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The Patti Fiasco: Jet-Fueled Powerhouse, Riding The Edge

The Patti Fiasco

Which one is Patti? What’s the fiasco about? Actually, there’s a good family story there.

Turns out, the band’s front woman Alysia Kraft has a more-than-somewhat wild aunt named Patty. While growing up, Alysia was a sometimes rambunctious youth and her mother often scolded her as “Patty.” Her sister soon (“snidely,” Alysia adds) coined the nickname “Patty Fiasco.”

Fast-forward to when Alysia began signing up for Laramie open mics, and changed her stage name to Patti Fiasco. Then she formed a five-piece band, who liked the name and made it their own. To say the band caught on is an understatement.

Music critics, as we know, are not especially big on family history but tend to jump straight to the music. Here’s a typical example, from reviewer Johanna Racz:

“Jet-fueled by powerhouse front woman Alysia Kraft, The Patti Fiasco rides the edge of emotional extreme, delivering a brash yet fiercely soulful brand of rock and roll with a heavy dose of rockabilly, blues, and ballad. At times raw and volatile, and at others, sweet and lilting, the band fuses a hard-rock swagger with the two-step of its Wyoming roots. It’s the attitude of Joan Jett with a Steve Earle twang, the soul and slide of Bonnie Raitt, Black-Keys-style dirty blues-rock, and the lyric edginess of Shovels and Rope…”

Whew. Not bad, for a snide nickname. And that’s just the beginning. Further research on what the band’s been doing since 2008 turns up a long list of concerts and competitions, sharing the stage with Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite, Justin Townes Earle, and many more.

Their 2013 album “Small Town Lights” has amassed multiple honors, including Wyoming Public Radio’s Best Regional Album award, a high ranking on Colorado charts, and the single of the same name was featured in the film “Whensday.” They’ve performed twice at SXSW and on the Wyoming Caravan Tour covering 19 concerts in five states. And the band was recently chosen by Paste Magazine as “A Band to Listen to Now.”

The band’s personnel get individual high marks from reviewers, as well. Alysia won FoCoMa’s “best front person award.” Dobro player Ansel Foxley (a RockyGrass dobro competition winner) who hand-made his electrified instrument, and is described as “building the band’s signature blend of rock, country, and Americana.” Bassist Niles Mischke “anchors the sound with solid, feel-good grooves delivering an irresistible dance floor appeal.” Lead guitarist Dee Tyler’s “riffs range from gritty and driving to pensive and melodic, and his backing vocals add warmth to Kraft’s pointed lyrics.” And drummer/percussionist Peter Knudson’s “smart yet gut-driven rhythms drive the group with a primal energy tempered by subtle sophistication.”

Combine Patti’s (Kraft’s) powerhouse sound with a band that’s a carefully tuned fiasco, and it becomes obvious why Paste magazine’s “A Band to Listen to Now” was awarded to The Patti Fiasco. You may not be able to listen to them now in person, but the Fiasco fixes that on the first afternoon of Beartrap, August 5. It may not be “now,” but it’s the next best thing. And even Aunt Patty might agree.

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