Harmonies in Stone

02 Feb 2024

Discover the enchanting world of Stone Cottage Studios, where the warmth of acoustic melodies and the magic of intimate performances collide in a century-old refuge

By Christopher C. Wuensch

A calm, warm silence seemingly hums over Stone Cottage Studios as the last breathtaking notes from Duncan Coker’s acoustic guitar effortlessly dissipate into the night.

Coker himself breaks the silent nods of approval between those in the room, including backup singer Katie Mintle.

“One more for good measure?”

With that the room once again floods with the hauntingly soothing bluegrass sound of Coker and Mintle. 

Outside, the night’s snowy mist has layered the white picket fence surrounding the detached suburban Boulder garage-turned-music-studio with a clear sheen. Yet, here inside, there’s a comforting ambiance that wraps its arms around you with its music.

Tonight, Coker, with the help of Mintle, is cutting an electronic press kit (EPK) that includes a video and recording session to promote his debut album arriving this February.

“This place is really great,” Coker said to the softly lit backdrop of candles, well-traversed throw rugs and burlap sacks and guitars adorning the walls. “It’s really hard to come by a place like this.”

The cottage, located on the corner of 7th Street and Evergreen Ave., dates to the early 1900s and was originally owned by a local miner and stone mason.

It was refurbished in 2012 when its detached garage was converted into the music studio it is today. When the city rejected an additional square footage for the garage, out went the bicycles and in went the control room.

The result was a quaint music space that’s professionally equipped for sound, video and magical nights.

“We wanted to create a branded Stone Cottage Studios space that was warm and inviting for the artists while being very recognizable to video viewers,” said Stone Cottage Studios founder Jamie Maynard. “A space that inspires performances and creativity.”

Stone Cottage Studios Artist Sessions

Stone Cottage opened its studio in 2018 to offer EPKs and recording opportunities, as well as its signature Artist Session series.

Since then, close to 200 artists—hailing from genres such as bluegrass, folk, country, pop, hip hop, jazz, alt country, classical and Indi/Americana—have discovered Stone Cottage.

Modeled as an NPR “Tiny Desk” series of the Colorado Front Range, Stone Cottage Studios’ Artist Sessions features an intimate show and artist interview with Maynard, who spent 25 years in the biotech fields before setting his sights on Stone Cottage Studios.

These are free flowing chats designed to highlight the artists’ inspirations, new releases or whatever they’d like to discuss.

You can find these Sessions via the Stone Cottage Studios YouTube and social media pages. A Stone Cottage Studios playlists is also coming soon to streaming platforms.

While intimate and limited by space to about 10 guests per show, the Artist Session Winter Season began in January, is open to the public and includes a spread of food, drinks and more to make those in attendance feel like home.

Once the summer months have thawed the white picket fence, Stone Cottage moves its Artist Sessions outside, where music lovers can sit and soak up the tunes in the courtyard among the Buddhist statues and other accouterments—all of which is set to a low volume and is over before 8 p.m., as to not disturb the neighbors…the ones you don’t find in attendance, that is.

The Stone Cottage Studio Family

Back inside the studio on this chilly evening, adjustments are being made on the fly as Maynard diligently works the cameras alongside his son Davis Maynard.

Dan McDonough, the unseen voice of God, communicates via a microphone from the attached sound room. After the guitars are all packed away, McDonough will multi-track their songs and make an already incredible performance sound even better.


The Future of Stone Cottage Studios

The phone is ringing, says Maynard, a photographer whose Magic Factor Media owns the Stone Cottage Studios. Artists from Nashville and beyond are lined up throughout the year.

“As musicians and filmmakers/videographers, Davis and I thought it would be great to start a new part of Magic Factor Media focused on video and audio production in the music space,” said Jamie, a singer and banjo player in his own right since the age of 12.

That transition became even more important as Stone Cottage was able to navigate the pandemic by incorporating a streaming service to share shows from close to 50 artists, each bringing their own unique style to the recording studio.

There’s a natural rawness to all of it as artists such as Coker and Mintle work through their songs, especially while trying to learn new lyrics written as freshly as that morning. These wooden walls are home to disobedient b-strings and subtle flubs audible only to the ear of the artist.

“Incredible,” Mintle whispers between takes. “It’s usually really nerve wracking in front of cameras, but this is really calm and warm.”

Find more regarding Stone Cottage Studios, including upcoming dates, at stonecottagestudios.com.

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