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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