MUSIC BOX: A Taste of The Werks
Jam-bands The Werks & Cure for the Common at the Knotty, Dragondeer soul at the Tavern and The Last Revel at the Trap.
JACKSON HOLE, WY – There’s quite a buzz in the jam world around The Werks. The post jam-band scene has circled back in full form to jam-band era 2.0 here in 2017, and The Werks are emerging as a major player. Instensely and technically exploratory with a bag full of frenzied, crescendoing guitar lines, the very Phish-y quartet has seemingly got the goods.
“It’s a mixture of classic rock, straight up rock ‘n’ roll, blues, the dance sensibility of funk and electronic music and everything in between,” drummer/vocalist Rob Chafin told Bullet online zine. “The overarching dance music can be anything, mixed in with a lot of jamming. We try to bring all of that together. Some people compare us to Phish, some people compare us to STS9. It’s funny how we touch a variety of the jam scene. We’re very blessed to be in the situation we’re in.”
The Werks formed in 2005 in Dayton, Ohio, while its members were attending a local music contest, and the current four-piece has been intact since 2015. The newest members are Jake Goldberg (bass) and Dan Shaw (keys/vocals). Having member changes didn’t hold them up one bit. In fact, it propelled the band’s dynamics in a big way.
“Songs that we’ve been playing for a bit, with someone new, there’s a fresh perspective,” Shaw said. “It’s been pushing us to revisit and reinvent playing songs we’ve been playing for a while. It’s always new and exciting to redefine your roles and your position. Jake just being a different position, and different player in general, is forcing us in different directions, which are fun, exploratory and experimental.”
This past year’s The Werk Out Music and Arts Festival—its seventh iteration and inhabiting Ohio’s natural amphitheatre and campground property Legend Valley—featured STS9, Lettuce, Twiddle and Motet, among others. The fest says a lot about the industry respect they’ve earned from their technical skill, dreamlike mystery improvisations, and flat out shredding. You’ve ordered the works, and you’ll get The Werks.
Opening the show is Montana’s electro thunder funk unit, Cure for the Common, which has adopted Teton County as its second gig home. The five-piece offered an ambitious “lost legends” set in Teton Village this past New Year’s Eve to a sold-out crowd.
The Werks with Cure for the Common, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 23 at the Knotty Pine in Victor, $10 advance, $12 day of show. 208-787-2866, KnottyPineSupperClub.com.
This Deer spits flames
There’s something about the reverb-drenched psych-folk and swampy blues that emits from Denver’s Dragondeer that lulls the listener into a cosmic wonderland. Imagine an offspring blend of Dan Auerbach and Jack White down in the Mississippi Delta, collaborating while on acid and booze. The key to the blues highway is a soulful voice, and Eric Halborg has the throaty chops. Once you consider the mix of electric mandolin and lap steel, this group has a lot of originality worth perusing. Just check out the quartet’s “Jam in the Van” video from Telluride Blues & Brews to get the blood flowing. Dragondeer, 10 p.m. Thursday, March 23 at Town Square Tavern, $5. 733-3886.
String trios are fairly uncommon in the Americana world. It’s not a power trio like Jimi Hendrix Experience, not akin to an organ trio like Medeski Martin & Wood. Though being multi-instrumentalists that can cover a lot of dynamic ground a la larger ensembles could be a genre of its own. Bringing acoustic guitar, upright bass, fiddle, and banjo while also multi-tasking harmonica, kick-drum and three-part vocal harmonies, this Minneapolis trio is capable of delicately textured performances that have been labeled as “bombastic.” It’s a storied mix of folk, rockabilly, old-time, and rock that will be complementary to your tired Targhee ski legs.
The Last Revel, 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 26 in The Trap Bar at Grand Targhee Resort, free. GrandTarghee.com. PJH
Aaron Davis is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, audio engineer at Three Hearted Studio, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.
Tauk with Yak Attack (Town Square Tavern), The Texas KGB (Million Dollar Cowboy)
The Werks with Cure for the Common (Knotty Pine), Dragondeer (Town Square Tavern)
Batdorf & Brother Wolf (Town Square Tavern), Boondocks (Silver Dollar)
Switchback (Town Square Tavern), One Ton Pig (Under the Tram), Clusterpluck (Trap Bar)
DJ Cut La Whut (Casper Restaurant), The Last Revel (Trap Bar), Canyon Kids (Silver Dollar)
JH Hootenanny (Dornan’s)
Jackson 6 (Silver Dollar), BOGDOG (Town Square Tavern)