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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Tedeschi, Trucks headline center lineup

By Jim Stanford on May 21, 2013

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(Title track from 2012 album)

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, the blues-belting, axe-grinding husband-and-wife duo, will make their long-awaited return to the Tetons next month to kick off summer at Center for the Arts.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band will perform on the solstice, June 21, at the downtown Jackson theater. Tickets go on sale May 29.

Also playing the center this summer are Paul Thorn on July 17, Kathy Mattea on July 24, the Hootenanny on Aug. 12, John Butler Trio on Aug. 13 and Shawn Mullins on Sept. 19.

Tedeschi Trucks Band has been in demand among readers of this site for years. The group (formerly called Soul Stew Revival) played Targhee Fest in 2008, and a possible return had been in the mix until the band decided to tour with the Black Crowes this summer. Tedeschi also sang at the center in 2009.

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free tickets to Ruthie Foster at arts center

By Jim Stanford on January 7, 2013

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Happy new year, everyone! Let’s start off 2013 right by giving away two floor tickets to blues artist Ruthie Foster on Thursday at Center for the Arts.

Foster, a Grammy-nominated songwriter and guitarist from Texas, got her start singing in her uncle’s choir at age 14. She studied music in college, fronted a blues band that played biker bars, and later served in the Navy.

For her 2009 album The Truth According to Ruthie Foster, she worked with a distinguished cast that included guitarist Robben Ford and keyboardist Jim Dickinson. She recorded her latest CD, Let It Burn, in New Orleans with George Porter Jr. and Russell Batiste of the Funky Meters, backed by the Blind Boys of Alabama. Amazon calls the album a “deeply intimate recording: a smoky mix of original songs coupled with inventive interpretations of an unexpected collection of covers,” ranging from Adele to Los Lobos, The Black Keys and Johnny Cash.

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John Mayer sits in at Cowboy Bar

By Jim Stanford on April 5, 2012

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While everyone was at Teton Village on Saturday, grooving to the hip-hop of G. Love, blues guitarist John Mayer apparently made a guest appearance at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.

According to bar staff, Mayer joined Nathan Dean and The Damn Band and traded a few licks. “It was incredible, and John was one of the nicest people we have met at the Cowboy Bar,” the bar posted on its Facebook page.

What Mayer was doing in Jackson Hole is unclear. He recently canceled his spring tour, including a gig at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, because of a recurring throat ailment. He does not sing in the clip above.

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Fat Tuesday at the White House

By Jim Stanford on February 22, 2012

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It’s good to be the president, especially when the house band on Mardi Gras features B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Mick Jagger, backed by Jeff Beck, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Trombone Shorty and Gary Clark Jr., among others. And, of course, the ever-smooth Barry O. on vocals.

The celebration of the blues was the latest in a series of concerts First Lady Michelle Obama has organized honoring American music.

From the Washington Post review:

‘This music speaks to something universal,’ the president said before introducing King. ‘No one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow. The blues gets all of that.’

PBS will broadcast the show Feb. 27. “Previous performances in the series have saluted the music of the civil rights era, Motown and Broadway, as well as jazz, country (twice), classical and Latin music,” the Post reported.

(Via Teton Dems)

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