MUSIC BOX: Deep Chords

By on December 15, 2015

Folksinger’s lyrics delve into the human condition.

Brett Dennen brings his introspective folk sensibilities to the stage Wednesday at the Center for the Arts. (Photo: jh center for the  arts)

Brett Dennen brings his introspective folk sensibilities to the stage Wednesday at the Center for the Arts. (Photo: jh center for the arts)

Jackson Hole, WY – We need a little more Brett Dennen in our lives. The man exemplifies the concept of “life is art.” He is a deep-felt poet, artist and seeker in the truest sense. He lives to hike, ski, climb, think, write and create. He has even created his own wine — Charismatic Fool Rosé — and designed a label for the bottles. He inserts all of these passions into his live performances. The result is a convincing display of musical authenticity.

When Dennen takes the stage Wednesday at the Center for the Arts, there will be one man and one guitar. In this stripped-down, intimate setting, the audience will enjoy the subtle moments and soft melodies that are signature Brett Dennen. Dennen’s lyrics take us on a journey into ourselves and remind listeners that, in hard times we must not forget to love who we are and follow our hearts.

Dennen is a master of connecting to his audience, and his fans love him for it. Just view any number of his YouTube videos for evidence of his song craft, and how deeply he delves into the human condition with his words.

Even if you don’t think you know Brett Dennen you will probably recognize his song “Ain’t No Reason.” Early in his career this catchy single shot him straight to folk stardom. Shortly thereafter he was earning praise from Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly as an artist to watch. He played at the Newport Folk Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Fest and on the “David Letterman Show” and then his songs found their way to the television and movie spheres. His track “Ain’t Going To Lose You” was featured in “Gray’s Anatomy.” “She’s Mine” was in the movie “According to Gretta” and “Darlin’ Do Not Fear” was picked up for the primetime series “Parenthood.”

Rolling Stone described Dennen’s fifth and most recent album “Smoke and Mirrors” (2013) as “cheerful hook-heavy … shifting gracefully from lilting, breezy pop to heartfelt balladry.”

Dennen describes the album as a personal record with an easy vibe. He explained that moving back to the mountains and being inspired by nature was a way to reconnect to his childhood, giving him the strength to accomplish all that he has.  The single, “Wild Child” is a mantra for Dennen, reminding him not to live up to anyone’s plan but his own. In “Out of My Head” he sings, “Get out of my head and into my heart” as another guidepost for the soul.

Perhaps what will most align Dennen with an adventorous Jackson Hole audience is that he climbed Mount Everest with G. Love to raise money and awareness for the music-centric cancer charity, Love Hope Strength.

Jackson Hole music lovers may expand their own personal quests by plopping down in a seat at this show. PJH

Brett Dennen performs 7 p.m., Wednesday, December 16 at the Center for the Arts. $37-47 at the Center box office. 733-4900; jhcenterforthearts.org.

Justin Smith is a life-loving, guitar pickin’ dad and founding member of One Ton Pig and Bootleg Flyer.

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