CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine — Not one but two of the greatest jam/rock bands around will take the stage Saturday, Jan. 27, when the Bud Light Concert Series welcomes Strangefolk and The Samples to Sugarloaf/USA.
Originally an acoustic duo, Strangefolk has expanded to include bass, drums and keyboards, creating a sound as varied as the backgrounds of the band members. Guitar player Jon Trafton’s songwriting contributions feature an intriguing blend of pop, rock and country elements. Luke Patchen Montgomery on acoustic and electric guitar incorporates open tunings and flat-picking into his playing style and injects incredible energy and emotion into the band’s improvisational jams, while Erik Glockier’s bass playing is both grounding and melodic. On drums is Russ Lawton who for several years played in the afro-fusion group Zzebra and has since toured with Trey Anastasio of Phish and the Gordon Stone Band, and works as a studio drummer. Don Scott on keyboards rounds out the group, utilizing styles ranging from jazz and rock to honky-tonk and bluegrass to create blistering solos, rich textures and funky rhythms.
The influences of rock, folk, blues and bluegrass are obvious in Strangefolk’s music. Their sound is unmistakable, and their songwriting is full of narrative lyrical content and inventive melody. Strangefolk’s trademark three-part harmonies and soaring lead guitars make them a favorite on the stage.
After 20 years of playing together, The Samples have also developed a great stage presence and have a reputation as one of the best live bands of all times. But they have also had some great studio albums.
The Samples had their chance at recording artist fame when they were signed to a major record label. They soon saw that the industry would not allow them to make the music they loved and they returned to the indie scene. Now, they credit word of mouth for their success.
In all, they have 18 CDs, including studio albums, compilations and live releases. Their most recent was 2005’s Rehearsing for Life on Apache Records. If you’re looking for the live experience, which they are best known for, 2004’s Live in Colorado will hit the spot.
“Playing with The Samples is a lot of fun because the guys are so good, and the music is inspiring as well as spontaneous,” drummer Bill Mutchler says on the band’s Web site. “We all seem to understand some weird foreign language that we communicate with on stage.”
Tickets for this very special concert event are $20 in advance and $25 day of show. This is an 18+ performance and proper ID is required. Visit sugarloaf.com or call 1.800 THE LOAF to purchase tickets and to book concert ski and stay packages.