[UMS Favorites 2012] Ian Cooke and Paper Bird

For day three I bring you two of my long time Denver favorites.


I was basically floored when I first heard Ian Cooke. Jordan played me his song “Music” and I instantly knew that Ian Cooke was something special. For one, he plays the cello, which isn’t an instrument you hear very often. Especially not in pop music. Usually the cello (to me) sound stuffy and totally puts me off. But Ian makes it sound warm and inviting. Mixed together with his effortless voice, Ian really creates something special.

His performance at UMS was amazing as always. When he talks to the crowd, you’d think he was in a crowd of friends. (In the Denver music scene, he practically is, but still) I love how comfortable it is to watch Ian. Also, how can you go wrong with someone who covers Queen and jokes about channeling Freddie Mercury? You can’t.

Here’s a video of my favorite track from his album Fortitude…….

American Girl by Ian Cooke from Zach Putnam on Vimeo.


Paper Bird is an americana band with a sound like nothing else out there right now. They always put on an amazing show and I think they could make the most boring song fun.

With that being said, I don’t really know how to approach this recommendation because although I still LOVE Paper Bird I am really not enthusiastic about their set from UMS and their “new” sound. It is only new in the sense that they added drums, and lost the horn, but to me it is a VERY noticeable difference. I had a hard time when they went to play my old favorites and defining parts of the songs were missing. The vocals were even a bit different on some of the songs. Overall, it sounded different, and I didn’t like it.

BUT I’m still gonna go ahead and recommend Paper Bird. They’re an awesome band and I’m gonna keep on listening to their albums for a long time because they are amazing. Especially the first one. Seriously, go out and buy Anything Nameless and Joymaking right freaking now because it is incredible. From the second St. Louis starts you will have a smile on your face and you won’t stop until the last joyful banjo second of Grey and Blue.

I can’t find any good videos, and AN&J isn’t online, but you can listen to their other albums here: http://paperbirdband.bandcamp.com/

Enjoy. 🙂 I’ll be bringing you more tunes tomorrow.


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