If you’re happy and you know it …

By on January 2, 2013

Caffeine-charged California flower pop and rock ‘n’ roll with the large ensemble collective approach of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, The Mowgli’s bring a brother and sisterhood vibe with upbeat chipper. Fairly fresh to the West Coast scene, these eight happy friends from L.A. released a debut album, Sound the Drum, in the spring followed by the EP “Love’s Not Dead in October.” Just two months ago they appeared on the “The Tonight Show.” Not a bad year! The band’s philosophy of “making music with love, and making love with music” comes in the form of peaks and valleys, over-the-top to chill, and back again.

The Mowgli’s, 10 p.m., Thursday, at the Pink Garter Theatre. Tickets are $18/advance or $21/day-of-show, available at The Rose, Pinky G’s and PinkGarterTheatre.com.

Zen Cowboy back at Dornan’s
The Zen Cowboy, Chuck Pyle, is one of those mainstay artists that still sounds as true and genuine to his rootsy Western folk style as when his career began. Though Pyle began performing over forty years ago when “Boulder [Colorado] was mostly gravel streets,” he didn’t release his debut album, Step by Step, until 1990. Since then, he has released ten critically acclaimed albums and made Dornan’s an annual, two-night affair.

While John Denver, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Suzy Bogguss have recorded Pyle’s songs, country fans know him best for writing, “Cadillac Cowboy,” which was recorded by the late Chris LeDoux, and “Jaded Lover,” recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker.

Pyle has a refined finger-style approach on the acoustic guitar that sets him apart from many others in the genre. And his songwriting, despite being subtly produced and executed with precision, has been described as meticulous and witty. It all sums up to contemporary themes of the New West, yet worn-in enough for his customary white cowboy hat and boots.

Chuck Pyle, 8 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday Jan. 8-9, at Dornan’s in Moose. Tickets are $15, available at Valley Bookstore and Dornan’s. 733-2415.

Dyadic indie-soul
Dubbed Erin & The Project, hypnotic indie-soul comes in the form of husband-and-wife Erin Ezekiel (vocals/keys) and Paul Ezekiel (drums/percussion). Ezekiel has an unusual background, having studied North Indian classical vocal under maestro Ali Akbar Khan before going on to pen a song that placed in the top five of the January 2010 Singer Universe competition. The duo released a self-titled album that caught the attention of renowned engineer/mixer, Oz Fritz (Grammy for Tom Waits’ “Mule Variations”), who produced their most recent album, Birthday. The Missoula-based Project has an interesting local schedule, playing four shows at three different venues.

Erin & The Project, 8 p.m., Wednesday at Eleanor’s; 9:30 p.m., Thursday at Town Square Tavern; 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday at the Virginian. All shows are free.

Hooligans of Montana
The classic era of San Francisco’s improv-driven psychedelic rock scene – The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, and Quicksilver Messenger Service among them – is the foundation of Bozeman’s Hooligans. The band formed in 1990 and they are no strangers to the Trap Bar stage over the years. Enjoy three days après ski with this veteran band.

The Hooligans, 3 to 6 p.m., Friday through Sunday, in the Trap Bar at Grand Targhee Resort. Free. GrandTarghee.com.

Photo: The Mowglis

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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