Do you ever hear your friends or peers mention a band or solo artist with such reverence and admiration that you start to wonder, even though you feel like you love music more than anyone ever, “How have I not heard of this person/band”? That was me some years ago with Jason Isbell. His name would come up in social circles or I’d be at a concert waiting for a band to come on and I’d hear people mention how they’d seen Jason Isbell live and how any fan of live music needs to see him. When people had asked me, “Have you been to a Jason Isbell concert?” and I’d say that I hadn’t the look of shame and embarrassment for me meant only one thing, I’d better see Jason Isbell live or lose all credibility.
The crowd was forced to part as a casket was brought into the room. Its pallbearers strained under the weight before laying it down next to Kilby Court’s stage. The wildly unexpected sound of an industrial saw ripped through idle chatter—somethingwas breaking free from within the casket. Emerged a figure with dark hair, a blue bandana around his neck, and a face painted ghostly white. Branson Anderson was back from the dead.
Branson Anderson is an Americana singer-songwriter based in Ogden, Utah. It’s been said that he’s a mix between Devendra Banhart meets Shakey Graves meets Bob Dylan meets Jack White. As I did my own studying up on Branson leading up to this interview I found his lyrics and vocals to be infectious. The longer I listened, the more I was hooked.
On Wednesday night, a unique combination of Americana, folk, and country music filled the air in the foothills of Salt Lake City. I walked into Red Butte Garden Amphitheater at quarter to 7:00 pm and already the place was full. People had claimed their space with chairs and blankets and were enjoying the surprisingly cool weather. One thing that I love about this outdoor venue is the atmosphere. There’s always been such a positive vibe – people sitting around enjoying each other’s company over a beer and some laughs. Thursday night was no different. Everyone was there to have a good time.
Southern Gothic is one of my favorite literary genres. I’d argue that certain musicians fit into this genre as well, Shakey Graves among them. Never mind his playfully macabre alias, the themes of his songs touch on death and decay, murder, alcoholism, drug abuse, execution by electric chair, and the way ex-lovers haunt one another. All this, though, is presented with good humor and a (wholesomely) wicked Texas grin, side-by-side with themes of shirking the predictable life and embracing the shiftless, devil-may-care habits of a tramp. Shakey’s musical style is tricky to pin down. Clearly influenced by bluegrass, hobo folk, blues, rock, and country, it might be safest to simply say, “Americana.”
Whenever you think of a concert or live music what comes to mind? Loud music? A crowd going nuts and dancing around? The frontman running around the stage and getting the crowd going? Those aren’t wrong answers. But sometimes a great concert can be the opposite of all of those things. Such was the case at Last Thursday’s SLC Twilight with Blind Pilots. If you wanted to spend a summer evening sitting outside kicking back and relaxing while listening to some great music then this was the show for you.
I feel like I’ve been circling around The Hollering Pines for a few years. The first time I saw Marie Bradshaw, Kiki Jane Sieger, Dylan Schorer, Daniel Young and M. Horton Smith perform was at The State Room for a Bruce Springsteen tribute show where a variety of local artists performed Born in the USA in its entirety. A few nights later I saw many of these artists perform with Americana super group The Lower Lights at their annual Christmas concert. It was only after that show I realized that these five members were their own band. I quickly jumped onboard the Hollering Pines train and don’t plan on getting off any time soon.
This Friday (June 7) The Hollering Pines will be releasing their third album, Moments in Between. Concurrently they will be performing an album release show at Commonwealth Studios.
I had the opportunity to visit with Hollering Pines drummer, Daniel Young leading up to the show and album release. Hope you enjoy our conversation!
When it was announced that The Head and The Heart would be playing a show at Park City Live in Park City I think many of their fans were surprised yet excited that they would be playing a much smaller venue than they might normally play here in Utah. For example, The Head and The Heart’s last two shows in Utah were at The Union Events Center and Red Butte Garden which hold thirty five hundred and three thousand respectfully. Park City Live holds under 900. So it there was some real excitement knowing that we were getting a very intimate show from one of the best live bands out there today.
Joshua James live is a thing to behold. The man never lost focus and wasted no time with banter. Music poured from his veins from the second he took the stage to the second he left. His ardent, impassioned folk was the perfect counterpoint to a damp March evening.