Marmot Ate My Boots says goodbye but not farewell

The local folk and bluegrass band performs this weekend before the founding members move east.
(From left to right) Amy Lorenz (accordion), Molly Watters (guitar/banjo) and Ben Rossetter (mandolin/guitar) of the local folk/bluegrass band Marmot Ate My Boots joined KHOL to perform songs in advance of their show on Saturday, April 13 at The Pink Garter Theatre. (Jack Catlin/KHOL)

Local folk and bluegrass collective Marmot Ate My Boots will bring their lush harmonies and vibrant instrumentation to the Pink Garter stage this weekend.

Marmot Ate My Boots got their start like many in Jackson’s music scene, at the long-standing community event The Hootenanny which has been held weekly at various locations since the 1950s.

Formed in 2018, the band consists of five musicians connected through friendship and a shared love of acoustic-driven music. The band features Molly Watters on guitar and banjo, Hannah McLimans on fiddle, Amy Lorenz on accordion, Joel Sandoval on bass, and Ben Rossetter on mandolin and guitar. 

Watters humbly takes credit for the formation of Marmot Ate My Boots after she finally mustered up the courage to perform in front of her peers.

“I was never brave enough to play. But then one day, I showed up in the summer out at Dornan’s, and [Amy and Ben] were there with Hannah, Joel and some other friends, and we started jamming backstage in the grass,” Watters said. “And, I said, ‘Did we just form a band?’ Then we came up with this silly name and took it from there.”

The “silly name” is a nod to the local hiking/climbing community and the pesky ground squirrels infamous for nibbling on gear, invading backpacks, and running off with clothing and food.

Marmot Ate My Boots performed the song “Deep Blue Sea,” live on KHOL in advance of their show at The Pink Garter Theatre on April 13.

The Jackson Hole Hootenanny was founded by Bill Briggs and Dick Barker on Feb. 23, 1993, at Dornan’s Spur Bar in Moose, Wyoming. From the start, “The Hoot” has been a welcoming environment for acoustic musicians with an emphasis on “bringing together a wide range of talents in a non-judgemental setting where we all learn, grow, and enjoy,” according to the event’s website.

The influence “The Hoot” has had on Marmot Ate My Boots runs deep. The group not only formed there but all five of its members are longtime participants in the weekly event and were attracted to it for its familiar communal spirit. 

“I grew up playing music with my family, which I think is a common story for a lot of us,”  Rossetter said. “In the early 2000s, I met a lot of those luminaries from Hank Phibbs and John Cooke, to, of course, Bill Briggs and Adrienne and Peter Ward. And they just had a big influence on me and my musical journey being connected to it.” 

Marmot Ate My Boots performing John Prine’s song “Paradise,” live on KHOL.

The band’s love for both folk and pop music has led to some interesting and entertaining musical “mash-ups” performed on-stage. 

“We might do a pop song from the 1990s as a mash-up with an old fiddle tune from the 1700s. And it feels fresh and fun. It brings us a lot of joy mixing all those things,” Lorenz said.

Rossetter continued, “Specifically, one of the ones Amy’s talking about is, doing ‘Good Riddance’ by Green Day with a Scottish fiddle tune called ‘Frank’s Reel’ and putting those together in a quasi-bluegrass traditional way that’s fun and makes us giggle a little bit.”

The Marmot Ate My Boots members love to make each other laugh and that lightheartedness and true friendship will carry on despite married couple Lorenz and Rossetter relocating to Portland, Maine soon. 

“The band isn’t disbanding. Amy [Lorenz] and I are lucky to have family ties here and places to stay. We feel so connected, especially to the music community and obviously to our band. We’re still going to try to get back multiple times a year and still play music,” Rossetter said.

Marmot Ate My Boots performing their original song “Moon Daughter” live on KHOL.

Marmot Ate My Boots will perform at The Pink Garter Theatre on Saturday, April 13. Doors open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 7 p.m.

Listen above for KHOL’s full conversation with and performances by Marmot Ate My Boots.

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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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