PINEDALE, WYO – If you’re not privy to Pinedale Fine Arts Council’s 14th Annual Soundcheck Summer Music Series, crawl out from under that rock and take a peak at one of the more unique roots music based lineups in the region. And while this year’s indie acts are standout, it has been a general a rule of thumb that the series introduces acts to the region for the first time. Shows are free to the public, kid and pet-friendly, and feature food and beverage vendors on site at American Legion Park in downtown Pinedale with a view of the Wind River Mountains.
“This is hands down the best line-up we’ve ever rolled out,” said PFAC’s Talent Buyer and Outreach Director, Tim Ruland. “There’s great up-an-coming as well as established acts that span several different genres which is the aim of the series. We’re not really an Americana or country or bluegrass series. We switch it up for every show and try to offer a more curated experience.”
Kicking things off at 4 p.m. on Independence Day is a triple bill of folk and alt-country with National Park Radio, Carolina Story, and hometown hero Jason Tyler Burton. Folk-pop ala Avett Brothers and The Lumineers (they even cover the latter), National Park Radio’s core duo is husband-and-wife duo Stefan and Kerrie Szabo. Fellow husband-and-wife duo Carolina Story (Ben and Emily Roberts) brings tenderness and tenacity from a long stint in the music biz that includes several appearances at the Grand Ole Opry.
On July 16, headliner Jackie Venson of Austin will bring a healthy dose of hard-edged guitar shredding routed in soul and rock. She’ll be joined in the middle slot by fingerstyle guitarist and bottleneck slide player A.J. Fullerton. Local alt-country duo The Boom and The Bust will delve into the roots of the dirty south and untamed west.
With three more bands on July 17—Goodnight, Texas with guests Pixie & the Partygrass Boys and Companion—that’s six total bands in just two days on this particular weekend. Goodnight, Texas is the transcontinental garage Appalachian collaboration of San Francisco’s Avi Vinocur (formerly of The Stone Foxes) and North Carolina’s Patrick Dyer Wolf. Pixie & the Partygrass Boys are earning a reputation that lives up to their name, drawing from bluegrass roots but combining that with classical trained musicians playing jazz, Broadway, and pop-punk. As for Companion, imagine if Simon & Garfunkel were combined with Phoebe Bridgers and turned into identical twin sisters.
For July 24, Fox Royale with special guest Abby Webster will bring different flare to the series. Fox Royale make anthemic, jangly indie-rock that sparkles with the same energy as acts like Cold War Kids, Cage the Elephant and Vampire Weekend. Abby Webster is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in the Tetons. Filled with metaphor and dark humor, her avant-garde folk-pop songs are just as whimsical as they are visceral.
August 6 has been a buzz in musician circles, featuring the spellbinding voice and vagabond ways of Sierra Ferrell and her trio. Openers The Lonesome Heroes from Austin have become a Sublette County staple, giving cosmic Americana a fair shake somewhere between 70s pop and country-rock.
Closing the series on August 14 will be six-piece group Vandoliers with guest Rachel Baiman. Vandoliers are the next wave of Texas music, digging into tradition, modernity, audacity, grit, and—of course—size. Rachel Baiman has spent the last decade working as a musician in a wide variety of roles, from session musician (Molly Tuttle, Kelsey Waldon, Caroline Spence), to live sidewoman (Kacey Musgraves, Amy Ray), to bandmate and producer. She is known in the bluegrass and old time world for her work with progressive acoustic duo 10 String Symphony.
“Soundcheck has come to define summer in Pinedale at least from a cultural standpoint,” added Ruland. “We’re seeing attendance numbers climb towards the 1K mark at some shows with attendees from all over the world. I think this shows the series serves as both a staple of the community and an event destination for music lovers. We’re booking emerging/up-and-coming names maybe one or two years before they get big. I think, for instance, that Sierra Ferrell will be headlining major US festivals in the next few years, so we’re pretty excited to have her headlining our August 6th show.”
The Soundcheck Summer Music Series is supported by the Town of Pinedale, The Pinedale Lodging Tax, The Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund and the Sublette County Recreation Board. For more information visit SoundcheckPinedale.com.