Juneau's wet summer offset by hot music

Time to settle in to local music after a season of talented visitors

Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2008

It seems like forever since the Alaska Folk Festival and Pelican Boardwalk Boogie kicked off our musical summer here in Juneau and Southeast, especially since it's been one big long September since Memorial Day.

It's been a decade since I spent an entire summer in Juneau so I don't know if this always happens but thinking back, a lot of really good music came through town this summer, which probably helped to keep some of us from going completely postal.

The Creole artists from Louisiana that came for Folk Fest were great players and great people who inspired a handful of us to plan to cruise down to Lafayette, La., for next month's Festival Acadiens et Créoles.

Regular visitor Wisconsin Slim came up to join the fat lineup at this year's Boardwalk Boogie about a month later, mixing with the likes of Kansas City's honky-tonk mayhem band The Wilders, the Foghorn Stringband from Portland, Ore., Bellingham's Gallus Brothers, and The Pimentos from Haines, not to mention our own Panhandle Crabgrass Revival Band. A whole crowd of Yukoners was down too, which may have led to a performance later in the summer featuring Kim Barlow with Juneau's Buddy Tabor.

Maybe I picked a good year to retire from fishing after all. But wait! John Prine too!? I actually did fish for 10 days this summer and it made me miss ol' Johnny, but many of those of you who attended attested to what an awesome show he put on at the high school. Thanks again to Linda Frame and the Alaska Folk Festival for proving that people will pay for quality music from outta town.

Even more Canadians came through town after that purveying their brands of country music, including the Roger Marin Band and Gordie Tentrees.

This past weekend saw the return of former Juneau troubadours Ari Rome and Juan Vargas for a couple nights at the Alaskan. It's actually Ari who pointed out how much awesome music came through here in the last few months, and he doesn't even live here!

A surprise set at the Alaskan from Pamyua on Saturday night after opening band Slow-Gun Runner (that'd be a gun-walker or gun-stroller) warmed 'em up was a nice end of the season blowout.

I'm just scratching the surface here, as I just thought of a handful more acts that I don't have room to mention.

We all know what a secret stash of awesome players there is here, and how the amount of live music being played around town can vary wildly for no apparent reason. It's goin' off right now and with the end-of-work season approaching, there're gonna be quite few recently liberated musicians all moneyed-up on energy stimulus ready to get playin'. We've definitely been inundated with Outside music this summer, but now that we're about to get the town back, it'll be interesting to see what's been percolating under the surface locally.

I've said it again, and I'll say it before: Support live music! It's out there waiting for you.

• Sean Tracey can be reached at crabgrassalaska@gmail.com. You can catch him live this weekend at the Alaskan Hotel & Bar with Honky Tonk Habit.



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