Horse Feathers, Desert Rocks, Willy Vlautin, Scott H. Biram & The Pack A.D. 

Live: Music Picks May 21-27

click to enlarge Scott H. Biram
  • Scott H. Biram

Friday 2.22

If Justin Ringle performed only “Curs in the Weed” during his Salt Lake City stop, more than a few audience members would walk away completely satisfied and happily heartbroken. The Portland-based folk artist recorded his debut LP largely at the behest of friend and collaborator Peter Broderick who rightly believed the world could benefit from Ringle’s hushed and poignant melodies. Like “Curs in the Weed,” much of House With No Home sways in a gentle dance with Elizabeth Broderick’s sharp strings which cut through Ringle’s loaded sighs. Horse Feathers released a 7-inch in December with a limited number of copies available at their live shows. Only one way to find out if there are any left … Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7:30 p.m. All-ages. Tickets:

Summer in Salt Lake City is shaping up to be a hell of a good time for live music lovers, with the pinchme-I’m-dreaming lineups for Twilight, Red Butte, Snowbird and Deer Valley, not to mention the acts local promoters are bringing to the clubs. For those who just can’t wait for June to arrive—and those just looking for a good time—pack up the car/van/ bus and head down south for the annual Desert Rocks Music Festival. It’s like Burning Man, with more music and less chaos. This year’s lineup is just as diverse and solid as the 2008 event which had Derek Trucks and Del the Funky Homosapien making separate appearances on the same stage. This year features a wide range of blues, folk, bluegrass, country, hip-hop, R&B and soul acts from near and far including Wisebird, Labcoat, Big Night, Band of Annuals, The Alkoholiks, Ulysses, Puddle Mountain Ramblers, Gigi Love, Brian Thurber and Will Lovell, among others. Bring a swimsuit, hula hoop, cooler, sunscreen, blanket and dancing shoes. Moab, May 22-24.

Tuesday 5.26

A friend of mine had to stop reading Willy Vlautin’s second novel Northline when scenes of an abusive relationship got a little too intense. This same friend introduced me to Vlautin’s debut The Motel Life, a novel written with the same gut-wrenching prose that makes Northline such a visceral wallop. In both works, Vlautin casts a bunch of lost souls wandering an especially depressing Reno. They drink, they fight, they try to make something of themselves but most of them give up. It’s a believable and for some relatable existence—the type of world Vlautin paints in his lyrics for Richmond Fontaine, a critically acclaimed folk/Americana group currently working on their eighth studio album. The band won’t be playing here anytime soon, which makes this sort of a strange live music pick. But Vlautin will be calling in for a speaker phone Q&A during tonight’s Hard Boiled Book Club. The public is invited. If you appreciate songwriting worthy of a novel and vice versa, please join in the conversation. Sam Weller’s, 254 S. Main, 6:30 p.m. All-ages. Info: 801-328-2586

Maybe I’ve been reading too much Cormac McCarthy, but Scott H. Biram seems like he’d fit right into one of the author’s grisly narratives. The rough-and-tumble bluesman has a parched voice that belongs on the dry, dusty plains of nowhere. He sounds tortured but resigned to a fate of perpetual purgatory, like “this is a bitch but I might as well keep truckin.’” He makes the most of his misery and pain, even overcoming well-documented injuries—“My legs and knees and arms are now filled with metal plates and rods,” he wrote after sustaining another compound fracture in March—to give his all onstage. Biram’s latest LP Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever (Bloodshot) mellows out on the punk flavor he infuses into his records, with straight-up Delta blues tracks like “Go Down Old Hannah.” Also, check out Biram’s contribution to Hiram & Huddie, a double tribute album to Hank Williams and Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter. The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m.

Wednesday 5.27

click to enlarge musiclive_090521_the_pa_2f4.jpg
The Pack A.D. swear up and down that they are not a blues band, they are a rock band with perhaps a slight undercurrent of blues. But the duo doth protest too much, for the blues label— however misguided—is a term of endearment. Some folks think they hear blues where they really hear soul, and by soul they’re really experiencing the honest, hard-earned passion oozing from the microphone and raw thump of stripped-down drums. So, sure, we’ll set the record straight—The Pack A.D. are rockers with their own blend of blues, soul and even punk aesthetic as evidenced on Funeral Mixtape (2008). They aren’t punk, though. We don’t want to start any more rumors. The Woodshed, 60 E. 800 South, 9 p.m.

Coming Up
John Vanderslice, Morning Benders
(Kilby Court, May 28); Player’s Ball (Teazers, May 29); X96 Big Ass Show (Usana Amphitheater, May 29); New York Dolls (The Depot, May 30); Eilen Jewell (The State Room, May 30); Berlin (Great Saltair, May 30); Mr. Gnome (Kilby Court, June 1); Camera Obscura (Urban Lounge, June 2); The Action Design (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, June 4); Rye Rye (W Lounge, June 4); Moe (The Depot, June 5); Ryan Shupe & The RubberBand (Sandy Amphitheater, June 5)

Other Shows This Week
Vilma Palma
| Taking Back Sunday | Gogol Bordello

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