MUSIC BOX: Lucky 13 for Targhee Fest

By on July 12, 2017

Festival anoints audiences with North Mississippi Osborne, Booker T, Karl Denson and GTMF delivers Ben Sollee.

Booker T. Jones

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Thirteen is an auspicious roll for Targhee Fest, sporting a three-day lineup lush with funk and soul veterans, modern Americana pioneers, and gritty blues. Friday is the funk night, Saturday is ultra eclectic with North Mississippi Osborne headlining, and Sunday is marked by the next generation of bluesmen.

There are legends-in-the-making dotted through the lineup, and then there’s a legend. Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee, and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and winner of four Grammy Awards, Booker T. Jones is certainly an American treasure. Booker T’s Stax Review is slated for Saturday for a journey through Stax’s classic canon for which he played on hits “Green Onions,” “Hang ‘Em High,” “Time Is Tight,” and “Melting Pot,” among others. His economical restraint and near vocal emulator as an organ player is unmatched, and the cast he set for modern soul music endures, which makes the roots of his skills fascinating.

I was influenced by my mother’s chordal style of playing fifths on the left hand of the piano,” Jones replied when asked about how his style development. “My organ teacher taught me to ‘crawl’—holding a note with one finger while crossing over or under with another finger—while playing a melody on the right hand. I tried to emulate the right hands of Ray Charles and Jimmy Smith.”

The B3 electric organ played through a Leslie speaker is an unmistakably rich sound, and Jones’s tone is just as singular. His restraint lies within holding straight tones, notes or chords often times for four or five beats, then engaging the Leslie effect for color. The tension and release builds anticipation for the listener.

“The B3 and the Leslie have been married since the 1930s,” Jones continued. “It was a coincidence. They were conceived of by different companies that clashed for years until recently when Hammond bought Leslie. Nothing that I know of produces a sweeter sound.”

On the flip side of the legend coin, we have the youngest buck on the bill, Sunday’s opener Marcus King Band. There’s been considerable buzz about this 21-year-old South Carolina Southern blues rocker. The band’s 2014 debut caught the attention of Gov’t Mule frontman Warren Haynes, who ended up producing the sextet’s self-titled second album from last year. He aims for a big band Chicago intensity and his voice is aged like a veteran. Mr. King is well worth adding to your radar for the weekend.

Targhee Fest, Friday through Sunday, July 14 to 16 at Grand Targhee Resort. $79 per day or $189 for the weekend; late shows are $10.

Ben Sollee

Immigrant music at GTMF

Kentucky cellist/vocalist/songwriter Ben Sollee is a bull’s-eye crossover act to feature at the six-week, classical music-focused Grand Teton Music Festival. Sollee is classically trained, though has made his commercial mark with those influences thrown into a melting pot of highly accessible and inviting singer-songwriter muses dipping into bluegrass, Appalachian, jazz, pop, soul, and blues. 

Like his opening set last December with The Wood Brothers, Sollee’s lineup will again feature longtime drummer/percussionist Jordan Ellis. The duo will perform a set in advance of the five-piece band taking stage, Ben Sollee & Kentucky Native, which will be releasing an album of bluegrass-inspired string band tunes on August 11.

“Bluegrass music is immigrant music,” Sollee said on his website. “It’s the music of Irish and Scottish musicians bringing their fiddle tunes; it is gospel music; it is African music; it is gypsy jazz; it is rock ‘n’ roll. It is all these things. What makes it unique and of Kentucky is that it was distilled by the people who lived here in Kentucky, and turned into something else.”  PJH

Grand Teton Music Festival presents Ben Sollee, 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 12 at the Pink Garter Theatre. $25.,



The New Mastersounds – 4 p.m.

The Motet – 5:30 p.m.

Galactic – 7:15 p.m.

Michael Franti & Spearhead – 9:15 p.m.

Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons – late night in the Trap Bar


Assembly of Dust – noon

Suzanne Vega – 1:30 p.m.

Donna the Buffalo – 3 p.m.

Booker T’s Stax Review – 5 p.m.

Leftover Salmon – 7 p.m.

North Mississippi Osborne – 9 p.m.

The Deadlocks – late night in the Trap Bar


The Marcus King Band – noon

The Record Company – 1:30 p.m.

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real – 3 p.m.

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe – 5 p.m.

Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons – late night in the Trap Bar

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.


Daisy O’Connor with Canyon Kids

(Town Square Tavern)


The Black Lillies

(Town Square Tavern);

Main Squeeze with Drew Fish Band

(Victor City Park)


Targhee Fest

(Grand Targhee Resort);

The Railsplitters with The Boom & The Bust (American Legion Park in Pinedale);

DJ Londo

(The Rose)


Targhee Fest (Grand Targhee Resort); Phiscuits (Town Square Tavern);

6 Foot 2 (Silver Dollar)


Targhee Fest (Grand Targhee Resort);

Elektric Voodoo (Village Commons)


JH Hootenanny (Dornan’s);

The Minor Keys (Jackson Lake Lodge)


Ton Pig (Silver Dollar);

Stackhouse (Mangy Moose)

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.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login