By Aaron Davis (for JHWeekly.com)
The Silver Anniversary of the annual Targhee Bluegrass Festival is a fine selection of the various shades of today’s grass – traditional, progressive, jam, swing, old-time, gypsy, even Cajun slamgrass.
To sustain a music festival that consistently brings some of the industry’s hottest talent while remaining an intimate, grassroots operation is an anomaly. Take a peak into the history of a festival like Merlefest that started out the size of a Targhee fest (around 3,000 people) and has evolved into Bonnaroo equivalents in the bluegrass world (80,000 people). There’s so much room to roam, camp, take a bike ride or hike at Targhee, and then walk straight up to the front row and hear the actual sound produced by a performer’s acoustic instrument.
While there is but one new band performing on the Targhee stage (Lil’ Jane & The Pistol Whips), this collection of veterans is a “greatest hits” of past lineups. The one missing card is Sam Bush, who has performed on the stage nearly every year in the last decade and hosted a Saturday night mountain jam. Aptly filling those shoes this Saturday is Leftover Salmon, a band that launched its first extended tour in seven years early in 2012. Salmon just released it’s first studio album in eight years, Aquatic Hitchhiker.
Another revelation is the Friday headliner, Infamous Stringdusters. After making a Targhee debut in 2008 in which they opened the fest, the progressive/jamgrass quintet has earned a late slot. Day opener Lil’ Jane & The Pistol Whips is a quintet that comes to us from close by – Livingston, Mont. – bringing a country sound reminiscent of Loretta Lynn and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Hot Rize – a band that formed in 1978 and rose to prominence in the ’80’s before slowing down in 1990 – features founding members Tim O’Brien (mandolin/fiddle) and Peter Wernick (banjo), Nick Forster (bass, guitar) and Bryan Sutton (guitar). The band has made stage performances occasional since 2002, and this will be one of five shows this summer. They will also perform under the pseudo name Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers, a Western swing band alter ego.
Another Targhee tradition that will be fulfilled is a set involving a Ben Winship project. Winship has performed at every Bluegrass Fest, and will appear this year with Kane’s River.
25th Annual Targhee Bluegrass Festival runs Friday through Sunday at Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming. Tickets are $55/Friday only, $65/Saturday only, $55/Sunday only, or $169/three-day pass. Parking and camping can be purchased separately. GrandTarghee.com.
|Targhee Bluegrass Festival Friday||Show Time|
|Lil’ Jane & The Pistol Whips||4 p.m.|
|Darrell Scott||5:30 p.m.|
|Steep Canyon Rangers||7 p.m.|
|Infamous Stringdusters||9 p.m.|
|Targhee Bluegrass Festival Saturday||Show Time|
|Reeltime Blizzard feat Camp Instructors||12 p.m.|
|Kane’s River||1:30 p.m.|
|Peter Rowan||3 p.m.|
|David Grisman Quintet||5 p.m.|
|Donna The Buffalo||7 p.m.|
|Leftover Salmon||9:30 p.m.|
|Targhee Bluegrass Festival Sunday||Show Time|
|Sara Jarosz||1:30 p.m.|
|Hot Rize||3 p.m.|
|Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers||4:30 p.m.|
|Del McCoury Band||5 p.m.|
|Donna The Buffalo||7 p.m.|
|Late Night Shows||Show Time|
|Friday – Carrie Rodriguez||11:30 p.m. $10/Door|
|Saturday – Jonathan Warren & The Billygoats||11:30 p.m. $5/Door|
|Sunday – Random Canyon Growlers||8:30 p.m. $5/Door|