MUSIC BOX: Storytelling Songs and Synth

By on September 29, 2015

Folk troubadour hits Dornan’s, Garter gets the bass

Caption: Folk minstrel Bill Staines plays Dornan’s Tuesday, while on the other end of the music spectrum,  SAVOY shakes up the Pink Garter with bass, synth sensibilities and a tinge of indie rock on Friday.

Folk minstrel Bill Staines plays Dornan’s Tuesday, while on the other end of the music spectrum, SAVOY shakes up the Pink Garter with bass, synth sensibilities and a tinge of indie rock on Friday.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – When I first interviewed folk hero Bill Staines in 2006 (from the road, of course), the ever-touring musician explained how playing at Dornan’s the same time every year is like a reunion.

“It’s almost like seeing family with all of my old friends there,” he said. “Traveling does get a little more physically tiring. Ninety-nine percent of the time things are normal, but every once in a while something magical will happen, so you really never know.”

Nearly a decade later, and five decades of being a touring musician, the 68-year-old Massachusetts native is still road horsing down the highway to his next familiar stage. Staines is a southpaw, and plays an upside-down, right-handed acoustic guitar. His compositions have been covered by a plethora of folk artists, most notably Peter, Paul and Mary, Jerry Jeff Walker and Nanci Griffith.

“Bill Staines has been my hero since 1977,” Griffith has said. “He carries on where Woody left off—carrying on the tradition of stories and characters you wish you knew.”

Staines has ties to the early 1960s Boston-Cambridge folk scene, and the blend of story, song and humor are intertwined with traditional songs and contemporary ballads. His discography includes 26 albums and Staines continues to perform about 175 shows per year. You can probably expect to hear a yodeling tune or two, as he won the National Yodeling Championship in 1975 at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. He has also appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, The Good Evening show and other network TV programs.

“There are a lot of songs with choruses in them, so don’t be bashful about singing the choruses, just dive right in there and sing your little hearts out,” Staines tells the audience each time he performs.

Bill Staines, 8 p.m. Tuesday at Dornan’s in Moose. $15 tickets at Valley Bookstore, Dornan’s or at the door. Dornans.com, 733-2415.

SAVOY melts minds

A dubstep, synth-triggered, sub-bass sound spliced with an earthy indie-rock edge, electronic trio SAVOY comes to us from Boulder, Colo. DJs Ben Eberdt and Gray Smith along with endurance drummer Mike Kelly are one of the few EDM (electronic dance music) projects with live, on-the-spot instrumentation to match their digital side. With a heavy quantity of sampling and breaks, their music can be frenetic and downright dizzying — a perfect formula if you are a freaker-by-the-speaker type looking to have your head spun.

Aside from trance and other sub-electronica movements, the trio can easily dip into pop, funky French house, German minimalist techno and world music. The maddening eclecticism has brought SAVOY good fortune including an invitation to Jay-Z’s inaugural Made in America Festival last year. Back in April, Savoy supported Michal Menert Big Band at Red Rocks and this month the trio collaborated on the single “A1” with Firepower — a premiere force in the bass music scene.

Denver-based Decadon will open the show. The solo act features deejay Donnie Miller — a marketing student at University of Colorado Boulder who has made a name by fusing electronic beats with rock and heavy bass.

SAVOY with Decadon, 9 p.m., Friday at the Pink Garter Theatre. $15-$17. PinkGarterTheatre.com, 733-1500. PJH

Aaron Davis is an award-winning singer-songwriter, trout hunter, multi-instrumentalist, frontman for bands Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, and founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley.

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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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