Group looks to return live shows to prominence
Junior & Transportation wasn’t simply created, rather, the band grew organically from the lead singer’s Friday-night gig at Mother Urban’s.
"I was a solo musician and I didn’t play with anyone," said Junior, who goes by his nickname only, "and as that night started to build, it became something."
The Friday night show, dubbed Junior and Friends, started small and grew as musicians came to sit in with the singer/songwriter/guitarist, adding a djembe beat or another guitar to Junior’s solo show. Bass-player Dave Knose said he joined the show one week during the summer, and then found himself returning the next week, and the week after that.
After a few weeks he and Junior started playing together regularly.
"Once we dialed that in, it really became a sound," said Junior.
Eventually the pair added lead guitarist Jason Sawyer and drummer Sandy Kay to their regular lineup now, after the closure of Mother Urban’s, the group has found a new home at the newly renovated Harry O’s.
Junior & Transportation will host the club’s locals night every Thursday, operating under the name Junior and Friends and offering their brand of fusion rock ‘n’ roll, featuring tight melodies and jam-band, alternative and classic rock influences.
"All the songs," said Junior, "they’re songwriter driven, and then we take them and turn them into grooves."
The band’s music is easy-going, danceable, and diverse enough that Junior has trouble classifying it.
"It’s Park City music," he said.
"Park City music for Park City locals," echoed Knose.
But, according to Junior, who organizes the Thursday night shows, the locals nights won’t simply feature Junior and Transportation alone. Instead, each week the band will be joined by a different band or group of collaborators in a show featuring a different theme.
According to Knose, the band wants to promote some synergy in the local music scene.
"It’s bigger than just our benefit," he said. "It’s getting above the differences and getting the whole town together."
The group played its first Harry O’s show last week, inviting an assortment of local musicians including members of A-Frame, Fat Paw, John Boy’s Mule, the Sunhouse Healers and Tanglewood and drawing a large contingent of Parkites to kickoff the weekly event.
On stage, the bands and collaborators joined Junior & Transportation under the Harry O’s lights, filling the stage with keyboard players, fiddlers, extra drummers and bassists and guest lead singers. A new musician seemed to join for each song as the group ripped through its own original material and covers ranging from Johnny Cash’s "Folsom Prison" to Jay-Z’s "Big Pimpin’," but there was a common element.
"All the people are in other bands," said Junior. "It’s the community."
With the Thursday-night shows, the group plans to take advantage of the facilities, from the club’s sound system to its lighting and video monitors. The evenings will feature not simply bands but shows.
"Really, my No. 1 goal in Harry O’s is to fill the void of live music in Park City," said Junior.
With the events, Junior & Transportation wants to create a new forum for musical evolution in the Park City, jumpstarting the town’s musical scene, which, according to Junior, has been largely quiet for the past few years. While bands play at bars, he noted, the creativity has been limited.
"Hopefully this will bring out a whole new thing," said Junior. "Someone’s got to light the spark underneath everyone We want to move forward."
The idea behind the events, he said, is simply to promote creativity by bringing local musicians together.
Junior only hopes the Thursdays will succeed.
"I was kind of nervous about doing it, but I knew with the right energy, we could bring back the scene," he said.
"It’s a scene that sparks that creativity in music," he added.
This week, the Sunhouse Healers will join Junior and Transportation. On Dec. 22, the group will host a Singer Songwriter Serenade, featuring Billy Horenberg, Josh Bonas, Timmi Cruz and Sommer Lei, among others.
"Every week’s going to be different," said Junior.
The one thing that won’t change, according to Knose, is the quality of the music.
"It’s all about having a good time and getting people dancing," he said.
"We just want to keep making it bigger," he said.
Junior & Transportation will play every Thursday evening at Harry O’s with different guests each week. For more information, call 655-7597.
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