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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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Jackson Hole 4th of July 2015: Freedom of American Roots

Posted on Jul 1, 2015

(a majority of this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)

MotherHips

The Mother Hips

There’s no better holiday to celebrate our country’s phenomenally massive development of American roots music than Independence Day. Homeland composition has been harvested through sheer liberation and liberty, expressing ideas, melodies and genres that never before existed. Whether you’re in Jackson, Teton Village, Victor, or Pinedale, there’s reason to grab a lawn chair, your favorite beverage, and let the colors fly.

Begin the festive week on at Music on Main in Victor City Park (6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, free, all-ages) featuring the earthy pop rock of California’s The Mother Hips, along with the gritty Americana and slide-induced country-blues of Screen Door Porch. The Mother Hips have been around for nearly twenty-five years, during which they developed a cult following for their rootsy mix of ‘70s rock and power pop, a dirty-yet-sweet approach that earned the attention of American Recordings Label founder Rick Rubin.

Friday, July 3 will feature music on two big outdoor stages—Jared and The Mill with

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Silver Dollar Bar lusters with remodel

Posted on May 20, 2015

(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)

Stage view render of the new Silver Dollar Bar room
Stage view render of the new Silver Dollar Bar room

Electrifying times at the historic Silver Dollar Bar in The Wort Hotel, where construction phase of a remodel has been in the works since mid-winter. The space itself has grown forty percent to the West, where a newly designed bandstand and dance floor sit in the former locale of the Silver Dollar Mercantile gift shop. A smaller replica of the current bar has been produced—original artwork and silver dollars included—that will face the stage in the Northwest corner of the new addition. Essentially, there will now be three rooms divided (or not) by partition walls—the original bar area to the East, the central room where the stage and dance floor were previously, and the West room, which will initially open on music nights only.

Acoustically and aesthetically, the Silver Dollar has, at times, been a challenge to produce a quality audio experience via “the box” where the previous stage used to sit. The area was soundproof, but not necessarilyconducive to the flow of sound. Speakers were flown in the main barroom a couple of years ago, which allowed sound to travel further without sacrificing certain frequencies. The latest room design is more open with speakers mounted not only above the stage, but also strategically tiered in the other two spaces in order to manage volume while allowing for sound to blanket the room. For what is arguably the venue with the most consistent dinner crowd that is also coupled with four nights of weekly live music, stepping up the audio/visual will likely prove to be a worthwhile investment.

With the new space also comes another weekly band residency, “Thursday Dance Party,” courtesy of Dixieland and jazz band Jackson Six, led by the infamous trombone troubadour John Kidwell. The devoted crew of swing dancers will surely appreciate this new night (debuting May 28), along with the new dance floor real estate.

To celebrate the Grand Re-Opening this Saturday, local country-soul band Bootleg Flyer will break in the new stage, adorned by a special horn section for the night. Silver Dollar Bar Grand Re-Opening with Bootleg Flyer, 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Free. 732-3939.

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‘Lil Smokies: smoke ‘em if you got ‘em

Posted on May 19, 2015

(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)

LilSmokiesIt sure is cool to see former Jacksonites from the formative days of yesteryear’s local music scene making waves on the regional and national front. Featuring former locals Pete Barrett (guitar, vocals, songwriting) and Matt Cornette (banjo), Missoula’s The Lil’ Smokies formed in 2009 along with Andy Dunnigan (dobro), Scott Parker (upright bass), Cameron Wilson (mandolin), and Jesse Brown (Fiddle). The progressive bluegrass sextet has succeeded in growing a Montana following while getting recognized on a national level as well. The Lil’ Smokies were honored most recently by the International Bluegrass Music Awards (IBMA 2014) with a nomination for the Momentum in Bluegrass Band Award. The Lil Smokies, 10 p.m. Wednesday at Town Square Tavern. $5. 733-3886. 

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Smasher’s Ball with The Electric Bliss

Posted on May 19, 2015

(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)

RugbySmashing, electric, and celebrating twenty-five years of rugby in Jackson Hole, JH Moose Rugby will host live music, and a live and silent auction in support of the men’s and women’s teams. Jackson’s freshest cover band, The Electric Bliss, will unleash a soundtrack of alt-rock, disco, funk, pop and metal. The lineup includes Kirsten Farney (vocals), Mike Covell (guitar), Steve Ranck (drums), and David Bundy (bass). The 1st Annual Smasher’s Ball with The Electric Bliss, 9:30 p.m. at Town Square Tavern. JH Moose Rugby fundraiser. $5. 733-3886. 

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