MUSIC BOX: March Radness at the Vill

By on March 3, 2015

Even if powder days haven’t been stacked within our weekly schedule as of late, come early March there’s always reprieve with Music Under the Tram (March 7 – April 5) and the accompanying Rendezvous Fest (March 19 – 22) at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Reasons to trek out to Teton Village become celebratory and social, complemented by an eclectic mix of local, regional and national talent to close your weekends as shadows lengthen across the Tetons. Keep in mind that there will be an entry gate into the outdoor venue where outside alcohol, food and dogs are prohibited. Enjoy March Radness!

Dornan’s hosts Wood Smoke Rising

Local up-and-comers Wood Smoke Rising have been woodshedding this winter, working on a debut LP of original material slated for a June release. Like several of the local traditional bluegrass outfits before them (Anne & Pete Sibley, The Flannel Attractions, Random Canyon Growlers), Wood Smoke Rising cut its teeth at the Jackson Hole Hootenanny jamming crowd favorites like “Lonesome Fiddle Blues” and “How Mountain Girls Can Love.” Guitarist/vocalist Mike Swanson, banjoist/vocalist Andy Gabel and Josh Metten founded the band in 2012, rounded out in 2013 by mandolin player Lucas Nash and followed by the addition of upright bassist/vocalist Rob Sidle in 2014.

The progression from campfire stringband to gigging, writing and recording a full-length record has been a long time coming for the group. The album will be split between instrumental and vocal tunes, and is currently about half finished. Contributions from each band member are helping to make the 10 or so tracks come full circle.   

“Originally, myself and Andy wrote most of the material and I’ve written all the lyrics so far,” Swanson said. “Before Lucas joined the band, we were pretty loose on arrangements, but with his expertise we have really tightened our sound and we are hard at work on one of his instrumental tunes that’s pretty technical called “Release the Hounds” that will be played at Dornan’s. Rob has really added the tight rhythm we needed. We’ve sort of turned the corner recently in the process of recording and writing the second half of the album and instead of ‘OK this sounds like bluegrass’ it’s starting to turn into ‘whoa, this is pretty cool and different sounding!’ So it’s been really fun.”

For a taste of what the quintet has been working on, check out the album’s first single, “Tony’s Blues,” now streaming at WoodSmokeRising.com. The song was crafted via Gabel’s video exchange banjo lessons with his idol, Tony Trishka. They worked up part of the song’s melody together during a session, and then lyrics were added later by Swanson. Gabel can also be heard playing a distortion-soaked harmonica on the track.

Wood Smoke Rising, 8 to 10 p.m. on Thursday at Dornan’s in Moose. $12 at Valley Bookstore, The Liquor Store, or by calling Dornan’s at 733-2415, and 7:30 to 11:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, March 13 – 14 at the Silver Dollar Bar, free.

More than a dozen bands are featured Under the Tram and for Rendezvous Fest. PHOTO CREDITS: ALL COURTESY

More than a dozen bands are featured Under the Tram and for Rendezvous Fest. PHOTO CREDITS: ALL COURTESY

Music Under the Tram & Rendezvous Fest Lineup 2015

**All shows are free and begin at 3 p.m. on the Tram Stage unless noted

Sat., March 7 – One Ton Pig

Sat., March 14 – Major Zephyr

Thu., March 19 – Screen Door Porch

Fri., March 20

(Town of Jackson stage) – Robert Earl Keen, Jason Spooner, Wyatt Lowe

Sat., March 21 (before Rendezvous Fest Main Event) – Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons

Sat., March 21

(Rendezvous Fest Stage) – Michael Franti & Spearhead, Mix Master Mike

Mix Master Mike PHOTO CREDITS: ALL COURTESY

Mix Master Mike PHOTO CREDITS: ALL COURTESY

Sun., March 22 – 2 p.m. Chanman Roots Band, 4 p.m. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

Sat., March 28 – Lazy Eyes

Sat., April 4 – Moonalice

Sun., April 5 (Closing Day)

Mandatory Air

Robert Earl Keen Band PHOTO CREDITS: ALL COURTESY

Robert Earl Keen Band PHOTO CREDITS: ALL COURTESY

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About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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