MUSIC BOX: Heroes can’t stand still
Psych-country quartet have two-night run at Silver Dollar Showroom
Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Not only do The Lonesome Heroes have the most stellar band name of the saturated Austin music scene, its namesake inspiration is a glove that could fit no tighter—borrowed from the Leonard Cohen tune, “A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes.” The song contains searing jaunts of electric guitar with a bed of froggy jaw harp, carried by a strumming acoustic guitar and Cohen’s singular voice: “A bunch of lonesome and very quarrelsome heroes were smoking out along the open road / the night was very dark and thick between them, each man beneath his ordinary load / ‘I’d like to tell my story,’ said one of them so bold, ‘Oh yes, I’d like to tell my story ‘cause you know I feel I’m turning into gold.’”
Much of the same impression is conveyed via the quartet that currently embodies the Heroes. Resilient troubadour Rich Russell (vocalist/songwriter/acoustic guitar) barely skipped a beat when longtime musical partner and girlfriend, dobroist Landry McMeans, parted ways with the band in 2013. While McMeans provided the signature psychedelic riffs, it is Russell’s Beck-ish vocal prowess that painted the cosmically wistful country songs adorned with hooky melodies and an indie rock edge. This earned the band an Independent Music Award for Pop Vox in 2012. He also plugs a vintage Gibson acoustic into a 1970s Fender Super Reverb, a 4 by 10-foot combo amplifier not generally associated with acoustic instruments. It gives the music a dreamy reverb and high-end sparkle that further distinguishes the rhythm bed.
The restructuring of the band includes the addition of frequent collaborator and monster guitarist Gary Newcomb, thoughtful drummer Dave Sims Jr., and longtime bassist Nick Lochman. The band soon entered the studio with the finished product coming in the form of “Can’t Stand Still,” released in January of this year. A month later, WhatBand Records released the album on vinyl. The killer album art features a Teton backdrop with paragliders in the foreground, the work of local painter Travis Walker. More than 1,000 shows in 28 states, the Heroes bring a veteran sound that still breathes enthusiasm, making their staple trip up Highway 287 from Texas to Wyoming for the eight straight year.
“I think that our first show in Jackson was at The Granary in either 2007 or 2008,” Russell said. “Oh to go back to the sweet days of Myspace and driving around in a battered old VW van. It has been so great to be a solid, steady lineup for three years now. The band is road tested and ready to rock. We are super excited to make our annual summer pilgrimage through the Tetons before we embark upon our next big adventure to Aussie land. We can’t wait to check out the new and improved stage at the world famous Silver Dollar Bar.”
Come September, the band will lift off to Australia for a 22 date run that includes the Dashville Skyline Americana Festival.
The Lonesome Heroes, 7:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Silver Dollar Showroom. Free. 732-3939.
One of the longest-lived Jamaican reggae bands, Third World, will roll into Teton Village this Sunday. Known as the “reggae ambassadors,” their recorded music is instantly genuine, moderately produced, yet polished with authentic elements that will transport you back to 1973—the year they formed. A year later, they were invited to open for Bob Marley & the Wailers on a European tour. With roots reggae at the core, the sextet also stretches into R&B, funk, pop and rock. This concoction earned the band international commercial breakthrough in 1978 with the album “Journey to Addis.” Opening the show is Jackson’s own eight-piece, horn-adorned roots reggae group, Chanman Roots Band.
Third World with Chanman Roots Band, 5 to 8 p.m. at Teton Village Commons. Free, all-ages. JacksonHole.com. PJH
Aaron Davis is an award-winning singer-songwriter, journalist, multi-instrumentalist, frontman for bands Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, and founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley.