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Luke Bell croons the ‘tonk at Fair

Posted on Jul 21, 2015

(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)

LukeBellAn ole modern traditionalist, Cody-native and classic country crooner Luke Bell has been on a national tear as of late. Briefly schooled in Laramie, then propelled to Austin before landing in Nashville, Bell just received a major shoutout from Rolling Stone as one of the “25 Must See Acts” of the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. His music is a nod to 70’s honkytonk adorned with heart-felt depictions of cowboy culture and hard workin’ folks, all backed by a damn good country band. Don’t sleep on this chance to see a rising star brought up in the Square State. Opening the show is Dubois-based Jess Camilla O’Neal & The Neversweat Players. The quartet blends Western, country and Americana into a genuine Wyoming blend of rural story songs. Teton County Fair presents Luke Bell with Jess Camilla O’Neal & The Neversweat Players, 6 p.m. Friday at Heritage Arena. All-ages. Free.

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Bingham croons at Center

Posted on Jul 21, 2015

(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)

Ryan-Bingham(byRodneyBursiel)Once an obscure songwriter as a teenager on the road dabbling in ranch work and sleeping in his truck after rodeo competitions, Ryan Bingham’s success has not affected his gritty alt-country output one bit. Bingham won an Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice awards for his 2010 song “The Weary Kind,” which was prominently featured in the film Crazy Heart. He followed that up by releasing three successful major label albums with Lost Highway before going out on his own to self-release 2012’s Tomorrowland and this year’s Fear and Saturday Night. What strikes me most about Bingham is his ultra whiskey-soaked vocal chords, capable of drawing into focus the emotion behind the words that he is phrasing. It can be powerful, and is highly recommended. Bingham is currently touring as a trio, backed by electric guitar and drums. Ryan Bingham, 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Center Theater. $39-$49. JHCenterForTheArts.org, 733-2900.

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Huge soul sounds of The Suffers

Posted on Jul 21, 2015

(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)

TheSuffersEver heard of “Gulf Coast Soul”? Houston-based ten-piece The Suffers intertwine the classic elements of soul and horn-fueled rock featuring the massive voice of Kam Franklin. At first, the formula brings to mind a jazzed-up version of Sharon Jones and The Dapkings, though The Suffers’ four-song EP Make Some Room, is convincing evidence that this group is not locked into delivering only classic soul. There’s origininality to the songs, and a patience that allows for epic slow burns, like “Giver.” Opening the show is Jackson’s Canyon Kids, an indie-folk rock duo that will be staging a full band version of what they do best—deliver lush vocal harmony within engaging songs, and hit you with arrangements that allure with folksy stylings before unleashing the ambient rock attack. The Suffers with Canyon Kids, 6 p.m. Thursday at Music on Main in Victor City Park. Free, all-ages. TetonValleyFoundation.org.

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Half of Tenacious D

Posted on Jul 21, 2015

(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)

kyle-gass-band-blankKyle Gass is Jack Black’s partner in crime as Tenacious D. He’ll be bringing The Kyle Gass Band’s “good-time-rock-and-roll done right, with incredible harmonies, hugenormous guitars, and just the slightest dusting of flute” to town this Sunday. The same tongue-in-cheek approach applies here, with more crunchy guitars and a throwback sound to 70’s classic rock. The five-piece is fronted by vocalist and guitarist Mike Bray and features electric guitarist John Konesky, also of Tenacious D. The Kyle Gass Band, 10 p.m. Sunday at Town Square Tavern. $10. 307Live.com, 733-3886.

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Women rule Targhee Fest

Posted on Jul 17, 2015

(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)

From Grammy-winning legends to grass roots songstresses, the female-heavy lineup allures

From Grammy-winning legends to grass roots songstresses, the female-heavy lineup allures

It’s not completely about the ladies, though the 11th Annual Targhee Fest will certainly feature more than ever, and this batch of female artists is exceptional. Brandi Carlile, Patty Griffin, Amy Helm, Mavis Staples, and Martha Scanlan are all phenomenal vocalists, yet there’s a genuine songwriting knack and stylistic approach to each that sets them apart from, say, contemporary female pop stars.

That’s what Targhee Fest and Vootie Productions’s Tom Garnsey, has exceled in for eleven years—staging artists that blur the lines of American roots styles, able to own the stage with a personalized touch, yet blend seamlessly into the next set with the audience’s anticipation of musical discovery.

“I’m always conscious of having a strong female presence at the festivals,” Garnsey said. “It does play out somewhat organically in that we are subject to who’s touring and when/where. This year, we were working on Mavis Staples and then heard she was putting together a

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Blitzen Trapper gets aggressive, covers heroes

Posted on Jul 8, 2015

(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)

photo: Robbie Augspurger

photo: Robbie Augspurger

The experimental, Americana indie-rock foundation of Blitzen Trapper is arguably some of the most intriguing music of the last several years. The writing is personal. The live show extremely tight and moody. And the subtle use of electronic textures over folk tendencies points to only one legit comparison, Wilco.   

When Blitzen Trapper played the Pink Garter Theatre in 2012, they had just released American Goldwing, an album that took a classic direction towards other west coasters like The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Grateful Dead, but also The Allman Brothers and Cat Stevens. It seemed conservative, even traditional, when compared to earlier albums like Furr (which ranked #13 on Rolling Stone’s Best Albums of the 2008), and Destroyer of the Void (2010), which was full of sci-fi synths, Beatles harmonies, and country-rock twang.

But it seems the band’s blitzkrieg of acoustic and electric rock escapades through a decade-long career is coming full circle. Over the last year, they’ve managed to cover some of the best singer-songwriters in the game, and showing a reconnection

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Wood Smoke Rising releases eponymous debut album

Posted on Jul 8, 2015

WoodSmokeRising

Writing, arranging and recording an album in “various houses and apartments” is not glitzy, but with the tools available in this day-in-age quality control is not only attainable, but a worthwhile education and a microscopic view of one’s own sound. The experience of figuring out the process on a DIY level is respectable, and the personal rewards can reach its fullest potential.

One of Jackson’s freshest up-and-coming acts, bluegrass quintet Wood Smoke Rising, has done just that. The self-titled, ten-track release was a team project between members Andy Gabel (banjo/vocals), Josh Metten (fiddle), Lucas Nash (mandolin), Rob Sidle (bass/vocals), and bandleader Mike Swanson (guitar/vocals).

Engineered by Sidle and co-mixed by Sidle and Swanson, the album of original material is split between instrumental dashes and lyrical experiences via a gruff-voiced Swanson. The instrumental flourishes—often arranged and led by Nash—encompass a weighty portion of

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Songwriter’s Alley features Brock Gleeson

Posted on Jul 7, 2015

Brock_FBYou know those songs you start humming minutes after hearing them? Those lyrics that seem stolen from your heart? That’s the sort of songs created by Brock Gleeson; creating an energetic country pop that’s a blend of Jay Farrar’s wordplay and Brad Paisley’s energy. He has been positioned as Nashville country, though with exception for a few songs here and there, he’s a lot more outlaw country, and his album Run Like Hell is a great slice of Americana.

Songwriter’s Alley is a Songwriter Night/Open Mic/Jam open to everyone from solo, duos, trios and beyond. Original music and cover songs are both supported. Come showcase your songs in a friendly, low-pressure atmosphere as well as the opportunity to collaborate and network with other musicians. Songwriter’s Alley Open Mic featuring Brock Gleeson, 8 to 11 p.m. at Haydens Post. Sign up at 7 p.m. to play a 2-3 song set. Open to all musicians. Original music supported, though certainly not mandatory. Performers are entered into a drawing for $25. Free, all-ages. 732-9027. For more information, visit Facebook.com/Songwriter’s Alley

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