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Charlie Parr + Betse Ellis at Dornan’s

Posted on Apr 1, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

CharlieParr(byAaronDavis)WMOne can gather a substantial amount of troubadour knowledge from a folk musician as well versed as Charlie Parr. Parr is seemingly from a simpler bygone era free of electronic distractions, social media and instrument effects. During his last tour stop through Jackson, the guitar/banjo picker taught this fellow traveler how to cook meals on a vehicle manifold by referencing Manifold Destiny: Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine! My life was forever changed. Thanks Charlie.

Parr will roll into the intimacy of Dornan’s with another familiar folkster in Betse Ellis. The fiery fiddler from Kansas City has made several appearances in the Tetons over the years, namely with hillbilly country band The Wilders and bluegrass outfit Kane’s River. Ellis is a standout performer, a “Hendrix” on the fiddle with deep traditional and classical roots while often stepping out of the box with a confident leap.

Over the course of ten albums and touring for a solid dozen years with The Wilders, 2012 found Ellis pursuing a solo career in lieu of her band taking a hiatus. This pursuit led to the release of her sophomore solo release, High Moon Order, last summer. The raw, straightforward approach of the thirteen-song set features primarily original compositions. From delicate lyrics over a floating pedal steel to Celtic-influenced old-time music to screaming fiddle and drums, there’s quite a range in the Ozark fireball’s playing. She also digresses to singing over a strumming tenor guitar. The album follows up her 2009 album Don’t You Want to Go, which earned an Independent Music Award nomination.

Betse EllisAs for Renaissance man Charlie Parr, country-blues and folk-blues is his speak. The genre’s guitar-driven, early 20th century heyday mirrored the period of the great Negro migration north to the cities, and often narrated emerging social patterns during the period. More downhome and fluid than folk, Parr’s take on the weathered style is sparked by late contemporary guitarist Jack Rose, who died in 2009 at the age of 38, as well as historic characters from his father’s vinyl collection that had been collected from travels through The South—Blind Willie Johnson, Charlie Patton, and Mance Lipscomb.

From the small town of Austin, Minnesota, self-taught Parr has some choice instruments—a National resonator guitar, a fretless open-back banjo, and a baritone twelve-string guitar. Parr primarily picks in a Piedmont style, a fingerpicking approach that employs alternating a bass string rhythmic pattern with the thumb while also supporting a syncopated melody using the forefinger. The blend of Parr’s style with Ellis’s fiddle weaving is sure to be a collaboration worth experiencing.

Some of his thirteen-plus albums are out of print, many are available on vinyl, and he usually travels alone—with guitar, banjo and “one foot in the grave.” A contemporary protagonist of what’s left of the folk tradition in the form of traveling acts, Parr is very much what you see is what you get. His latest effort was released in January, Hollandale, an all instrumental EP of five songs featuring mostly twelve-string guitar and improvised around five different open tunings.

“I really do love it all,” Parr said before his first show at Dornan’s in 2011. “It’s fun going to a new place and feeling it out. I never write setlists and take each moment as it comes. I really enjoy living that way. I’m really an eternal now kind of person.” Charlie Parr and Betse Ellis, 8 p.m. Wednesday at Dornan’s in Moose. Tickets are $15/advance, $18/day-of-show, available at Valley Bookstore, Melody Creek Guitars, and Dornan’s. 733-2415.

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JH Rendezvous Fest: Blues Traveler, Spearhead, KDTU and …

Posted on Mar 25, 2014

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

Michael Franti

Michael Franti

The JH Rendezvous celebrates 10 years of free music in Village. A genuinely cool event for our valley, the reinvented Rendezvous will mark the 10th annual celebratory end of ski season with an even bigger bang. Billed as Jackson Hole Mountain Fest for the last nine years, Rendezvous is aptly touted as a “three-day lifestyle and music festival.” Alongside the Marmot Coombs Classic competition and the legendary Pole Pedal Paddle race, the big stages will feature the return of Blues Traveler, Michael Franti & Spearhead and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe among a smattering of opening acts, not to mention music Under the Tram.

Rendezvous: Thursday
In case you missed Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (KDTU) last month at the Knotty Pine, here’s your chance at redemption. A tireless performer and tour hound, Denson has already put his stamp on contemporary funk/jazz saxophone and flute. A former member of Lenny Kravitz’s band and a co-founder of the pioneering, timeless band The G

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The Blackberry Bushes: alt-folk on the Westbank

Posted on Mar 25, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

blackberry bushesIf you’re not into the masses of folks that will converge on Snow King Center Thursday night, consider taking in an evening of alt-folk string band The Blackberry Bushes from Seattle. Taking cues from other contemporary folk bands like Nickel Creek and The Be Good Tanyas, the trio draws from the deep roots of American traditional music with a delicate, virtuosic fiddle-laced sound of their own. The Blackberry Bushes, 7 p.m. Thursday at Roadhouse Brewing. Free. 739-0700.

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Psych rock up-and-comers: New Madrid

Posted on Mar 18, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

NewMadridAfter stops at South by Southwest and Treefort festivals, Southern indie rock twenty-somethings New Madrid will make a stop at Town Square Tavern before bolting to central California for a show just two nights later. Now, that’s youthful will. The effort made by the Athens, Georgia-based quartet to add a Jackson stop on their first Western tour probably has a lot to do with drummer Alex Woolley’s brother, Adam Woolley—local bassist for Uncle Stack & the Attack and Black Mother Jones.

“New Madrid is not just talented musicians playing music with one another, they’re a great band, and there’s a big distinction there,” said local musician Dusty Nichols, who played a bill with New Madrid while touring the South with Elk Attack. “There’s something totally natural and seamless in their

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Lukas Nelson still keepin’ it Real

Posted on Mar 18, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

John Varvatos Bowery Live Presents: Lukas Nelson And Promise Of The RealMusic connoisseurs familiar with Willie Nelson would likely be able to glean from his son’s nasally vocal tone alone of their relation. Pitch in a fondness for songs with pot references and the knack for crooning a slow ballad, and that’s but a small piece of Lukas Nelson’s foray into what has developed into a quality, entertaining rock show.

The heady divergences that continue to push Lukas beyond his father’s shadow start with a Stratocaster that wails in a Stevie Ray-meets-Hendrix fashion. Like Hendrix, Lukas too has an infatuation with Bob Dylan, which comes through in his knack for song craft on his band’s latest album, Wasted. Nelson and Promise of the Real have made seven or eight stops in Teton County over the last five years, establishing a timeline that has enabled some to enjoy his progression up close and personal. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, 10 p.m. Monday at the Knotty Pine in Victor. $22. 208-787-2866.

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Martin Sexton: an infectious soloist

Posted on Mar 18, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

MartinSextonThe delicacy of vocal range and his charismatic audience interaction is impressive enough to buy a ticket for a Martin Sexton show. That infectious energy and the power of a single voice are well displayed within the confines of his most recent Live at the Fillmore album. From wild and rollicking to deep, self-questioning tunes, Sexton is one hell of a talent and a multi-trick pony.

Opening the show is former Jackson local, folk-pop singer-songwriter Jay Nash. Bringing to mind a dash of mellow, Nebraska-era Springsteen and the mainstream sensibility of John Mayer, Nash spent thirteen years in L.A. before heading east to settle in Vermont. Nash released his tenth album, Letters from the Lost, in May of 2013. Martin Sexton with guest Jay Nash, 8 p.m. Thursday at the Pink Garter Theatre. $25-$28. PinkGarterTheatre.com.

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WYOmericana Caravan Announces Tour Dates

Posted on Mar 18, 2014

WYO-AllDates

A dozen musicians. Three bands representing one state. Eighteen shows through five states in just nineteen days. Meet the 2nd Annual WYOmericana Caravan Tour featuring Screen Door Porch, The Patti Fiasco and J Shogren Shanghai’d.

A traveling concert circus of sorts, the WYOmericana Caravan is a rolling representation of the square state’s burgeoning songwriter scene. Artists will rotate performance slots each night, making the headliner/opener scenario unique to each tour stop. Three sets of WYOmericana music each night along with a heap of ad-libbed collaborations between bands—this is one music tour you won’t soon forget.

The debut 2013 Caravan was such a home run it caught the attention of The New York Times, which sent a writer and photographer to cover the tour for a full-page, Sunday feature. Wyoming’s own Square State Film Co. also put a crew of videographers together, traveling the lengthy 3000 miles to craft the forthcoming documentary film, WYOMERICANA (to be released April 1). The snowball of outreach and support led to Wyoming’s largest newspaper, Casper Star-Tribune, naming the WYOmericana Caravan Tour a Top A&E Event in Wyoming. Hop on board for this, a ramble through the Rockies.

2014 WYOmericana Caravan Tour Dates
WED May 21 – Laramie, WY – Gryphon Theatre
TH May 22 – Denver, CO – Walnut Room
FRI May 23 – Laporte, CO – Swing Station
SAT May 24 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Garage
SUN May 25 – Ketchum, ID – Whiskey Jacques
MON May 26 – Boise, ID – Neurolux
WED May 28 – Jackson, WY – Pink Garter Theatre
THU May 29 – Bozeman, MT – Live From the Divide
FRI May 30 – Missoula, MT – The Top Hat
SAT May 31 – Whitefish, MT – The Great Northern
SUN June 1 – Butte, MT – The Silver Dollar Saloon
MON June 2 – Livingston, MT – The Murray Bar
TUE June 3 – Livingston, MT – The Murray Bar
WED June 4 – Sheridan, WY – WYO Theater
THU June 5 – Lander, WY – Lander City Park
FRI June 6 – Casper, WY – Keg & Cork
SAT June 7 – Saratoga, WY – Hi-Water Hoedown @ The Yard
SAT Aug 23 – Cody, WY – Wild West River Fest @ City Park

THE BANDS:
Jackson-based quartet Screen Door Porch delivers

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Rap icons De La Soul headline shred mag release

Posted on Mar 11, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

De La SoulIf you grew up with a trusty jam box like I did, it’s likely that De La Soul flowed from the speakers at some point. Twenty-five years ago, De La Soul’s seminal debut LP, 3 Feet High and Rising, was released. The album is considered one of the most influential rap albums of all time, rivaled only by albums like Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. It’s laidback cool while lyrically striving for peace and harmony, headlined by the hit “Me Myself and I.” What a score of an act to celebrate the annual release of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine.

The era of 1989 hip-hop was busting at the seams with aggressive acts like

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