Walt Conley and Colorado’s Folk-Music Scene

As featured in “‘Mr. Folk Music’: Walt Conley and Colorado’s Folk Revival,” by Rose Campbell, Colorado Heritage, Winter 2017/18

Order scans of these or other History Colorado images from the Hart Research Library.

Born in Denver in 1929, Walt Conley launched his career as one of Colorado’s first
performers of the folk revival of the 1950s and maintained a presence in Denver’s music scene
until the 1990s. 10054900
At Denver’s Manual High School, Walt wrote for the school paper, sang in the chorus, played
football, ran track, and served as captain of the golf team. 30003629
After a brief acting career, Conley (shown here with an unidentified companion) returned to
music, opening Conley’s Nostalgia on South Broadway in Denver and helming the club from
1984 to 1987. 10054905, 10054906
Courtesy of Rose Campbell
Walt Conley stands outside the Exodus with Hal Neustaedter, founder of the legendary
nightclub at 1999 Lincoln in downtown Denver. Neustaedter signed Conley and Judy Collins on
for regular appearances at the club. 10054904, 30003635
Courtesy of Rose Campbell
Here, Conley performs in the intimate space of the Exodus, a downtown hub of Denver’s folk-
music scene. 30003632
The year 1961 saw the release of the full-length album Passin’ Through with Walt Conley.
Courtesy of the author.
Conley became a regular in Aspen, where he befriended folk trio the Limeliters and comedian-
musicians the Smothers Brothers, who got their first big break in the ski town. Here, the Aspen
Times shows Conley performing with Kathi Norris and Clark Birch at the Abbey Cellar.
Conley in a later publicity photo. 10054902
Like what you read? Give History Colorado a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.