CMJ Showcase Spotlight: Drifting off in the ambient folk storytelling of the Western Den

Credit: Elizabeth Viggiano Photography

This is the fifth in a week-long series of spotlights on the bands and artists performing at our CMJ party with Berklee College of Music this Friday, October 24 at Carroll Place in New York City. Seven Berklee-affiliated acts will participate in Boston & Beyond, an official CMJ Music Marathon showcase that is free to badgeholders and open to the general public (RSVP here). Doors are at 8 p.m. and the show runs until after 1 a.m. More info can be found here and here. To listen to all the participating bands, fire up our Soundcloud playlist.


The Western Den, 10:45 p.m. set time

Joining Los Rumberos De Massachusetts as the two representatives of Berklee College of Music’s Heavy Rotation Records, ambient folk duo the Western Den add a bit of musical storytelling mystique to our CMJ showcase Friday night.


Formed last winter by Deni Hlavinka and Chris West, the collaborative duo released their EP Battle Hymns in May 2013, and brought those sounds to the masses that summer by opening up for Melissa Ferrick on the northeastern leg of her national tour.

Though the project is led by the songwriting smarts of Hlavinka and West, who trade off vocals in their songs, the sound of Western Den also incorporates piano, guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin, cello, and trumpet, allowing each composition to take its own distinction. The various instruments are tied together by the pair’s voices and harmonies, collectively crafting a distinct and engaging sound that suggests a veteran craftsmanship well beyond their years.

The Western Den make for a compelling addition to our party, but for those not making the trek to New York this weekend, catch the band with British singer Lewis Watson at the Red Room at Cafe 939 on November 15.

Preview some songs below…

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he Western Den Battle Hymns

Berklee Vanya CMJ

Western Den Shows

CMJ Resize FLYER 14