Boulder music scene: A surprising hub for modern blues

The city of Boulder is known for being a center of individuality and uniqueness. Just as roadhouse blues band ThreeShots can attest, Boulder is a place for those that can’t find footing in their own town’s locales to call home.

According to Andy Tatro, the 29-year-old lead singer of  ThreeShots, Boulder is more open to having local acts play, and to new and creative acts that might not bode well in other cities.

This is in large part because of how receptive Boulder is to styles that stray from the norm, as well as its penchant for bringing in new acts from all across the country, says Tatro. An array of venues, each with its own particular calling, allows for less popular musical types to blossom.

Tatro is something of a Boulder venue veteran, having been performing onstage since he was 15 years old. Despite this, the Fort Collins native has struggled to gain the acceptance required to play gigs in his hometown for a large part of his career – an occurrence he attributes to how restrictive his own city’s music scene is.

As he stated in an interview after his January 25th show, without an in of some kind, it seems, there’s little chance for a local band to share a more distinct or atypical sound at home.

The Boulder Outlook, however, like countless other venues in the area, is more than willing to give newbies a shot. Known for being “Boulder’s Home of the Blues”, The Outlook frequenter Bill Fray draws Blues enthusiasts from far outside the city limits, and with them, a chance for bands like Tatro’s to perform their own particular flavor of music.

In a place like The Outlook, there’s a cozy, down-home feel, a jarring contrast to the “hippie-dippy” vibes of the rest of the city. The stage is set up right next to the bar, almost woven into the audience.

Tatro said it feels like audiences are intimately connected to performers.

Being able to successfully engage with an audience is precisely what he loves most about performing – and the blues following that Boulder’s welcoming arms have fostered provide the perfect opportunity. Tatro’s love of The Outlook is furthered by how easy it makes it to get up-close and personal with the dancers typical to a Blues audience, and to see how his own original pieces are received.

Tatro said his experiences with the dancers in particular at The Outlook are unparalleled, driving the energy level up from the constant movement in the crowd.

Thanks to places like The Outlook, Tatro can share his own pieces with others passionate about Blues. With the well-receiving audiences that can be found in Boulder, Tatro feels he has written something that’s tangible for somebody else–and he said that’s what music is really for.


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