Live Music Still Smoothes the Soul Series

Photos from past concerts in the Live Music Still Smoothes the Soul Series.

If you thought live music was a thing of the past, head up to Paonia this weekend for a show musician Josh Hoyer says will be “a wave of joy.”

Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal will be performing in Paonia as part of the Live Music Still Smoothes the Soul Series presented by Pickin’ Productions and The Paradise Theatre, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, in Poulos Park in Paonia.

The band from Lincoln, Nebraska, formed in 2012. The five piece band includes Hoyer (keyboards/vocals/saxophone), Blake DeForest (trumpet), Mike Keeling (bass), Benjamin Kushner (guitar) and Harrison ElDorado (drums). Hoyer describes their sound as soul, funk and R&B.

This is music that Hoyer has always enjoyed, he explained. Throughout school, Hoyer was part of jazz band and jazz choir, and in his 20s he “cut his teeth” at a blues bar in Lincoln called Zoo Bar. Hoyer said this is where you can find the best of the best and he was able to learn a lot from the touring acts coming through. A quote about the band’s sound from its record is: “If James Brown and Otis Redding had a love child it would be Josh Hoyer,” he said.

The group played locally for a time, but it caught on. The group started making its way further from its base in Lincoln and over the last eight years the band has performed about 150 shows a year, has played in 38 states and nine countries.

“It wasn’t my intention to do that but the music spoke for itself,” Hoyer said. “We followed the path, I guess. It has been a fun ride.”

When writing, Hoyer said he writes about what is happening in the world. Through his lyrics, Hoyer said, he is trying to galvanize people to work for positive change in the world and inspire people through that message. When Hoyer describes the music as “soul music,” he means it is genuine and is coming straight from the heart.

Through this “pause” the band has taken, Hoyer has been able to write about 22 new songs. He noted that there is plenty of inspiration for creativity. Two new songs that have been popular are “Evolution” and “Business as usual.” The latter is about how people can make adjustments, and show empathy and compassion after things settle down. He said doing so can take everyone a long way.

As with many artists, COVID-19 put a hold on the band’s plans. Plans included a jazz festival in New Orleans, a cruise, Japanese tour and a European tour. This year the group was looking to release an album — which was recorded at Color Red in Denver — which has been pushed back. Because there is no touring to support this album, Hoyer said they are unsure about when it will be released.

“We’re thankful to be able to return to Colorado which is one of our favorite places to play, (and) to play a show which has been pretty rare these days,” he said. “Definitely looking forward to coming out and playing our music for people.”

This concert will be the last in the series. Sunshine Knight, executive director at Paradise Theatre, said she could not be happier with how the series evolved, adding Poulos Park has turned into a beautiful outdoor venue.

“I just want to say what an absolute amazing experience it has been to have live music again,” Knight said. “I was guilty of pulling inward after COVID-19 hit, sitting at home watching Netflix, gardening and doing home improvements. Then in July, we recorded Embodying Rhythm Marimba Ensemble live for Paradise Fest, our local musician showcase. I was overcome with emotion at getting to see live music and I realized then how absolutely essential it is to our well being. This outdoor series has been the highlight of this fall season.”

Rob Miller, Pickin’ Productions, has worked with Hoyer before and said, “We’re thrilled to once again be working with Sunshine and the Paradise for this fall concert series at Poulos Park. The idea of presenting a show in the time of COVID and creating a new outdoor venue was daunting in the beginning. But the team really pulled it together and we’ve created a very beautiful and safe place to watch live music. It’s been a great run of shows and the finale with Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal is going to be a knockout.”

For those who are interested in the concert, Knight said they have been successful in ensuring each group is 6 feet apart .

The band likes to play pre-written songs as well as just jamming out, Hoyer said. They have also been performing new material, some of which will be on the band’s upcoming album. Hoyer said they have been receiving good feedback on those pieces.

“It makes you want to get up and move,” Hoyer said. “The few gigs that we have had, we’ve cherished and I think people have really needed that. They’ve forgot what live music meant to them when it was all yanked away. Being together on vibe for a little a while seems to go a long way.”

Tickets are $25 online at or $30 the day of. For more information visit

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