MUSIC BOX: Rasta Vibes, Rap, and a Sweet Parting

By on March 29, 2016

Progressive reggae-rock with Spiritual Rez, classic hip-hop at Knotty Pine, and a wrap at JHMR.

 Spirtual Rez (right), cooks up reggae, dub and progressive rock Thursday at Town Square Tavern. Lyrics Born brings hip-hop back to the Knotty on Saturday.

Spirtual Rez (right), cooks up reggae, dub and progressive rock Thursday at Town Square Tavern. Lyrics Born brings hip-hop back to the Knotty on Saturday.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Two powerful forces stand out when it comes to Boston-based sextet Spiritual Rez—the formidable, confident vocals of frontman/guitarist Toft Willingham, and a deep subsonic groove that originates with bassist Jesse Shaternick and drummer Ian “Meat” Miller.

Rooted in reggae, rock, funk and ska, Spiritual Rez has been working hard to build a following over the last nine years through a dose of old-school Marley-Tosh-Toots infused with a double dose of Sun Ra Arkestra freak jazz, and Steve Vai guitar pyrotechnics. They harvest a fresh vibe that even Mr. Bernie Worrell of Funkadelic/Talking Heads has been known to drop-in on. It’s no wonder they’ve become a festival favorite on the East Coast. The sounds flowing from the band’s fourth independent LP, Apocalypse Whenever, is a conceptual advancement and an obvious product of years on the road collecting influences.

“When we first started, we were really trying to be like Bob Marley’s band … with a very big ensemble,” Shaternick told Glide Magazine, referencing the band’s former percussionist and female backup vocalists. “We were really trying to have a roots reggae … very purist.”

Apocalypse Whenever, co-produced by Shaternick and Willingham, is a turn towards the contemporary. Aimed at anthems with catchy choruses, the set extends well beyond reggae into progressive rock and island dub. It also doesn’t hurt to have an album mastered by Howie Weinberg (Nirvana’s Nevermind, and The Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill).

“We wanted to create an album that flows as one piece of art sonically and conceptually,” added Willingham. “It’s an album for the times. We want to encourage people not to fear the future but to embrace it.”

Spiritual Rez, 10 p.m. Thursday at Town Square Tavern. $5. 733-3886.

Timeless beats

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Believe it. In two weeks, Lyrics Born is dropping a greatest hits album, Now Look What You’ve Done, celebrating 23 years of dropping influential beats and raps. And he raised more than $21,000 via Kickstarter to do it. This comes on the heels of his final Variety Show set that flows more like a mixtape or well-produced radio show than a fully fleshed-out studio release. It’s aptly titled “Season 7: The Series Finale.”

Local fans of the Bay Area artist have been fortunate to see Lyrics Born consistently through the latter half of his career, including with Latryx, his longtime collaboration with Lateef the Truth Speaker. It’s a testament that classic rap is alive and well, even in eastern Idaho.

Lyrics Born, 10 p.m. Saturday at the Knotty Pine in Victor. $15. 208-787-2866.

Trio of bands for JHMR closing weekend

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The Tram Jam will help you bid adieu to a fruitful season this weekend at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

It’s back to a local’s weekend in the Village, both musically and otherwise. Three bands will be there for you to say farewell to the season. Rock out under the tram with classic rockers Lazy Eyes (après Saturday); get your alt-country fix with Major Zephyr (après Sunday); and take in the final session of reggae-rock band Tram Jam next to the Gondola (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday). Au revoir to Jackson Hole lift service for the season, though Grand Targhee is open through April 17. PJH

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.

160330Music_PlanetPicks

WEDnesday: Songwriter’s Alley featuring Jason Tyler, Burton (Silver Dollar)

THURsday: Spiritual Rez (Town Square Tavern)

FRIday: Boondocks (Silver Dollar)

SATurday: Lazy Eyes (après; Under the Tram), Lyrics Born (Knotty Pine), Boondocks (Silver Dollar)

SUNday: Major Zephyr (après; Under the Tram), Stagecoach Band (Stagecoach Bar)

TUESday: One Ton Pig (Silver Dollar)

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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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