artists to add to their stable of faith based, cool sounding kid's music record label. And with Denver wanting to record something that appeals to kids, a collaboration was born that makes for a very entertaining listening experience. One that appeals to both kids and adults.

Groovy has ten songs and lasts a bit over a half hour.

I Am A Promise is the first song on the album. It has the big band sound that Denver is noted for. But it also has a tiny sliver of pop in it as well. It is definitely a toe-tapper.

Then things slide into a funky pop mode with the song Movin' To The Beat. This song is more in line with what the Go Fish Guys put out.

In the third slot on the album's lineup is the title track, Groovy. It has a too tough rocking, funk sound. If you aren't up and moving while listening to the song, there must be something wrong with your hearing. It's pretty much my favorite song on the album.

Things slow down a bit with a mellow, light pop flavored tune called All Of My Heart. It has an almost Michael Buble feel to it.

In a further deviation from his normal fare, Denver and the guys do a great rendition of the Bob Dylan song, Man Gave Names To All The Animals. This version has more of a modern, pop rock tone to it.

That is followed by a fun big band styled tune called Sunday School Swing.

A 70's groove ala Parliament lite can be found in Groovy A,B,C's.

Another light pop song is Brand New Day.

70's pop rock, with a nice horn section is kind of what I thought of when I heard Prayin' Man. The story of Daniel in the lion's den is retold in a new, cool way.

Pure funk is what the last song on the album starts out as. Then the song, Get Down, moves into a mix of pop and funk with some cool drum and horns.

With this new album, Groovy, Denver and the Mile High Orchestra have turned a new page in their musical career. While the album might not appeal to big band purists, it is definitely fun and entertaining. And I think it does what Denver wanted it to. That is, do an album that appeals to both adults and kids.

Groovy is out in stores and available online now.

You can find out all about Denver and the Mile High Orchestra on the band's official web site at http://www.denvermho.com

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© 2011 Bruce E Von Stiers