Honoring Denver's Father Of Folk
“Well, the address has changed and the lighting's better now, but that's about all that's different ... because, after all, it's not about a store; it's about a community.” That quote leads off the history of the Denver Folklore Center on their website, and it really sums up the beauty of Tuft's creation.
For 50 years, Harry Tuft’s Denver Folklore Center (DFC) has given musicians a ‘hot stove’ around which to meet, congregate, learn, and play. It was the first music store in the Denver metro area that carried merchandise for, and focused upon the unique needs and interests of acoustic musicians.
Through the years it has not wavered in its mission, and behind it all is proprietor Harry Tuft. Back in 1962, he had a vision of serving Denver’s budding folk community.
Video: Fretboard Journal's profile of Harry Tuft and the DFC
Tales of folk luminaries stopping in to the Folklore Center to visit and to play are legendary.
According to the history found at the DFC website; “In 1964: During a Christmas party at the store, Harry sang the song "Lord Gregory" to Judy Collins as a birthday gift.” Collins repaid the favor by her duet with Tuft on Leonard Cohen’s "Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye", found on Tuft’s latest album, Treasures Untold.
There are so many other incredible collaborations such as that. Take this for example; Harry Tuft and Kit Simon sing "That's The Glory of Love" and "Home Grown Tomatoes" at a house concert. Harry also shares a beautiful rendering of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".
An unassuming and gentle soul, Harry Tuft was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in December of this past year, and his celebration continues.
Video: CBS4 News reports on Harry Tuft and Bary Fey's induction into The Colorado Music Hall of Fame
Celebrating 50 Years
Starting Friday night and continuing through this weekend, courtesy of Swallow Hill Music, concerts at various venues will celebrate Harry Tuft and the Denver Folklore Center. Performers include The Otis Taylor Blues Band, Hot Rize and Tim O'Brien, Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore among others.
Harry's band, Grubstake (Harry Tuft, Jack Stanesco and Steve Abbott), just celebrated their 40th anniversary, and are still releasing great music. They're keeping the warm sound of traditional folk alive. You will be able to hear them too, as Grubstake will perform at 1pm at Four Mile Park in Denver on Sunday.
Happy Birthday to Harry and the wonderful venue you created. Denver and Colorado would not be the same without you.