After a two-week open call to Wyoming-based musical acts that perform original music, the WYOmericana Caravan committee has selected five diversely talented acts to take part in the collaborative tour—Sarah Sample (Sheridan), Aaron Davis & the Mystery Machine (Hoback), The Two Tracks (Sheridan), Jason Tyler Burton (Pinedale), and Shawn Hess (Laramie).
“We received a record number of submissions and the field was so strong that we felt it warranted a higher level of inclusion,” said Seadar Rose Davis, co-founder of the WYOmericana Caravan and Screen Door Porch. “None of these acts have previously been on the tour and that’s a first. It’s a really talented collective with a great deal of stage experience. Historically, most tours have featured the same three acts on each tour date. With five acts selected for 2020, there will be a slight rotation with three or four acts on any given bill. This will allow each act an ample set length while adding diversity for the audience.”
Hitting the road in mid-May 2020, booking is still in progress. Booking and Sponsorship inquiries can be directed to [email protected]. Presented in collaboration with The Wyoming Arts Council, the 6th anniversary tour will route 10-15 shows through the Rocky Mountain Region beginning in mid-May.
Described as “a traveling concert circus of sorts” by The New York Times, the award-winning WYOmericana Caravan Tour is a rolling representation of Wyoming’s burgeoning songwriter scene with multiple musical acts “caravanning” down the road together. The idea is to propel Wyoming’s music scene as an artist collective, exhibiting to the world that there’s a creative spark in the USA’s least populated state. Musical acts will perform individual sets—with the suspense of ad-libbed, cross-band collaborations—followed by an encore set that includes all members of the tour on stage simultaneously, taking chances and blending talents.
2020 WYOmericana Caravan Tour Artists
Sarah Sample (Sheridan) is an award-winning songwriter with a “raw, graceful voice” (Salt Lake City Weekly) and beautiful songs that weave a trail of stories through folk, Americana, and country and have garnered comparisons to Sheryl Crow, The Weepies, and Bonnie Raitt. Redwing, Sample’s sixth album, was produced by Sample’s longtime producer Scott Wiley (Elliott Smith, Bonnie Raitt) and features more of her cut-to-the-bone storytelling, framed with empathy and compassion, and told with the best singing of her career. Sample’s previous album, ‘Til The Morning, paired her with songwriter Edie Carey. The collection won Best Children’s Album in the 2014 Independent Music Awards, the 2014 Parents’ Choice Gold Award (highest honor), and 2014 NAPPA Gold Award (highest honor). Sample is a founding member of the folk-gospel collective The Lower Lights. Sample has played several prominent festivals—Merlefest, Cayamo, Folks Fest, Sisters, Telluride, and Kerrville—not to mention winning songwriting contests at most of them. She has also warmed up stages for artists like Darrell Scott, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Over The Rhine. Sample (vocals/guitar) will be performing as a duo or trio on this tour.
Aaron Davis & the Mystery Machine (Hoback) know that the distance between a sure bet and the cryptic is adventure fueled by restlessness. This would explain the “particularly interesting approach that mixes poetry, groove, improvisation, and roughness” (Lonestar Time). Chiefly known as co-founder of decade-long Americana band Screen Door Porch, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Aaron Davis works the lesser-worn corners of the American musical fabric through an unconventional lens. Slide banjo? Detuned guitar made of metal and an electric cigar box? You bet. From “searing slide guitar” (Country Weekly) echoing southern blues à la Duane Allman to a patchwork of fingerstyle folk and roots music, pensive alt-country, gypsy grass, and golden era 70s rock, Davis has been described as a “truly phenomenal songwriter” (Americana UK) with “the lyrical prowess of Jeff Tweedy and the vocal edge of a Southern bluesman.” The texture experts of The Mystery Machine—drummer Liam O’Neill with 3-part harmony sung by bassist David Bundy and pianist/organist/trombonist Mike Patton—combine for a dynamic stage show and the foundation of Davis’ ninth album, The Meander.
The Two Tracks (Sheridan) If one was to determine an overreaching definition of music that reverberates with heart-felt emotion, and songs that speak to the listener with honesty, conviction and integrity, then The Two Tracks clearly fit the bill. The quartet’s album, Postcard Town (2017), was produced by acclaimed songwriter Will Kimbrough and recorded at the legendary Butcher Shoppe Studio in Nashville by Grammy winning engineer Sean Sullivan. Country Standard Time wrote: “vibrant harmonies and a knack for writing eager, infectious melodies guarantee them an ability to lock on to their listeners without any hesitation whatsoever…The Two Tracks’ music serves as a reminder that the ability to tap tradition can pay off with a sound that’s still contemporary in its delivery and insightful in its conception.” The band features Julie Szewc (vocals/acoustic guitar), David Huebner (vocals/cello/electric guitar), Fred Serna (drums), and Taylor Phillips (bass).
Jason Tyler Burton (Pinedale) writes songs for rural people and rural communities. And he does so with humor and a deft yet delicate hand. He is careful with the places and people he writes about, telling complicated truths in straight forward folk story telling. His album, Kentuckian (2019), uses his upbringing in the Bluegrass State as the setting for stories that deal in universal themes. The album has been called “working class country roots from a gifted songwriter” (Americana UK), “a combination of Jason Isbell and Bob Dylan” (If It’s Too Loud) and “music paired with the songwriting is nothing short of an artistic masterpiece” (The Oklahoma Reviews). His most recent albums of rural Americana—Lost Behind the Ranges (2017) and Headwaters (2014)—reflect his journey from Kentucky to Wyoming. Burton is also known for his work with bands The Union City All-Stars and 6 Foot 2. Burton (vocals/guitar/mandolin/fiddle) will predominantly be performing solo.
Shawn Hess (Laramie) crawled out of a western noir film and into your heart with songs that stand firmly with one foot in the oldest roots of western music and folk and the other in a modern sensibility for narrative and rhyme. His debut solo album, World Away (2019), was explained as “treasures like this…a pretty broken-hearted collection of songs for sure, but still so damn enjoyable…excellent country songwriting” (One Chord or Another). Hess’ is known over the last decade in the Laramie area as a member of Beatgrass, Elk Tongue, 10 Cent Stranger, and his new project The Country Skillet. Hess (vocals/guitar/bass) will be performing solo on this tour.
For more information, visit WYOmericana.com.
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