By Dave Herrera | Aug. 18, 2016 | 4:00 a.m.
Angie Stevens is playing her last show ever next month.
It's a bittersweet time for music in Denver. As good as the scene is right now, there are some beloved musicians bidding farewell. While we were already sad to say goodbye to the Epilogues, who are playing their final show on Friday, now we also have to gear up for the last performance of Stevens, who has announced that she'll be playing her final show in September.
Since releasing her debut album, I'm Okay, more than a decade ago, Stevens has firmly established herself as one of the city's finest songwriters. Ever since the beginning, she's had a rare gift of penning highly evocative songs, and she she's so genuine and impassioned when she plays them that you can't help feeling what she felt when she wrote them -- even if you've never experienced what she's singing about. We've watched countless people over the years be moved to tears hearing her perform songs like "Judy" and "Truth Don't Lie." And they're not the exception.
And through it all, Stevens has somehow managed to be consistently compelling from project to project -- whether solo acoustic, backed by her band, the Beautiful Wreck, or with I'm With Her, her excellent and criminally short-lived collaboration with Hayley Rydell -- and from record to record, including, most strikingly, her latest album, Beautiful & True, which she just released this past May.
That album features a cameo from Gregory Alan Isakov. And while having a heralded artist of his stature appearing on the record is obviously worth noting, in the context of the entire album, it's more interesting than integral.
Beautiful & True lives up to its title and stands up all on its own and serves as Stevens' best work to date. We were absolutely floored the first time we heard it. You can tell she really put her heart into this one, almost as if she knew this was it.
Maybe she did.
Thing is, if we'd been paying closer attention to the songs on that particular record, especially the heartrending ballad "Someday I Know," which closes the album, we might have seen this whole thing coming, too, and not have been so surprised when Stevens shared news this week that she's stepping away from performing.
There's a wistful resolve to that song that has finality written all over it, but we didn't hear it at first. In the opening lines, she sings, "Someday, I know, just like they say, I'll be content staying in one place," and then muses about what her life might be like in a different context, buying a piece of land, baking pies, basking in domesticity ... someday.
Turns out, that someday has come. Stevens says, although she's going to continue writing and teaching (she's devoted her time in recent years to mentoring young, aspiring songwriters), she's not planning to perform much after this. "Maybe someday," says Stevens, "when there is time in my life again, I'll play."
Until then, she's planning to focus on her family, particularly with her son, who's getting ready to start eighth grade this year, along with continuing to work with her students. "It is the hardest and easiest decision I've ever had to make," she says. "I gave up so many years running down a dream, and then I woke up to see I had everything I needed already."
Stevens' last show is slated for Wednesday, September 7, on Vita's Rooftop (the same place, fittingly, where I'm with Her played its last show). She has a half dozen shows before that, included a date at the Walnut Room on Friday, followed by a gig at Copper Mountain Beer Relay Rally on Saturday, a block party in Westminster on August 27, and a guest appearance with Tempa and Friends on August 28.
Godspeed, great lady. Fare thee well.