In January, 2004, I made a phone call that can still be
heard. I was working at the Olde Town Pickin' Parlor in
Arvada, CO. The owner, Kit Simon, bemoaned the loss of a
songwriters circle. I thought about who might be willing
to host another songwriters circle. The first name to
pop into my mind was Jon
Chandler , so
I called him. The next day, Jon
came to the store and, by the time he left, the details
for the format and the date for the first show were
When I left the Pickin' Parlor a few months later,
there had been a few very successful shows. The series
went on to be televised on Douglas County Cable DC8, PBS
and Frontier Airlines. It started out with the name
"Pickin' in the Parlor," but changed it's name to "America's
Soul Live!" It is a concert series which takes
place on the third Tuesday of each month, at 7:30 p.m.
For two hours, singer/songwriter/author Jon Chandler
welcomes two guests to the stage for America’s Soul, a
round-robin, Austin City Limits-type acoustic concert
showcasing regional and national singer-songwriters.
Ernie Martinez , fiddler
extraordinaire Johnny Neill, and bass
player/audio producer Butch Hause (who collectively
play with Chandler as Jon Chandler & the
Wichitones) are on hand, as well. ...
“I perform at a lot of festivals, and the highlights
are always after the main shows when writers and
players get together in private rooms or hotel lobbies
to jam,” says Chandler. “We’ve captured that spirit in
this series.” Chandler invited singer/songwriters
Chris Daniels and Timothy P. Irvin to join him for the
first show. The intimate atmosphere and close
proximity between the performers and the audience were
immediate selling points. The audience loved the
shows, the singers loved the shows, and the venue
In 2005, Jess Stainbrook, Creative Director for
Pacific East, approached Chandler and Simon with the
idea of videotaping each of the shows and broadcasting
them locally in the Denver metro area. The
multi-camera shoots are being edited into an
18-episode series titled America’s Soul with Jon
Chandler. According to Stainbrook, “We caught one of
the shows, and realized immediately it was a video
project waiting to happen. There’s a real need, in my
mind, for quality music programming on the local
level. Jon and his guests provide wonderful shows, and
we’ve succeeded in capturing that spirit. We named the
series America’s Soul after one of Jon’s songs, and it
fits like a glove, particularly since the Pickin’
Parlor is such a great place for Americana-style
visuals as well as music.”
In addition to Jon and the Wichitones, a “who’s who”
of the Rocky Mountain region’s Americana
singer/songwriters have performed, or are slated to
perform, on America’s Soul. They include:
Chris Daniels – Leader of the Denver-based,
internationally popular Chris Daniels & the Kings.
Timothy P. Irvin – Fronts the legendary Timothy P.
& Rural Route III; lead singer for Flash Cadillac.
Acoustic Eidolon – Joe Scott (guitars) and Hannah
Alkire (cello), internationally acclaimed new
Jim Ratts of Runaway Express – Renowned songwriter; member of the Wild
Mary Huckins – Nationally recognized songbird, fronts
Milton Carroll – One of the original Austin-area
Cosmic Cowboys with Jerry Jeff Walker, et al.
John Magnie – Incredibly soulful founding member of
Rebecca Folsom – A genuine chanteusse, one of
Colorado’s most popular singers.
Richard Dean – Exceptional writer; stints with
Michael Murphy, Lix Deluxe, Patsy DeCline.
Barwick – The Voice of the West; the
cowboy singer’s cowboy singer.
Patty Clayton – A true troubador who travels the West
singing lovely songs of love and redemption.
Jim Salestrom – Nationally and internationally known
acoustic artist, carrying on John Denver’s tradition.
Celeste Krenz – Stunning songwriter and singer, now
based in Nashville.
Chuck Pyle – The Zen Cowboy, known throughout the
world for his intelligent songwriting.
— From America's Soul Live! website
As an aspiring songwriter, I was delighted to plant the
seed and watch this series grow. I also aspired to be
good enough some day to be on the show.