MUSIC BOX: Charisma and Chemistry to a Higher Power

By on January 25, 2017

Nth Power returns with Fire and Winship and West perform two nights at Dornan’s.

Jackson Hole, WY – NOLA soul-funk band Nth Power oozes charisma. Super tight grooving with moody, powerful pockets of hypnotic fusion, this is some seriously heavy dance music spanning R&B, rock, gospel and world beat. What cannot be explained without seeing them live is offset by peeking at the personnel—drummer Nikki Glaspie (Dumpstaphunk, Beyonce), compounded by ultra melodic bassist/vocalist Nate Edgar (John Brown’s Body), guitarist Nick Cassarino (Jennifer Hartswick Band, Big Daddy Kane), West African djembe master Weedie Braimah (Toubab Krewe, Kreative Pandemonium), and keyboardist/vocalist Courtney “Jay-Mel” Smith.

“It’s my dream team,” Glaspie said.

The all-star band—which performed a Steely Dan tribute set at Jackson’s Contour Festival in 2015—curated a tribute show to Earth, Wind & Fire last month with proceeds benefiting a nonprofit. That could be a sneak peek into what new offerings they’ll dig into.

“Serving the song up and writing a song up in a way that we can touch as many people as possible is really where we are coming from,” Edgar told PJH during the band’s last visit to the valley. “It really has to do with trying to communicate the human experience. And those fans that support live music are important to the preservation of live bands. I grew up on sampled music. I’m an old hip-hop head, love that early EDM and early dub and all that whanka whanka stuff. I’m a fan [of that music] for sure, but the community that loves humans playing the music is really important.”

Nth Power, 10 p.m. Tuesday, January 31 at Town Square Tavern. $5. 307-733-3886.

Winship and West pick it up

Local mandolin hero and fishing music purveyor Ben Winship has really picked up steam in the last year.

He taught mandolin at a workshop in British Columbia in August, was on the road with Growling Old Men through the Northwest in October, his trio Brother Mule toured Germany back in November, after which he accompanied London-based artist Ben Somers for a week in England, Wales and Scotland. Now he’s gearing up for a Northern Rockies run with flatpicker Eli West. 

As for West, his longtime duo collaboration with Cahalen Morrison is on hiatus after recently closing the chapter with a tour down under in Australia. A Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist that divulges angular note phrasing and non-traditional improvisation, West released three records with Morrison. Also playing guitar, banjo and bouzouki with Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project and John Reischman and the Pine Siskens, West had a stint with multi-Grammy nominee Sarah Jarosz’s band last year.

The West-Winship assembly makes a lot of sense. They’re like-minded, progressive pickers that push the boundaries of bluegrass, old-time and obscure folk gems. Contrasting simplicity with complexity is the entertainment, both for these hot pickers and the audience. Getcha some.

Ben Winship & Eli West, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, January 27 and 28 at Dornan’s in Moose. $15 at Dornan’s, Valley Bookstore, and The Liquor Store. 307-733-2415. — Aaron Davis

Screen Door Porch Celebrates Civil Liberty

Early proceeds from the band’s first EP to benefit ACLU of Wyoming.

After making three full-length albums at professional studios, the Jackson-based Americana band Screen Door Porch was looking to mix things up for its new release.

“Right after recording our third album, we thought, hey, for the next thing that we do, we want to do it more rustic, more down home where we started,” said Seadar Rose, the singer-songwriter in Screen Door Porch. Rose’s bandmate/husband is PJH columnist Aaron Davis.

Instead of waiting for inspiration to deliver the 10 or more songs typically required for an album, the band decided to focus heavily on five existing songs for an EP. Rather than booking studio time, they began recording last September where they were most comfortable: at their practice space in drummer Andy Peterson’s log cabin south of Jackson.

Not wanting “rustic” to mean “unprofessional,” Screen Door Porch upgraded their recording equipment with the help of a Wyoming Arts Council grant and enlisted the local production talents of Dusty Nichols from the indie folk band, Canyon Kids.

Recording the Pay It Forward EP at the log cabin captured sounds that could not be replicated in a proper studio, including an old guitar amp picking up the signals of Rush Limbaugh and another radio show at the end of the EP’s opening track, “The Parade.”

“It was one of those moments where you’re like, this only happens here—at this place,” Rose said.

Happy accidents aside, Pay It Forward creates a casual sense of space, as if the listener is plopped down on a vintage chair in the band’s cabin, a glass of bourbon in hand. The five songs roll smoothly from heartland rock to slide-guitar blues to honky-tonk.

Anchored by Peterson’s lively drumming and the fluid bass lines of band newcomer David Bundy, the guest appearances from Mark Longfield on keys, Rachel Gray Bundy on trumpet and Matt Herron on fiddle all find a natural place in the mixes.

Fans can name their own price to buy an early digital download of the Pay It Forward EP at screendoorporch.bandcamp.com before its official release on Friday. Those proceeds will go to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wyoming.

“Now more than ever, [the ACLU] is really important,” Rose said. “We all really support the missions that they are going after, including LGBT rights, reproductive freedom and Standing Rock.”

Screen Door Porch Pay It Forward EP release shows, 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday, January 27 and 28 at the Trap Bar at Grand Targhee Resort. On Sunday, January 29, SDP plays 7 p.m. at the Silver Dollar Showroom and the following week at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 4 at the Knotty Pine in Victor.

— Patrick Chadwick

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