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Headlights on Bright for Denver’s ‘Rollicking, Relentless’ Halden Wofford


The veteran Denver band known as Halden Wofford and the Hi*Beams have been described as “rollicking, relentless, rocked-up, rootsy and real, and neither revivalist nor retro.” And that’s just the segment of their praise brought to you by the letter “R.”

Since forming and surviving in the apocalypse-fated year of 2000, the honky-tonk heroes have played in the widest imaginable range of venues: from Fillmore Auditorium to Prairie Home Companion, from Red Rocks to rodeos, and on the backs of a few flatbed trucks along the way. During Cheyenne Frontier Days, they even picked aboard a moving historic steam train, with hardwood floors for dancing and free booze. Lead guitarist and mandolin player Greg Schochet recalls it as “like a one-day spring break for adults, rodeo-style.”

Halden Wofford and the Hi Beams Poster

Vocalist Wofford (who leads a secret life as a commercial illustrator) has been called “a cross between Hank Williams and Johnny Depp,” and is apt to break seamlessly, yodel and all, into a Slim Whitman cover. He credits this diverse mix of influences to a period of time he spent in Texas, where he says “the heat, constant local television, and rattle of a ’73 Barracuda fused my brain cells into a receptor for Honky-Tonk and Western Swing musical compositions.”


Wofford is no slouch as a songwriter, either, including the eclectic cuts “ABC,” “Yodelin’ Rhythm and Blues,” and “Hippie in My House” from the band’s newest CD “Live! at Hodi’s,” which prompted 3rd Coast Music Magazine to observe, “Just on the strength of this one hour, I’d say that Halden Wofford & The Hi*Beams are in the running for Best Live Country Band in America.”

And the Hi*Beams 2010 album “Sinners and Saints” garnered rave reviews, including this one from no less than Mollie O’Brien: “Halden Wofford is a poet. The tracks on his brand-new project are rich, funny and poignant short stories that come all wrapped up in the amazing musical chops of the Hi*Beams. There’s no fast-forwarding on this CD–it’s Halden’s tour de force and was well worth the wait.”

Wofford and the Beams perform a live cover version of Slim Whitman’s “Rose Marie,” at the Paradise Theater in Paonia, CO:

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Halden Wofford goes solo, in “Live from the Silo” from Longmont, CO, with “Reclamation Day”:

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