MUSIC BOX: Swinehearts Ball brings in Stringdusters
JACKSON, WYO – Infamous Colorado grass harvests ‘Let it Go’
By now, if you haven’t caught a set of the high-energy propelled jamgrass that is the Infamous Stringdusters, it’s safe to say that it’s time to crawl out from under that rock. Since their debut performance at Targhee Bluegrass Fest in 2008, the Stringdusters have crept to an elite level in the bluegrass genre. The upward trajectory has progressively transpired in the shadows of the Tetons through numerous festival sets (at least one as a headliner), club shows at the Mangy Moose and Knotty Pine, and sold out theater shows at the Pink Garter.
The band’s new album, Let it Go, drops April 1, so expect some fresh melodies and extended jammin’ during this winter tour that will touch both coasts and benefit the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, a nonprofit that works to protect wild places. A lyric from the album sums up the band’s core belief: “If you think you can make a difference and the fire is in your soul, go ahead and take your stand and if you can’t, let it go.”
Infamous Stringdusters, 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday ($18/advance, $20/day-of-show) and Wednesday ($25) February 12 for the 30th Annual Sweethogs & Swinehearts Ball at the Mangy Moose in Teton Village. Etix.com, MangyMoose.com.
Loopy, funky and quirky
I still have a bootleg cassette tape that a Jackson friend made me of a Keller Williams (non-looping) show at a bar in Tallahassee. It maintained a spot in my rotation for a few years until I caught his full spread looping show at The Aladdin Theatre in Portland, Oregon in 2001. The concept of a one-man jamband blew me away at the time, and the level at which he could manipulate his phrase looper peda l— now a Boss Loop Station RC-300 — inspired me to buy one of my own.
His funky, highly percussive guitar style is certainly in the Michael Hedges wheelhouse, with layers upon layers of improvisational gumption. But it’s his quirky songwriting (riding the comedic line of a less-over-the-top Tenacious D) and his breadth of material that ultimately seals the deal of a one-man show that can keep your attention.
I admittedly lost some interest in his live show as Williams pushed the envelope into trance-based sets some years ago, allowing for thumping electronic grooves and even more “tweakers by the speakers.” But as with any artist that pushes into new dimensions, it is usually worth revisiting to see where the wandering road has led one in recent years. That path has led Williams to a full-band live album dubbed, Funk (2013), with backing band More Than a Little. The album consists of four new originals and several interpretations of songs including Talking Heads’ “Once In a Lifetime,” Rick James’ “Mary Jane” and a mainstay in his massive repertoire, The Grateful Dead’s “West L.A. Fadeaway.”
Keller Williams solo loop show, 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Pink Garter Theatre. $25/advance, $28/day-of-show. PinkGarterTheatre.com.
New album from Nicole Madison
It’s a rare occasion when a local jazz musician releases an album, and vocalist Nicole Madison has just released her third full-length album, In My Life. Named after the Lennon/McCartney tune, the easy listening set features soft, lounge-style jazz and show tune pieces from the mid-20th century American songbook. Musical partner Keith Phillips arranged each of the 11 songs and lends his piano chops alongside drummer Doug James and bassist Matt Larson. Spot appearances include guitarist Rich Dixon and saxophonist David Halliday.
Nicole Madison Album Release Concert with pianist Keith Phillips, 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday in The Granary at Spring Creek Ranch. Free. 733-8833.