Salt Lake Magazine HomeContestDan Nailen's Lounge ActDealsGetawayGlen Warchol's CrawlerIn The HiveIn The MagazineKid FriendlyMary's RecipeOn the TableOutdoorsPC LifeShop TalkUncategorizedTue, 19 Jul 2016 18:53:48 +0000Film screening of &quot;The Messenger&quot; at The City Library<p>Everyone knows the bees are disappearing at an alarming rate but what about the songbirds? Following the bees down an uncertain path, songbirds are facing unique challenges in today's modern world which threaten their livelihood.</p> <p><img alt="" height="214" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/songbird.jpg" width="320"></p> <p>Attempting to overcome climate change, pesticides, light pollution and more, the songbirds are quickly disappearing. "The Messenger" addresses these many issues and seeks solutions, hoping to turn the songbirds' fate around before it's too late.</p> <p>On Tuesday, July 26, the Nature Conservancy and the Utah Film Society are hosting a special viewing of the documentary at The City Library in downtown Salt Lake. Following the show, University of Utah avian researcher, Cagan Sekercioglu will be speaking about the issue.</p> <p>The showing starts at 7 p.m., so arrive early for seating. The City Library is located at 210 E 400 S. </p>Salt Lake magazineTue, 19 Jul 2016 18:53:48 +0000 The HiveOn our Terms: A conference fighting rape culture<p><img alt="" height="480" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/ywca_logo.png" width="480"></p> <p>On Our Terms, a series of empowering and educational discussions for the <a href="">YWCA</a>, will be held on July 27, August 3 and August 10 at the Salt Lake Masonic Temple. Proceeds from the On Our Terms series will go to create a scholarship for self-defense training for residents of the SLC YWCA, an organization designed to eliminate racism and empower women.</p> <p>The series is designed to discuss rape culture and offer empowerment to women in a safe environment.</p> <p>A press release from the event states: “The On Our Terms series will explore some of the most pressing issues facing interpersonal dynamics in modern culture, and what we can do to protect and uphold ourselves using the strength of our self-awareness, the clarity of our words, and the power our minds first and foremost—with practical self-defense techniques thrown in for good measure.”</p> <p><strong>Schedule &amp; Presenters:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Wednesday, July 27, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM</p> <ul> <li> <p>Chelsea Kilpack – The Power of Consent: Modeling Enthusiastic Consent Every Day</p> </li> <li> <p>Marty Liccardo – Bystander Intervention</p> </li> </ul> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Wednesday, August 3, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM</p> <ul> <li> <p>Nubia Pena – Redefining Power / Boundary Setting</p> </li> <li> <p>Shannon Cox – “Rape to Prison Pipeline,” the Utah Story</p> </li> </ul> </li> <li> <p>Wednesday, August 10, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM</p> <ul> <li> <p>DeAnn Tilton – Start by Believing &amp; Victim Blaming</p> </li> </ul> </li> <li> <p style="">Chelsea Kilpack &amp; Miyo Strong – Self Defense</p> </li> </ul> <p>The Salt Lake Masonic Temple is located at 650 E. South Temple.</p> <p>Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased at <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p> <p> </p>Salt Lake magazineMon, 18 Jul 2016 22:41:09 +0000 The HiveAlamexo starts $1 Taco Thursdays<p><span style=""><span style=""><span><img alt="" height="480" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/alamexo_tacos_de_puerco.jpg" width="640"><em>Alamexo's Tacos de Puerco</em></span></span></span></p> <p><span style=""><span style=""><span>Imagine that it's Thursday at 5:00. You've almost made it through an entire work week, but you need a little motivation to finish strong. How about tacos from one of the best Mexican joints in the city? Oh yeah, and the tacos are only $1. Starting Thursday, July 21, Alamexo is hosting $1 Taco nights every Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. </span></span></span></p> <p><span style="">The $1 tacos will only be served in Alamexo’s entryway bar. Each week will feature a special with choices of either a meat taco or a vegetarian option (or both). Featured drinks will also be served each week.</span></p> <p><span style=""><span style=""><span>Here's the taco/drink menu for this Thursday, July 21:</span></span></span></p> <p><span style="">Menu for 7/21/2016:</span></p> <p><span style=""><span style=""><span><strong>Tacos de Puerco:</strong></span></span></span><span style=""><span style=""><span>  </span></span></span><span style=""><span style=""><span>Shaved pork loin with mole manchamanteles and local apricot salsa: $1</span></span></span></p> <p><span style=""><span style=""><span><span style=""><strong>Tacos de frijoles y queso Oaxaca</strong></span><span style="">:  Black beans seasoned with hoja santa, fried queso Oaxaca, and salsa molcajete: $1</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style=""><span style=""><span><strong>Featured Drink - Peligroso:  </strong></span></span><em><span style=""><span>Espolón</span></span></em><span style=""><span> </span></span><span style=""><span>Reposado, crème de cassis, lime, Crabbie’s ginger beer: $10</span></span></span></p> <p><span style="">Check Alamexo's <a href="" target="_blank">website</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook page</a> to stay updated on each Thursday's specials. It's a surefire way to get you through the week.</span></p> <p>Alamexo Mexican Kitchen is located at 268 South State Street in downtown Salt Lake City. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><span style=""><span style=""><span></span></span></span></a></p>Salt Lake magazineMon, 18 Jul 2016 19:42:25 +0000 The HiveOn the TablePreview: Boz Scaggs at Red Butte<p><img alt="" height="480" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/boz_scaggs_4.jpg" width="582"></p> <p>Singer, songwriter and guitarist Boz Scaggs has been the prototype of "blue-eyed soul" since he started singing with Steve Miller's blues bands in Dallas in 1959. He did a stint in Europe, busking on street corners after his band the Wigs disbanded to form Mother Earth. Rejoining the Steve Miller Band in 1968, Boz departed to launch a solo career after two well received albums. Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone Magazine helped Scaggs get signed to Atlantic Records, and went on to work with acclaimed producer Glyn Johns after signing with Columbia in 1971.</p> <p>Although music critics loved his work, big commercial success didn't arrive until his top charting "Silk Degrees" album in 1976. Singles like "Lido Shuffle", "Lowdown", "Breakdown Ahead" and "Jo Jo" still stand up to scrutiny, considering he co-wrote with David Foster of 80's L.A. session player super group Toto, who also served as his backing band in the recording studio.</p> <p>Boz spent much of the 80's running his own nightclub "Slims" in San Francisco. Resurfacing in 1988 with a new album, he toured with Donald Fagen"s Rock and Soul review, and in 2012 as a member of the Dukes of September, whose principals include Micheal McDonald and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan. </p> <p>Scaggs teamed up with ace drummer/producer Steve Jordan on his last two albums which feature collaborations with Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams. He is currently receiving great reviews for performances with his veteran band that includes an amazing guitarist well known to Utah audiences, Mike Miller. Performing at the Red Butte Garden Outdoor Concert Series on Tuesday July 19, expect a great evening of high grade song writing, singing and monster musicianship. Tickets are still available on the Red Butte Gardens website. General Admission tickets are $45 for garden members and $50 for the general public. Doors open at 6:00, and "he's for the money, he's for the show" at 7:00.</p>Salt Lake magazineMon, 18 Jul 2016 18:35:01 +0000 Josh Ritter and JJ Grey at Red Butte<p><img alt="" height="480" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/img_6146_(640x480).jpg" width="640"></p> <p><em>Josh Ritter takes the Red Butte stage</em></p> <p><em></em>Two great acts co-headlined Thursday’s show at Red Butte Gardens: Josh Ritter and JJ Grey &amp; Mofro.</p> <p><span style="">Josh Ritter</span></p> <p>Ritter’s warm, deep voice has a raw quality that’s interesting and appealing. The singer-songwriter recorded his latest album in New Orleans, and that influence shows up wonderfully in his style.</p> <p>Although Ritter’s voice and guitar skills really seem suited for folk music, at Red Butte he delivered on his claim that his music can be “rock and roll with lots of words.” His songs are packed with beautifully written lyrics that vary from funny social commentary (“Jesus hates your high school dances”) to heartbreaking (“My new lover… she only looks like you in a certain kind of light when she holds her head just right”) to downright poetic  (“I like my lightning sweet”).</p> <p>After Ritter had played a few tunes, an audience member shouted “Welcome Back!” This crowd loves their hometown boys, even if they do come from a little farther north.</p> <p> “I grew up in Moscow, Idaho,” Ritter told the crowd halfway through the set. “Utah was the most exotic place I knew. This is an absolutely beautiful place to play.” Cue cheers.</p> <p>Ritter ventured into different musical genres - sometimes folk, sometimes more jazz/blues - but somehow it didn’t translate into an identity crisis. His catchy, nostalgic, rootsy sound was dance-worthy and right on target. I was excited to see Ritter ditch the band for a solo rendition of “Snow is Gone.” This song showed off his soulful voice and pure talent on the acoustic guitar.</p> <p><span style="">JJ Grey</span></p> <p>JJ Grey &amp; Mofro kicked off their set with a blues sound, switched halfway through to Southern rock, and threw some jazz in there, too. I loved every minute.  </p> <p>Grey, a Jacksonville, Florida native, turned on the Southern charm in between songs with a gushing of “Thank y’all”s and passionate storytelling that deserved choruses of amens and hallelujahs. The combination of his voice and his band sounded like what real biscuits and gravy tastes like. Yep, I went there.  </p> <p>The guy next to me said that Grey was “multitalented” when he busted out the harmonica, and he was so right. Grey and his band put on a show that really let you lose yourself in the music. It was an upbeat and soulful performance that could have taken place in downtown Memphis.</p> <p>“We don’t ever know what’s gonna happen next,” Grey said by way of introducing a roaring blues number. “We’re gonna play something funky.”</p> <p>Grey and the band added lively solos from the tambourine, trumpet, trombone, piano and electric guitar to close out the night.</p> <p> </p>Salt Lake magazineFri, 15 Jul 2016 23:10:36 +0000 Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett at Deer Valley<p>It was a night for believers at Deer Valley on Thursday night. Maybe you believe in the God that was mentioned in Lyle Lovett's gospel-heavy set with His Large band, or you put your faith in the voice of Emmylou Harris, who I believe may actually be an angel sent here to Earth—or perhaps you're more like me and you just simply know the healing effect live music has on the soul. No matter. It was all there Thursday night.</p> <p>At nearly 6:30 on the nose, as people still were filing into their seats, Emmylou Harris came onto the stage with her three-member band. There was no announcement. There was very little reception from the crowd (in fact, the large group of people in the row ahead of me stood through the first three songs of her set, but I digress).</p> <p>It was seven songs in, after a stunning version of Simon and Garfunkel tune, “The Boxer” that she even said her name. “I'm Emmylou Harris, by the way,” she told the crowd, who by that point had at least started paying some attention. “Just in case y'all thought I was just some girl up here singing. Some girl? I'm 69! I've been doing this a very long time.”</p> <p><img alt="" height="480" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/emmylou.jpg" width="640"></p> <p>At 69, she's still beautiful enough to take one's breath away, with that shock of white hair, those high cheekbones, those doe eyes and that lilting southern drawl that turns into a singing voice that is somehow both feathery and soulful. Harris is the real deal, and came on tour backed by a band that includes two women she's toured with since 1985.</p> <p>Her setlist included “Spanish Dancer” a song she recently recorded with Rodney Crowell but noted was penned by Patti Scialfa, “She's married to that guy Bruce Springsteen,” Harris quipped. “Orphan Girl,” “Here I am,” “Her Hair Was Red,” and “Red Dirt Girl,” which she told the crowd was not based on her own life. “I had a very happy childhood,” she said, “So I made some stuff up.”</p> <p>For the encore, Harris started with “After The Gold Rush” by Neil Young, whom she called a “Great Canadian philosopher,” and finished with “Bright Morning Stars,” with tremendous, spine-tingling harmonizing from her band. Saying she'd written the song during a time that the events of the world seemed difficult to take, Harris said, “I still believe. I believe in people. I believe in goodness.”</p> <p>I don't know about all that. But I know that I believe in Emmylou Harris. </p> <p>After what was described as the quickest set change ever, and as the sun was setting and the crowd had finally settled down, it was time for Lyle Lovett and His Large band to take the stage. </p> <p>Ever the classy southern Gentleman, Lovett and His Large Band (and, by the way, it's not just a clever name—it really is a large band) are always dressed in suits and ties, and they were joined onstage last night for their opening songs by nine members of Salt Lake City Mass Choir, a Utah-based gospel choir (I know. I know. Sometimes the jokes just write themselves. But trust me, these guys were good).</p> <p>Starting with the rousing gospel “I'm a Solider in the Army of the Lord” with the Mass Choir and Francine Reed joining Lovett on vocals, Lyle and His Large Band certainly set a tone far different than the calm and reflective one that Emmylou Harris built before him. This was a more celebratory, raucous trip through musical genres. Because lets be clear: Lyle Lovett defies genres. He's a little bit country, a little bit rock-and roll, a little bit folk, and a little bit spoken-word beatnik poet with a generous heaping of stand-up comic thrown in for good measure.</p> <p><img alt="" height="480" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/lovett.jpg" width="640"></p> <p>But, last night at Deer Valley, the set list was heavy on gospel for the first three songs, then transitioned to a more classic Lyle Lovett, before bringing Emmylou Harris back onstage to reminisce about the late, great, Guy Clark and to sing a couple of his songs and returning again to gospel at the end of the show. </p> <p>Throughout the set, members of the Large Band came and went, until at one point, when just Lovett and fiddler Luke Bulla remained onstage and Lovett quipped, “Where the heck is everybody?” Lovett and his band appear to have a rapport—Lovett walked the audience through each member of the band, and how long they'd been touring, where they were from and usually with a short story of some sort.</p> <p>Once the band returned, they hit on all the songs expected at a Lyle Lovett show, “If I Had a Boat,” “Here I Am,” “That's Right You're Not From Texas,” and “She's No Lady” all came in at that point in the night.</p> <p>But when Lovett, who built in plenty of his moments for each member of his band to shine throughout the evening stepped aside and allowed Francine Reed to take over for a minute, magic happened. A soulful powerhouse, when Reed sang “Wild Women Don't Get the Blues” and then followed it up by reminding the crowd that it was written in 1924 and first performed by an all women jazz band, the crowd went wild. The Large Band makes some noise, but I'm pretty sure those boys have nothing on the sounds coming from Reed's mouth. </p> <p>Then the choir came back. Earlier in the night, Lovett had said of them, “We sent them the music a few weeks back and when we got here they know it better than we did.” While a slight exaggeration, clearly, the Salt Lake Mass Choir was having a great time on that stage and holding their own with some world-class musicians.</p> <p>When Lovett told the crowd about his long-lasting relationship with Emmylou Harris, he said, “you have to be very careful when inviting me over, because I will show up.” It was clear last night that the crowd at Deer Valley was glad he showed up there.  </p>Christie GehrkeFri, 15 Jul 2016 22:10:00 +0000 The Hive&quot;Red Rock Testimony&quot; fights for Bears Ears<p><img alt="" height="768" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/red_rock_testimony.jpeg" width="625"></p> <p>A new <a href="" target="_blank">book</a>, <em>Red Rock Testimony: Three Generations of Writers Speak on Behalf of Utah’s Public Lands, </em>hopes to influence the Obama administration and Congress as they make decisions about southern Utah’s public lands. Copies of the book have been delivered to the Obama administration, every member of Congress, and public lands managers at the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and the United States Forest Service.</p> <p>This issue was brought to the national spotlight in October 2015 when five southwestern Native nations proposed the creation of Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah. In May of this year, <a href="/blog/2016/05/18/rally-for-bears-ears/" target="_blank">Native American tribes and their supporters rallied</a> to oppose the Utah legislature’s move to denounce President Obama’s designation of the national monument. Public land arguments have been in the news since the Bundys' takeover in Oregon and Representative Jason Chaffetz's Public Land Initiative. </p> <p>The book’s 34 contributors are writers from different backgrounds, races and generations who all agree on the spiritual, cultural and scientific importance of protecting the proposed Bears Ears National Monument. The book’s contributors include: Charles Wilkinson, the preeminent scholar of public lands and Indian law, Navajo Poet Laureate Luci Tapahonso, Utah’s first poet laureate David Lee, MacArthur Fellow Gary Paul Nabhan, writer-philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore, former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, former Utah state archaeologist Kevin Jones, millennial essayists Anne Terashima and Brooke Larsen, Ute Mountain Ute tribal councilwoman Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, former members of Congress Mark Udall and Karen Shepherd, bestselling essayists David Gessner and Lauret Savoy and recent Utah Bureau of Land Management Director Juan Palma</p> <p>A website called <a href="" target="_blank"></a> was also created as part of this project. The site encourages interactive submissions celebrating redrock country and promoting protection of public lands.</p> <p>This is not the first time a testimonial work of literature has attempted to influence government decisions. In 1995, a work titled <em>Testimony: Writers of the West Speak on Behalf of Utah Wilderness</em> influenced President Bill Clinton’s decision to proclaim Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument the following year.</p> <p>A press release for the book stated, “These redrock writers have created a community chorus, a montage of hearfelt words that includes Native and Hispanic voices, warnings from elders and challenges from millenials, personal emotional journeys and lyrical nature writing. These pieces address historical context, natural history and archaeology, energy threats, faith, and politics. Together, they offer a remarkable case for restraint and respect in the incomparable redrock landscape of southern Utah.”</p> <p><img alt="" height="246" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/image003.jpg" width="470"></p>Salt Lake magazineThu, 14 Jul 2016 20:14:00 +0000 The HiveOutdoorsReview: Howard Jones, OMD and Barenaked Ladies at Red Butte<p>I entered Red Butte Garden on Wednesday night with trepidation. I wasn't sure what to make of the first two groups on the bill. Unlike most Utahns, I'm not even that familiar with Howard Jones or OMD. I don't' get the cult-like passion for their brand of synth-pop that is found here in the Land of Zion, and I'm too young to have listened to their stuff in my formative years, anyway.</p> <p>I did listen to a lot of Barenaked Ladies, though. Gordon was my favorite album for a very long time, and I'd wager a bet that my former roommate Lyndsay still can't listen to “Jane” or “Enid” without throwing up in her mouth a little, because I had them on constant repeat so often.</p> <p> My hesitation ended as soon as Howard Jones bounded onto the stage like a force of nature with spiky hair, sunglasses, a white sports coat and a keytar. That's right, a keytar.</p> <p><img alt="" height="480" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/jones.jpg" width="640"> </p> <p> </p> <p>“My job is to really get this party started,” Jones said, “We're just going to play the hits, if that's alright.” And play the hits, he did. The crowd was on their feet nearly the entire set, singing along to all of the songs—even the ones that I wouldn't refer to as “hits” necessarily. He did play “Life In One Day,” “Everlasting Love” and “Things Can Only Get Better”—with the latter ending in a techno dance remix. Jones' voice was as good as it ever was, and his energy onstage equally matched that of artists half his age. </p> <p>“So, Salt Lake, we have a bit of a history, don't we?” he asked before leaving the stage, acknowledging his kinship with the crowd. He added, “All those nights at Park West...” The crowd cheered at the reference to the now defunct Park City venue.</p> <p>Maybe it's my well-documented affinity for Brits and their accents (Tom Hiddleson, if you're reading this, call me), but OMD kept the party rolling, even with their less than ideal placement in the middle of the show. “Here's the deal,” lead singer Andy McCluskey told the crowd, “We'll be brilliant. You'll enjoy this.” Enjoy they did. Again, everyone in the crowd sang along to every word, was on their feet the entire time and dancing (I'm not sure the band understood what a coup it was to get a Utah crowd Dancing). Like Jones, OMD vowed to only play the hits. “So In Love,” “Enola Gay,” “Tesla Girls” and of course, “If You Leave” were all on the setlist and delivered with as much intensity as Jones. “What is it about Salt Lake and English synth music?” McCluskey asked the crowd. And after promises to return next year, the band exited the stage.</p> <p><img alt="" height="480" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/omd_.jpg" width="640"></p> <p> </p> <p>So, there I am—a very recent convert to the Utah Brit-pop obsession, and here comes Barenaked Ladies. From the beginning of their set, I started to question the order of the bands. Double and triple billings are always tricky. Who's the bigger name? Who should get to go first?</p> <p>I can say that without a doubt, for this show, Barenaked ladies should have opened and Jones should have closed out the set. Not only is their vibe a little more mellow, but unlike the acts before them, BNL seemed to have no interest in only playing the hits during their one-hour set. This may be because they separated ways with former singer and songwriter Steven Page, or it may be because they fundamentally misunderstand the intention of a nostalgia tour. The band mentioned how happy they were that the venue was sold-out, but didn't seem to have any recognition that may not have been because of their inclusion on the ticket.</p> <p><img alt="" height="480" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/bnl.jpg" width="640"> </p> <p>And so we got “The Old Apartment,” “Brian Wilson,” “Hello City” (complete with a shout-out to Club DV8) and a few others—but we also got the theme song from the <em>Big Bang Theory</em> and a song from their children's album, Snack Time.</p> <p>BNL aren't even as funny as they used to be. They had their moments, with a freestyle rap about the flower barrier and a chat about keyboardist Kevin Hearn playing his high school OMD cover band tapes to the real OMD. But singer Ed Robertson changing the lyrics in “Pinch Me” to a joke about putting on his sister's clothes and transgender bathrooms not only felt flat and felt out of place, it was also borderline offensive, at best.</p> <p>It says a lot, actually, that the highlight of their set as headliners was when Howard Jones joined the band back onstage to sing “No One Is To Blame,” the one glaring omission from his own set.</p> <p>My advice: Howard Jones is playing a <a href="">solo show</a> at The Complex tonight. If you missed his set last night, or even if you didn't, go to there. Catch OMD when they come back next year as promised. But, remember Barenaked ladies the way they were.</p> <p>In short: More synth. More keytar. More hits. More Brits. Less whatever BNL was doing. (And seriously, you guys, play "Jane" more. It's a great song.) </p> <p> </p> <p><em>Photos by Stuart Graves</em></p>Christie GehrkeThu, 14 Jul 2016 16:17:00 +0000 The HivePreview: Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris at Deer Valley<p>The story goes that the late (great) Gram Parsons found the single mother performing in a bar in D.C., convinced her to record with him and to go on tour with his band The Fallen Angels. Parsons spent the better part of their brief time together teaching her about country music and helping her shape her musical identity. And, after he died in a hotel room in Joshua Tree National Park, she wrote her first signature song, “Boulder to Birmingham” about him. She, of course, is Emmylou Harris. </p> <p> </p> <p><img alt="" height="480" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/emmylou-harris.jpg" width="480"></p> <p> </p> <p>He is a Houston-area native who was a student Texas A&amp;M and liked to hang out with his buddies (namely, Robert Earl Keen) and write songs when he wasn't studying journalism and German. He's gone on to record songs like “That's Right, You're Not From Texas” and “She's No Lady” and, nothing write about him would be complete without a reference to his whirlwind romance and marriage to America's sweetheart, Julia Roberts. He, of course, is Lyle Lovett.</p> <p><img alt="" height="480" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/url.jpg" width="384"></p> <p>Together, the duo—with decades of musical performance, songwriting, Grammy-winning, Country Music Hall of Fame experience between them—will play Deer Valley on Thursday July 13<sup>th</sup> as part of the Big Stars, Bright Nights series presented by the Park City Institute. Lovett will bring “His Large Band” and all signs point to each playing a full-set of music and it appears that Ms. Harris will be onstage first.</p> <p>The show starts at 6:30, doors are at 5. Lawn seats are still <a href="">available</a>.  </p>Christie GehrkeWed, 13 Jul 2016 17:18:00 +0000 The HivePreview: Josh Ritter at Red Butte<p>Singer-songwriter/guitarist Josh Ritter is playing Red Butte this Thursday with JJ Grey and Mofro. Recently, Salt Lake Magazine spoke to Ritter by phone to chat about how he defines his music, his transition from scientist to musician, and the real value of Beyonce's "Lemonade."</p> <p><img alt="" height="331" src="/site_media/uploads/July%202016/josh-ritter-header_(640x331).jpg" width="640"></p> <p>SLM: I wanted to talk to you first about Salt Lake, cause you’re from Idaho, right? Your shows here always feel like they’ve got a kind of hometown feel. Does that feel true for you?</p> <p>JR: Oh, absolutely. We’re attached at the hip. I love playing in Salt Lake, and I totally consider it a hometown show.</p> <p>SLM: Your parents are still in Moscow, Idaho?</p> <p>JR: Yeah, they’re going to try to come down to the Salt Lake show.</p> <p>SLM: How do you define your music? Do you consider it folk?</p> <p>JR:  You know, I’ve always felt like sometimes people get up in arms about how music is defined, but I don’t think it’s my job. I feel like my job is to write music and it will fit somewhere. If it helps people to find it by saying it’s folk music or by saying it’s rock 'n' roll with lots of words, I’m totally happy about however it’s described. There’s room enough for everybody.</p> <p>SLM: So rock 'n' roll with lots of words is an interesting way to describe it, because your lyrics are dense, I mean there’s a lot to dissect. Is there something you credit that songwriting style to?</p> <p>JR: I guess it’s mostly because a lot of my favorite writers write densely - Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Lucinda Williams. I like that style - I like cramming the words in. I try not to do it all the time, but it’s a joy for me to find that blank sheet of paper and make a pattern out of all those words.</p> <p>SLM: I saw that you’re working on a record of cowboy songs with Bob Weir? How did that come about?</p> <p>JR: My guitar player has been playing with Weir for a number of projects for a while. Weir mentioned that he wanted to make a record of cowboy songs that he remembered from being a ranch hand, before the Grateful Dead. I kind of flippantly threw myself out there as the one who would write these cowboy songs, and he really thought they were cool. And being the open-minded, generous, cool guy that he is, he started to record them and we started to work together. I’m really kind of stunned that it actually happened, and it's such a fun project for me to spend time on.</p> <p>SLM: What is the difference between writing songs and writing the novel that you released in 2011?</p> <p>JR: There’s really no difference that I can see, except that the novel is longer. And at the end of every day, you may not have something to show like you do with songwriting. I couldn’t get that burst of adrenaline from sharing songs at the end of the day as a novelist. It's one of the loneliest arts that requires such strength, but at the end of the day, the mechanism is the same. You’re just trying to find the perfect word and stick the perfect word next to it. I hope to write another one soon, because I think I learned a lot from it.</p> <p>SLM: The thing we talk about here at the office is that when words are your trade, sometimes they’re there and they’re plentiful, and sometimes they’re just not, and that results in a tough day. Do you ever have that 'word fatigue'?</p> <p>JR: Yeah, definitely. When you’re a writer and you can’t write, then what are you? I read once that the price of being an artist is being a of satisfaction hoping, hoping that they come.</p> <p>SLM: You went to college in Ohio, at Oberlin. You were studying neuroscience like your parents at first, what made you turn to music instead?</p> <p>JR: I always thought that I would play music and maybe have a career on the weekends. I thought I would do my real work during the week, and then jump on stage Friday-Sunday. I started to realize what I had was a chance to play music all the time, and I decided I would give myself four years of temp-working and playing music. That's kind of how I made the switch from science to music. My parents have always been super supportive. I feel like I have a career like my parents do, where they love what they do and get to explore the world. I get to do that same thing in my own way.</p> <p>SLM: It’s interesting that both parts of your brain worked well enough for you to be good at science and music.</p> <p>JR: Actually, they didn't. I had a complete illusion that I would be good at science. I was tremendously bad at organic chemistry and the basics of biology. I think what I really loved were scientists, because they seemed so much like artists. They seemed like wackos who couldn’t live in reality, and I thought that was such an interesting way to live, because I hadn’t really discovered artists yet.</p> <p>SLM: You did a semester abroad at the University of Edinborough because it has a folk music archive. Even though you don’t define yourself as folk, do you think folk music is still defining the story of America?</p> <p>JR:  I would say that folk music is the thing that tells the story of America, but I think folk music is whatever you think it is, like “Work” or “Lemonade” or any music that tells a story that everyone can relate to. Down the road, we’re going to be able to tell a lot about America at this time by the types of music that are coming out, which is why I don’t think I hold to the idea that folk music is any one thing. It’s just a catch-all for the things that we remember.</p> <p>SLM: What has been on repeat in your car and on your iTunes?</p> <p>JR:  I’m listening to Kanye West’s new record, which is a huge, beautiful, psychotic mess. It’s just so interesting, and it's unhinged artistic freedom.</p> <p> </p>Salt Lake magazineTue, 12 Jul 2016 23:14:00 +0000