festival time

By Jim Stanford on July 13, 2012

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The Dirty Dozen, led by baritone saxophonist Roger Lewis, left, and trumpeter Greg Davis, right, wail at the Town Square Tavern.

Downtown Jackson felt like an episode of Treme last night, with Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli playing the Pink Garter and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band rocking the Town Square Tavern just up the street. There was even a “Davis Can Save Us” city council candidate running around shaking hands.

The twofer of New Orleans funk was part of a musical frenzy that erupted on both sides of the Tetons, as over in Idaho, Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears played Music on Main, followed by Boombox at the Knotty Pine.

All of this was setting the table for the weekend’s main event, the eighth annual Targhee Fest, featuring Trigger Hippy (Jackie Greene and Joan Osborne) and Toots and the Maytals today and Black Joe, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Railroad Earth and Drive-By Truckers on Saturday. Lucinda Williams and J.J. Grey and Mofro close the festival on Sunday. Click here for a schedule.

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Louisiana flavor comes north

By Jim Stanford on June 22, 2012

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An authentic taste of New Orleans.

Hey, now. In New Orleans, even a queen dressed in red must be able to suck a crawfish head, as Art Neville sometimes sings. Jackson’s summer hatch will get its chance Saturday, when 307 Live presents its seventh annual Crawfish Boil.

Organizers Harper Hollis, Billy Cormier, Trey Davis and friends have ordered 1,000 pounds of the freshwater crustacean for the occasion. The crawfish will be seasoned, boiled and served with red beans and rice, boudin and more.

Stooges Brass Band will close out the festivities, capping a day of eating and music under the sun. The party starts at 1 p.m. on the Cutty’s lawn and runs till dark or thereabouts; Stooges is slated to take the stage at 7.

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grow up to be a rock star

By Jim Stanford on June 12, 2012

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Leo Nocentelli at Jazz Fest.

At a recent New Orleans Musicians for Obama benefit, I was leaning against the bar, uploading a photo from my phone, when I heard someone sidle up next to me and order a coke. I turned to see one of the performers, Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli.

“Hey, Leo,” I said. “I’m from Wyoming. I hear you’re coming our way this summer for a music camp.”

“Jackson Hole,” he said in the most cool-cat voice imaginable. “Check it out.”

The funk master behind such classics as “Cissy Strut” is indeed part of the staff for the Jackson Hole Rock Camp on July 9-13. Also lending their talents are DJ Logic and hip-hop artist Brother Ali, among other distinguished players.

The camp is for kids 12 and older, and instruction will cover a variety of instruments. Given the teachers, don’t be surprised if some “big kids” hang around the classroom, too. Scholarships ($650) are available.

In 2008, Nocentelli played one of the most impressive gigs ever held at Center for the Arts, a show that unfortunately too few got to see.

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‘Django’ in front of Tetons

By Jim Stanford on June 7, 2012

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Here’s the new trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s latest shoot-’em-up, Django Unchained, filmed last winter in Jackson Hole, New Orleans and California.

Obligatory IFOT shot.

There are scenes from a ranch north of town, as well as by Kelly Warm Springs in Grand Teton National Park. Tarantino chose Jackson Hole because there wasn’t enough snow in California at the time.

The movie is due out at Christmas. What are the chances of a star-studded premiere in Jackson, with Leo and the cast in town? Maybe the Travel and Tourism Board should get on it.

A Fistful of Dollars it ain’t, but add this Tetons cameo to a long tradition including Rocky IV, The Mountain Men, Shane and Any Which Way You Can.

(Promo photo via Huffington Post)

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in memoriam: Levon Helm

By Jim Stanford on April 20, 2012

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Levon Helm raps the skins with help from Galactic drummer Stanton Moore.

Back in 2010, I wrote about the anticipation of seeing Levon Helm perform at Jazz Fest. I had just watched The Last Waltz for the first time.

Helm and his band gave a set at the New Orleans Fairgrounds that was practically a mini-Last Waltz, with guest after guest coming out on stage to lend support and play with the revered drummer and mandolinist. Pianists Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, participants in the original farewell concert by The Band, were among the cast, along with Galactic drummer Stanton Moore, who pounded the skins alongside Helm for nearly the entire set.

Then 69, the gravelly voiced Arkansan had been battling throat cancer and looked frail, but his spirit was inextinguishable. His smile shone from behind the drum kit, and he played with an intensity that belied his condition.

“Oh, you don’t know the shape I’m in!” he bellowed to start the set. The Band classic was fitting on many levels, not only given his health, as the grin on his face suggested, but, this being a Sunday after a long weekend in New Orleans, for the audience as well.

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