Jay Meehan: Winter fare
First of all, as usual, the sheer amount of quality live music baring itself before lusting fans in the collective mosh pit that is northern Utah has a way of overwhelming the sensitive connoisseur.
That would be the main reason why I can’t explain who made the cut and who didn’t as far as who got included in this brief overview of our already-arrived indoor concert season.
Anyway, it’s never too early to get your live-music ducks in line! So, here’s what I would suggest. Visit your favorite band and venue websites and plot out your winter fare yourself. Then go over your list again and feel that pure pain that only arrives when two of your favorite groups are performing the same night at the same time on widely distant stages.
Then, as the date grows ever closer for that show you figure will completely empty out your endorphin account, check the sites again to make sure the tour or the individual performance hasn’t been canceled due to an unforeseen intervening variable. I speak from recent experience here! So, with venues included but in no particular chronological order, here we go. You’ll have to locate the various timeframes.
First off, right after the New Year at the Eccles Center here in Park City, straight-outta-Compton Kevin Moore will be in the house. Or, as he’s known to his bazillion fans everywhere, the virtuoso blues vocalist, instrumentalist, and raconteur, "Keb Mo!" Damn, the juices are already flowing, I could almost stop right here!
Also dropping by the Eccles this winter will be such luminaries as Aoife O’Donovan (swoon!); New Orleans’ own boogie-woogie keyboardist extraordinaire Marcia Ball (with the legendary bluesman Elvin Bishop on the same bill); that rambunctious mandolin picker and grinner Sam Bush; Lucia Micarelli, the sweet young violinist, songwriter, and singer whom I met via the New Orleans HBO series "Treme;" folkster Susan Vega; and, quite possibly the most interesting group of all, a brass-oriented retro-jazz ensemble out of New York who go by the moniker "The Hot Sardines."
In a similar vein, that highly sophisticated outfit with Portlandish-Paris overtones, the always-pleasing "Pink Martini" will be doing two nights down at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake.
SLC’s State Room has the quite-inventive and improvisationally gifted "Elephant Revival" in for a couple of nights, fresh off their triumph at Deer Valley last fall. They are also bringing in "Cody Canada and the Departed" with "Jason Boland and the Stragglers" on the same bill and, later, (Willie’s boy) "Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real."
Which, I suppose, if we were to not stray too far from that Oklahoma-Texas Red Dirt genre, leads naturally into the "Reckless Kelly" show at The Depot! For years now, RK has been blowin’ the tops off unattended Lone Star longnecks (not to mention Stanley and Challis, Idaho home brews) in show after show! (They’ve even been known to cause Portly Gray Dudes to scoot across hardwood dance floors well past his bedtime.)
Back up in the hills, the Egyptian Theatre in Park City is bringing in longtime bluesman and John Lee Hooker disciple Tommy Castro and his band "The Painkillers." Also on Randy Barton’s schedule is that quirkier-than-thou slide guitar virtuoso and longtime Park City favorite, the great David Lindley. You gotta love a cat whose shirts are so flamboyant that he gives them names.
Park City Live has a couple of shows on their schedule that caught my attention. The first features the great jam band "Leftover Salmon," who are booked along with progressive bluegrassers "Hot Buttered Rum." The second one showcases the extreme picking and vocal talents of the "Infamous Stringdusters," a banjo-guitar-fiddle-dobro-bass-driven bluegrass ensemble from the very top shelf of the genre.
And how could I leave out my current favorite honky-tonk-noir fix, "The Glueboys" and their sole venue of choice, Heber Valley’s own Timpanogos Tavern. Featuring an all-star lineup of Kevin Turnbow, Buffalo Joe Jeffs, Stevie "Thunder" Allred, and Mark Viar, the boys will be playing the Timp Tavern both New Year’s Eve and the following weekend. Get sticky! Check ’em out!
Well, there you have it, a small sampling of local winter musical fare. Get out and support live music in northern Utah. And don’t forget the Sundance ASCAP Music Café during the Film Festival, which, by the way, is just around the corner.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social scenes for more than 40 years.