Short and sweet – here are some of my favorite local bands/artists. These folks are all worth your time, and if you live in Boise you will have frequent opportunities to see many of them in the coming year. If not, you can still listen (there are links!)
This four-piece rock band (including an adorable husband and wife team) has only been in existence for a year and a half, but I have had the pleasure of seeing them twice and recommend their energetic, raucous, yet emotional live show. Their recent LP How Can We Really Know For Sure? is a fine debut as well. Highlights are “You”, “’91”, and “…And She Gave Me A Pen”. Look for them at Treefort – last year’s festival was the first time they caught my ears.
How Can We… album Spotify link:
Tylor & the Trainrobbers
When I first saw these guys jamming live, I couldn’t believe they were still toiling in relative obscurity playing Grainey’s and Pengillys nearly every week. Their sound is polished yet still has enough of a raw edge to skirt that outlaw country vibe, and they can easily swerve between foot-stompin’ honky tonkin’ and serious ballads (although they do the former so well you’ll keep coming back for those). Tylor Ketchum is a terrific songwriter, his band will make you shake your ass, and when they decide to do some covers they knock those out as well.
If their next record is as good as their debut (Gravel), look the Hell out. That entire effort is solid but “Custer County” in particular is damn near perfection. See them now while you can still just show up and catch them on any given Wednesday night. New single “Hide Your Goat” is a fun one and makes me hope there is a new record coming soon.
Gravel album Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/album/3EKrb7Zi2eQaktoCYJc8nR?si=m1_JFD8ETfC7SppIjTPB5Q
Delta Mud/John Kunk
Well, if you have read this blog for any length of time you know that I am a big fan of Mr. Kunk and also of his new band, Delta Mud. No, I am not on his payroll, and I get no compensation for telling y’all how refreshing and badass his music is. It’s just nice to see someone with talent and kindness get theirs, and I feel that coming for this guy. Check out the new EP Desert Road if you’re a fan of blues that rocks, and look out for this band – or Johnny Boy solo – playing at an intimate Boise venue near you. Quick plug: he will be playing solo at Lost Grove on Friday, January 4th. If you show up, you’ll likely see me there. And yes, I realize that is not a selling point. Come see him anyway.
Desert Road EP Spotify ink:
Fall Creek String Band
Corey James and his crew put on an incredible two-hour plus set at Clairvoyant Brewing earlier this year and I have been a fan ever since (there is a review on this site from sometime in the spring, if you want to dig). This is quality, down-home bluegrass/Americana music, featuring both originals and fantastic covers. Plenty of excellent musicianship in the form of acoustic guitar, violin, mandolin, and standup bass – what more could you want? My schedule hasn’t allowed me to see them since, but I am definitely going to try to and I suggest you do the same.
Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that I am a fan of this country songwriter’s live performances. His latest LP Steady Your Aim has some gems but the music really shines in concert. His opening set for Parker Millsap at Olympic in October was tremendous and made a fan out of a few friends I dragged along. You can find him and his terrific band frequently playing Pengillys or other downtown venues – check them out.
Steady Your Aim album Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/album/5sPTlEH4ECEFz51SuuJA27?si=I1YV_IAYRs6nsG97JWLmOg
There is something heartwarming about a talented musician performing happily to a crowd, and Nick certainly is that kind of artist. I have seen him in front of crowds of hundreds and in front of about a dozen people, and the guy gives it all with a smile on his face regardless. His songs are relatable and real, and when he does his own percussion onstage it’s a genuine treat. Check him out at Treefort this year, hopefully his set won’t get moved last minute due to a late-March snowstorm this time.
Redesign album Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/album/5CJBTyS1VVGMUwR8VACLWf?si=PJdfzZSsRQyYtZgoaPaqGw
David Robert King
Although this Idaho native is now living in Georgia, I consider him an honorary local, and encourage you to check out his latest album. Boise Weekly just named it one of the ten best local albums of 2018, and no argument is found here. Idaho is dark, moody, and deep – this is smart and thoughtful sad bastard music, confronting themes of heartache, loss, and death. I reviewed it when it was released in February, but I’ll say again that “Lower Lights” is one of the great songs of 2018. Given that he is 2,500 miles away, you may not get an opportunity to see him perform, so check out his latest record.
Idaho album Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/album/3zUDedcdsU12woxtmwJwxP?si=FRAH4oPrRHqbawvhtLYnaQ
Eccentric. Creative. Talented. Strange. Those are the thoughts that went through my head as I not only listened to Storie Grubb and his band at TF last year, but watched the visually pleasing (and challenging) show they put on. Semi-matching bizarre outfits, girls holding cardboard signs with the song titles, and a definite “art as much as music” vibe ruled that day.
Sadly, his covers album that has gotten some high praise (and peaked my interest) is not on Spotify, so I have yet to hear it. However, his debut album (?) The Length of Tomorrow is solid and features originals and also a straight and beautiful take on Beck’s “Jackass”. The title track and “The Adventures of Scott Weiland” are also worthy listens, although, sadly, Mr. Weiland’s adventures ended shortly after that song was released.
The Length of Tomorrow album Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/album/33UNSTMSeA5nqyFtrCKIEe?si=linz5LLNQhiJFQDCHHAaPQ
I first caught these guys when they opened for Mt. Joy at the Olympic this spring, and although they have since shortened their name (dropping frontman Luke’s name), they are very much still at it. That short set showed serious promise and was a great beginning to a terrific night of music. Check out their new single “I Know I Should” (listed on my 12/7 releases post) or go see them at Treefort – I’ll see you there.
Built To Spill
I know, I know… this is not exactly an up-and-comer. However, they (Doug Martsch and his rotating cast of characters) are the greatest musical thing to ever come out of this town and if you are still a holdout, listen already!!! Hey Portland, Austin, and all the rest: Doug is Boise’s, and you can’t have him.
I look forward to seeing BTS/Doug perform for my 15th time at TF VIII. Last year’s TF was highlighted by a Treepeople reunion and a BTS set that featured a front-to-back performance of the iconic Keep it Like a Secret record.
My Best of Built To Spill/Doug Martsch Spotify playlist: