Pando Records posts on Facebook on 02/09/15: So we are very honored to announce that FOUR of our label artists will be performing at South By South West (SXSW) in Austin, TX next month. Congratulations to Random Hero, No Fair Fights, Facing West, and From Thin Air! More details to follow!

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Adrienne Osborn also announced at the COMBO Grammy Watching Party on February 8th that her band, Adrienne O, has been selected to perform, too, at South By South West at The 152 on 6th Street. No date or time yet but she promised to let us know when the band is informed.

BTW, if anyone knows of someone that the above bands can “couch surf” with in Austin, please let them know. Or send a note to COMBO at and we’ll pass the message along. All are responsible bands that will honor your property.

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As is the case with every National Final, the judges that are tasked with selecting the winner from among the five National Finalists have a tall order before them indeed.

JB Aaron, Marie Wise-Hawkins, Eli Tellor, Nate Kenyon and the Brothers Roberson performed as part of the 2014 Country Showdown National Final because of their having emerged victorious in the context of three, intense levels of competition at the local, state and regional level. Every one of these acts has the potential to go on and become a Country Music icon. They have stage presence, they have talent – they have the tools necessary to succeed.

It all comes down to this one performance and every one of them did themselves and their fans proud. When it came time to choose, while it’s certain the judges had to deliberate, it was the Brothers Roberson that triumphed.

You’ve got to give them credit. They were Mid-Western Regional Winners in 2012 so this was their second time on the Ryman stage competing for the Grand Prize. That’s a lot of work and a lot of dedication and just goes to show you that on the other side of one disappointing loss is another amazing win!

Congratulations to all of the National Finalists for a great performance. It was an amazingly entertaining evening! And special congratulations to the Brothers Roberson – the 2014 Grand National Champions!

[Editor’s note: The Brother Roberson won the SouthWest Regional Crown in Raton, NM back in October. They were FABULOUS! The SW Regional is the one that Colorado’s winner moves onto and you can rest assured that our own Katey Laurel gave them a run for their money!]

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After Sam Smith has been loaded down with five or six trophies and the cameras at the Grammys have gone dark, it’ll be time to shine for Rico Jones, a 17-year-old junior at Denver School of the Arts.

The DSA senior was one of 32 high school students nationwide selected for 2015 Grammy Camp, on the strength of his application, which included a résumé, references and three recorded performances (which you can see below). The band will perform tonight’s nominee party and tomorrow night’s Grammys after-party.

“I feel really blessed to be around students that are as serious as I am about the music,” Jones said by phone this morning from Los Angeles, where he arrived about a week ago. “I feel really challenged by the musicians around me. I’m really learning a lot just through osmosis.”

It’s probably not quite so simple, of course.

“By serious I guess I mean completely in love with the music, and willing to put in the hours needed to be really articulate in what they’re trying to do — and accurate,” Jones said. “And that’s something that a lot of people miss. They want immediate results, but they don’t realize that it takes weeks and months and many hours of repetitive motions.”

Jones called his big week in L.A. nerve-wracking but exciting. Already he and others in the camp have spent time recording an album at Capitol Records. “We recorded several songs for an album for the big band ensemble,” he said. “Several of the horns and myself also recorded with the vocal ensemble for a Tower of Power song and some others.”

In addition to attending DSA, Jones teaches two students of his own, he said.

The tenor sax player was in our pages last year in a story about a younger generation getting hooked on jazz. Reporter Joe Vaccarelli wrote then:

Saxophonist Rico Jones, 16, was turned off of jazz when he first started sixth grade at Denver School of the Arts because he didn’t feel he was good at it. But after encouragement from his band director, he rededicated himself.

He sure did. Here are those audition videos: [Article contains Rico’s audition videos.]

By Dave Burdick, Entertainment editor | dburdick @ denver post .com

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