Jackson Hole Hootananny, 7.25.11

Each Monday at Dornan's in Moose, groups of confused tourists, Jackson old timers, cowboys and a sprinkling of dirty 20 somethings straight off the mountainside meet for one of the greatest mish-mashes of an open mic you've ever seen.  All under the banner of the Tetons, its not a bad way to spend a Monday evening with a bottle of wine.  Monday night I saw an old cowboy evoke the spirit of Johnny Cash and play some of the loneliest stuff I've heard performed live.  Afterward I sat across from him at a picnic table as his shaky hands slowly placed his guitar back in a weathered case.  It was clear this guy was not some wanna-be cowboy retired from Wall Street to live the western dream in Jackson Hole.  He was the real deal, and watching him play his two tracks on stage as the cold shadow of the Teton began to reach ever closer was one of the more unexpectedly moving live experiences I've had this summer.  Not long after this a young guy, maybe 23 years old, with a sound like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah via The Tallest Man On Earth by way of The Decemberists, left me jaw dropped.  He played two originals that, despite their quintessential indie influences, were show stopping in themselves.  What this kid is doing in JH is beyond me, but if he plays his cards right I could see him easily opening for the aforementioned bands shortly.  Maybe it was the wine, the long day paddling on the Snake River, or the stunning venue, but I never did get that kids name.  Guess I'll have to go back next week. . . 

If your lucky enough to get lost on the way to the bathroom, there's a steady stream of musicians of all ages jamming backstage.  I caught two of a new generation of players and was lucky enough to snatch the video bellow of Ashley Colgate and Mike Swanson backstage this past Monday:

Bellow is the preview of a documentary that provides details of the history of the event.   Don't forget to pay respects to the guys who started this thing and have kept it a tradition for decades.