MUSIC BOX: Red, White Denim and Blue

By on June 28, 2017

White Denim rocks JH Live, Minor Keys CD Release, STRFKR & Reptaliens get synthetic.

White Denim

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Living in Austin in 2010, the first two musicians I met turned my ears towards White Denim, a rock quartet known for its crunchy guitars and frantic energy. In a town full of spot-on musicians and creative masterminds, White Denim cultivated a sound that appealed to even the toughest of critics. Seven albums and a decade later, the band has put out its first recording with three new members on guitar/drums/keys while the two remaining founding members, James Petralli and Steven Terebecki, have made it through a major crossroads and come out the other end with quite a flex, a Stiff one.

During the yearlong regrouping hiatus and a touring stint with soul man Leon Bridges, Petralli and Terebecki were uncertain about the future of White Denim. Stiff, its 2016 LP, is the band’s answer, and a swell to a five-piece with keys that’s tight as ever. Beatles psychedelia, hooky Southern rock, and rowdy energy have shaken the nerves on what is a rollercoaster of a set that leaves the subtleties behind. This isn’t raw, sweaty garage rock that they became known for, yet touches nearly every retro soul sound that may be in your brain’s catalog.

Still, the new material ties into the early days with a fervor that many bands never manage to tap into—the balance of song, improvisation and storytelling rock that resonates.

“We just like bands and records that have songs and great playing. I think that it’s really easy for people to get too focused on one aspect,” Petralli told Live Music Daily. “There are great songwriters that don’t really think about how to make the band arrangement. There are great instrumentalists that just get into how crazy they can make an arrangement. The mix of all of our personalities has always kind of led to a fun kind of environment. We care about songs and we care about playing well. It never fully goes into songwriter territory.”

“Listening to bands like Traffic or Grateful Dead, I think that they had really great material and that’s what makes them a continued interest,” he added. “I can always go back to that because I like the material. They cared about that stuff. I had a period of time where I was really impressed with super technical guitar playing and I still am on a certain level, but I can’t say that I’ve put on a record like that for enjoyment more than once in quite awhile.”

Two local openers represent the crux of quality Jackson Hole songwriting. Frontman for One Ton Pig Michael Batdorf has broken out of the mold with a new solo adventure, four-piece Batdorf & The Brother Wolf, which rides the line between James McMurtry and Jason Isbell. Canyon Kids co-founder Bo Elledge, who has is eyes set on a solo record, kicks-off the show.

Jackson Hole Live presents White Denim with Batdorf & The Brother Wolf and Bo Elledge, 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 2 at Snow King Ball Field. $5. All-ages.

Minor Keys celebrate debut

Harnessing a timeless repertoire that is at once obscure and unequivocally charming, The Minor Keys are celebrating the release of its debut recording, Life in a Minor Key EP. Recorded and mixed at Three Hearted Studio in Hoback, the four-track features the heart of what the trio does best—classic swing and old-times blues from a bygone era. Lead track “Dinah” exhibits the throwback vibe, having been previously recorded by a few of the trio’s influences—Django Reinhart, Benny Goodman Quartet, The Red Stick Ramblers, and Fats Waller, among others. Guests on the album include drummer Jason Baggett (One Ton Pig) and trumpet player Lawrence Bennett (Pam Phillips Band), who will also lend a hand at this release show.

The Minor Keys CD Release Party, 7:30 to 11 p.m. Thursday, June 29 at Hole Bowl. Free, all-ages. You can also catch the trio 8 to 10 p.m. Mondays at Jackson Lake Lodge.


Stars and synths

STRFKR is an interesting beast, one that has horns of electro-pop, disco and dance-funk. The Portland, Oregon-based outfit stands by the notion that dance music should also serve as good pop songs with lyrical depth. Mission accomplished.
Get ready for sonic and visible lazers as a kick-off to your Independence Day Weekend. Reptaliens open the show, inspired by sci-fi art, cult mentality, low-fi and deep connections. STRFKR with Reptaliens, 9 p.m. Friday at the Pink Garter Theatre. $18.  PJH

Aaron Davis is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, audio engineer at Three Hearted Studio, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.


Sol Seed (Town Square Tavern)


The Minor Keys CD Release Party

(Hole Bowl);

Hot Buttered Rum with Maw Band

(Victor City Park)


STRFKR with Reptaliens (Pink Garter Theatre); Screen Door Porch (Silver Dollar)


Kitchen Dwellers (Town Square Tavern);

Pam Phillips (The Granary)


White Denim with Batdorf & Brother Wolf and Bo Elledge

(Snow King Ball Field);

Songwriter’s Alley feat.

Hillfolk Noir, Brock Gleeson, and Longriver

(Silver Dollar)


Laney Lou & the Bird Dogs (Silver Dollar); Too Slim & the Taildraggers (Teton Village Commons); Fat Stallion (Mangy Moose)


Pig Nic feat. Chanman Roots Band, One Ton Pig, & 86 (Knotty Pine);

Screen Door Porch (Driggs City Stage);

Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons

(Town Square Tavern);

Calle Mambos & Jazz Foundation of JH

(Teton Village Commons)

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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