JACKSON, Wyo. — Born out of 19th century theatrical revues, the concept of concert revues became prevalent with mid-20th century music labels. Motown’s famous Motortown Revue in the 1960s promoted multiple like-minded acts on a single bill. To say the touring environment has changed since then is an understatement, though the last year and a half has proved some of the most challenging times for modern day touring acts and venues. The annual WYOmericana Caravan Tour has been able to forge ahead, with the seventh version of the Wyoming-style roots music revue closing its 2021 tour at the Silver Dollar Showroom on Saturday with Sheridan-based Sarah Sample (trio) along with local troubadours Abby Webster and Aaron Davis (duo).
The talent pool of Wyoming songwriters is booming and it’s rising up from every corner of the state. The New York Times acknowledged this in 2013, observing WYOmericana’s rolling representation of Wyoming’s stellar songwriter scene in a Sunday spread, “Touring, the Wyoming Way.” Artists on the tour will perform individual sets with the suspense of ad-libbed cross-band collaborations, and a closing set that includes all six members of the tour on stage simultaneously, taking chances and blending talents—adding a camaraderie element absent from most traveling shows.
“We have regained a significant and essential part of our lives with the tour this year,” Davis said. “Many of us didn’t know one another until we met a day before tour started. The Jackson audience will get to see what happens when fast friends get to jam with each other on the road for a week. It’s been a remarkable collaboration experience.”
2021 WYOmericana Caravan Artists
Sarah Sample (Sheridan) Sarah Sample is an award-winning songwriter with a “raw, graceful voice” (Salt Lake City Weekly). Performing as a trio with guitarist Dylan Schorer and drummer Fred Serna, her beautiful songs weave a trail of stories through folk, Americana and country, garnering comparisons to Sheryl Crow, The Weepies, and Bonnie Raitt. Redwing, Sample’s sixth album, features more of her cut-to-the-bone storytelling, framed with empathy and compassion, and told with the best singing of Sample’s career. Redwing is—among other things and in the grand tradition of albums—a breakup album. But this was no romantic heartbreak; Sample’s breakup was spiritual. She left the committed religion of her upbringing (and its stringent rules and by-the-book lifestyle) to chart her own spiritual course. Her previous release with songwriter Edie Carey, ‘Til The Morning, won Best Children’s Album in the 2014 Independent Music Awards. Sample has performed at Merlefest, Folks Fest, Telluride, and Kerrville, and has won songwriting contests at most of these. She has warmed-up stages for Darrell Scott, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Over The Rhine.
Abby Webster (Wilson) has quickly established herself as an artistic force in the regional music scene, dry wit with raw honesty, the avant-garde lyricist’s songs are filled with metaphor and dark humor, though they are just as whimsical as they are visceral. These elements are tied together in her recent single, “88 Constellations,” which dropped September 20. In addition to her various releases as a solo artist, she also releases music with an electronic duo, Ski Lift. Webster received a 2021 Performing Arts Fellowship in Music from the National Endowment for the Arts—a merit-based honor for an artist’s work in their field.
Aaron Davis (Hoback) is chiefly known as co-founder of decade-long national touring act Screen Door Porch and his eclectic quartet Aaron Davis & the Mystery Machine. The multi-instrumentalist, engineer-producer, and vocalist will stage a duo show on acoustic/resonator/lap steel guitars, banjo, harmonica, and percussion along with longtime collaborator David Bundy (bass, harmony vocal). Aaron works the lesser-worn corners of the American musical fabric through an unconventional lens. Slide banjo? An electrified cigar box? Detuned guitar made of metal? You bet. From “searing slide guitar” (Country Weekly) echoing mid-century acoustic blues, to a patchwork of story folk and roots music, pensive alt-country, and an improvisational prowess, Aaron has been described as a “truly phenomenal songwriter” (Americana UK) with “a particularly interesting approach that mixes poetry, groove and roughness” (Lonestar Time). He has shared bills with many of his heroes—Wilco, Willie Nelson, Jason Isbell, Buddy Guy, Sam Bush, Brian Wilson, James McMurtry, and Hayes Carll. In conjunction with a Music Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts, Aaron just put out his tenth release, Catalyst.
The WYOmericana philosophy is to propel Wyoming’s original music scene as an artist collective, exhibiting to the world that there’s a stellar creative spark in the country’s least populated state. Past tours have featured Jalan Crossland, Screen Door Porch, The Patti Fiasco, J Shogren Shanghai’d, Canyon Kids, Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons, The Littlest Birds, Low Water String Band, Dauphin, Jason Tyler Burton, and Shawn Hess. The 7th anniversary tour is made possible though the generous support of WESTAF, Wyoming Arts Council, Wyoming Public Media, Buckrail, BendeRuble Sound (the tour’s traveling sound engineer), and Showdeer (poster artist).
WYOmericana Caravan #7 featuring Sarah Sample (trio), Aaron Davis (duo), and Abby Webster, 7-10:30 p.m. Saturday at the Silver Dollar Showroom. Free. WortHotel.com.