MUSIC BOX: Music scene ramps up with ski season

By on December 3, 2013
Indie rockers, top notch acoustics showcase ramped-up music scene.
Indie rockers, top notch acoustics showcase ramped-up music scene.

Indie rockers, top notch acoustics showcase ramped-up music scene.

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Wildcat Strike headlines Locals Appreciation Party
Smith Optics’ Locals Appreciation Party has more-or-less taken the place of the once rowdy, lets-get-amped-for-ski-season 69 Days Til the Tram Opens Party. The difference? Ski season has already begun with primarily a local crowd on the hills, and Smith will be dishing out more than $3,000 worth of gear to the population. There’s a kick-ass rock band in Wildcat Strike and local DJs Cut la Whut and ERA will extinguish the jones for a club dance vibe.

Indie rockers Wildcat Strike come to us from Salt Lake City. Formed barely two years ago, the quintet is capable of balls-to-the-wall, screaming melodic rock ala Modest Mouse (“Sting Like a Bee”) or the acoustic singer-songwriter aesthetic (“Billy Crystal”). You get many more scenarios on the well-produced, self-titled debut album (2012), as well as from their freshly recorded Daytrotter Studio session. Considering that drummer/guitarist/back-up vocalist Jordan Mendenhall is a K2 Pro Team rider and ex-pro shredder Will Tuddenham mans the piano and bass, Wildcat Strike appears to be the ultimate ski party fit.

This offering is a fringe benefit of ski town culture that beckons the youthful zing. You got it?

Smith Optics Locals Appreciation Party with Wildcat Strike and DJs Cut la Whut and ERA, 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Mangy Moose in Teton Village. Free. (Check out this weeks Half-Off Jackson Hole for Mangy Moose 1/2 off deal. )

Mike Dowling

Mike Dowling

Trio extraordinaire at Dornan’s
You are in for a top-notch acoustic showcase when bottleneck blues and ragtime finger-style guitarist Mike Dowling, mandolinist Ben Winship, and bassist/guitarist Phil Round roll into Dornan’s Spur Bar for a two-night run along the banks of the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. The veteran trio of fine singers and instrumentalists initiated their debut shows together during a pair of shows last year around the same time.

“This won’t be the Mike Dowling repertoire with the addition of Ben and Phil,” Dowling said before last year’s show. “We’ll be doing some special things like taking advantage of trio singing and playing some instrumentals. The hardest thing is just pairing down the grand songlist that we all have together. We’re all coming from the same place in terms of the music that we appreciate.”

Dowling and Winship are songwriters and historians of sorts, each enthusiastically digging up obscure gems from vinyl and field recordings and then arranging them to suit a performance. Winship also has a great new roots album with his duo Growling Old Men titled Chicken Feed & Baling Twine, encompassing “new, old and obscure material.”

This will all surely factor into the playlist, but the sky is the limit when it comes to the genres these fellas have been known to embrace, including blues, swing, fandango, bluegrass, folk, ragtime, and jazz.

Mike Dowling, Ben Winship and Phil Round, 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday (Dec. 10-11) at Dornan’s in Moose. Tickets are $20, available at Valley Bookstore and Dornan’s. 733-2415.

Left Coast grass
In the mood for just good ole fashioned bluegrass with hard-driving dobro playing and five harmonizing vocals? Left Coast Country sounds more like a Southern-bred quintet rather than from Portland, Ore., though you can be from anywhere and be “fast pickin’, easy livin’, lady lovin’, late night ramblin’, good time havin’ kind of guys.”

Left Coast Country, 7:30 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Silver Dollar Bar. Bluegrass. Free. 733-2190.

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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