Photo Cred: River Wilde

Photo Cred: River Wilde

Review of Catching Fire - by Chris K, The Colorado Playlist

November 16th, 2018




Catching Fire” is the new 2019 Americana soul, blues, jazz, funk inflected release from Northern Colorado trio The Symbols, with husband and wife duo Jasco (guitar and producer) and Mer Sal (bass and lead vocals) standing front and center.  I’ve been waiting for this record since I first privately suggested to Mer Sal some seven or eight years ago that she hadn’t quite found the music that fit her then unaccomplished voice. She has now. “Catching Fire” is the record that sets Mer Sal up among the premier female blue-eyed soul singers in Colorado today.

Jasco and I have known each other since the early 90s when he was in Blind Dog Smokin’ and we played shows together. I’ve always been impressed with Jason’s highly unique voicings and guitar tones. On this album, Jasco’s sparse and inventive lead lines and personally unique guitar tones perfectly complement Mer Sal’s brightly sparkling vocals.

There is exceptional stylistic diversity on this album. “Let’s Be Love” immediately sets the tone with Mer Sal singing “leave your judgement at the door … let’s be love,” hinting at her blues and soul influences. “Shake It,” featuring Alvino Bennett (Stevie Wonder, Kenny Loggins, Robin Trower) as producer and drummer, is an insanely sparse pocket dance floor party with Mer Sal flashing her skills as bassist and singing simply about shaking butt on the dance floor. “Walk Beside Me” lays out a beautiful southern blues-jazz groove that slides into the scat filled mid-century “Soon,” both of which give up ghosts of the great Satchmo (check out the intro guitar line in “Walk Beside Me” that damned near sounds like a muted trumpet).

Produced and recorded by Jasco at his Fort Collins studio The Recordium,”Catching Fire” sets the standard against which all other female fronted Americana blues oriented recordings will be measured in the coming year in Colorado.

December, 2018

Catching Fire is here! For Press download, get ahold of us by emailing us at 
You will need a password to access this link: 
Contact us for the password if you wish to do a review and would like a complimentary copy of the album in MP3 form for transfer to your other devices.  


August 14th, 2018

The Symbols have played over 60 shows this summer season, and don't plan on stopping.  
This week, The Symbols hit the midwestern United States playing around Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri.  
Here is where we will be! 


WEDS AUG 15th - 
Summertime Blues In the Park
Topeka, KS

THURS AUG 16th - 
The Corner Bar
Fremont, NE

FRI AUG 17th -
Trails West! Festival
St. Joseph, MO
5:30pm - City Stage!

SAT AUG 18th - 
The Voo
Salina, KS

SUN AUG 19th -
Bonner Springs, KS

We return to the Colorado area the next week, with a highly anticipated couple of regional shows -
Skyline Park
Denver, CO
12pm-2pm "STOMPIT" Duo - it rocks!

Live At Lunch KRFC with hostess Deni LaRue 88.9FM
Swing Station 
LaPorte, CO
Evening show

The Zephyr Lounge
Aurora, CO

Stage Coach Saloon
Franktown, CO


I Slept With The Band Festival 2
The River Forks Inn,
Drake, CO

I Slept With The Band Festival 2
The Yard
Saratoga, WY

I Slept With The Band Festival 2
The Sunset Bar and Grill
Alcova, WY

May/June 2018 News

Thanks to The New Scene Magazine of Northern Colorado for their write-up about our upcoming music festival I SLEPT WITH THE BAND over Labor Day Weekend, as well as the mention of our upcoming fundraiser this June 10th at Mishawaka Ampitheater for the Poudre Canyon Volunteer Firefighters.  

Last month (May) we had the honor of opening directly for Tommy Castro and the Pain Killers at the Brighton Blues Blast.  Thanks to the Brighton Arts Council for having The Symbols back for a second year! 
Tommy Castro was highly complimentary of our sound and encouraged us.  Thanks, Tommy.  

The Symbols are playing a record breaking 20 shows this June, so be sure to make it out to one. 


April 12, 2018

The Symbols are back from a brief tour to Kansas City, Topeka, Omaha, and Bonner Springs, KS.
Danielle Nicole's CD Release concert at Knuckleheads Garage in Kansas City, MO was sold out with enthusiastic fans, and The Symbols were ecstatic to open for such an artist on such an occasion.

Many thanks to Danielle Nicole for this opportunity, as well as to every venue on the visit for having us to play. Not only was this a great introduction to Kansas City, it was a great introduction of The Symbols to Topeka Kansas. Thanks to Uncle Bo's for having us!
Thank you to the Westport Saloon as well, and Kobi's in Bonner Springs, and The Corner Bar in Fremont, NE.

The Symbols are slated to perform again at local Fort Collins festival FOCOMX on Friday, April 27th at Avogadro's Number from 10:15-11pm – all ages.
FOCOMX is a festival that takes place in 30 venues, and 200+ bands perform, in a 2 day period. You can find out more and purchase a wristband pass to see as much music as possible in 2 days -  at

Here's where we're going to be the rest of the month of April:
Thursday, April 12th - The Stargazer Theater with Bobby Messano, Colorado Springs, CO 7pm
Friday April 13th – Holiday Bar, Morrison, CO 8pm-12am
Saturday April 14th – Cheers, Northglenn, CO doors at 7, all female band lineup

Friday, April 20th – Crown Bar, Cheyenne, WY 9-1
Saturday, April 21st – Timothy John's CD Release – The Beartree Cafe, Centennial, WY 8pm!
Thursday, April 26th – The Tasty Weasel, Boulder, 6-8pm
Friday, April 27th – FOCOMX at Avogadro's Number, Fort Collins, 10:15-11pm, all ages!
Saturday, April 28th – The Zephyr Lounge, Aurora, CO, 9-1


The Symbols have been making videos lately with Emjay Pate, who worked on films like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and Scary Movie 5, among many others.
Here is our latest music video by Emjay Pate

As always, thank you for listening, supporting, and attending The Symbols' shows.
We hope to see you at an upcoming show!

March 6th, 2018

The Symbols are promoting two shows in March at theaters in the front range of the Rocky Mountains.  
March 9th - Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind at The Rialto Theater, Loveland, CO (The Symbols open).  
March 16th - Women Rock the Night 2 - Wendy Woo, The Symbols, Elise Wunder, Emma Marie - at The Lincoln Center Magnolia Theater, Fort Collins, CO.  

On March 17th, you can find The Symbols downtown at the Old Town Irish Party for St. Patty's Day, 12:45pm - Fort Collins, CO.    
The 19th, The Symbols will head to Boulder for a Monday night duo show.  
On the 22nd, The Symbols support touring band Low Cut Connie at Hodi's Halfnote in Fort Collins.  
on the 25th March, Gary Dean Smith Quintet, friends of The Symbols will be performing at The Recordium, the studio operated by The Symbols.  
On the 30th, it's Berthoud Brewing Co., duo show, and the 31st Toad Tavern in Littleton, The Symbols are the 2nd band playing.  

Exciting news - the first week of April, The Symbols are heading back to Omaha, Kansas and KCMO - check those dates, because on Saturday, April 7th, The Symbols will be opening for Danielle Nicole's CD release at Knuckleheads Saloon in Kansas City, for the release of "Cry No More".  

The Symbols continue to push forward! 

Thanks for visiting our site! More news soon.  

-The Symbols

February 15th, 2018

2018 is starting out excitingly! 
In January, The Symbols represented the Mile High Blues Society in Memphis, TN for the 34th International Blues Challenge, scoring into the semi-finals.  
This month, Bass Musician Magazine published an interview with bassist/vocalist Mer Sal of The Symbols.  
The summer is getting booked up, between festivals, favorite Colorado venues, and trips to surrounding states.  Be sure to check out The Symbols' schedule at the events page.  
On Sunday the 18th February, The Symbols will be filming a live show for television on Denver LOFT Sessions.  The studio can comfortably seat 20 audience members, and there is no admission fee for Sunday.  If you are interested and you're in Denver, you might check that out.  
    In other exciting news, The Symbols are promoting two shows in March at theaters in the front range of the Rocky Mountains.  
March 9th - Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind at The Rialto Theater, Loveland, CO (The Symbols open).  
March 16th - Women Rock the Night 2 - Wendy Woo, The Symbols, Elise Wunder, Emma Marie - at The Lincoln Center Magnolia Theater, Fort Collins, CO.  

Thanks for visiting our site! More news is to come soon.  

-The Symbols

January 26th, 2018           

The Symbols returned this week from the 34th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.  
Scoring high in their 2 preliminary rounds at Wet Willie's on Beale, The Symbols advanced to the semi-finals last Friday.  
Only one band from each semi-finalist room advances to the finals, totalling 8 bands in the Orpheum the next night (out of 44 semi-finalist bands, which were taken from 200 preliminary). 
The Symbols did not advance to one of the 8 finalist slots at the Orpheum out of the bands in their room - the chosen band inside of Jerry Lawler's on Beale that night was the Keeshia Pratt Band, out of Houston, TX, who the next day went on to win the entire IBC 2018!
Congratulations to everybody for making it so far in the competition! 

Thank you to our sponsors and friends for supporting our journey to Memphis this winter.  We have managed to make a few booking connections down that way, thanks to your support.  

We'll see you in Colorado and Wyoming this winter season.  


Mer Sal
The Symbols


January 7th, 2018

The Symbols thank you for helping us raise funds to support our trip to the International Blues Challenge.  We are going to play Salina, KS on Sunday afternoon the 14th, visit some amazing Kansas fans out there.  Can't wait to see you there.  Kansas is like a wild safari full of wild people.  
Monday we're going to Tulsa, OK, the 15th.  Tuesday, the 16th we will be in Memphis! 
A few fans will be joining us on the road, in our caravan, stopping at every motel with us, similar to our I Slept With The Band Festival, which we will be doing again this year, with a strong lineup, TBA soon! 

If you still wish to support our travels to Memphis by buying specific merch or acoustic house concerts from us, you can still go to our page...

Thank you to the Mile High Blues Society for sending us to Memphis - thank you to our president Carla Jordan, who is awesome.  
Thank you to the Colorado Blues Society for the Creighton Holley "Best Arranger" Award in December.  

We'll be having two more Memphis send-off shows before we leave - 
Friday the 12th - The Symbols at The Swing Station with A.J. Fullerton (LaPorte, CO)
Saturday the 13th - The Symbols IBC Sendoff Final Party at Key Largo Lounge (Greeley, CO)

Thanks so much.  

Mer Sal, 
The Symbols


Happy Holidays from The Symbols!                             December 4th, 2017

Last night The Symbols were nominated for 3 Member's Choice Awards through the Colorado Blues Society.  
"Best Guitarist", "Best Arranger," and "Best Live Moment".  

The Symbols won the Holley Award for "Best Arranger".  

What I love most about this band is that we work well together as a team.  

Big ups to Carla Jordan, former owner of Ziggies, and blues society president to the Mile High Blues Society for winning the Lifetime Achievement Award!

Thank you to the Colorado Blues Society members, thank you to our fans, and congratulations to our peers who also won lots of awards.  

We look forward to representing the Mile High Blues Society in Memphis this January for all of the opportunities it brings with it.  



Summer 2017 Re-Cap

Scene Magazine Cover - December 2016

Denver Open Media, KGNU, and Westword - September 2016

Cover Lay Down - October 2016 Issue

Fall 2016 Happenings

Colorado Springs - The Zodiac - photos by River Wilde - June 2016

Blues From the Top, Winter Park, CO - June 2016

Recordium Sessions - February 2016 Inaugural

Turn 5! At the Turnhalle at the Tivoli, Denver

August 2015 News

July 2015 News

June 2015 News

May 2015 News

April 2015 news

March 2015 news

February 2015 news

January 2015 news

November/December 2014 News

October 2014 News

September 2014 News

August 2014 News

July 2014 News

June 2014 News

April 2014 News

March 2014 News

February 2014 News

January 2014 News

September 2013 news

July 2013 News

We're in the paper!

May 2013 News

March 2013 Press Continued

March 2013 Press

"Be Here Now" CD Review

"The Symbols" CD Review

Review by Tim Wenger, Colorado Music Buzz Mag

More Exciting News!