Classic Album Sundays

Classic Album Sundays

Written by Bill Leebens

The heart of Classic Album Sundays is built around a deep love for music, involving listening to entire albums on vinyl and on an amazing hi-fi. We feature vinyl for the warmth of sound, its tangibility, and the ritual of flipping the record and reading the liner notes— it makes the learning experience so much more engaging. CAS gives real music fans a chance to truly immerse themselves in one of their favorite albums and discover new sonic details they never knew existed, thanks to our audiophile treatment. Our music-fanatic CAS hosts around the world love to share their record collections and knowledge with old and new friends every month, and we’re excited to bring that experience to Denver’s Rocky Mountain Audio Fest for a second year.

Colleen Murphy created Classic Album Sundays in 2010 with the desire to make these immersive album sessions accessible to music fans who were unaware that they could hear music in such an engaging and detailed way. After BBC Breakfast and BBC Worldwide broadcasted a feature on one of her early events, she sparked a cultural phenomenon and was contacted by friends and strangers to collaborate. Since then, CAS has built homes in four continents (North America, Europe, Asia and Australia) and has taken on many different forms, including music festival appearances, exclusive artist and producer interviews, event series hosted a significant cultural institutions, and collaborations with record labels to celebrate both catalogue and new album launches. In 2017, Murphy hosted the Sumer of Love series at the Royal Albert Hall, helped close the Pink Floyd exhibit at the V&A Museum with The Orb and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, and launched a CAS satellite in India with Beatles engineer and David Bowie producer Ken Scott.

As a passionate music fan, I was inspired me to create a headquarters for Classic Album Sundays in Chicago. CAS founder Colleen Murphy and a handful of other CAS satellites were spinning Radiohead’s Kid A as the album of the month in October 2015. Since its one of my favorite albums, I wanted to be a part of the magic, but there wasn’t a scheduled event in my home city. Instead of remaining despondent, I realized a local Classic Album Sundays could exist— I just needed to make the effort. After talking to Colleen and her right-hand man Alan, they gave me permission to host my own listening sessions and helped arrange an audio partner. CAS Chicago opened its doors to dedicated music fans in April 2016 and has continued since.

I gravitated towards the CAS ideology for the sake of closely connecting with an album’s lyrical content and musical message. The relaxed and educational setting at our events inspires listeners to focus and make more of an effort to fully take them in. Some poets spark revolution with their words, like Nina Simone and Kendrick Lamar, while others unburden their most personal thoughts and sensitive emotions within their lyrics, like Joni Mitchell or Mark Kozelek. I find this conversation between musician and listener to be a valuable way to learn about life, which is why CAS sessions are so important to me.

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest are huge supporters of Classic Album Sundays and have put together an incredible sound system in our own room, which will present several album sessions over the course of the weekend. Last year, we brought many albums to life, including Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Radiohead’s OK Computer, Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions, and Talking Heads’ Remain In the Light. Attendees felt the immersive experience was entertaining and educational. It was also refreshing for many audiophiles who spent the day testing and comparing products for their personal systems to finally kick back and experience what its all about— enjoying music. After the playback, listeners shared their new observations and personal stories (last year, we learned some insider stories from someone who worked with Stevie Wonder), making our guests feel even more welcome.

We’re excited to return to Rocky Mountain Audio Fest to share this experience, but, this time, in our own room and with the chance to spin more records! We’re featuring eight classic albums using top-notch pressings and another wonderful hi-fi setup. We are happy to welcome back Jeff Rowland Group, who will be installing their Super Integrated Daemon amplifier, and VPI, who will be bringing their Avenger Reference turntable equipped with Audio Technica AT-ART1000 Moving Coil Cartridge. The turntable is packed with three layers of acrylic and aluminum to absorb any impact generated by YG’s Sonja loudspeakers. Nordost (based in Colleen’s small New England hometown) will connect the components with their ultra high-definition cables to ensure precise playback.

This year, I hope festival attendees feel encouraged to absorb one or many of these albums in their entirety and treat the experience like watching a movie with phones turned off and no conversation. These records were diligently composed and recorded with innovative ideas and a range of emotions and were meant to be devoured in their entirety. The musicians and authors offer the beautiful and complicated parts of our world, and we’re putting them on the most detailed stage possible to broadcast their message.

Here’s what we’ll be playing in Room 2021 during the fest. There will also be a range of seminars between each listening session that will soon be announced.

Friday, October 6th

The Beatles- Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (2:00 pm)

John Coltrane- A Love Supreme (5:30 pm)

Saturday, October 7th

Carole King- Tapestry (12:00 pm)

Jeff Buckley- Grace (3:00 pm)

Radiohead- Kid A (4:30 pm)

Sunday, October 8th

Marvin Gaye- What’s Going On (10:00 am)

Massive Attack- Mezzanine (1:30 pm)

Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon (3:00 pm)


We hope you can join us for a new album adventure!

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