MUSIC BOX: Rhythm of the River Rats

By on May 31, 2016

Annual Guides ‘n’ Gapers Party features fluid tunes from John Wayne’s World and Canyon Kids.

Canyon Kids, play for the river, the guides and the gapers  Saturday during a fundraiser at The Bird.

Canyon Kids, play for the river, the guides and the gapers  Saturday during a fundraiser at The Bird.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – For the past four years, the Guides ‘n’ Gapers Party at The Bird has served as a pied piper of sorts for river rats. The summer kickoff shindig attracts the whitewater guiding community for a day and night of revelry that raises money for the Snake River Fund. Just like the encouraged guide and gaper costumes, the bands playing this year’s event will look familiar, and for good reason: Both John Wayne’s World and Canyon Kids have origins on the Snake.

“[Guides ‘n’ Gapers] basically started because we had a new band and needed a gig,” said John Wayne Harris, Jr., the event organizer, bandleader of John Wayne’s World and drummer in Canyon Kids. “Then I thought, well let’s make it a party, and if we’re making it a party, let’s make it go toward a nonprofit that benefits all of us who make a living on the river.”

Harris and John Wayne’s World/Canyon Kids bassist Adam Woolley spend their summer days guiding gapers—err, tourists—through the whitewater for Mad River Boat Trips. The rafting-guide rhythm section began playing in different projects with singer-guitarists Bo Elledge and Dusty Nichols of Canyon Kids while they were snapping rafting shots for Snake River Photo during their first summers in Jackson.

“Dusty and I got to hang in this beautiful spot with hammocks and guitars as surfers, kayakers and whitewater people were passing through,” Elledge said. “Meanwhile, John Wayne and Woolley would come through on trips with tourists, and they’d be like, ‘hey, we’re playing at the Tavern tonight,’ and the entire boat would show up.”

While the Canyon Kids lineup can grow to as many as six members, it will be in acoustic mode on The Bird’s deck as Guides ‘n’ Gapers attendees enjoy beer from sponsors, BBQ, lawn games and a raffle. The band’s backing vocalist and intermittent bassist Sheena Dhamsania, who is also the vocalist for John Wayne’s World, will join Elledge and Nichols on their dynamic, harmony-centric songs.

After sundown, the party will move inside as John Wayne’s World plugs in with its dance-friendly blend of jazz and funk. Dhamsania’s singing has brought a soulful, melodic element to the band’s spectrum of sounds, while guitarist Michael Evans and keyboardist Mark Longfield have proven more than capable of coloring within the tight grooves set in motion by Harris.

As its Facebook event suggests, the fifth annual Guides ‘n’ Gapers Party will likely ignite many short-term relationships for the “90-day wonders” working on the river this summer. Fortunately for everyone else, the celebration will have a lasting impact by helping to protect the Snake River watershed.

Guides ’n’ Gapers Party featuring John Wayne’s World and Canyon Kids, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday at The Bird. $5 at the door. Free shuttle to and from. 732-2473.

Oh!Nassi Spins at The Tav

In town Saturday eve, DJ Oh!Nassi throws down at Town Square Tavern.

In town Saturday eve, DJ Oh!Nassi throws down at Town Square Tavern.

If the foot traffic surrounding the antler arches is any indication, there will be a built-in crowd when local DJ and producer Oh!Nassi spins at the Town Square Tavern this Saturday night. Known as Teton Thai bartender Ford Hebard by day, Oh!Nassi recently released his “Moist Summer” mix of electronic music on SoundCloud, marking the fifth installment of his Teton Club Music mix tape series.

“I thought the name [Teton Club Music] would be a funny juxtaposition since we don’t have any kind of club scene here,” Hebard explained. “It’s a way to share music that I’m currently interested in, and put it on the map that there’s people [in Jackson Hole] who are interested in a different type of music.”

While his ideal set involves DJing at camping parties with Jackson Hole’s small but tight-knit EDM community, Hebard notes that he has experienced fruitful bar sets when out-of-towners have stumbled upon his psychedelic hip-hop tracks.

“I’ve had people from L.A. come up to me during a set and be like, ‘Oh wow, normally we only hear this kind of music in L.A. clubs; it’s funny that you’re from Wyoming.’”

Oh!Nassi, 10 p.m. Saturday at the Town Square Tavern. Free. 733-3886.

WYOmericana Returns to Jackson

The WYOmericana Caravan plays on home turf  Wednesday at the Tavern. Three bands round out this year’s tour—Screen Door Porch (pictured), Sneaky Pete and The Secret Weapons and The Littlest Birds.

The WYOmericana Caravan plays on home turf  Wednesday at the Tavern. Three bands round out this year’s tour—Screen Door Porch (pictured), Sneaky Pete and The Secret Weapons and The Littlest Birds.

As noted in the May 11 Music Box, this year’s five-state WYOmericana Caravan tour has been infused with funk courtesy of Jackson’s Sneaky Pete and The Secret Weapons. Mix in local WYOmericana mainstay Screen Door Porch and the banjo-based folk songs of Laramie’s The Littlest Birds, and you’ve got an eccentric bill of original Wyoming bands that is sure to please this Wednesday night at the Tavern.

Fourth Annual WYOmericana Caravan with Screen Door Porch, Sneaky Pete and The Secret Weapons, and The Littlest Birds, 9 p.m., Wednesday at the Town Square Tavern. $10. 733-3886. PJH

A lover of sad songs in our happy valley, Patrick Chadwick is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and a content writer for local businesses.

160601Music_PlanetPicks

160601Music_PlanetPicks-2WEDnesday

WYOmericana Caravan featuring Screen Door Porch, Sneaky Pete and The Secret Weapons, and The Little Birds (Town Square Tavern); Songwriter’s Alley Open Mic (Silver Dollar); Vinyl Night (The Rose)

THURsday

BOGDOG (Town Square Tavern); Major Zephyr (Silver Dollar); Salsa Night (The Rose)

FRIday

The WyKnotts (Town Square Tavern); Bootleg Flyer (Silver Dollar)

SATurday

Guides ‘n’ Gapers Party featuring John Wayne’s World and Canyon Kinds; DJ Oh!Nassi (Town Square Tavern); Quenby & the West of Wayland Band (Virginian); Bootleg Flyer (Silver Dollar)

SUNday

Stagecoach Band (Stagecoach)

MONday

The Jackson Hole Hootenanny (Dornan’s)

TUESday

Bluegrass Tuesday featuring One Ton Pig (Silver Dollar)

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