Strumbucket celebrate the release of ‘Hold On, I’m Strummin’

The local band came by the KHOL to preview some tracks and discuss the making of their debut album.
Strumbucket are (clockwise from left) Grove Miller, Peter Henderson, Alex Blackwelder, Curt Langer and Lavender Jones. (Courtesy of Amy Schlinger)

After numerous dance-floor-filling shows in and around the Tetons over the last couple of years, Jackson Hole-based five-piece band Strumbucket released their debut full-length album, “Hold On, I’m Strummin,'” on Friday, July 1. 

“Hold On, I’m Strummin’” puts their multi-genre sound on full display throughout the album’s 15 tracks. Their mixture of musical styles from the worlds of Latin, country, rock, bluegrass, jazz and funk sets them apart as a truly unique homegrown act.

In advance of the release of Strumbucket’s debut LP, “Hold On, I’m Strummin,'” Alex Blackwelder, Grove Miller and drummer Peter Henderson joined us recently in the KHOL studios.

The following interview transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity. This conversation was recorded on June 29.

JACK CATLIN/KHOL: So super excited about your debut full-length, “Hold on, I’m Strummin’.” Can you tell us about the concept of that before we dive into a couple of the tracks from the album?

ALEX BLACKWELDER: Concept of the album. I think we had a pool to choose from and we wanted to paint a pretty broad picture. This one is sort of more in the rock vein with hints of everything. There are specific songs that have a totally different vibe to them, but this was us trying to get our main bucket representation out there because we’ve been slacking on getting our listeners something to listen to out. So this is you might say our bread and butter, but then we have little treats in here that are examples of new tunes that came together in the process.

PETER HENDERSON: Coming into the recording process, we wrote down a list of all the originals that we had been performing or were still kind of in the works and set out to just record. Press record and get as many skeletons of these tracks as possible. And then from there, after we kind of finished up with the actual recording process, we decided, “let’s dwindle down to maybe 20 to 15 of the strongest ones and then kind of use that as a launching point.” So it was an interesting learning experience. I think the next time we go into the studio, we’ll have a better idea of where we want to take the songs that we plan on tracking whereas this one, it was kind of totally gung ho as we were trying to track as many of the originals that we had been playing out live as possible.

GROVE MILLER: I think we ended up with almost 30, maybe slightly over 30 tunes that we tracked two years ago.

HENDERSON: Yeah, it was Oct., Nov. of 2020.

MILLER: We still probably have a good third of those that are kind of in the country, bluegrass vein. So those are still laying in wait for their next polishing phase. But yeah, I think this album is just kind of just putting our best foot forward and picking the ones that we’ve been playing the longest, I feel like, and have had the most time to develop live. And then as we’ve been playing them, it’s given us ideas to go back and do overdubs. But what I do like about the whole cohesiveness is it’s all these live-tracked drums. I mean, and a lot of the live solos we kept from our original takes are in there. But then we also had the chance to kind of layer them with stuff that we’ve been developing in the past couple of years since we recorded. So yeah, stay tuned. We’ve got a good bunch of more diverse, eclectic tunes for you all.

KHOL: Can you speak on just the local scene and kind of growing outside of it and how difficult that might be and how you might go about doing that?

MILLER: Personally, my favorite shows that we’ve played here were our openers at the Pink Garter. We played down in Pinedale and we were pretty bummed to find out the main headliner had to back out because of van troubles in Idaho and we had to fill the shoes for the opening and the closing set. But that was fun. And it was good to see that we can actually handle that kind of headlining set for a bigger crowd. But I much prefer networking with these bigger bands that have been on the road for a while.

BLACKWELDER: And like Grove said, network with other groups and ride the wave and see where the opportunity may come.

MILLER: Yeah, we’re super thankful that the Concert on the Commons has made a comeback. Big thanks to Dom [Gagliardi] for keeping us in the opener consideration. We’re actually opening for one of my early heroes from Richmond, Virginia, growing up:DJ Williams. He’s recently relocated to Denver and bringing up his Shots Fired band. Last year a couple of us got to open up for another great Richmond group: The Butcher Brown guys. We’re starting to be able to host bigger acts in the Tetons. And they love coming here and we love sharing what we know about this area. But I’d love to hopefully start getting a little more reciprocation and opening into newer territories and tour routes. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll be breaking outside the Jackson bubble a little bit more.

Listen above for KHOL’s full conversation with Strumbucket.

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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