Avo’s hosts tribute to legendary Colorado songwriter


Steven Graham

Colorado songwriter Chuck Pyle died two years ago this month, but plenty of country and folk musicians are still singing his praises — and his songs.

Several local and national singers will pay tribute to the musician’s musician known as the Zen Cowboy with a concert and song swap at Avo’s.


Fellow Boulderite Rebecca Folsom’s first big gig was opening for Pyle at Swallow Hill. Now she is looking forward to paying tribute to one of her early mentors and supporters.

“I have always loved Chuck’s music, admired and even envied his guitar playing, and he has written some of the most beautiful songs,” Folsom said. “I feel honored and heart-warmed to be part of his tribute.”

Texas novelist and singer-songwriter Mike Blakely played shows with Pyle, and he also is playing the Avo’s tribute.

“As a songwriter, he composed his tunes with beautiful melodies, brilliant lyrics, complex rhyme schemes and solid grooves,” Blakely said of Pyle. “He told moving stories with his music. I never saw him disappoint an audience. He left his listeners with sighs and smiles.”

Fellow Texan Jimmy Davis also will perform. He said he played festivals and other shows pretty regularly with Pyle, and felt an immediate connection to the man and his music.

“I met Chuck 10 years ago backstage at a festival in Texas. Before I met him, I felt like I knew him,” Davis said.

Michael Hearne, another native Texan who now lives in Taos, N.M., is on the bill, as well. Rounding out the tribute lineup are Pueblo’s Tom Munch and Pyle’s longtime fiddle player, Gordon Burt.

Though Pyle never saw widespread fame, he had a devoted fan base — John Denver, Suzy Bogguss and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band all recorded his songs. The biggest hits he wrote were Chris LeDoux’s “Cadillac Cowboy” and Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Jaded Lover.” Local PBS fans might also recognize his theme song for the “Spirit of Colorado” show.

The Chuck Pyle Tribute Concert and song swap is from 3-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, at Avogadro’s Number, 605 S. Mason St. Tickets cost $25, and proceeds benefit the Chuck Pyle Scholarship Fund at the Kerrville Folk Festival Song School in Texas.

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