Talent Showcase winner Elise Wunder has enjoyed increasing publicity in the last few months, and for a good reason. Wunder is a soulful, smoky presence that completely enraptures the audience; it’s just her and the guitar, and when a string broke during her opening performance, Wunder kept the crowd interested with a capella. Her vocal range is outstanding, and proves that even without the guitar, Wunder is a true musician.
As for the Showcase experience, Wunder says she loved the experience of performing with so many talents and making so many connections.
“It’s feels good to receive recognition,” says Wunder. “(It) affirms that my hard work and persistence will pay off.”
Wunder has been playing free shows all around Fort Collins, and is currently working on her first album In the Darkness of My Light. The album is anticipated to come out in January, but Wunder does not want to rush her art. She likens the process of self-producing this project to the process of music, maintaining that it mustn’t be rushed, but also mustn’t be too lackadaisical.
“Much like the tension in my guitar strings– too tight and they’ll break on me, too loose and they won’t sound too pretty.”
The album is unique in that it includes talents from many different individuals. A collaborative FoCo-ian endeavor, it should be quite a hit. Wunder is grateful to the help of her producer Wolf van Elfmand (Von Stomper), Dawn Duncan of Yellowbright Inc., her fellow Showcase musicians, and numerous other musicians that listen to and inspire her, both in the local community and spread out elsewhere.
As for the future of her “Wunderful” music, she states, “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.”
Lois and the Lantern
Female quartet Lois and the Lantern started in 2013 as a ladies’ monthly musical get-together called “Clam Jam.” Members include Saja Butler (vocals, banjo, guitar and ukelele), Tara Lynne Sparks (bass), Mary Merritt (mandolin, vocals), and Theresa Brodzinski-Norton (banjo, trumpet, guitar, vocals). A girl-powered act, Lois drew a huge crowd of followers and supporters at the Showcase, and took second place. The group has a wide variety of music, including many originals as well as delightful covers of everything from country to classic rock. If it has inspired the members, it probably makes its way onto their set list.
During the Showcase, Lois played original works, several of which were written and vocalized by Butler. Merritt also has a wonderful stage presence that familiarized the audience with the quirky and entertaining presence of these eclectic ladies. The harmonies were perfectly blended, proving that the group has excellent chemistry. Fans got up and danced, took pictures and cheered, and Lois proved to be an excellent (and charismatic) crowd-pleaser. Check out more of their work at www.loisandthelantern.com, and look for them playing venues around Fort Collins!
Franke and the Fix
This female-fronted band was a hit at The Showcase. They were the last to perform out of 8 bands, but they were able to keep the audience interested and dancing ’til the end. The band got together in late 2013, but they seemed like they had been playing together for much longer. The band consists of veteran musicians Alan Hlavacek (bass), Travis Mason (guitar), Jeremy Smith (drums) and Franke Kurucz (vocals). There was a very obvious chemistry with the group, and they performed like old friends. With the dancing and jumping on stage and in “the pit,” their performance was so high energy it was hard to not dance along with them. They put on such a great show that they had the audience asking for more and came back on stage for a one-song encore. The band took third place. You can catch them performing around different Fort Collins venues.