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The Vilar Performing Arts Center will present seven-piece Americana band Bumper Jacksons on Friday, October 20 at 7:30 PM as part of the 2017 Underground Sound series. This fall lineup, also known as the Love for the Locals series, allows Beaver Creek audiences to discover (and re-discover) new sounds from up-and-coming talents touring the nation. Single tickets are $38. The Underground Sound pass grants patrons tickets to all seven shows in the series and seven free drinks for just $100 (that’s a savings of over $160). Tickets and passes are available now at the VPAC box office (970-845-8497; www.vilarpac.org). The VPAC is located under the ice rink in Beaver Creek Village (68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek, Colorado).

4am; a campfire in any backyard, USA; autumn. 

The firelight bounces off fiddles, horns, guitars, and the faces of the men and women singing together in the deep parts of the night. They might not know each other’s names, but there they are, pouring their hearts out to one another in song, playing tunes older than their great-grandmothers. A certain magic happens in moments like this, where a common thread of humanity, going back thousands of years, is plucked – and strangers become old friends. Music creates a sort of temporary social apocalypse where the niceties and norms of society are blown away and a radical openness to others is allowed to take its place.

These are the experiences that birthed the Bumper Jacksons. Their new album I’ve Never Met A Stranger is a toast to all the ways in which we humans bridge the divide between our souls.

Like an old-time barn dance in downtown New Orleans, the Bumper Jacksons pull together a vast array of early American traditions into a deliciously cohesive sound that strikes you right in the heart. Hard-swinging grooves and roadhouse drinking songs are valleyed by delicate waltzes of loss and regret. At the center of it all, is an invitation to join in – be it a rowdy dance, a moment of soulful intimacy, or a movement to make a better world. The Bumper Jacksons will be touring their new album on a cross-country tour from Maryland to the Rockies to South Florida and dozens of points in between this fall, including Beaver Creek’s Vilar Performing Arts Center on Friday, October 20th.

The Bumper Jacksons have a steadily rising list of honors: Washington Area Music Awards Artists of the Year, Best Folk Album, Best Folk Group for 2014-16; Strathmore Artists-in-Residence for 2015-2016; Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Touring Artists for 2016-2017 and others. They’ve also just signed with Opus 3 Artists (among greats such as Yo-Yo Ma, Roseanne Cash, Bela Fleck, & Wynton Marsalis) for their national representation. This success blossomed from their simple beginnings in 2012 as a country-meets-city duet between Jess Eliot Myhre (clarinet, vocals, washboard) and Chris Ousley (acoustic & electric guitar, vocals, banjo) in the backyards, living rooms and front porches of DC and Baltimore. They crafted a sound built from their time exploring the smoky jazz clubs of New Orleans and old-time fiddler’s festivals throughout the southern Appalachians. From the beginning, they focused on honest deliveries and energetic performances. 

After Chris and Jess established the roots of the Bumper Jacksons’ sound, it quickly drew in the rest of the Bumper Jacksons members and matured into what you hear today. Dave Hadley (pedal steel), Alex Lacquement (upright bass, vocals), Dan Samuels (drum kit), Brian Priebe (trombone) & Joe Brotherton (trumpet) who masterfully amplify and diversify the tone, rhythm and power that defines the band’s core sound. The success of the band’s last two albums – Too Big World (2015) and Sweet Mama, Sweet Daddy Come In (2014)– demonstrate the ongoing refinement of their scrappy-yet-elegant, familiar-yet-reaching sound that explores a full spectrum of human emotion in its goal for the caramel core of Americana.

So whether it’s a packed house in a historic amphitheater or a fireside in the hills of Appalachia, the intimate ballads, growly blues, and fast paced two-steps will call you into another world that’s at once like home and the open road. It’s a truly Americana sound that grabs at your soul and connects you with over 150 years of human passion. 

Other upcoming performances in the 2017 Underground Sound series include Jarabe Mexicano (October 26), Tierro with Bridget Law + WE DREAM DAWN (November 3) and Rob Drabkin (November 9). The full lineup is available at www.vilarpac.org.