Local Artists Missy Jo & Benyaro Represent Jackson at Treefort 10

The Teton County musicians discuss their excitement about performing for a larger audience and the importance of showcasing what Wyoming has to offer.
Jackson artists Missy Jo (Left) and Benyaro (Right) perform at the Treefort festival in Boise as part of the Wyoming Showcase put on by the Wyoming Arts Council.

The 10th edition of the ever-growing Treefort Music Festival took place in Boise from March 23 to 27. KHOL Music Director Jack Catlin was there and had the chance to interview all of the artists from the festival’s Wyoming Showcase, presented by the Wyoming Arts Council

This excerpt features the two representatives from Jackson Hole, Missy Jo and Benyaro.  Missy Jo is a singer-songwriter whose sultry jazz vocals paired with undertones of R&B and folk create a unique flavor of western soul. Local multi-instrumentalist and composer Benyaro has been described as “punk-Americana” and “indie-acoustic soul power.”

The following interviews were recorded on March 24 and have been edited for clarity and brevity. More coverage from Treefort 10 will be available at 891khol.org in the coming weeks. 

JACK CATLIN/KHOL: So the Wyoming Arts Council has done a great job with the Wyoming showcase by exposing Wyoming bands to a larger audience. How important is it for you to have that community of like-minded musicians, artists and creatives coming together from a state not necessarily known for its music and supporting each other?

MISSY JO: It is everything. It can be a little isolating at times in Jackson. In the Jackson music scene as our town is shifting and changing. I mean, I’m just kind of entering the scene, even though it’s been a town I’ve lived in and I’ve been a part of all these musical aspects. But there’s definitely a shift. And it’s really wonderful to be invited to play original music. The ski town we live in, there’s a lot of, like, fun party music that is the market, and it’s really fun to play and it’s great to have those stages. But I think what a lot of us musicians miss is as a platform to create original art and the fact that we can all be here and make this Wyoming connection. I have family all throughout Wyoming, so to meet people from Cheyenne and Laramie that are here and Lander, it’s really great to have this network. 

JACK CATLIN/KHOL: I feel like this is a modern festival and, in a lot of ways, it’s a great example of a modern music festival offering more of a full spectrum experience for the attendee with not just the music, but workshops, speaker series and experiential content. How important do you think that is and where do you see the future of music festivals going from here?

BENYARO:  I think it’s real important to uplift the arts and artists and cultural things because in the past I don’t know how many years it seems like cultural things have been dialed down. Whether it’s because of state budgets or things like that. But providing a forum and a space for artists to perform and create their art, and then for spectators and supporters to come out and be together in the community, I mean, I wish there were more festivals like this. And perhaps maybe the future of music festivals is to take over a town like they do here. Like South by Southwest does. I’m not sure of others that do that. But rather than just having like, a stage or two, it gives Boise or whatever the city the opportunity to kind of showcase itself in its art, its food, its beer, its, you know, everything.

Listen above for KHOL’s full conversations with Missy Jo and Benyaro.

This coverage is funded in part with an Arts For All grant provided by the Town of Jackson and Teton County.

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About Jack Catlin

Jack is KHOL's music director. He says all music is in some way connected no matter the style and his mission is to provide listeners with a unique and memorable experience each time they tune in to KHOL or see him DJ live.

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