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6 women musicians bringing femme faces to Fort Collins

As we near the end of Women’s History Month, it’s important to note the local women who are up-and-coming in the Northern Colorado music scene. 

Ranging from a variety of genres and backgrounds, these women are making strides to create unique, riveting music. 

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According to Women In Music, the music scene is made up of approximately 70% men and 30% women. According to the website, out of this statistic, only 22% of the most popular performers between 2012 and 2017 were female.

These women, among others, are the ones who are capable of changing those statistics and providing the Northern Colorado music scene with more femme faces.

1. Adrienne Rae Ash

Best known as the guitarist and vocalist of hard rock punk band Plasma Canvas, Adrienne Rae Ash is an outspoken member of the Fort Collins music scene.

In a 2018 interview with The Collegian, Ash said, “Being a visible, queer, trans, lesbian person, I want to make sure everyone who is like me or subconsciously thinks they might be like me out in the audience to know that this music is just for you.”

Ash makes it clear that respect is a vital component of punk and hopes to keep it that way.

Playing as part of Plasma Canvas, Ash has performed with popular punk artists such as Against Me! and Descendents

Plasma Canvas recently announced that they signed to independent record label SideOneDummy, and they are expected to release the EP KILLERMAJESTIC through the label on June 12. Things seem to be looking up for Ash. 

2. Olivia Baxter

Local band Orca Welles recently ended their hiatus, giving Olivia Baxter the opportunity to jump back into singing and playing guitar for them.

While Orca Welles was taking a break, Baxter joined Hail Varsity, a band based out of Lincoln, Nebraska.

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Originally forming in Omaha, Nebraska, Baxter and her high school friend Alec Williams decided to play music together under the name Orca Welles. In an interview conducted with Baxter in 2018, she confirmed that they started out, like many bands do, in the DIY scene. 

“It was at a little venue, a DIY space in Omaha; it’s called Milk Run,” Baxter said. “They are no longer in operation.”

After their first show at Milk Run, Baxter made the move to Fort Collins and has been active in music scenes both here and in Nebraska.

3. Cheyenne Duba

It takes guts to perform in the high energy, vulnerable way Cheyenne Duba takes the stage when she plays with her band, TARO

Currently a senior at Colorado State University, Duba is shifting more of her studies toward improving her sound as an artist.

Learning new ways to edit audio and create mesmerizing electronic music, as well as learning how to market herself as a musician, Duba is making quick strides. 

Taking matters into her own hands, Duba’s determination to learn programs like Ableton and to work on her songwriting abilities has made her into the performer she is today.

Crafting the vision for their sexy “Fight Club” inspired music video for their debut single, “Don’t Tell,” Taro entered the music scene with a bang. 

With their most recent release, “I Saw Fire,” being released through Bass Rebels, Taro and Duba are garnering attention far beyond the scope of Northern Colorado. 

4. Amy Morgan

Post Paradise wouldn’t be who they are today without the help of their cellist, Amy Morgan. 

The band played their first show in 2009, and Morgan quickly became one of the key members. Adding the essential dreamy sound and helping them drift away from other indie rock groups, the music Morgan provides to the group is what makes them stand out.

Bridging the gap between classical and rock music is not an easy task to undertake, but Morgan and the rest of Post Paradise do it with ease and grace.

She and vocalist Nick Duarte balance out each other’s sounds to create spacey yet gritty and powerful music.

In 2019, the band worked with local recording studio The Blasting Room to create their latest release, “Lonely Worlds.”

5. Mary Ellendorff

Being the leader of Girl in a Band, as well as the former guitarist of Janet Earth, Mary Ellendorff’s quirky personality and tenacious spirit are admirable. 

Girl in a Band is Ellendorff’s music baby. Her newest and only release on Bandcamp, “Benefit Demo,” shows the incredible depth and transparency she is capable of. 

Her voice floats above the turmoil, examining the aftermath of a lost friendship. Ellendorff makes sure to approach the subject with care.

“To the friend I once had: This is by no means meant to hurt you or bring up the past,” Ellendorff said. “This track is for me; this track is my way of letting go and making room for those that love me.”

She brings this same energy to her live shows, treating everyone with the utmost respect while taking care of herself and giving her own emotions room to breathe. 

6. Katie Shriver

Creating cry-worthy ukulele tunes under the moniker Twin Riverz, Katie Shriver hits deep with her conversational, tell-all tone. 

Shriver’s voice is smooth, easily slithering between notes and dripping with emotion. Her creative and poetic lyrics drive the stories further, helping the listener feel everything she was feeling the moment she was writing the song. 

As a newcomer to the scene, Shriver should not be underestimated. 

When she performed her first show last December at former Fort Collins DIY venue The Planetarium, there was not a dry eye in the house. The way Shriver performs, she jumps between humor and intense sadness, two difficult emotions to manage. Yet she succeeds. 

Addressing painful, sensitive topics surrounding sexual abuse, drugs and manipulation, Shriver is unafraid to show the audience who she is, fully and honestly. 

Monty Daniel can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @MontyDaniel_.

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