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Strumbucket amplifies lighthearted twang-funk from the Center

JACKSON, Wyo. — If there’s any question whether or not the well has run dry for rad band names, Strumbucket may have the last laugh. Listening to the local group’s Soundcloud offerings, one gets the sense that a good laugh is one piece of the musical puzzle that keeps the fun meter in check. The “twang-funk” quintet is more than tongue-and-cheek, though, and showcasing their range of material will be on display when they livestream from the Center Theater this Thursday.

“It’s been a natural progression with this band, not pushing too hard in any one direction but wanting to be as good as we can be,” said Alex Blackwelder, the band’s lyricist, vocalist and banjoist. “A lot of my material is light-hearted. It’ll start with a simple idea and the guys will help build music around it.”

As with many young bands starting a band in a mountain town, Strumbucket’s humble roots began casually with a few friends during the winter of 2016-17. The band’s configuration evolved as it began playing its first gigs at Moe’s Original BBQ in 2017, and the current five-piece lineup came together last summer.

Band mates split the two Teton Counties and all have southern roots—Blackwelder went to the same Virginia high school as Peter Henderson (drums) and Grove Miller (keys, pedal-steel, fiddle, vocals), while Lavender Jones (bass, guitar, vocals) is from Athens, Georgia, and Curt Langer (lead guitar) hails from Florida. The strumming stew mixes country, rock, bluegrass, samba, jazz, and funk into a bucket of its own, led by Blackwelder’s easy-to-like vocal style and the band’s experimental spirit.

“We really want to showcase the different feels from our repertoire more than the improvisation you might experience during a much longer show,” Blackwelder explained. “About half of our material is original, and these guys have been really supportive of that. Pearson [Beasley] and Grove are especially theory-minded and helped shaped those songs.”

Strumbucket is influenced by a wide range of sounds, including The Allman Brothers Band, Little Feat, Curtis Mayfield, The Meters, and one non-mainstream band for which they could cover an entire set of—Ween. Writing original music has helped catapult the band into support slots at the Pink Garter for JoJo Herman of Widespread Panic and Y La Bamba. Many of those songs were recorded in October of 2018, which can be heard on their Bandcamp or Soundcloud pages.

Strumbucket will live stream at 5 p.m. Thursday from the Center Theater stage via the Center for the Arts Facebook page. JHCenterForTheArts.org.

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