New album captures Strumbucket’s eclectic funk

‘Chest Vessel Beats’ showcases the local band’s musical range while keeping things consistently funky.
(From left to right) Pat Bottini (lead guitar), Peter Henderson (drums), Grove Miller (keys), Alex Blackwelder (banjo, lead vocals) and Lavender Jones (bass) of the "twang funk" band Strumbucket. (Courtesy Photo)

Jackson-based Strumbucket is a five-piece “twang-funk” band known for their entertaining live shows spanning many different genres of music.  

Influenced by bands like The Meters, Little Feat and their beloved Ween, Strumbucket’s music combines funky basslines, banjo-driven twang, Latin rhythms, psychedelic synthesizers and classic rock guitar.  

Their new album, “Chest Vessel Beats,” highlights the band’s diverse influences and use of different instruments. The song “All Bright” features an indie rock sound, while the reggae guitar shines bright on “Cave Dweller.” Another song,  “Jungagroove,” is a Latin-flavored track sung entirely in Spanish.


The band consists of Peter Henderson (drums), Lavender Jones (bass, vocals), Grove Miller (keys), Pat Bottini (lead guitar) and Alex Blackwelder (banjo, lead vocals). The five of them are constantly practicing, jamming, experimenting and creating new songs. Henderson said the goal of releasing “Chest Vessel Beats” was to capture the experience of seeing the band live. 

“It’s almost like a snapshot of where we were six, nine months ago and the kind of music that we were listening to, playing, coming up with on our own,” Henderson said. “Branching off and getting weird on synths, trying acoustic instruments or trying an almost all-electronic feel and seeing what comes from that.”

Strumbucket performed the song “Cave Dweller” live on KHOL.

The process of creating the new album involved culling through a large amount of pre-recorded material from jam sessions and fleshing out unique sounds and song ideas. 

“Okay, here are these songs we’ve been playing [live] for a while,” Blackwelder said. “Here are these bits and pieces that we’ve had [in the vault] for a while. Let’s do our best to narrow them down. Get eight to ten, what ended up being 15 tracks on ‘Chest Vessel Beats’ nailed down. We tried to set out with the goal of piecing these songs together.”

A good example of that process is on the genre-spanning album’s title track “Chest Vessel Beats,” which involved revisiting a forgotten jam and reapproaching it with lyrics and melody in mind.

“It stemmed from one of those nights where we were free-flowing and the creative ideas were coming naturally,” Henderson said.” We were jamming on a groove and the lyrics came from a poem that wasn’t intended to be a song that I had written, like three or four years ago, and I just picked up my notebook and started this spoken word poetry, and that was the bones of the track.”

Strumbucket performed the song “Chest Vessel Beats” live on KHOL, the title track to their new album.

The band always seems to have fun together on stage and the underlying humor in much of Strumbucket’s music is a big part of their identity. 

“Pretty much the only time that we get to hang out a lot together is when we’re playing music. So if we’re not having those laughs, it doesn’t feel like we’re kicking it like friends do,” Blackwelder said. “I think the audience feeds off of that [as well] when they see us cracking smiles at each other or just being goofy. I experience that as a fan as well. When you see some antics going on, it reaches you, you know?”

Since their formation in 2018, the band has played numerous shows not only in Jackson but the greater Mountain West and has shared the stage with prominent acts like JoJo Herman, DJ Williams’ Shot’s Fired, Polyrhythmics, Diggin’ Dirt and The Ghost of Paul Revere.

Strumbucket will open for STiLGONE under the tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on  March And on  March 22, the band is opening for Diggin’ Dirt at Mangy Moose Saloon in Teton Village. 

The band will also be in Lander, Wyoming for the Third Annual Roll and Slide Poker Ride on Saturday, March 2 and at Tips Up in Big Sky, Montana on April 26. More information at

Listen above for KHOL’s full conversation with Strumbucket’s Alex Blackwelder, Peter Henderson and Pat Bottini.

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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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