Mama Magnolia

You know that feeling you get when you’re so excited about something and it takes all of your willpower not to shout at strangers about it on the street? That feeling when you’ve found something so wonderful that it feels like a crime to keep it to yourself? Those are the kinds of feelings I get about Mama Magnolia, and this is me shouting at whoever will listen:


Here is a link to their soundcloud, which I demand you pull up and listen to before you read any further.

Let’s talk about them for a minute. Most of the members of this band are semi-recent graduates from DU’s Lamont School of Jazz, which in itself is a pretty huge deal (if you don’t know, look it up and you’ll see what I mean). They call what they play “future soul” which sounds exactly as cool as it is. It’s like jazz and soul met up for coffee, and then strolled around downtown together when they ran into their buddy funk and asked him to come along too, and they all hung out together making beautiful sounds forever and ever amen. It’s amazing.

Here is the recipe for what makes Mama Magnolia’s jams so very tasty.  You start with their lead vocalist, the stunning miss Megan Letts. Her voice is like honey, and hearing her sing gives me chills just about every time. She ranges from soft and expressive to powerful and in-your-face and can switch the mood at the drop of a hat. She has the ability to make you feel every drop of emotion in each note–it’s really an incredible thing to witness. Next you add a  hearty dash of brass with Carrie McCune on trumpet and Sean Culliton on sax. I’m a sucker for just about anything with horns in it, and these two are an incredible duo. Carrie at first seems unassuming, but when she blows her horn she will also blow your mind (and she sings too! She’s amazing people). Sean absolutely wails on the sax too, and the two of them together make my little brass loving heart sing a hallelujah chorus.Then you add a pinch of Thomas Jennings on guitar. Let me tell you folks, I have seen a lot of people play guitar in the fine state of Colorado, but Thomas is one of the most talented guitarists in this state (don’t believe me? Go see them play and you will). What’s more is he’s one of the kindest, most humble people you’ll ever meet. Next you drop in a heavy splash of the bass by a personal favorite of mine, Zach Jackson. I’ve known Zach for many years and he never ceases to amaze me with his seemingly limitless talent (If you’re lucky you’ll also get to hear him sing, which is a real treat).  Last but not least add a large pinch of drums by Jackson Hillmer. His energy is calm, yet still quite palpable and his steady rhythms really bring it all together.

And just like that, with those 6 not-at-all-simple ingredients and a whole lot of heart, you’ve created one of Denver’s best up and coming bands.  I’ve been lucky enough to shoot for them a couple times, and each time I found myself having to pick my jaw up off the floor at the end of their set. The following images are from their debut show at Cervantes.








If this isn’t enough to convince you to go see them the next time they play ( *cough* May 7th at the Armoury in Denver *cough*) then I’m very sorry, but you might be a square and you probably can’t be helped. You know I’ll be there, shaking my booty and click-click-clicking my shutter away…


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