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jackson hole music blog

Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons cook up debut “Breakfast”

Posted on Dec 17, 2014

(a portion of this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

The lead track, “Forgotten Lullabies,” from Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons’s debut studio album, Breakfast, opens with a deeply grooving funk melody akin to a Robert Walter’s 20th Congress cut. Amplified by the collaborative note play of a dominant low-end clavinet fused with an electric guitar, trumpet and a rumbling bass, the elements spell, P-A-R-T-Y. “I am a mountain, you are my muse/Carve me down with your fountain, reveal whatever you choose,” sings guitarist and songwriter Jack Tolan.

The Weapons—the sextet’s abbreviated namesake—will step onto the Pink Garter Stage this Saturday for their first headlining show at the theatre, a well-deserved accomplishment to complement their Album Release Party. The Weapons exceeded their goal of $5,000 through a crowd-funded campaign on Indiegogo.com, making the recording feasible. All concertgoers will receive a free CD of Breakfast.

SneakyPete_Ski“We’re all living together now and have been practicing like five days a week for this show,” said Weapons drummer Zach Zimmerman as I sat down to chat with half of the band at Café Boheme.

Zimmerman co-founded The Weapons with bassist Sam Lowenthal in the winter of 2011-12, when the two friends informally jammed and spoke of

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The debut of Songwriter’s Alley

Posted on Dec 9, 2014

(a portion of this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

SongwritersAlley-Small

Over the last decade, Jackson’s local music scene has gradually accumulated more songwriters and more bands performing original music. And for much of that time, there’s been a short supply of informal stages for either up-and-coming musicians or experienced songwriters to try new material, until now.

Between 2007-2009, I produced and hosted Songwriter’s Alley as a local concert series and featured some of the most prolific songwriter talent in the region. Rather than a ticketed concert series featuring only established songwriters, Songwriter’s Alley has now transformed into a weekly Songwriter Open Mic/Jam Night aimed at bringing the local musician community together.

Haydens Post will now be the home of Songwriters Alley, a weekly songwriter night and open mic every Wednesday. The format of Songwriter’s Alley will model typical sign-up-and-perform open stages, with the exception of three distinctions—original music will be supported and encouraged (though not mandatory), the venue is all ages, and an established local or regional songwriter will be featured each week by playing an extended, MTV Unplugged-type performance with the opportunity to tell stories behind the songs to a listening audience.

The first featured songwriter will be

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Sally Rod dives into Beck’s Song Reader Songbook

Posted on Dec 9, 2014

(a portion of this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

Sally_RodDriggs-based multi-instrumentalist David Bundy has been a go-to band member in a lot of Teton County bands over the years—bassist for Chanman Roots Band and Calle Mambo, drummer for his own defunct rock trio Johnny Wailin’, and a solid addition for the oh-so-common fill-in gigs. Now, Bundy is stepping to the front of stage with an electric guitar and his under-utilized voice in an interesting new project, Sally Rod.

“It’s easier for me to play guitar and sing rather than play bass and sing,” explained Bundy, whose slight rasp brings to mind Cake’s John McCrea. “I’ve sang harmonies before and had one lead vocal song here and there, but I’ve really

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Grooving, World-influenced Gyspy Lumberjacks

Posted on Dec 9, 2014

(a portion of this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

GypsyLumberjacksThere’s a particular flair to Minneapolis-based Americana band Gypsy Lumberjacks, a name that more-or-less describes their sound well. Earthy percussion pulses varying grooves to a spattered melting pot of acoustic World beat, Flamenco, Caribbean, gypsy jazz, bluegrass, and folk. The band has been touring around the country for the last six years, most recently in support of the eccentric and danceable new album, Pulling Upon the Strap—exposing the band’s keen sense of song craft and harmony. A stripped-down cross between Rusted Root and Railroad Earth is perhaps the best analogy, though these fellas have their own thing with vocal improvisations to boot. Gypsy Lumberjacks, 7:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Silver Dollar Bar. Free. 732-3939.

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Sodapop’s riff for rockabilly

Posted on Dec 6, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

WyattLowe_MayhemKingsThough Wyatt “Sodapop” Lowe is still in his teens, hearing him croon a vintage ‘50s rockabilly cut while wailing on a classic Gretsch electric guitar would lead you to believe he’s been a performing bandleader for decades. Lowe was born and raised into the blues at Chappy’s Roadhouse, his family’s BBQ restaurant in Temecula, California. At a young age, Lowe would stand at the edge of the stage and watch the best regional Southern Cali blues players perform. The next day, he could be found at home in front of the mirror, harp in one hand and a “play” guitar in the other. At the age of eight, he began guitar lessons and found his true musical passion was launched, slowly developing his

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Brother Mule reunites, invites Dowling

Posted on Nov 29, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)
brothermule-photo-PRINTRenaissance man Ben Winship has performed nearly every year on the Dornan’s stage since 1988, an era in which his mainstream bluegrass group Loose Ties began playing annual Christmas shows at the intimate Moose venue. He even built one of the original stages, and Loose Ties recorded a live album at Dornan’s in 1992. This time around, he’ll reunite with his longtime trio Brother Mule for their first local shows in over three years, along with Grammy winning Dubois-based resonator guitarist Mike Dowling as a special guest for night two.

The years have passed but not much has changed with respect to the vibe at Dornan’s, according to Winship. In fact, that’s why he continues to perform in the intimate, eighty-five seat room. The listening venue is touted for

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Modern Settler pre-order Dec. 9

Posted on Nov 25, 2014

ModernSettler_CoverStumptown

Lookin’ forward to releasing another body of work into the world. And thankful for the opportunity to record with with this group of people.

From Porch News 11.18.14
“Come Dec. 9 at ScreenDoorPorch.com, you’ll have the opportunity to pre-order Modern Settler in all its glory. And when we say ‘glory,’ we mean the splendor of a physical, handheld album, complete with cover illustration from the hands of our good buddy and superior fly caster, Paul Puckett (PaulPuckettArt.com). SDP may never press CDs again, so rather than pull the plug and go digital-only, we sped in the other direction with the idea of offering a singular package that delivers our finest record to date in a collectable, delectable, plastic-less, recycled chipboard medium that also houses original artwork. Of course, the full spectrum of digital options will accompany. Sign-up for PORCH News at ScreenDoorPorch.com or check the website on December 9 to Pre-order Modern Settler. The first 25 pre-order packages will receive stealthy extras, and we’ll be designing some limited edition beanies and full zip hoodies for package bundles.”

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Digital music streaming: the free ride is waning

Posted on Nov 18, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

The Black Keys comment on Spotify owner: "He's richer than Paul McCartney, and he's thirty, and he's never written a song."

The Black Keys comment on Spotify owner: “He’s richer than Paul McCartney, and he’s thirty, and he’s never written a song.”

Do you enjoy free music streaming, digitally, via a service such as Spotify, Beats (owned by Apple), AT&T, Google, or Pandora? A major shift in the music industry over the last few weeks suggests that you should enjoy it while it lasts.

Third quarter statistics in 2014 show that physical CD sales and digital download sales continue to nose dive. On-demand streaming sites are all the rage, and vinyl sales are up a whopping 47.5%. The good news is that people are consuming more music. The bad news is that there is either no money on the table, or that the money is going to CEOs of streaming sites. Illegal downloading and file sharing still accounts for a great deal of revenue bypassing songwriters and publishers, though the biggest streaming sites are finally getting pressure from the three bigs (Universal, Sony, Warner) to leverage it’s free users to become paid subscribers.

Tension with Spotify in particular came to a head last week as Taylor Swift, utilizing her pop star status, pulled her new album as well as her entire catalog from Spotify. (Swift was predicted to make about $6 million from the

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