The Jon Stickley Trio brings a hard-to-de­scribe en­ergy to new­grass genre

Tempo - - CONTENTS - By T.L. Tester­man

The gypsy jazz, bluegrass, new­grass and some­times folk punk Jon Stickley Trio is de­scribed by Gui­tar Player Mag­a­zine as a “genre­de­fy­ing and cin­e­matic in­stru­men­tal trio, whose deep grooves, in­no­va­tive flat­pick­ing, and sul­try-spacy vi­o­lin moves the lis­tener’s head, heart, and feet. It’s not your fa­ther’s acous­tic-gui­tar music ... Stickley’s Martin [gui­tar] churns out a mix­ture of bluegrass, Chuck Berry, metal, prog, grunge, and as­sorted other gen­res—all thor­oughly in­te­grated into a per­sonal style.”

Mu­si­cian Jon Stickley said this is the most sig­nif­i­cant year yet for the trio named af­ter him. They are on a three and a half week cross-coun­try jag with Taos to­ward the tail end of the tour. Stickley said the band had played the Taos Mesa Brew­ery be­fore. “We love the weird UFO-in­spired vibe of the venue. Taos has ex­tra­or­di­nary en­ergy; it’s mag­i­cal.”

The band re­turns for a Tuesday (April 17) show at 6 p.m. at the Taos Mesa Brew­ing Moth­er­ship, 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west.

“It’s an in­tense time in the world, and our music is a lit­tle re­bel­lious,” Jon Stickley said about his music. “I’ve got a punk ethos about music and things that hap­pen in the world af­fect what I write.”

He said he has seen “an in­crease in peo­ple get­ting more tuned in to a grass­roots-word-of-mouth way of find­ing out what’s hap­pen­ing and a return to the roots of Amer­i­cana.” He cites the early in­flu­ences on his music, start­ing with grunge and Nir­vana, which he was lis­ten­ing to in mid­dle school.

Later, he dis­cov­ered bluegrass through a banjo-play­ing friend, and the trio has been the next nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion. His most sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ences as a mu­si­cian and song­writer are David Gris­som and gui­tarist Tony Rice.

The trio lineup was a con­sis­tent duo for its first six years with front­man Stickley and fid­dler Lyn­d­say Pruett. That all changed ear­lier this year with the ad­di­tion of drum­mer Hunter Dea­con, who Stickley says brings fresh ideas and is “more im­pro­vi­sa­tional and slightly jazzy.”

Dea­con is both clas­si­cally trained and boasts heavy jazz in­flu­ences. Hail­ing from Knoxville, Ten­nessee, Hunter stud­ied with drum­mer Keith Brown and re­ceived a de­gree in stu­dio music and jazz from the Univer­sity of Ten­nessee.

Dea­con went on to com­plete a six-month res­i­dency at a jazz club in Hangzhou, China. He has played with Scott Miller and the Com­mon­wealth, toured the coun­try with Sam Lewis and per­formed with gui­tarist and com­poser Mike Baggetta.

The trio’s per­for­mance at this year’s Sa­van­nah Stopover Festival was named, “One of the most buzzed-about shows” by Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion’s Kevin Wierzbicki on the AXS Chan­nel. Wierzbicki said, “The trio played a hopped-up set of jazzy vi­o­lin-driven tunes that of­ten re­called the fre­netic side of jazz fu­sion vi­o­lin­ist Jon Luc Ponty. Pruett and Stickley played so hard at times that their tech­nique could right­fully be called ‘shred­ding,’ and some fans at the front of the crowd oc­ca­sion­ally broke out their mosh pit moves.”

They have re­leased two full-length al­bums and one EP in the past few years, and been on tour ev­ery year since. They met as backup mu­si­cians at a gig in Asheville, North Carolina nearly a decade ago.

“The trio feels fresher and hot­ter than ever,” Stickley said. “We’ve hit our stride in terms of cre­at­ing tunes that are uniquely us, and that’s a re­ally ex­cit­ing place to be mu­si­cally. Not to men­tion we are so stoked to get back to many of our fa­vorite fes­ti­vals and clubs, and even more ex­cited to play some the ones we’ve al­ways dreamed of; 2018 will, with­out a doubt, be our best year yet!”

Stickley said he loves tour­ing be­cause “It gives you a very spe­cific buzz. As you move for­ward through mo­ments of ex­treme in­ten­sity, pure bliss, sheer emer­gency, straight-up ex­haus­tion, ex­treme caf­feina­tion, some sad­ness, some lone­li­ness, lots of hap­pines, and long pe­ri­ods of noth­ing at all, you be­come a lit­tle numb, yet your sense of aware­ness and per­cep­tion be­comes height­ened.

“It might be kinda like how you feel af­ter go­ing from a hot spring into the cold river and back again. At a cer­tain point, you don’t re­ally no­tice ei­ther, but you feel re­ally good.”

The band plans to stay at The Abom­inable Snow Man­sion in Ar­royo Seco, so they can min­gle with the lo­cals, visit the hot springs and en­joy some ice cream at The Taos Cow. “We try to live a balanced life on the road,” he said.

Stickley added that Taos can ex­pect a high en­ergy, cre­atively charged show. “It’s go­ing to be the best thing go­ing on in town on a Tuesday night.”

Not bad for a $5 cover charge. For more, call the venue at (575) 758-1900 or visit taosmesabrew­



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