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jackson hole music blog

You bring the SHOVELS & I’ll get the ROPE

Posted on Nov 11, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

Throwing back a beer with Cary Ann Hearst in Charleston, South Carolina at the Tin Roof in 2010, Shovels & Rope was not yet the chosen band name of her project with now-husband, Michael Trent. This name that they had given their first collaborative album together in 2008 would become their blue collar, down-home moniker.

In retrospect, hanging out at the Tin Roof was apropos. The ramshackle dive bar where Hearst and Trent played some of their first shows together is an important landmark in the Shovels & Rope backstory. The venue even got some screen time in the video accompanying their Americana Song of the Year, “Birmingham,” from the breakout album O’ Be Joyful. The duo would also take Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2013 Americana Awards, followed by an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman.

shovelsandropeFortunately for Jackson fans – and there are a lot of them – Shovels and Rope is arguably and artistically at their peak. With the summer release of Swimmin’ Time (which debuted at #123 on the Billboard200) also came a mainstream media onslaught that reminds me of The Avett Brothers’ coming out party. Let’s assume it’s for these reasons, ultimately, that their publicist cancelled two scheduled interviews on short notice with yours truly (“they had a rough day,” “they are sensitive and fragile artists,” “their time is limited and they don’t do many interviews so we would be lucky to get them”). Luckily (pun intended) for all of the parties involved, this writer is still not fazed. Shovels & Rope is making some of the most raucously beautiful, sincere music of a generation, and doing it on their own terms—an indie band homerun success story.

“We’re just a couple of ragamuffins doing our thing, and there was this trajectory going on outside of our periphery,” Trent told HitFix in September.

For over a decade, separately and together, Trent and Hearst had paralleled the trials and tribulations of most DIY touring bands—a no frills, in-the-trenches balance of

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Marshall Tucker Band, Shark Week, Wood Smoke Rising to play 74th Annual Fireman’s Ball

Posted on Nov 11, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

Shark Week

Shark Week

The Jackson Firefighters Association went all out in booking Southern country-rock legends Marshall Tucker Band for one of the longest running fundraisers in the valley—the 74th Annual Fireman’s Ball. Though the band has one original member in vocalist Doug Gray, there’s no denying the band’s historical footprint, marked by epic instrumental passages by the late lead guitarist Toy Caldwell (reference “This Ol’ Cowboy” for the goods). Their peak came with the million-selling 1977 album Carolina Dreams and its Top 15 single, “Heard it in a Love Song.”

A ticket to the event enters guests the chance to win this year’s grand prize—a grass fed buffalo, fully butchered from Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat, complete with brand new freezer. Get there early for silent and live auctions, a gun raffle, and music from two talented local acoustic groups, Wood Smoke Rising and Shark Week.  74th Annual Fireman’s Ball featuring Marshall Tucker Band with guests Shark Week and Wood Smoke Rising, 6 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Arena. $40. JHFireAssociation.com.

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Q&A with Canyon Kids + Pat Chadwick: Teton Artlab Sessions

Posted on Nov 4, 2014

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

canyonkids1

Canyon Kids: Bo Elledge & Dusty Nichols-Schmolze

Pat_Chadwick

Singer-songwriter Pat Chadwick

Dusty Nichols-Schmolze and Bo Elledge (formerly of Elk Attack) are collectively known as Canyon Kids. Along with The Flannel Attractions singer-songwriter, Pat Chadwick, the trio has embarked on a DIY recording project housed at Teton Artlab. The album is being engineered and produced by Nichols, with songs written by Elledge and Chadwick.

The Canyon Kids’s “Double EP,” released Valentine’s Day 2014, was a project in which each songwriter contributed four songs of their own. The result was a harmony centric style, rooted in folk, though blended with rock, electronica, soul, and psychedelia. Though the album large flew under-the-radar in the local music scene, it’s my favorite local release of the year thus far, and embodies a production aesthetic rare to the regional scene.

As for Chadwick, his efforts as bandleader and primary songwriter for The Flannel Attractions earned recognition in September from Paste Magazine, which highlighted two Jackson Hole bands in naming “nine impressive musical discoveries” in Wyoming as a part of its 50 States Project.

Aaron Davis: How did the residency at Teton Artlab come about? When did the residency start and when does it end?

Dusty Nichols-Schmolze: Bo was the one who secured the Artlab space. He was playing at an event sponsored by Slow Food in the Tetons. He sparked up a conversation with Travis Walker about a space to record in, and Travis very generously offered up a room for us to use at the Artlab. His artist residency program is

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How to get your Halloween Freak-On in Jackson Hole

Posted on Oct 28, 2014

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

pumpkinSure, the kids are excited, but who’s ready for adult Halloween madness? Let your alter ego take hold on one of the few nights of the year when the band is not necessarily the only stage show.

Members from two of my favorite locals bands—Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons and Elk Attack (disbanded)—have made a creepy one-off project for the occasion, dubbed Sneak Attack. From the Attack, Dusty Nichols will rips lead guitar alongside frontman vocalist/guitarist (and lead Ghostbuster) Bo Elledge. From the Secret Weapons, Sam Lowenthal thumps the bass while Galen Karnatz will be gluing it all together with synth, organ, and creepy harpsichords. Guest Corey Adelman will bang the drums along with Kate Sullivan helping out on vocals. A big set of Halloween classics are in the setlist (“Monster Mash,” “Thriller,” and “Werewolves of London”) while you compete for the costume contest and try to catch Budweiser swag being thrown from stage. Sneak Attack, 10 p.m. Friday at Town Square Tavern. $5. 733-3886.

Slow Magic

Slow Magic

One guy, one mask, and it’s not Buckethead. It’s creepier. Slow Magic’s brand of electronic music is

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Horse Feathers brings chamber folk

Posted on Oct 28, 2014

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

HorseFeathersNot the 1932 Marx Brothers comedy film of the same name, but the prolific indie-folk ensemble Horse Feathers is coming to town, again. Delicate, chamber-folk instrumentation is matched with a hushed, sweet-yet-grim voice led by singer-songwriter Justin Ringle. On a whim, I saw Horse Feathers at SXSW in 2010 and it opened my mind to string-arranged, delicate folk.

The Portland band’s fifth album, So It Is With Us, dropped last week and sounds immediately more upbeat and joyful than previous listening experiences. The album was recorded in a barn in rural Oregon, decidedly influenced by Pentangle, Talk Talk, Paul Simon, The Band, Van Morrison, John Wesley Harding-era Bob Dylan, Desire-era Bob Dylan, and Abner Jay. A conscious effort to make

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Paul McCartney Concert Review: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville Oct.16, 2015

Posted on Oct 27, 2014

McCartneyNashville_2At 72, McCartney appeared ageless at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Oct. 16. Really fun setlist here, all 2hrs+45min of it. The light show was psychedelic and the LED light mapping was mind blowing, especially during opener “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Helter Skelter” (which ripped!). McCartney’s vocal range may have shrunk slightly, but tonally, he’s on point and through 39 songs didn’t flub one word that I noticed. He mixed it up a lot, from acoustic solo acoustic guitar to bass, piano, and electric guitar, and his band followed suit. Stories of Hendrix, Harrison, Clapton and Lennon were timeless and the obscure tunes (“I’ve Just Seen a Face,” “All Together Now”) were a surprise. What a treasure. Thanks to Paul for the “Blackbird,” and thanks to my brother for the ticket!

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SETLIST2

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Shady Rill: expanding the folk language

Posted on Oct 14, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

ShadyRill1It’s the low water time of year when a rill, or brook, percolates though a canyon or babbles along the valley floor, emptying the high elevation snowpack before the onslaught of winter. Fittingly then, that Vermont’s accomplished folk duo Shady Rill will trickle into town for an intimate show at Dornan’s.

Patti Casey (vocals, guitar, flute, seated clogging) and Tom MacKenzie (vocals, banjo, ukulele, hammered dulcimer, keys) will journey west via the central Vermont town of Adamant for a six-show tour that turns around in Moose. Casey and MacKenzie have played Dornan’s a few times in

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Alex and the XO’s

Posted on Oct 14, 2014

(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)

Alex_XOsIndie-pop and alternative quintet Alex and the XO’s formed at Illinois State University in 2011. Backed by Ryan Ristucci (guitar, vocals), Trenton Perry (mandolin), Storm Angone (bass), and Joe Brandenburger (drums), front woman Alexandra Fisher (lead vocals, ukulele, guitar) brings an articulated, Alanis Morissette vocal delivery of jangly pop melodies and at times, rock n roll energy. Venturing west for what looks like their first tour in the area, the XO’s have a spectrum of haunting to catchy tunes for their Jackson debut. Alex and the XO’s, 10 p.m. Tuesday at Pinky G’s. Free. 733-1500.

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