- FEATURE: Fish out of Water
- GUEST OPINION: Playing Safe
- MUSIC BOX: Potter Plunges into Pop
- GET OUT: Wimpy Triumph
- CREATIVE PEAKS: Of Clay We are Created
- REDNECK PERSPECTIVE: Pilsner, Pickups and Potato Chips
- WELL, THAT HAPPENED: Trading the Hole for the Unknown
- FEATURE: Labor Pains
- MUSIX BOX: Wild for John Wayne’s World
- CREATIVE PEAKS: Stage Savoir-Faire
MUSIC BOX: Summer music scene red hot
By my acute calculations, the climax of summer music offerings is this week. Get it while it’s hot!
Targhee Bluegrass celebrates No. 27
Jackson Hole, Wyoming – If you’re not juiced for this year’s Targhee Bluegrass Festival lineup, maybe you just need some stronger coffee. It would be difficult to pick just one of the three days, but in case you must, here’s a daily fly-by.
Friday opens with hard-driving North Carolina string band Town Mountain at 4 p.m. I caught this quintet at Bear Trap Festival last summer, and they’re traditional goodness. Lead singer Robert Greer leads the charge with an IBMA Momentum Award for Vocalist of the Year. Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project will follow, focused on songs collected by folklorist and field recording pioneer Alan Lomax. Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott have a terrific new album, We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This, and have been hitting the pavement hard this year. They’re tight!
Closing the festival stage on Friday night is the triumphant return of ex-child prodigies of the Grammy-winning trio Nickel Creek, who just released their first album in eight years. Americana/roots-rock quartet Screen Door Porch will close the evening at 11 p.m. in the Trap Bar ($5).
Saturday features the compositional turns from the 27-year-olds of Haas Kowert Tice trio, followed by the Thomas Sneed-led New Reeltime Travelers, David Bromberg Quartet, Jeff Austin and the Here and Now, the Cajun slamgrass of Leftover Salmon, and the quintessential Saturday closer, Sam Bush Band. The Banjo Killers, featuring Tony Furtado and Scott Law, will close the evening at 11 p.m. in the Trap Bar ($10).
The Banjo Killers will open Sunday, followed by traditional quartet Chris Jones & The Night Drivers. The ripping instrumentalists of the Travelin’ McCourys will blow your hair back before one of my favorite bands in the jamgrass subgenre, Greensky Bluegrass, close the festival. The Trap Bar All Star Jam hosted by Tony Furtado and Scott Law will close the evening at 7 p.m. in the Trap Bar ($5).
27th Annual Targhee Bluegrass Festival, Friday through Sunday at Grand Targhee Resort. $55-$65 daily, $159-$175 three-day. GrandTarghee.com for full schedule and ticketing.
Super co-bill at Tavern
This is, hands down, my favorite club bill of the summer. Two killer acts that have never played Jackson and happened to be co-billed together – The Turnpike Troubadours and Chris Knight – combine for an alt-country/Americana songwriting pool that is busting at the seams with talent and vibe.
From the Red Dirt circuit of Oklahoma, folk-rockers The Turnpike Troubadours have honed a rowdy, quick-witted sound across three albums that has brought folks of all stripes together. Kentucky native Chris Knight is a mining industry consultant gone successful singer-songwriter. A Steve Earle-esque, character-driven, workingman’s songster, Knight remains semi-underground and has released eight albums since 1998. Don’t miss this one!
307 Live presents The Turnpike Troubadours and Chris Knight, 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Town Square Tavern. $30. 307Live.com, 733-3886.
Nawlins funky brass in the Commons
Since 1977, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band has revolutionized the New Orleans brass band style by merging funk and bebop into traditional ‘Nawlins jazz, influencing most of the brass bands that followed. Trimmed to a seven-piece touring unit, Dirty Dozen has instigated a number of rowdy late nights in Jackson Hole. It’s a Southern-style dance party that will be perfect for an afternoon in Teton Village Commons. Groove/funk six-piece Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons will open with a set of original, high-energy party music.
Concert on the Commons with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons, 5 p.m. on Sunday outside in Teton Village Commons. Free, all-ages. JacksonHole.com.
Hit-maker Chris Isaak
Soft rock singer-songwriter Chris Isaak got his big break with “Wicked Game,” a song from his third album, Heart Shaped World, which was placed in the film “Wild at Heart.” Around the same time, one of the two-time Grammy nominee’s greatest influences, Roy Orbison, invited him on tour as his opening act. Around 1988, the famously witty performer began branching out into acting, getting a small part in “Married to the Mob” followed by “Silence of the Lambs” (1991), among others. Isaak has released a total of 13 albums with 12 charting singles, and has appeared in 10 movies and dozens of TV shows.
Chris Isaak, 8 p.m. on Monday at Center Theater. $95-$120. JHCenterForTheArts.org, 733-4900.
Mr. Hayes Carll tells it straight
Much in the same fashion that John Prine connected with blue-collar country lovers with witty displays of making light of the quirky sides of life, Hayes Carll connects with his audience through introspective, yet seemingly off-the-cuff songs. Carll’s duet tune depicting how stereotypes of polar opposites really do attract, “Another Like You,” was American Songwriter’s No. 1 song of 2011. That album, KMAG YOYO, was the Americana Music Association’s No. 1 album in the same year, not to mention making Best of Lists for Rolling Stone, SPIN and a The New York Times Critic’s Choice. He’s the real deal, and it can’t be better said than the opening line of his bio: “Wildly literate, utterly slackerly, impossibly romantic, absolutely a slave to the music, the 35-year old Texan is completely committed to the truth and unafraid to skewer pomposity, hypocrisy and small-minded thinking.”
Opening the show is Americana-soul/country-blues band Screen Door Porch, which is on the verge of releasing their third studio album, Modern Settler, and recently returned from an 18-show tour of the region.
Music on Main: Hayes Carll with Screen Door Porch, 6 p.m. on Thursday at Victor City Park. Free, all-ages. TetonValleyFoundation.org.
For the Latin Black Sabbath fan in you
Austin Latin funk/rock group Brownout has an inquisitive new endeavor, Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath, which has seriously caught on across the country. Their arrangements on classic Black Sabbath will make you remember why you got into metal in the first place. Latin percussion, horns and fuzzy guitars have rarely sounded this good together. Who would try such a thing anyway? Well, it works. Spindrift – an L.A. psych-rock band – will open the show.
Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath with Spindrift, 9:30 p.m. on Thursday at Pink Garter Theatre. $15-$17. PinkGarterTheatre.com, 733-1500.