(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)
Out where the skies are a trifle bluer/Out where the friendship’s a little truer, That’s where the West begins.”
~Excerpt from the poem and song, “Out Where The West Begins”
Canyon Kids—the creative collaboration of vocalist/guitarist Bo Elledge and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Dusty Nichols—released their sophomore album, “Best Loved Poems of the American People,” last Friday. The eleven-month project was tracked at Teton Artlab with the help of a grant from CSA Jackson Hole. Using only four microphones and a modest recording setup, Nichols engineered the recording. The range of local studio guests included John Wayne Harris Jr. (drums), Jake Green (drums), Adam Woolley (electric bass), Matt Herron (fiddle), Bobby Griffith (trumpet), Leif Routman (upright bass), Sheena Dinesh (bassoon), Madelaine German (keys), Wyatt Lowe (lap steel), and The String Lake Quartet.
The album’s concept involved interpreting American poems by composing music to complement the words. The hooky album single, “Out Where The West Begins,” is borrowed from a poem that was first published in 1917 by Arthur Chapman. On the track, Herron delicately weaves fiddle around Elledge’s husky croon, with a rollicking outro allowing Nichols to cut loose on a searing lead while being supported by punchy trumpet lines courtesy of Griffith. The harmony-centric duo has a vocal sound that equates to the smoothness of several coats of fine varnish on an old wooden boat.
“We really wanted to make an album when I moved back to town last spring. We had chord progressions but not many lyrics, so I rediscovered this poem book that my mom had given me and cherry-picked all of these great lines,” explained Elledge. “My family had a tradition to pass this poem book around the table with my grandparents, laugh and cry while reading them aloud. The project really came together quickly and easily. To encompass a family tradition with early American folk was a great way to bring these words back to life.”
Elledge explained that two more songs will be added to the album for a winter re-release. The current seven-track album is streaming online at Canyonkids.Bandcamp.com, and more information about the band can be found at CanyonKidsMusic.com.
Canyon Kids will play a twenty-five minute featured set at Songwriter’s Alley, a songwriter-focused open mic that recently changed venues from Haydens Post to the new Silver Dollar Showroom. The event is open to songwriters, non-songwriters, and small acoustic bands. Performers receive have off of food from the bar menu and are entered to win a $25 gift certificate to event sponsor Jackson Hole Music store, located at 975 Alpine Lane #5 behind Sears.
Songwriter’s Alley Open Mic featuring Canyon Kids, 8 to 11 p.m. at the Silver Dollar Showroom. Sign-up begins at 7 p.m. Free. Open to all-ages performers until 9 p.m. Facebook.com/SongwritersAlley.