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Mystery Machine, Crossroads, Resistance

Posted on Oct 12, 2017

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Songs are flowing and an Appalachian autumn is currently re-tuning me for another Wyoming winter. Aaron Davis & the Mystery Machine will be rolling out some heady announcements in the next couple of months, including a couple of festivals already on tap for 2018. But first, a ramble. (FYI - I'm rambling more lately via a new instagram account, aarondavisongs)

I'm not sure why The War of Art by Steven Pressfield hadn't come onto my radar previously, though the timing is fortuitous. When Screen Door Porch first decided to take a hiatus, I was a bit on edge. Pressfield tackles the idea of personal Resistance when it comes to creativity, and doing the daily work that can eventually lead one to The Muse. The discipline of seeing a creative project through from start to finish can be a battle, and starting such an undertaking is perhaps the biggest hurdle. Having opened a studio in Jackson Hole a year ago and picking up the pieces as a solo artist now, I'm trying to crush Resistance with fervor. Here are a couple of excerpts from The War of Art...

"...when we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen...unseen forces enlist in our cause, serendipity reinforces our purpose. This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don't. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filling. Ideas come. Insights accrete."

"We unplug ourselves from the grid by recognizing that we will never cure our restlessness by contributing our disposable income to the bottom line of Bullshit, Inc., but only by doing our work."

SDP ended on a high, and a few folks pointed out how rare that isa band taking a pause under its own terms after a decade of The Life. I've tried to embrace that concept, tried to look beyond the crossroads despite Resistance waiting in the wings. I'm not without outlets, and I'll put my hands together in appreciation for them, and appreciation for the good natured musicians that I still get to work with (though I'll indeed miss making music with my wife). Three Hearted Studio has three fun projects in the works and on deck that I'll be producing/engineering. Acoustically, the cabin has made recording a game changer. It's blowing my mind. A few mic upgrades doesn't hurt either. In addition to AD & the Mystery Machine, Boondocks will be back in action soon as well.

The Band's Levon Helm

The Band's Levon Helm

Telamon of Arcadia, a mercenary of 5th century B.C., is known for saying, "it is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior's life." I've realized that when I take a break from the warrior's life, one of two things happen. In the short term, such as a fly fishing trip (my fave pastime), refreshment is superior and rejuvenation occurs. If I stay away too long, I'm reminded of a Levon Helm quote from his book This Wheel's On Fire: "When I'm a working musician, I feel like I'm successful no matter how big the show. If I'm not working, I feel useless as hell."

It's time to dig in, folks. Can't wait to see what I dig up!  
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Spiritual world funk: Sinkane’s up vibe

Posted on Sep 25, 2017

In the current world of extremes, Sinkane, born Ahmed Gallab, steps onto stage to calm your senses, engage in the now, and brighten the darkest of days. Step back to understand his roots and what they have grown to become, as its quite the underground ear opener. Sinkane, also the name of his six-piece band, will headline 89.1 FM Jackson Hole Community Radio’s Summer Membership Drive Party this Tuesday.

Sinkane was born in London, raised in Sudan, and currently a Brooklyn resident of over eight years. He's well-versed on all of his band’s instruments—guitar, bass, drums, keys—and has an understated, angelic voice that can float overtop the meanest of funk and R&B grooves, or swing into falsetto mode for a range that is at once airy, patient and infectious. Gallab gives praise to vocalists Eddie Kendricks, Bill Withers, Betty Carter, and Justin Timberlake as influencing this style. His lyrics are social conscious and the music is a refreshing, head-bobbing mash of Sudanese pop and afro-rock with elements of Stax-era soul.

“It has all shaped my identity,” said Gallab, the son of college professors. His grandfather would sing spirituals in the house while hosting Sufi gatherings. “I was molded by all of those experiences. I feel like

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The Minor Keys unleash ‘Life in a Minor Key’

Posted on Jun 28, 2017

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The tape has been rolling here at Three Hearted Studio in Hoback and the first official release is now in the airwaves—Life in a Minor Key via swing and old time blues trio The Minor KeysLife in a Minor Key (listen here) was engineered and mixed by yours truly, and it was a real pleasure working with friends Jeromey Bell (vocals/guitar), Leslie Steen (violin) and Marty Camino (upright bass/vocals) with studio guests Jason Baggett (drums) and Lawrence Bennett (trumpet) stepping in nicely for a couple of songs. Sonically, I'm super pleased with the results. It's empowering to have so many question marks in the recording process and have it work out beautifully in the end.

The four-track EP features the heart of what the trio does best—classic swing and old-times blues from a bygone era. While these are not the obscure gems from

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Canyon Kids & Goldcone collaborate on “Wolf”

Posted on Feb 13, 2017

Check out the pop-folk moodiness of "Wolf," the first song collaboration between our good buds Canyon Kids (Bo Elledge & Dusty Nichols) and Goldcone (Joe Rudd). That's fellow Hoback Nation resident Rudd on keys, sax and production, with Mr. Sam Lowenthal of Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons on bass. Written by Elledge. Art via Cole Adams Buckhart. Stream the track below.
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Concert Review: Jackie Greene + Anders Osborne + Hayes Carll

Posted on Jan 17, 2017

Greene_Osborne_Carll_byAaronDavis5It takes a fair amount of gumption to perform outside of the so-called comfort zone musicians build within their main performance outlets. Jackie Green, Anders Osborne, and Hayes Carll ditched their bands and grabbed acoustic guitars for a sit down evening of old fashioned tune trading at the Center Theater on Sunday.

For Greene and Osborne—two new friends that are gifted as both singer-songwriters and guitarists—impromptu “jamming” is second nature and I’ve witnessed each thrive on that ball of energy as much as writing a powerful song. They've each shared experiences with Phil Lesh & Friends in recent years and each play in loud, improvisational rock bands. It was great to see a number of those rock tunes stripped down to the raw core from these two.

Hayes Carll sounded like the refined writer he is, a painter with words as his raw material. After Carll made light of the juxtaposition between him and the other two, the joke recycled throughout

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Veteran DJ Mark Farina at Garter, Cure for the Common + horns, Screen Door Porch + Head for the Hills, Nicki Bluhm joins Lucas Nelson

Posted on Dec 28, 2016

(a majority of this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)
Mark Farina: creator of Mushroom Jazz

Mark Farina: creator of Mushroom Jazz

There’s acid jazz, cool jazz, big band jazz and then there’s mushroom jazz—a psychedelic-minded electronic music subgenre mixing jazz, house and hip-hop nearly singlehandedly designed by DJ and producer Mark Farina in the early 90s. The term was coined from his twenty-five year, eight-volume Mushroom Jazz series of albums. Originally released on cassette in 1992 with a modest fifty copies, the latest compilation dropped this year to a worldwide audience.

It has turned the heads of old fogies, indie-leaning hipsters, hippies and jazz purists while penetrating a club scene shaped by aggressive drums n’ bass and uptempo house music. All the while, Farina has existed in two types of rooms—mushroom jazz and a jazzy Chicago-meets-San Fran house style that caters to the uptempo revelers, Farina will drop his

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Wood Brothers & Ben Sollee, Search & Rescue Benefit, Center Theatre lineup

Posted on Dec 7, 2016

(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)

The Wood Brothers (photo: Alysse Gafkjen)

The Wood Brothers (photo: Alysse Gafkjen)

“I think we have a nice balance now in our show now of broken-down, stripped-down acoustic, more intimate subtle music leading up to the more rockin’ stuff,” explained Oliver Wood, vocalist/guitarist for The Wood Brothers. “We’re learning to balance what has characterized our records and live shows. Our drummer Jano is an amazing keyboard player and really sounds like two guys when he’s playing keys and drums at the same time. And, of course, my brother Chris is a bass virtuoso, so we can make quite a big sound when we want to, but it also feels good to strip it down to almost nothing.”

Oliver’s comments are right on the pulse of how The Wood Brothers—featuring blood brothers Chris (upright bass/vocals) and Oliver along with adopted musical bro Jano Rix—have evolved since forming around 2005 as a stripped-down duo. In addition to drum kit and keys, Rix also plays a homemade “shuitar”—a cheap acoustic guitar converted into a percussion instrument. Over the course of more than a decade, the trio has gradually grown a fanbase that is drawn to their deceptive spareness. Their collective sound is fluid, raw at times, and nearly always reflecting a roots-inspired smorgasbord of blues, folk and especially of late, rock and roll. The Nashville-based band’s latest studio album, Paradise, was recorded at Black Keys guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach’s studio and brings a more

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