MUSIC BOX: Summer Heats Up

By on July 5, 2016

Live music abounds in downtown Jackson, Main Street Victor, and the heart of the Village.

Blitzen Trapper, delivers rock and folk musicality Saturday at the Pink Garter. Detroit’s Frontier Ruckus opens.

Blitzen Trapper, delivers rock and folk musicality Saturday at the Pink Garter. Detroit’s Frontier Ruckus opens.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Blitzen Trapper has become one of my favorite acts to frequent the region over the past handful of years for their rock and folk-rock songwriting, tight and varied instrumental textures, and frontman Eric Earley’s exceptional command of vocal melody.

While the Portland, Oregon quintet gets criticized by a number of my musical peers for their down-to-earth stage presence, not all rock musicians jump off of speakers or have over-the-top stage personalities. Whether it’s playing the rehearsed notes, nailing a vocal part, or listening to one’s bandmates, perhaps the tradeoff is a focus towards the music and a better show, musically. This is a hard-working, dedicated-to-their-craft group that has been in the game since 2000. In the new song “Rock and Roll (Was Made for You),” Earley touches on the harshness of such a lifestyle, singing: “Yeah I been playin’ this music, man, for so, so long/It’s like track-marks burning up an’ down my arm/But I still can’t get myself to move out to the farm/’cause the things you love, they can do the most harm.”

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Earley is a fan of classic Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and The Who. What pours out of Blitzen Trapper these days combines their earlier era of experimental sounds with the classic vibe of the aforementioned rockers, yet they don’t really sound like anyone in particular. That’s what makes a great band an original band, and you can hear those qualities on their 2016 three-song EP Mystery and Wonder, or 2015’s All Across this Land.

I caught a set of the opening band, the Detroit-based folk-rock quartet Frontier Ruckus, at an Americana Music Festival showcase at Hard Rock Café Nashville in 2011. Catching up to their current sound on 2014’s Sitcom Afterlife, with gazes into modern pop-culture and strumming sing-a-alongs, the nasally voice of songster Matthew Milia is an acquired taste yet endearing with three-part, female-laced harmonies courtesy of bassist Anna Burch.

Blitzen Trapper with Frontier Ruckus, 9 p.m. Saturday at Pink Garter Theatre. $16-$18. PinkGarterTheatre.com, 733-1500.

The vibrant and mysterious Mardi Gras Indians arrive in the form of Cha Wa Thursday at Music on Main in Victor City Park. Wyatt Lowe and the Mayhem Kings open the show.

The vibrant and mysterious Mardi Gras Indians arrive in the form of Cha Wa Thursday at Music on Main in Victor City Park. Wyatt Lowe and the Mayhem Kings open the show.

Cha Wa’s Mardi Gras Indian funk

The street culture of New Orleans brass bands and Mardi Gras Indians will come alive in the form of Funk ‘n’ Feathers, the debut release by sextet Cha Wa—a slang phrase used by every Mardi Gras Indian Tribe meaning “we’re comin’ for ya.” The spunky festival vibe is infectious while hooting and hollering is not only encouraged, the call-and-response singing demands it. Second line and polyrhythmic drumming supports the horns with a Rebirth Brass Band feel, yet with an electric guitar filling a portion of the void typically filled by a massive horn section you’d actually see if they were home on the street.

Opening the show is Wyatt Lowe and the Mayhem Kings featuring 18-year-old outlaw rockabilly, country and rock guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Lowe. Lowe moved away from Jackson Hole last year to Colorado, and will soon be relocating to Nashville to pursue a music education, so this will be both a reunion and a send-off.

Cha Wa with Wyatt Lowe and the Mayhem Kings, 6 p.m. Thursday at Music on Main in Victor City Park. All-ages. Free, donations encouraged. TetonValleyFoundation.org.

Village gets live at 5

Tuesdays through Fridays in the Village Commons will feature a different guest each day, with Thursdays being reserved for music. The other days will include Teton Raptor Center (Wednesdays), Wild Things of Wyoming presenting an “ecosystem overview” (Fridays), and Second Nature wildlife group featuring reptiles (Tuesdays). The programs run about 45 minutes, and are free and all-ages.

The four-artist rotation will include cowjazz singer-songwriter LeeLee Roberts (July 7 and Aug. 18), Celtic group Slip ‘n the Jigs (July 14 and Aug. 11), folk and bluegrass with Mike Swanson and Kate Dreher (July 21 and Aug. 4), and jazz saxophonist Jason Fritts (July 28).

Alive at Five featuring LeeLee Roberts, 5 p.m. Thursday in the Village Commons. Free, all-ages. TetonVillageWy.org 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.

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WEDnesday

The Hof Polka Band (Alpenhof Bistro), Songwriter’s Alley Open Mic (Silver Dollar), Isaac Hayden (Mangy Moose)

THURsday

Cha-Wa with Wyatt Lowe & the Mayhem Kings (Victor City Park), LeeLee Roberts (Village Commons), Liver Down by the River (Town Square Tavern)

FRIday

Ian McFeron Band (Silver Dollar), One Leaf Clover (Town Square Tavern)

SATurday

Blitzen Trapper with Frontier Ruckus (Pink Garter Theatre), Ian McFeron Band (Silver Dollar)

SUNday

Stagecoach Band (Stagecoach)

Monday

The Minor Keys (Jackson Lake Lodge), JH Hootenanny (Dornan’s)

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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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