MUSIC BOX: Over yonder with Jeff Austin

By on August 20, 2013
A jamgrass week ensues with Jeff Austin and Friends and Railroad Earth. Photo credit: CANDACE HORGAN

A jamgrass week ensues with Jeff Austin and Friends and Railroad Earth.
Photo credit: CANDACE HORGAN

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Yonder Mountain String Band’s Jeff Austin is sidestepping his main touring unit and coming to town with a few friends this week including banjoist Danny Barnes (Bad Livers), bassist Eric Thorin (Matt Flinner Trio, Brother Mule), and fiddler Allie Kral (Cornmeal). In the past, Austin has taken his extracurricular original material into a rock-oriented direction with collaborators such as Soulive’s Eric Krasno and The North Mississippi Allstars’ Cody Dickinson.

“My ideal sound is between Phish, My Morning Jacket, and Zac Brown Band,” Austin explained, though gauging from this acoustic-based lineup sans drums, it’s likely the evening will be more Americana-grounded than rock.

Opening the show is L.A.’s Family of the Year, a quintet that cohabitates in a run-down house, relying on one another for inspiration and support. A playful indie-rock and pop-folk sound not unlike the multiple voices in Band of Horses, the band also delivers qualities found in classic pop-rock bands The Smiths, The Byrds and Fleetwood Mac. Since 2009, the band has released two full-length albums, including the new release Lomo Vista and three EPs. Songs are sweet and fun-drenched, which should fit the day perfectly.

JacksonHoleLive presents Jeff Austin and Friends with Family of the Year, 5 p.m., Friday at Snow King Ball Field. Free, all ages.

 82113musicbox2Jamgrass Railroad

Jamgrass soared in the late 90s and through the oughts. Railroad Earth not only was a big part of this movement, but also took the sound into the most singular of directions. They are much like a rock band with acoustic instruments, patient enough to weave and wade through Grateful Dead-esque jams, yet highly trained in roots and bluegrass history. If striking improvisation is their freight, the songwriting of Todd Sheaffer is the transport. Sheaffer’s writing is evocative, soul-searching and at times, aching.

Railroad Earth’s last visit was Targhee Fest 2012. Lately the sextet has been on tour with Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, and headlined its first show at Red Rocks. It’s generally a windfall to catch a veteran band towards the end of a big summer run, especially an outfit like Railroad Earth that continues to dispense fresh performances night after night.

Railroad Earth with Whitewater Ramble, 9 p.m., Wednesday at Pink Garter Theatre. Tickets are $28 advance, $31 day-of-show, available at Pinky G’s, The Rose and

Jazz on the Lawn

Showcasing Jackson’s female presence in the local jazz scene, St. John’s Episcopal Church’s “Music on the Green” series will feature pianist/vocalist Pam Drews Phillips with vocalist Nicole Madison. Both Phillips and Madison landed in New York City to pursue their early careers, Phillips as a Broadway musician and Madison as an actress. The two met one another through Petticoat Rules, an original musical co-written by Phillips. Madison flew to Jackson for the first time to audition and landed a role.

Pam Phillips

Pam Phillips


Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison

“Pam and Keith [Phillips] are my mentors here and they have been integral in my growth as a musician,” Madison said in an interview with Wyoming Public Media.

Phillips has one album of original solo piano works, Open Country, and Madison released a sultry interpretation of classics on 2007’s P.S. I Love You. Accompanying the ladies are frequent collaborators Bill Plummer on bass, Ed Domer on drums and Mat Miles on saxophone.

Music on the Green, featuring Pam Drews Phillips, Nicole Madison and Friends, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, at St. John Episcopal Church (adjacent to Browse ‘n Buy). Free.

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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