MUSIC BOX: Fiery Jams

By on November 10, 2015

Bluegrass, country and rock come to Garter and Fireman’s Ball this weekend.

Greensky Bluegrass (left) heats up the Pink Garter Friday evening. Remember to pace yourself though, because the Fireman’s Ball, featuring Anders Osborn and more, happens the following night, Saturday, at the Heritage Arena.

Greensky Bluegrass (left) heats up the Pink Garter Friday evening. Remember to pace yourself though, because the Fireman’s Ball, featuring Anders Osborn and more, happens the following night, Saturday, at the Heritage Arena.

Jackson, WY – It’s rare to see a busy week of music in the off-season, but for those of us left in town we have two great shows to look forward to this weekend. Consider these concerts your opportunity to warm up and shake a leg before the snow piles up and the lifts start spinning.

Greensky Bluegrass is no stranger to the Jackson music scene with a handful of shows sprinkled throughout the years including some notable performances at Targhee Bluegrass. This time around fans will be able to catch them at the Pink Garter Theatre on Friday night.

While Greensky has some great studio albums like 2014 release “If Sorrow Swims,” their following has grown through their high-energy live shows. Starting with a win at the 2006 Telluride Band Competition the band is still on the road 10 years later. Much like other bands in the jam-grass genre, improvisation is a staple of the experience and great song writing is the launching pad. Greensky is also not afraid to throw in a couple of covers to keep the listener on his or her own toes. If you’re a first-timer or a casual fan it can always be nice to hear something familiar like Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece.”

At the end of the day, what separates a Greensky show from a rock show is the band’s instrumentation. So if you like your bluegrass loud, experimental, and tinged with thoughtful songwriting,  the Pink Garter is be the place to be Friday night.

Greensky Bluegrass, doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m., Friday, Pink Garter Theatre, $20 to 22, 21 and older.

Saturday night features the 75th annual Fireman’s Ball at the Heritage Arena. For a relatively young town like Jackson, it’s great to see such a longstanding tradition flourish and not lose its appeal. After all, every town needs firefighters and as they have said before, if you come to their party, they’ll come to your fire.

Last year, the Marshall Tucker Band took the headline slot but this year the Firefighters Association outdoes itself with a triple bill of Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band, The Sam Bush Band and the North Mississippi Osborne, or the North Mississippi Allstars featuring Anders Osborne. You could describe the lineup as being a bit disjointed but really the roster provides the most entertainment to the greatest amount of people. Country lovers will get their twangy fix with Chancey Williams, Sam Bush will keep the new-grass fans dancing, and the North Mississippi group will get the blues rockers banging. If you’re in town this weekend, it’s strongly recommended that you find yourself under the Heritage Arena on Saturday.

Greensky Bluegrass (left) heats up the Pink Garter Friday evening. Remember to pace yourself though, because the Fireman’s Ball, featuring Anders Osborn and more, happens the following night, Saturday, at the Heritage Arena.

Remember to pace yourself though, because the Fireman’s Ball, featuring Anders Osborn and more, happens the following night, Saturday, at the Heritage Arena.

Wyoming native Chancey Williams and his band will kick things off with a well-polished country sound. The group has tight three part harmonies and all the energy you would expect for a band that is right at home on the main stage at Cheyenne’s raucous Frontier Days. In fact, Williams is the only other performer besides the legendary Chris Ledoux to have ridden in the rodeo and performed on the main stage.

There isn’t really much more that can be written about Grammy-award winner Sam Bush. He has reached legendary status in the bluegrass, new-grass, and acoustic music scenes and at 64, he plays and writes as though he’s a budding musician. Bush has played with a Rolodex of legendary players, from Del McCoury to Alison Kraus to Edgar Meyer and back again. Bush’s mandolin and fiddle playing is as distinctive as it gets in the scene. Add to this a knack for writing hit songs and an exemplary band of musicians and you have a headlining act.

However, the headlining duties are left to North Mississippi Osborne. A collaboration between contemporary delta blues brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars and the soulful, guitar shredding Osborne. Their recent release, “NMO,” is a combination of slinky soul ballads that showcase tight harmonies and expert guitar work.

There will be silent and live auctions, a raffle, and plenty of food and alcohol for purchase, to hlep firefighters extinguish flames around the valley.

Fireman’s Ball, 6 p.m., Saturday, Teton County Fairgrounds’ Heritage Arena, $40, 21 and older. 

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