MUSIC BOX: Drifters, Troubadours and Female Force

By on July 5, 2017

Music on Main hosts Driftwood with Troubadour 77, Knock On carves a niche.

Driftwood

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Raucous spirit is the opposite of what you’d expect from a band named Driftwood. Though that’s exactly what the upstate New York quartet brings to the stage. Three of the four members have been playing together for about a decade—banjo player/vocalist Joe Kollar, guitarist/vocalist Dan Forsyth and fiddler/vocalist Claire Byrne—along with upright bass player Joey Arcuri joining more recently. This longstanding chemistry is evident, especially when you hear the three-lead-vocalist/three-songwriter attack on any one of the stringband’s five releases.

A solid introduction is 2014’s Live at Grassroots, a set that showcases their ability to charm an audience with folk-pop songs over bluegrass instrumentation and, occasionally, a rock flare sans anything electric. As for the band’s latest, last year’s City Lights, the immediacy lies within the pop sensibilities and chorus hooks with a fair amount of quirky lyrics: “Life’s a bitch and then your dead/that’s what my father’s father said.” The maturity is there, and the band is seemingly in a solid mid-career groove.

“Getting older is really fun, like I look back now, and I was like, ‘Wow, I was so dumb when I was in my 20s, I made the stupidest mistakes,’” Byrne told The Declaration. “I had a lot of fun doing it, you know, gone are the days of going out and drinking a few nights in a row and staying up until five in the morning, and going out and playing shows directly after that. I just don’t really have the desire to do it anymore, and I just feel like crap if I do that. You know, I’m not at that phase where it’s like, ‘Oh, gray hairs, my body hurts,’ it’s just, it’s been kind of fun to mature through this process, and I think everybody feels that way. And basically, I feel like the more time passes that you’re doing whatever you’re doing, whatever path you decide to go down, but in this case music, you kind of like, you hone your craft, and really figure out the little nuances of the art of the whole thing.”

Show openers Troubadour 77 are listed as being out of Nashville, though the husband-and-wife project appears to be based out of Huntsville and Salt Lake City, Utah. Monty Powell and Anna Wilson spent 25 years in Music City crafting hit songs for country stars like Keith Urban and Reba McEntire until the industry slowly eroded. Troubadour 77 is the couple’s new path—a modern spin on the 1970s Laurel Canyon, California, sound. The band’s namesake is homage to the famous L.A. club that hosted such acts that defined the sound such as James Taylor and The Eagles.

“What if we actually tried to be a new band making new music that sounds like it could live alongside those playlists and songs and artists? We felt that the kind of people that are pursuing those kinds of songs and those kinds of artists for nostalgia’s sake would welcome the fact that there’s a new band out there making new music,” Wilson recently told Salt Lake Tribune. “Our mission is to be in that niche. We just kinda thought we needed to step out and regroup and rediscover what it is we love about music and what it is that is important to us.”

Driftwood with Troubadour 77 at Music on Main, 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday at Victor City Park. Free, all-ages. TetonValleyFoundation.org.

Knock On

Knock On

All-female bands are uncommon. Local all-female bands are a sure anomaly. But we’re talking a local all-female band in which each member is a contributing songwriter and vocalist: Knock On. Let’s take that a step further. Not every member of Knock On is playing her first instrument, and there is a rotating of instruments.

This group of experienced musicians and driven individuals has been in multiple projects over the years, joining forces about a year and a half ago—Willow Star Delia (drums/vocals), Susan Jones (keys/guitar/vocals), Molly Moon Thorn (bass/guitar/vocals), and Jessie Lestitian (banjo/vocals). With a festival show in the horizon and a handful of local summer gigs, the bar is about to be raised.

“Because it’s a focus on original material and we’re trading instruments and learning some as we go, it’s a slower process to reach the collective vision,” said Willow Star. “We’re ready to take it to the next level.”

Knock On, 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday at the Silver Dollar Showroom. Free. 732-3939. 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.


WEDnesday

Greg Creamer & Ted Wells

(Warbirds Café);

Brian Ernst

(People’s Market)

THURsday

Driftwood with Troubadour 77

(Victor City Park);

Honey of the Heart

(Knotty Pine)

FRIday

Head to Head and Metsa (Pink Garter); Amoramora (Town Square Tavern);

The American Hitmen (Silver Dollar)

SATurday

Calamity Jones (Silver Dollar);

Erin & the Project (Mangy Moose)

SUNday

Knock On (Silver Dollar);

Open Mic (Pinky G’s)

Monday

The Minor Keys

(Jackson Lake Lodge);

JH Hootenanny

(Dornan’s)

TUESday

Stackhouse

(Mangy Moose);

Canyon Kids

(Hatch)

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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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