Former Big Lebowski Actor to do Traditional Country Tunes at the Sheridan
Finding a place for electronic music in the saturated traditional jazz and funk nerve center that is New Orleans has not been an easy sell for the four piece instrumental outfit Gravity A. The city that claims some of the best string and horn players of all time is rightfully skeptical about embracing gadget-based music that relies heavily on programmed loops, triggered samples, and repetitious dance rhythm patterns. Yet the sonically critical nature of the Crescent City may have contributed to the success of Gravity A’s against the grain efforts.
Established in 2006 during the surging popularity of live electronic bands like The Disco Biscuits and Sound Tribe Sector 9, Gravity A’s first album, Naissance, served as a foundation for future changes among the young band. Aware of their unique funk heritage, but also keen on the established festival and club circuits that the aforementioned bands had pioneered in the early 2000s, their recent follow-up release, New Beginnings, has really opened doors for the band. Where Naissance put pieces of their influences together, such as laying a strong organ tone over quick tempo drums or a clean jazz guitar riff mixed with gated synthesizers, New Beginnings was a mature fusion of everything appealing about progressive funk and modern electronica.
Playing late at night in back street bars around the Big Easy, spending years on the road, and the overall evolution of live electronic music in the late 2000s aren’t the only reasons the band has improved. One guitarist departed and was replaced by current member Danny Abel. A revolving door of standout New Orleans bass players eventually stopped when Univerity of New Orleans music student Devin Kerrigan joined the band’s ranks. The fit was right according to both the band and the improved output that can be heard throughout New Beginnings.
Coming off opening for renowned UK funk band The New Mastersounds on New Year’s Eve, the Gravity A boys are going from sea level to the Colorado mountain towns as part of their Ski-3PO tour this coming week. The Fly Me to the Moon Saloon in Telluride will see the opening night of their six-date run through the state that aims to add their name to the long list of electronic acts finding a home away from home in the West.
Gravity A, Fri., Jan. 17, Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, 10 p.m., $5
Jimmie Dale Gilmore Heads to Sheridan Opera House
Some of us have never heard of the West Texas town of Lubbock, which claimed such iconic residents as Buddy Holly – but you probably do know of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, whether you are aware of it or not. Here is a hint: earlier this Summer during the Telluride Film Festival the Coen Brothers cult classic The Big Lebowski was screened in Elks Park, and Gilmore has a short role interacting with a particularly enraged John Goodman at a bowling alley. The iconic scene may be Gilmore’s most memorable on screen moment, but the multi-talented artist also more than dabbles in the honky-tonk brand of country his father played in bars while he was growing up. The elder Gilmore placed Hank Williams and Johnny Cash on the altar, and even named his son after country music maverick Jimmie Rodgers. With that kind of legacy-inspired homage to live up to, it makes sense that he would inevitably become a respected member of the Texas Country elite.
The younger Gilmore went on to discover, and be influenced by, the Beatles and Dylan in the 1960s, but never forgot his roots. On Come on Back he covers 13 of his father’s favorite songs by songwriters like Lefty Frizzell, all of which, he says, were regarded as monster hits in his hometown. His impressive seven albums prior, and one since, have seen success on the country charts. Six years after recording his first album, Fair And Square in Austin, he teamed up with Willie Nelson on “Crazy” for the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Country.
Although we all know Gilmore as Smokey, the fragile pacifist who crossed paths with The Dude in a bowling league movie scene, many might not know that Gilmore spent a majority of the 70s in Denver studying metaphysics in an ashram under Indian guru Prem Rawat. Gilmore may have a few more surprises to share this Friday when he returns to Colorado for an intimate evening of traditional country tunes at the Sheridan Opera House. Mark it eight!
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Fri., Jan. 17, Sheridan Opera House, 8 p.m., $30/35