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Red Butte: A Fortuitous Mix of Foot-Tapping and High Country Americana

RED BUTTE SUMMER 2017

Some bands are put together gradually, after a lot of thought and planning. Red Butte is not one of those. “We just sort of fell together,” a member of the band explains. “We’re a group of veteran musicians who met up at just the right time.”

It helped that they all had a common interest in Americana, specifically, “Tales of tough times and hard living that never sounded so good,” as one reviewer puts it. But much of the Depression-era sounding music doesn’t rule out some toe-tapping for audiences who are in the mood.

With the landscape reference of their name, it’s no surprise that the Casper-based band’s debut CD is called “New Western Trail Songs.” “The eleven tunes reflect a wide view of Wyoming life, culture and values,” one critic says. And one of the songs, “Nine More Inches,” written by Chris Weydeveld, was recently featured in the soundtrack of the Wyoming PBS production, “Storm of the Century: The Blizzard of ’49.”

Casper-based though they may be, the band is not without exotica in their past. J. Allen Mitchell and Chris Weydeveld performed together in the 1980s, about as far from home as it’s possible to get: busking on the streets of the Far East.

Back home, the two continued to play together whenever their paths met up, and in collaborating they began to like the instrumental chemistry and their mix of Wyoming accents. After playing for a while as a duo, in 2015 they decided to round out their sound into a band. First to sit in was an old friend, bassist Greg Kearns–who, as chance would have it, had quit another band that very day. Then came percussionist Dale Krasovetz. “It was a natural fit,” Weydeveld says, “and by the end of January, Red Butte was born.” In early 2016, Rob Doane joined the band on percussion and trumpet.

The chemistry must have been right, because by summertime they had accumulated enough material to carry to JAM Studios in Seattle and make their first album. Like “Nine More Inches,” some of the song titles are stories in themselves, such as “Truth for the Common Man” and “You Gotta Stop Kickin’ My Dog Around.”

But it’s perhaps Reverb Nation that sums up their vibe the best: “Reminiscent of Depression-era song and the folk and blues revivals of the 60’s, Red Butte offers up their own brand of High Country Americana tunes that’ll sometimes get you in the gut and sometimes get your feet flapping on the floor.”

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