Denson, Galactic, Franti returning

By Jim Stanford on January 3, 2014

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Michael Franti and Spearhead are coming back around the way, playing the free Jackson Hole Mountain Festival concert on March 29.

Happy new year!

Musically, 2014 is off to a great start, with the likes of Del McCoury and MarchFourth Marching Band ushering in the year on a festive note.

And the schedule for the winter has been filling out, giving fans much to look forward to — including return visits from local favorites.

The Knotty Pine recently announced a couple of big shows, including Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe on Feb. 20 and, in what has become an annual tradition, Galactic on March 11. Tickets are $25 and $40, respectively, available online.

Leftover Salmon will play shows on both sides of the Tetons during a Western ski tour: the Pink Garter on March 13 and Knotty on March 14.

The Garter also has reggae legends Black Uhuru on Valentine’s Day, Pimps of Joytime on Feb. 25 and crooner Martin Sexton on March 20. Tickets are $26, $17 and $25 in advance at the theater and Pinky G’s.

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having a ball

By Jim Stanford on September 27, 2013

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TreeFight hosts the inaugural TreeBall.

Snow this week — 8 inches or more in the Tetons — has induced a bit of hibernation around Jackson Hole. (Lord knows this site has been in slumber!) Many residents have been content to curl up with a book beside the fire, but not these dudes, who already made some turns on Teton Pass.

Nothing shakes off the autumn doldrums like a good party, and this weekend features back-to-back soirees. Tonight at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, David Gonzales throws his inaugural TreeBall, a benefit for efforts to save whitebark pines, followed Saturday by the Jackson Hole Ski Club’s Ski Ball.

A slew of artists have donated works for the TreeFight event. Ballgoers are invited to come in snazzy attire and swing to the sounds of the Jackson Hole Jazz Foundation Big Band, conducted by Tony Saladino. The museum’s Rising Sage Cafe will serve appetizers. Tickets are $50, available here.

TreeBall comes on the day of more dire news about climate change. The loss of whitebark pines spells grave consequences for the Yellowstone ecosystem.

On Saturday, the ski club throws its annual bash atop the gondola at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, where the slopes already are looking wintry. As of this writing, the Ski Ball is nearly sold out. But the club is holding a raffle for a deluxe trip to a Mexican beach resort, a prospect that sounds pretty good right now. Raffle entrants need not attend the ball; tickets are available here.

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singer Blunt films video around Tetons

By Jim Stanford on August 28, 2013

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On the heels of John Mayer, Band of Horses and this French guy comes the latest artist to film a music video in Jackson Hole.

James Blunt, the English singer and guitarist, shot the video for “Bonfire Heart,” the single from his forthcoming album, while riding his motorcycle through the valleys on both sides of the Tetons earlier this month. A host of locals, including a sheriff’s deputy, make cameos, and the video culminates with a celebration at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson.

The 39-year-old crooner originally sought to film at the Cowboy Bar and approached the town about closing North Cache for several hours on a Saturday evening, but that idea was greeted coolly. Fortunately, he settled on the ‘Coach.

Blunt’s new album, Moon Landing, is due out in the U.S. in early November.

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mixed showing for Aussie musicians

By Jim Stanford on August 19, 2013

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John Butler wails while performing with his trio last week at Center for the Arts.

At first glance, one of the bands playing in Jackson last week appeared to have been miscast for the venue. It turned out to be not the one people expected.

Australian guitarist John Butler and his trio performed at Center for the Arts on Aug. 13, a night before his fellow countryman, Xavier Rudd, played the Pink Garter. The roots-rock trio can be loud and rollicking, prompting fans to wonder whether Butler, too, would have been better served at the Garter.

Instead, the 450 or so who filled the theater were treated to a show that was intimate, mesmerizing and, at times, even rowdy.

Butler came out on banjo and alternated between six-string, 12-string and lap steel guitars. From the opening notes, he dropped jaws with his picking, using a variety of pedals, looping and other effects to create a much larger sound.

He explained that his mother spent her 20s in Jackson Hole, and he always wanted to visit. The band and crew arrived a few days early, with “one mob” riding motorcycles to Yellowstone and another mob “hiking around some lake.”

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the last notes of summer

By Jim Stanford on August 13, 2013

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A rainbow appears over the Targhee Bluegrass Festival on Saturday.

Donna The Buffalo had a better view than the crowd.

“Everybody scream!” guitarist Jeb Puryear urged fans spread out on the hillside, who willingly obliged. “Now turn around and look at the rainbow.”

The passing squall came during the band’s centerpiece jam, “Hot Tamale Baby,” on Saturday at the 26th annual Targhee Bluegrass Festival. The audience went wild in front of the stage, hooting and dancing in the rain as nature and the musicians put on a show.

The rainbow was yet another in a summer of magical moments at Grand Targhee. The Bluegrass Fest capped perhaps the best season of music yet at the Alta, Wyo., resort, which hosted three festivals spanning everything from the heavy rock of Widespread Panic to last weekend’s acoustic picking and fiddling.

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