The hills in Sun Valley are alive with late summer sounds of music. Even though the mad pace of high season has slowed down a bit, two amazing shows are coming to the Sun Valley Pavilion this week that should not be missed!
On Friday, high energy, country-based favorites, Reckless Kelly take to the stage at the Sun Valley Pavilion for a concert sure to get the audience on its feet. A limited number of tickets are still available by calling 208.622.2135 or by clicking HERE.
Then, on Thursday, September 12, the one and only Clint Black will perform an intimate, acoustic concert at the Pavilion, presenting a side of his vast talent that few get to see. Here, this award winning singer-songwriter will perform with only four other musicians, while in many venues, Black plays for audiences of thousands. In Sun Valley, you will see him up close and personal. The concert, sponsored by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, promises to be a memorable one. Black is known for a classic, traditional country style. His debut album, Killin’ Time, produced four straight number one singles and the hits just kept coming. He will perform at 7 p.m.
The Sun Valley Pavilion is the perfect place to enjoy Clint Black's intimate, acoustic show
Before ducking into the Pavilion to enjoy a pre-show glass of wine and conversation with friends new and old, be sure to spend some time in the Sun Valley Village getting the most of the late summer offerings. Sales at Village specialty shops are unbeatable in September. Both the elegant Brass Ranch and sporty Pete Lane’s are offering sportswear and ski wear at as much as 75 percent off. Logo apparel, holiday décor, gifts and wine and picnic essentials are discounted right now at the Sun Valley Signature Shop. The fashion forward ladies’ boutique, Panache, is also enticing shoppers with end-of-season prices. At Pete Lane’s, gear is also priced to sell with bikes, demos and rentals and bike apparel available. There are still weeks and weeks of fabulous weather ahead so if you have been considering buying a new bike, now is the time.
Pop into the Sun Valley Signature Shop to pick up a warm top for cool September nights
Be sure to also plan to enjoy a pre-concert dinner at one of the Sun Valley’s acclaimed restaurants. In Idaho, gardens are right now at their peak and menus are filled with and embarrassment of fresh vegetables and local delights. Just steps from the Pavilion, take a seat on the decks of the Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta or Gretchen’s and soak up the early evening sun. Just up the road, Trail Creek Cabin provides a unique venue that is rustic yet sophisticated and very special. The signature Konditorei Restaurant will also be serving dinner until 9 p.m. beginning September 8.
Dinner on the deck of Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta is casual and delicious
Sun Valley Resort is offering special room rates the night of Clint Black’s performance. Shop, savor and soak up the sounds of this country music superstar before retiring to the Inn or the Lodge. Order a nightcap at the Duchin Room or the Ram Lounge before turning in for a restful night. No driving, no worries, just relaxation. The package includes one night’s lodging and two show tickets for $129 per person double occupancy. Call 800-786-8259 for reservations or click HERE for more information.
The simple sign at the base of River Run said it all Sunday night
The intermittent heavy rain that fell this weekend offered more than a hint of the poetic following the raging wildfires that threatened the Wood River Valley just a week ago. As the moisture swept through in waves during Saturday night’s Sun Valley On Ice show that benefited the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, and again on Sunday, during a huge picnic and concert at River Run honoring the 2,000-plus heroes who fought the behemoth Beaver Creek Fire, there was no question there was change in the air. With her thunderous announcements in the evening sky, Mother Nature proclaimed that Sun Valley had turned a corner – that it’s time, again, to look ahead.
Visitors and locals mingled with fire professionals at the base of River Run and looked forward to enjoying the rest of the summer
Sunday evening’s party at the base of Baldy’s River Run drew firefighters from all over the state and country who were part of the Great Basin National Incident Management Team #1. It also drew our local heroes from the Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey and Wood River Fire Departments. To say thank you, Sun Valley distributed 565 tickets to firefighters and their families, providing a full western barbecue and beverages, all for free.
A little rain couldn't keep the crowd away from the party at River Run
In the light drizzle, the firefighters, still in uniform, looked relaxed and happy, enjoying live music from local bands Up a Creek and Old Death Whisper. They shook hands with appreciative locals and visitors alike and by all accounts, greatly enjoyed the party thrown in their honor.
“We thought we’d have the picnic to bring the entire community together to thank the firefighters,” said Jack Sibbach, Head of Sun Valley Marketing. “This fire affected the entire Wood River Valley and this was a great opportunity for everyone to gather in one place and say thank you. It’s also the time for all of us to now look forward to the rest of the summer and the fall.”
At the storied Sun Valley ice show Saturday night, the fire’s Incident Commander Beth Lund also expressed her appreciation for the huge turnout, the support for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and for the Valley that so clearly valued her team’s efforts. She reiterated how dangerous a job it is to fight these fires and how organizations like the Wildland Firefighter Foundation provide critical help to families who suffer a loss or an injury amid the unpredictable flames.
Admission to Saturday's Sun Valley On Ice was free, but donations were accepted on behalf of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation
The cast of Sun Valley On Ice then emerged under the lights wearing fire hats and skated from the heart, honoring the events of the past weeks. The show was provided free to guests with a suggested donation to the firefighters.
Sun Valley truly has turned a corner; skies are clear, the sun is shining. Those short-lived evening rain showers washed away any remaining ash and soot and changed the entire feeling up and down the Wood River Valley.
Starting Wednesday, jump on the gondola and head up to Roundhouse for lunch with a pretty spectacular view
Now it’s time to end the summer on a high note. Bald Mountain reopens to foot, bike and gondola traffic on Wednesday, August 28. The gondola will run daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and the deck at Roundhouse Restaurant will offer a daily barbecue. There is no more scenic place to eat. Beginning Friday, the famous taco bar at Lookout also makes and end-of-summer, back-by-popular demand appearance.
Sun Valley has extended its sale on winter passes through September 15. Don’t miss this opportunity to save up to $350 on what promises to be an amazing snow season. This year, there are seven passes from which to choose, including a new Young Adult Pass, as well as a new installment payment plan for select products. Come by the River Run Ticketing Office, buy a $15 ticket for the gondola and check out what’s new for the coming season!While you’re at River Run Plaza, be sure to also pop into Brass Ranch and check out the sale in progress.
The centerpiece of the Big Hitch Wagon Days Parade is something you have to see to believe
For Labor Day weekend, it’s on! Festivities begin in earnest on Friday and run all the way through the Monday holiday. Highlights include: an antique car show and auction, Rebecca Rusch’s Private Idaho bike tour, pancake breakfasts in Ketchum, the final ice show of the season featuring crowd favorite Johnny Weir, rodeos, antique and art shows, an Art Gallery walk, a western shoot-out, and of course, the Big Hitch Parade. Be sure to be in Sun Valley during one of the best Labor Day celebrations in the nation.
And it’s not over after Labor Day! September in Sun Valley is a spectacular month during which to golf,hike, bike,fly fish … you name it. This year, it is also a spectacular month for music. Tickets are on sale now for Reckless Kelly, playing September 6 at the Sun Valley Pavilion and Clint Black who will entertain under the sail on September 12.
Again, we thank the amazing firefighters for giving us the gift of enjoying this upcoming Labor Day celebration and the renewed opportunity to truly appreciate the beauty and splendor of our one-of-a-kind valley.
The valiant efforts of 1,500 firefighters saved our beautiful Valley. Come say thank you Sunday night at River Run
With the monstrous Beaver Creek Fire now 70 percent contained and clear, sunny skies prevailing over Sun Valley, it is time to show our appreciation for the firefighters who protected our Valley and the way of life we so value.
Just a week ago, the outcome of this fire was very uncertain as crews worked around-the-clock to contain it from Hailey to north of Ketchum (photo Great Basin National Incident Management Team #1)
Sun Valley Resort is throwing a picnic on the River Run lawn this Sunday, August 25, to do just that. Everyone is invited to bring a blanket or chairs down to the mountain beginning at 6 p.m. for an evening of celebration and entertainment featuring the popular bands Old Death Whisper and Up A Creek.
There will be a complete western barbecue with chicken and ribs, beer, refreshments and ice cream available for purchase. You are also welcome to bring a picnic.
The brave men and women who walked into the flames of the Beaver Creek Fire have earned a standing ovation from all of us. Come down Sunday night to honor them, reconnect with friends and neighbors and take in the beauty of everything that was saved. Many firefighters are expected to be in attendance so you can express your appreciation personally.
Please check back to the blog for updates on this event.
Two of Ketchum Fire Department's finest work Wednedsay to ensure the danger has passed
The Trishas were born in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and perform in Sun Valley, Idaho Friday, September 6.
If you’re a hard-working musician whose been pounding the tarmac for decades you’d have every right to be a bit miffed with The Trishas, who play the Sun Valley Pavilion on Friday, September 6. The four raven-haired beauties, Jamie Wilson, Kelley Mickwee, Liz Foster and Savannah Welch, who comprise the Austin-based band had no intention of becoming a successful all-girl country music band. But one impromptu gig in Colorado changed their fate.
The quartet first shared a stage in January 2009. The plan was just to perform a couple of songs as a tribute to Savannah’s father, singer-songwriter Kevin Welch. Despite each having impressive musical chops - Memphis-reared Mickwee honed her talents in that town before becoming half of the duo Jed & Kelley; Wilson was a member of renowned Austin band The Gougers; and Foster performed on the Texas Opry circuit, spending seven years touring with a Motown revue before forming the duo Liz & Lincoln - a joint musical future wasn’t in the cards. They didn’t even have a name.
That night in Steamboat Springs, the girls so transfixed the audience with their close, four-part harmony that show offers quickly flooded in. Soon, they were talking about testing the waters with a real band. The name came about accidentally, it had popped into their head’s backstage at Steamboat Springs because they were covering a Welch-authored Trisha Yearwood hit.
A sneak peek at the treats The Trishas have in store for you when they open for local boys Reckless Kelly on September 6 at the Sun Valley Pavilion. (Video not displaying? Click here.)
It wasn’t long before the four-part harmonies and rootsy, bluesy, gospel- and bluegrass-inflected sound produced from the unique combination of the girls’ voices, Mickwee’s mandolin, Wilson’s guitar, Foster’s harmonica and Welch’s guitar, mandolin and percussion began nabbing the group opening-act gigs with the likes of Dwight Yoakam, Raul Malo, Rodney Crowell, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Todd Snider.
Four years later and today The Trishas are being hailed by SavingCountryMusic.com as one of the 9 Women Who Could Immediately Make Country Better: “The Trishas score high on every one of the major music food groups. Class, character, creativity, four-part harmonies, fully-developed songwriting, and maybe most importantly, the fun atmosphere that can develop when you toss four talented ladies into a tight knit group. They are The Dixie Chicks for the new century, and the Pistol Annies for the rest of us.”
Since forming The Trishas, two band members have had another significant life change; both Wilson and Welch have reproduced. The band took the increase in size in its stride however, and the lucky tykes get to tour with The Trishas. “It’s not much different than any other women who’s having a career or working a job,” Welch said on the band’s website thetrishas.com. “The difference is actually that we get to bring them to work with us. We want to help each other be able to play music for a living and still have families. We’ll do what it takes.”
http://youtu.be/AcHcMKA6ccg Watch the official music video for Drive, The Trishas’ first single. “We’re not as lonely, sad and as bitter as our songs make us seem,” Kelley Mickwee said in an interview with Uncommon Music last year. “We’re actually all very happy and in good relationships. We just like sad songs and drawing from negative experiences, what can we say! Sad songs say so much.” (Video not displaying? Click here.)
The Trishas, with tots in tow, open for fellow Austin, Texas-based band Reckless Kelly on Friday, September 6 at the Sun Valley Pavilion as part of The Governor’s Cup celebrations. Doors are 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m. Purchase tickets here.
For The Valley Sun’s interview with The Governor’s Cup headliners Reckless Kelly click here.
The Arts & Crafts Festival hosted by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts brought the highest quality arts in every medium to town for the 45th year
Sun Valley’s reputation as a destination for art collectors and those who simply appreciate objects of beauty is well deserved. With dozens of local galleries exhibiting works produced in every medium from some of the most important artists of our time, this is a sophisticated arts scene. The Sun Valley Gallery Association hosts nine gallery walks each year that are free, open to the public, and extremely popular places not to only enjoy exhibition openings, but to see and be seen. The next walk will be held on Friday, August 30, and is sure to be one of the highlights of the summer social calendar. Grab a group of friends, reserve a table for dinner and plan to enjoy a wonderful evening on the town, all while enjoying world-class culture.
Another marker of area’s commitment to the arts took place over the weekend as the Sun Valley Center for the Arts (SVCA) held its 45th annual Arts & Crafts Festival in Ketchum. From August 9 to 11, nearly 150 painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, metalworkers, photographers, printmakers, glass, fiber and wood artists (among others!) set up their tents and shared their talents with the steady crowd of browsers and buyers.
The annual SVCA Festival is a feast for the senses
This juried show accepts more than 500 artist applications each year. The Larry Harris List of the Nation’s Best Art Festivals ranks the Sun Valley Center Arts & Crafts Festival among the top 20 in the Pacific Northwest and California. The quality of the work is evident in even a cursory browse through the field of fine art. Artists from Minnesota, Oregon, New Mexico, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana and many of the other 50 states deserve their spot at the Festival.
Local artist Alison Higdon shares her talent for encaustic painting with the crowd
But like most things in Sun Valley, what is perhaps most appealing about this Festival is its lack of pretense; its welcoming atmosphere. A true community event, the weekend attracts serious collectors and neophytes alike. Children are invited to enjoy the arts at an activity tent and everyone is encouraged to watch local artists at work during daily demonstrations. A wide range of live music, good food and lots of places to sit and chat help keep the event casual and inviting.
Though not a gallery per se, the Sun Valley Resort is also a treasure trove of art. Their specialty? Thousands of archival black and white photos depicting nearly a century of the area’s rich history. Stroll the hallways at the Sun Valley Lodge for a glimpse of the glamorous Union Pacific era when celebrities frolicked in the area’s fresh air and sunshine. Pop by the Sun Valley Inn to peruse their exhibition. The collection extends from the Gun Club to Roundhouse Restaurant; from the Sun Valley Club to Trail Creek Cabin and is definitely worth a lingering look.
Enjoying a live concert outside at River Run is one of the joys of summer
Next up for the SVCA is a concert by Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band on Wednesday, August 14, at River Run Lodge. Known for his distinctive “Americana” style, Ritter is a successful songwriter, guitarist and author. An evening spent listening to live music beneath the summer shadow of Bald Mountain is an experience that can’t be replicated. Buy dinner from the grill or grab a picnic and find your spot on the lawn. Tickets are now on sale for this event, as well as for what promises to be a truly memorable night at the Sun Valley Pavilion when megastar Clint Black brings his extremely popular brand of country music to the Valley on September 12.
And another type of artistry is on display this week as three show skaters from Sun Valley On Ice continue their quest for the million dollar prize as they compete Tuesday night on America’s Got Talent. Their act, Aerial Ice, features Joel Dear, Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre with three others and moves to Radio City Music Hall this week. Tune in from 8 – 10 pm on NBC and be sure to vote them on!
Minnesota Twins slugger and Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew founded the Danny Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament to raise funds for research into the disease that killed his teammate. The event returns to Sun Valley Resort this month for the 37th consecutive year.
Statistically, discovering someone you love has cancer is an experience almost everyone will go through. I was starting week two of a new job as arts editor of the Idaho Mountain Express when I got the news. My father, who was more than 5,000 miles away in my home country of England, had acute myeloid leukemia. For Harmon Killebrew, one of the most prolific power hitters in major league baseball history, discovering that his Minnesota Twins teammate had leukemia ignited a philanthropic urge in the man who hit 573 home-runs in his career.
During that career, baseball journalists lamented Killebrew’s understated personality. “Killebrew is so quiet that sportswriters have given up trying to jazz up his image,” said Time magazine in 1964. “He didn’t go out, he didn’t go ballistic, he didn’t go anything but bald,” wrote Steve Rushin in thisSports Illustrated article following the Hall of Famer’s death in 2011. But this baseball-star-turned-Boise-insurance-salesman had a more permanent legacy ahead of him: funding research into a cure for cancer.
While my father won his battle with the disease, Danny Thompson lost his, passing away in 1976 at the age of 29. The tragedy of such a young life and great talent being cut so short inspired Killebrew and his friend Idaho congressman Ralph Harding to start an annual event to raise money for research into the disease. Debuting in the summer of 1977 as a celebrity clambake, the Danny Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament has generated over $12 million for the battle against leukemia.
A Payette boy, Killebrew chose to host the event at Sun Valley Resort, on whose magnificent courses the four-person two-best ball tournament has been played ever since. Drawing stars from the world of baseball and Hollywood, such as Joe Washington, Jack Morris, Don Felder and Kevin Sorbo, the tournament’s high profile has helped generate substantial donations to the University of Minnesota Cancer Research Center in Minneapolis and St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise. “Due to the participation and support of nationally known celebrities and sponsors, the tournament has not only raised in excess of $11 million that has gone directly to leukemia and cancer research, but over the years these funds have been used in various matching grant programs leveraged to the million dollar level annually,” Tournament Director Georgie Fenton said in an interview with the Idaho Mountain Express in 2011.
Killebrew lost his own battle with cancer in 2011, and last year the tournament was renamed in its founder’s honor. The first Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament raised $700,000, bringing the grand total collected over 36 years to $12.5 million. Not bad for a round of golf in an idyllic setting.
Huey Lewis and the News return to Sun Valley to entertain at the Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament on Wednesday, August 21.
This year’s tournament runs from Wednesday, August 21 through Saturday, August 24. Registration for the 2013 tournament is now closed, but tickets are still available for the benefit concert on August 21 at 8 p.m. featuring Huey Lewis and The News. Purchase tickets from $54 to $255 here, or opt for a $159 hotel package of one night’s lodging and two show tickets by calling 800-786-8259 or clicking here.
Cody and Willy Braun of Reckless Kelly, Idaho’s homegrown country music stars, play with their musical father and brothers on The Tonight show in 1993. The boys started their careers playing with the family band. Reckless Kelly come home to Sun Valley for one night only at the Sun Valley Pavilion, Friday, September 6. (Rewind the video to watch the whole interview). Video not displaying? Click here.
Cody Braun’s lonely harmonica introduces the strains of the final track on Reckless Kelly’s newest album, Long Night Moon. “There’s a river tumbling down the mountainside,” sings Willy Braun, the band’s lead singer/songwriter. “I can feel the north wind blow, through the trees and over to the other side, carrying me down to the valley below, when I’m on the road, bound for home, back to what I know, back to Idaho.”
Described by Willy as an “accidental traveling album,” Long Night Moon leads the listener through the band’s 17-year journey as a successful country rock band. That journey started in the mountains of Idaho under the “snow-capped peaks where I was born,” and, if the lyrics of the new album are anything to go by, is one that will end in the mountains they call home.
“About halfway through writing this record, I noticed that almost all of the songs I was writing, whether they were songs about the road, life, or love, had something to do with traveling,” said Willy. “It started as an accident and I decided to just go with it. Before we knew it, there was a definite theme.”
Despite living full-time in Austin, Texas, Willy wrote a large part of the album on his property in Mackay, just north of Sun Valley. Consequently Idaho permeates the lyrics, sometimes to the detriment of their adopted city. “Sleepless nights where the stars above are drowned out by the city lights,” Willy sings in the album’s title track (catch a preview here.). “And I wonder why I keep torturing my soul beneath this urban sky. But in my mind I’ll be home soon, surrounded by the winter, beneath the long night moon.”
Reckless Kelly’s music has always stood out for its honesty and real connection to the lives of its artists. Willy writes what he knows, he writes from his experiences. These are not songs by committee, intricately designed to please an increasingly fickle mass-audience, this is Red Dirt country, distinctly different from the polished, commercialized sounds coming out of Nashville today. While this may explain why the band hasn’t hit it truly big – yet; it also explains why Reckless Kelly fans are so passionate about the music – it’s authentic.
Reckless Kelly play in Sun Valley next month. Cody Braun, far left, and brother Willy Braun, front, were born in the Moritz hospital, a few feet away from the Sun Valley Pavilion where they'll be performing.
In anticipation of Reckless Kelly’s gig at the Sun Valley Pavilion on September 6, I got a chance to chat with big brother and vocals/fiddle/mandolin/harmonica man, Cody Braun, about the new record, set for release September 3. The band’s 10th studio album, Long Night Moon was recorded at Cedar Creek Studios in Austin. An old farmhouse situated on 10 acres smack in the middle of South Austin, Cedar Creek provided the perfect setting for these country-boys turned city-dwellers to reflect on life, love, the open road and Facebook.
So there’s a song called Idaho on the album, there’s no hidden meaning in that one. It sounds like you are little homesick. Is there anything to that or does it just make for good lyrics? “No, I think definitely we miss it – we talk about it all the time. Even though we’ve been in Texas for 17 years now we’ve always called Idaho home. We visit a lot. All of my brothers have places up there now, I’m the last one to break, but I figure if they all have places why do I need one?”
As a whole, the album has a more mellow country feel than some of your previous efforts, the traveling theme Willy talks about particularly lends to that atmosphere. “This record really is a concept record, in that sense it’s about leaving home and getting out there a bit and then getting back home. It’s about the journey and everything in between. We spend so much time on the road – that’s our life – so that tends to take center stage in a lot of our music. It’s Willy writing about what he know and what’s going on in our lives at the time.”
Willy and Cody Braun, were both born in Sun Valley, along with their younger brothers Gary and Mickey, who have achieved considerable success with their own alt-county band Mickey and the Motorcars. The family grew up between Challis and Stanley in Custer County, spending much of their youth playing gigs with dad Muzzie Braun of Braun Brothers Fame, out at Sun Valley’s Trail Creek Cabin.
As soon as they were old enough, the two eldest brothers, Cody and Willy, took off to Oregon to start a band. After nine months in Bend they shifted paths, arriving in Austin in 1996 as a trio named Reckless Kelly. “We stole the name from Ned Kelly, an Australian bank robber,” Cody said. “‘They called him Reckless Kelly.’ We were in Oregon trying to figure out a name for the band and we were going to use that one for a couple shows and then find a really cool one. But it stuck.” Now known as an Oregon band they took the burgeoning Austin music scene by storm and today are considered a ‘true local success story’ in the city. But indisputably it’s Sun Valley that lays claim to the boys, after all they were born a few hundred feet away from where they will play next month, in the old Moritz Hospital, now staff housing for Sun Valley Resort.
Are you excited to be playing in the Sun Valley Pavilion? “It’ll be the first time I’ve been to the Pavilion. I’ve seen it from the road, the first time I saw it I thought ‘Wow, what a neat venue.’ We’re really excited, it’s always fun to come home and play anywhere, but to get to play such a beautiful venue is going to be really fun. We’ve got a cool show worked up for this summer, with nine records to choose from we’ve got a ton of material.”
No question it will be a great show, Reckless Kelly’s reputation as the Real McCoy when it comes to performing on stage is well-earned and with this gig coming just 3 days after the release of the new album, the boys will be excited to show off the new tunes to a real hometown audience. “We’re really exited about the new album, it was a really fun record to make, a lot of fun songs on it. It’s a little bit more mellow than some of the other records we’ve done in the past, but it’s got a lot of really cool vibes. I get to play some different stuff on it, including a tenor guitar – that was a lot of fun.”
Reckless Kelly has always been known for the honesty of its music, you clearly pour a lot of meaning and connection to your lives into your work. But with 2008′s Bulletproof, in particular American Blood, you dived head-first into the whole political/country music mele. It was a bit of a shock to some of your fans. How’d that go down? “Yeah – we got a little bit of backlash from American Blood. But we got a lot more positive than negative. Pennsylvania Avenue [a get-the-vote-out single released in September 2012] was a real-middle of the road kind of thing, it wasn’t one side or the other. But we’ve never really been afraid to go out there and talk about it. I’m personally not super political, none of the guys are, but Willy gets to a point sometimes when he’s sick and tried of writing about love gone wrong and wants to write about what’s happening around us. With the war overseas going on for 15 or so years now it’s hard not to be influenced by that.”
Reckless Kelly’s 2012 Pennsylvania Avenue Music Video. (Video not displaying? Click here.)
2011 saw Reckless Kelly’s first Grammy nomination, for Album Art. That must’ve been really exciting for you guys. “Yeah, that was awesome, and this record also has some really exciting art work. We got a bunch of surprises in store. A lot of stuff that ties the songs together with the art work. It’ll be fun to see people’s reactions to that.”
Can you give us some insight into what’s in store? “Well, certain parts of the record artwork will be glow in the dark, you’ll get a little LED black light that comes with the packaging so you can see all of the different stuff that’s hidden in glow-in-the-dark ink. There are also some hidden messages throughout the packaging. We’ll be giving fans clues as to how to find those on our website.”
Does this inventiveness with the CD packaging come from an impetus to get people to buy the physical media rather than download the music? Reckless Kelly has been through the heart of the digital music revolution, is this part of how you’re navigating that monumental shift? “Yeah, we’ve definitely embraced the digital thing, we’ve noticed that the digital sales have been up considerably. Every time we put out a record they go up 20 to 30%. Last year it was closer to 50%, so it’s definitely the new way people are getting music; you have to embrace it. But at the same time we’ve always really enjoyed making records that are a whole piece of art, art work included. It’s fun putting a whole record together and having it be interactive. We’re definitely kinda going crazy with this one, it’s going be really cool and I think people are going to like it.”
Another giant shift during your tenure in the ‘biz’ has been the advent of social media. As a brand, Reckless Kelly seems to have fully embraced social media, but as a songwriter it sounds like maybe Willy is not so keen. One track on Long Night Mooon is called Be My Friend (In Real Life), and takes a direct hit at the current Facebook and smartphone obsession. Do you all have iPhones? Is Willy always telling you to put them down? “We don’t leave home without them, we’re just as stuck as everybody else! That’s definitely my favorite song on the record, I think it’s a fun message, more of a reminder to people to just put it down. If you’re having dinner with your friends just have a conversation instead of checking whatever it is every 5 minutes. Again, it’s just what’s going on around us right now, it’s a fun tongue-in-cheek little song.”
Are you personally on social media? Do you do the whole Twitter and Facebook thing? “I do Facebook and Instagram, those are my two main deals. I have a Twitter account but I can never remember the password, and then when I do get on it’s like, I just had a cheeseburger, big deal. I can’t imagine anybody wanting to follow me through my daily routine.”
You’d be surprised… It’s amazing what people will gobble up. But social media has had a positive impact for the band? “Absolutely. It’s been wonderful. It’s a full-time job just updating and keeping up with everything. But we started our own label a couple years ago and as far as promoting the band you can do so much on your own now. You can get the word out that you have a new album or tour without spending any money. That was impossible years ago, we used to collect addresses from people and mail postcards. It’s a bummer that Facebook changed the way they’re doing stuff though, now they charge to reach all your fans so it’s not as effective as it used to be for us. We’ve got 160,000 followers, so for us to pay for an entire blast would be $10,000 or something stupid, it’s really crazy.”
The 2011 album Good Luck & True Love was the first release on your new label, No Big Deal Records, and you’re now self-managed. What was the impetus for such a big change? “This last record is our 10th and we just got to a point where we were at the end of a record deal. Instead of re-signing we sat down and talked about starting our own label; what it would entail, how much extra work it would be – it’s been quite a lot. The last record was a real learning curve, this one was easier on a lot of different fronts. It’s great, we’ve loved every second of it. We’ve learned a lot and we have total control, we don’t have to run anything by anybody or talk anybody into what we want to do. If you were to try and talk a label into the packaging we want to do on this record it would have been like pulling teeth. On the cover it says Reckless Kelly, but it doesn’t have the title of the record until you shine the light on it. No way would a record company have let us do that. And then when you have management that’s three other people you have to email and include and get their opinion. At the end of the day we’re going to do what we want to do anyway.”
It sounds like the move was less about reinvention and more about sticking to your roots. But there’s been a huge shift in the country genre since you first broke onto the scene, and mainstream country music is enjoying an unprecedented heyday. Where do you see Reckless Kelly fitting into today’s music scene? “I think we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing, keep trying to build our fan base, doing the shows, touring the country, making records that we’re happy with, that we’re proud of and that hopefully people like. I don’t really see us trying to fit in with the Jason Aldeans and the Taylor Swifts at this point, we’re still quite a ways off from what they’re doing. We’ve done quite a few shows with country artists and the crowd just kind of looks at us and says ‘What’s going on? This ‘aint country music?!’ The country fans tend to not get it most of the time. But there are a lot of people out there that really like this music and the Americana genre. Another great thing about social media is that people looking for our style of music can find it a lot easier; find it, check it out and download it.”
Clearly, Reckless Kelly are more than comfortable in their own skin, happy being real artists rather than commercially manufactured superstars. But in today’s music industry where the fans quickly ferret out any whiff of inauthenticity and have a real voice in the conversation, it’s no stretch to predict that maybe, just maybe, there’s superstardom in their future. “We just carry on and enjoy what we’re doing, we’re really luck to get to play exactly what we want to play and set our own schedule. There’s not a lot of people that get to do what they love to do and do it totally on their own terms. If we can just keep building up a fan base and making a living doing what we’re doing then we’re going to be pretty happy.”
Details: Reckless Kelly take to the stage at the Sun Valley Pavilion on Friday, September 6. Doors open at 6.30 p.m. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. The band will be supported by The Trishas. Buy tickets here, priced $35 to $55.
The original ABBA or the group Arrival? It was nearly impossible to tell Sunday at the Sun Valley Pavilion
A gorgeous summer night Sunday night saw a sell-out crowd at the Sun Valley Pavilion, all there to dance, tap their feet and sing along to the music of ABBA as performed by Arrival. Billed as the “Greatest ABBA Show Ever,” Arrival did not disappoint, playing all of the legendary group’s biggest hits well into the night. It was a time warp of the most entertaining kind — they looked like ABBA, they sounded like ABBA, they dressed like ABBA, for all intents and purposes, they were ABBA.
Arrival played a sold-out show that got everyone finding their inner "dancing queen"
Sweden’s Arrival is the only group sanctioned by ABBA to perform their music and has played to rave reviews throughout the world. As they worked through hits like “Honey, Honey,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme,” “The Winner Takes it All,” and the band’s other universally known and loved songs, audience members inside the Pavilion were compelled to get up and dance. Once the playlist got to “Mama Mia,” and “Dancing Queen,” no one remained in their seats. The huge crowd on the Pavilion lawn was also on their feet and privy to all the action on stage via a Jumbotron monitor.
The American Festival Chorus and Orchestra performed alone and with Arrival
Fronted by lead singers dressed in gold go-go boots and 70s-inspired white dresses, made under license from ABBA’s original designer, the large Arrival band, complete with sequined back-up singers and a male keyboardist sporting high-heeled silver boots, was backed by the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra. The 270-member Salt Lake City-based ensemble lent an incredible depth and richness to the sound of the production under the artistic direction of conductor Dr. Craig Jessop. A heartfelt tribute to Sun Valley Resort owners Earl and Carol Holding was given at the beginning of the evening. Mr. Holding passed away in April and in his honor, the orchestra played a few of his favorite songs, accompanied by the chorus’ spectacular voices. The event was sponsored by the Sun Valley Opera and truly offered something for every age.
MASSV, a music and arts festival, also brought out crowds over the July Fourth long weekend
The long Fourth of July weekend proved a big music weekend in the Wood River Valley as the MASSV Music Festival also played Friday and Saturday. Bringing art, live music, laser light shows, great truck food and some pretty creative costumes along for the ride, the festival was a spectacle for the senses.
There is nothing like enjoying live music on a Sun Valley summer evening. There are many great upcoming events at the Pavilion (including the Sun Valley Summer Symphony season) and at the base of River Run. Be sure to get out there.These are nights you’ll never forget!
Bring a picnic to the Pavilion lawn and enjoy music under the stars. For Arrival, the Jumbotron assured concert-goers wouldn't miss a minute of the show
It is a truth universally acknowledged that for a woman of almost any age, the piano riff at the beginning of Dancing Queen brings on an irresistible urge to become just that. And on Sunday, July 7, the Sun Valley Pavillion will be packed with dancing queens, jiving along to the timeless tunes of ABBA.
A night with The Music of ABBA: Arrival From Sweden is the closest any woman will ever get to an authentic ABBA concert; the original band dissolved in 1982, and only toured the USA once. But the infectious beats of the fab foursome are deeply embedded into the country’s pop culture, and this authentic tribute band are helping keep the music alive.
Creators of such enduring hits as Knowing Me, Knowing You, The Winner Takes It All, Mama Mia and Waterloo, ABBA was made up of two couples from Sweden, Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Formed in 1972, the group is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold over 370 million albums and singles worldwide. In the mid-nineties their music saw a resurgence, thanks to hit movies such as Muriel’s Wedding and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and combined with the debut of Mama Mia the Musical (today the 10th longest running broadway show in history), a slew of ABBA tribute bands were born.
In 1995, Vicky Zetterberg saw one of those bands in her hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. “They were from Australia” she said. “They were awful.” Having seen the real thing herself, 5 times, she determined to start her own tribute band and do it right. “I said, ‘Oh, my God, this is crazy. You can’t do ABBA like that, with fake Swedish accents,” she said in her thick, authentic Swedish accent. “And I decided to do a proper ABBA show.”
A professional singer, Zetterberg reached out to original band members Bjorn and Benny, as well as working with ABBA’s costumier Owe Sandstrom, to create the perfect tribute band. Eighteen years later, ARRIVAL has become a world-famous musical act, touring in over 35 countries to consistently sold out crowds.
ARRIVAL arrive in Sun Valley on Sunday, July 7. Get your dancing shoes on!
Zetterberg, with her mane of brown hair, assumes the role of “Anni-Frid” and Jeanette Norlander is “Agnetha,” while Fredik Bjorns is “Bjorn” and Leif Olsson is “Benny.” The group also regularly tours with several of ABBA’s original musicians and wears ABBA costumes specially created by Sandstrom for ARRIVAL.
Had you always been a hardcore ABBA fan or was this more of an opportunity that you decided to seize? Vicky Zetterberg: I’d admired the way they did the music and I admired the way they sung. I’m a singer, my mother was an opera singer, and I’ve always admired ABBA. It’s a special technique they use, one which is really hard to do.
Was your mother an inspiration for your career as a singer? VZ: She wanted me to sing opera, but I wasn’t really interested in it. Actually, I wanted to be a hard rock singer. I went to show school in Gothenburg and my teacher said ‘No, no. You will never be a hard rock singer. You’re a typical ABBA singer. He was right.
What can the Sun Valley audience expect from the concert? VZ: We don’t go on and think that we are ABBA. We talk about ABBA, but when we’re doing the songs we try to recreate ABBA. We have the same look, the clothes we have are exact copies of the original outfits ABBA wore. ABBA was 50 percent music, but it was also the show and the clothes, it was the whole package. We also tell the story of ABBA, so they get a real ABBA injection. We want to show the new generation how ABBA was. You know everything about The Beatles, you know everything about Elvis, but people don’t know really that much about ABBA. That’s what we try to do. A lot of people don’t know that ABBA stands for the first letters in their name. So we tell the story, how they met, they were two married couples who just wanted to see if they could write some good music together. They couldn’t dream that ABBA could be this big. I think today even they’re still shocked by it – “Yea, we wrote a couple pop songs, there’s nothing special about that.” They’re typically Swedish, they don’t realize how big they are.
ARRIVAL is billed as the only authentic ABBA tribute band, and the fact that you have some of the original ABBA musicians playing with you really helps support that claim. VZ: Yeah, sometimes we have original musicians that worked with ABBA, they’re 65 years old today, so sometimes they can’t go on tour with us, but as often as we can, we have them with us.
Do they have some great stories to tell about ABBA’s heydey? VZ: I know a lot of stuff but it’s private. I know Bjorn and Benny and they don’t want us to talk about the private things. Benny supports us and said as long as you do it with respect and don’t talk about our private lives and that stuff. So it’s really important to me to respect that. If I knew anything I would never say it.
So the members of ABBA actually worked with you on creating ARRIVAL? VZ: Yes, I talk to Bjorn and Benny. I never met the girls. But I always check out everything with them, and they know everything about the show. It’s really important to them that we do it with respect. They were two married couples, they were together for 10 years, and ABBA cost them their marriages. I think they deserve some respect. I mean they were one of the biggest pop groups ever.
What do you think it is about the music of ABBA that has had such resonance with modern audiences. What is it about the music that just keeps on playing? VZ: It’s the way they wrote the songs. It’s happy music, people recognize themselves in the songs. Everyone has a favorite. Some people love Fernando, some people love Dancing Queen. They have done so many hit songs, almost 10 albums. It’s the music and it’s the quality, the same with The Beatles and Elvis, good songs. And people really get crazy at the concerts, dancing and screaming and going wild. ABBA’s music affects people.
It’s so true, everyone has their favorite ABBA song, even people who don’t know who ABBA are have a favorite ABBA song! So, what is yours? VZ: It’s really hard. I have so many favorites! Of course Dancing Queen is a fantastic song. I also have a lot of the more songs that are not famous. Kisses of Fire, Angel Eyes, I have like maybe 20 favorites. All the songs are so different. But Dancing Queen is of course is a masterpiece, it is really, really one of the best songs. I Wonder is one I really like to sing, most people don’t know it. It’s so fun because I tell the audience about the story of the song. It’s important to me to educate the audience about ABBA. I want people to know that ABBA was four people from Sweden and I want them to know their names.
After all the success you’ve had with ARRIVAL, have you ever thought about tracking down that that original Australian tribute band and thanking them for starting your career? VZ: Yes, really, I should thank them!
Details: The Music of ABBA: Arrival From Sweden arrives in Sun Valley at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 7 at the Sun Valley Pavilion. Buy tickets here. This event is suitable for all ages, prices range from $25 to $65. Additionally, Intermezzo preferred seating tickets ($75) and Diva Tickets ($150, include a party on July 6th and valet parking) are available through the Sun Valley Opera or 208.726.0991.
Creedence Clearwater Revisited rocked the Sun Valley Pavilion last night
Something strange happened last night. It was as if the Pavilion was caught in a time warp. It started out in 2012, with the regular crowd of Sun Valley visitors and residents sitting sedately in their seats at the pavillion, seemingly ready for the symphony to perform or for a San Francisco ballet reprise. Instead, however, they were waiting for the debut of Creedence Clearwater Revisited in Sun Valley. As Roger the roadie surveyed the crowds with an expression of amused disbelief across his wide, friendly face. I asked him if this was a different type of crowd for the band. He replied, “Not different. Just more so.”
Roger, a member of the CCR sound crew, surveys the somewhat sedate Sun Valley Pavilion crowd prior to CCR's performance last night.
As the band comprised of American Rock icons Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford took the stage, the crowd politely clapped, emitting the occasional cheer. After a couple songs the cheering grew louder, and by the time lead singer John Tristao belted out Susie Q the Pavilion was transported back to 1970s. The crowd was out of their seats, dancing wildly in the aisles, and not a single muttering along the lines of “That young chap needs to sit down as its awfully rude,” was heard. This was a rock concert.
The band takes the stage.
Out of nowhere, dusted-off leather jackets and tight trousers accessorized with studded belts appeared, legs clad in cut off jean-shorts and more denim than you could shake a stick at were suddenly up and bopping along to the music. Sun Valley was rocking.
But it didn't take long for CCR to get the Sun Valley crowd going...
As CCR rolled out hit after hit after hit, the crowd couldn’t take it anymore and by Bad Moon Rising there was barely a bottom on a seat and an honest-to-goodness mosh pit had formed up front. Now that is not something you see at the symphony. When Stu Cook belted out “Are you ready to rock Sun Valley, Idaho?!” we really were.