Youthful rockabilly on tap at Tavern
JACKSON, WYO – Several upstart, upswing original music projects have been sweeping Jackson lately. In the past two years alone, we’ve seen the birth of original projects that have both formed and kept their ground by recording professional-grade debut EPs, LPs and music videos to drive forward their national and regional tours.
Wyatt Howe, 16, is the newest and youngest face on the scene. His original project, Wyatt and the Ottomatics, plays Town Square Tavern on Friday for a night of rockabilly, soulful jump-blues and American Roots-inspired rock and roll. The band consists of Wyatt Lowe (lead guitar/vocals), Otto Weiters (drums/vocals), Josh Cooper (upright bass) and Jason Fritts (saxophone).
Citing inspiration drawn heavily from the early days of American blues, jazz and rock, Lowe describes the Ottomatics sound: “Our music is inspired by the roots of all modern music – early American blues, the kind of music where you didn’t have to have the right technology or the best guitar to write a song that could live on,” Lowe said. “Those early delta blues players had nothing but a guitar and a mic, and they wrote tunes that we’re still playing today, 90 years later. [We] want to bring people back to the roots of music, played in a more modern form with a revival flare.”
Lowe himself grew up in a perfect brew of music, soul, and barbecue. As a young child, his parents ran Chappy’s Roadhouse in Temecula, California, which regularly hosted live blues music. Lowe picked up his first guitar at age seven and by his early teens was already gigging around San Diego.
In 2013, Lowe’s family moved to Jackson, where he quickly plugged into the local music scene after playing a few solo gigs at Jackson’s hippest new music-friendly hotspot, the newly renovated Haydens Post. It was there that he met his fellow band members.
Weiters, a fellow high schooler, jumped on board as a co-writer and driving energy force in the band. Fritts, a longtime Jackson musician and New England Conservatory of Music graduate, crooned his way into the quartet with his background of jazz-based saxophone lines. Cooper, Jackson Hole News&Guide reporter by day and string-shredder by night, came on with virtuosic intensity on the upright bass, a transition that he made easily from his classical and jazz cello dominant background.
“It’s more like a brotherhood bond than it is like a band,” Lowe explains of the new project, which is set to record their debut EP in the Pink Garter Theatre this month.
For a young buck, the well-spoken Lowe boasts an array of solidly rooted musical tastes. When asked to cite his strongest influences, he goes straight to the beef: Duane Eddy, Fats Domino, T-Bone Walker and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. In the way of modern flavor, he leans towards 50s and 60s vintage-inspired remixes and retastes such as J.D. McPherson, Gene Vincent and Nick Curran, all of which has gone into his upcoming EP material, which has been mainly written by himself and Weiters.
Wyatt Lowe and the Ottomatics are set for their first Northwest tour in June. They will be on the road for the entire month, planning to hit Boise, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and whatever they can find in between.
“All we want is to look out and see people having a good time,” says Lowe. “That’s what this style of music does, it makes people feel good. And knowing that we’ve helped people to feel that way is the ultimate reward for us.”
Wyatt Lowe and the Ottomatics at Town Square Tavern on Friday. Free. 9:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m.