Bumper Jacksons play College of Saint Rose

Bumper Jacksons
Times Union

Imagine hearing playful New Orleans beats with a mix of Appalachian hollers, merged with a traditional, old- America sound that skillfully transports you back in time while adding a modern day flavor. This rich blend of sounds embodies the Bumper Jacksons. From the banjos and pedal steel to the vintage style, it's a modern roots band that makes audiences smile and forget about their troubles.

The music began when the band's two songwriters, Jess Eliot Myhre and Chris Ousley, met at a party and began jamming to country songs and jazz together. Discovering they both had a love for music and adventure, Ousley invited Myhre to play in the old-time string band he was in at the time.

Both are graduates of liberal arts schools and were not planning to make music a career. With Myhre waiting tables and Ousley left unemployed, Myhre says that "we decided to make a go of music just for a while, until the economy scoops back up."

It was during their travels with this band in 2011 that they were inspired to begin their own swing-based project. During an impromptu stop for bumper cars while in Jackson Hole to play a show, Ousley and Myhre named their band the Bumper Jacksons and began their journey together in music.

Myhre says that the band was "somewhat amorphous for a while," until about three years ago, when they decided to establish a set group. With the addition of Dave Hadley (pedal steel), Alex

Lacquement (bass and vocals), Dan Samuels (drums and suitcase percussion) and Brian Priebe (trombone and vocals), the sound evolved into, what Myhre describes as, "a merging of old-time with early jazz as well as early country, Cajun, and blues repertoire."

The band's last two albums, "Too Big World" (2015) and "Sweet Mama, Sweet Daddy, Come In" (2014), portray a rustic style that not only gets everyone on the dance floor, but also touches a wide spectrum of human emotion. Myhre says, "our style comes from a deep love of a variety of different early American sounds."

Ousley is entirely self-taught and grew up playing the banjo for square dances in Pennsylvania, while Myhre learned to play her clarinet and evolved her sound during her time in New Orleans. Myhre states their sound beautifully expanded through the addition of new members saying, "Alex Lacquement on bass has been able to deepen both our jazz and old-time knowledge, and Dave Hadley on pedal steel has really placed his own unique stamp on our sound."

The Bumper Jacksons were awarded artist of the year in 2015 and best folk band from 2013 to 2015 at the Washington Area Music Awards. The success is a surprise for the band. Myhre says.

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