Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Choose your poison

Saturday’s dilemma is: folk or country? Ketchum or Hailey?


    The only dilemma that music lovers will have as the ski season winds down Saturday is folk or country?
    On Saturday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m., the Sun Valley Brewing Co. in Hailey will host a free concert with Ian McFeron with Alisa Milner and a new release, “Time Will Take You,” which was produced by the same people who boosted the careers of John Hiatt and Patty Griffin.
    This is the seventh studio record by the Seattle-based McFeron. The folk rock album includes two of Ryan Adams’ Cardinals’ members—drummer Brad Pemberton and pedal steel player Jon Graboff—as well as Nashville-based piano and organ player Micah Hulscher and fiddler and harmony vocalist Alisa Milner, and bassist and harmony vocalist Norman Baker (both from McFeron’s road band).
    According to the advanced press on the record, before it ever reached the studio, “Time Will Take You,” was nearly waylaid by a possible career change. McFeron had spent the previous decade touring nationally and internationally, averaging 200 shows a year.
    He had made a full-time career out of playing music, but was still living hand to mouth. Unexpectedly, he was offered a job teaching in an inner-city school.
    “It was sort of like, ‘You want a change of pace, well here you go,’” said McFeron. “At first I was excited about the idea of trying something new, but the more I thought about it, the less sure I was about anything.”
    Weighing the decision through his music, he wrote, “That’s the Truth,” a song about getting unstuck and searching for new bearings in confusing times.
    “A bunch of new themes started opening up for me. I realized I had love in my life, I had music to write and I was making enough money to get by. These were solutions to the struggles I was facing and they became cardinal directions in writing the album.
    “The new songs are more upbeat and fun,” he said in the release. “It’s a much more playful album, but it still digs into some soul searching, especially in the latter half. With enough time and enough hope, you get to where you’re meant to be. Eventually.”
    In Ketchum, also on Saturday, April 6, will be the Casey Donahew Band, performing at Whiskey Jacques’. Doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. They can be purchased online at and
    According to his website, Donahew is a Burleson, ID. native now making his career in Texas. Along with his wife, Melinda, he has been able to carve out an impressive niche in country music over the past decade.
    Building his career from the ground up one show at a time, he’s managed to perform on countless stages night after night in front of thousands, topped the Texas music charts several times, released four albums independently to critical acclaim and forged a path all his own through the music scene without the aid or muscle of a major record label or power-suit management company. His latest release is “Double Wide Dream.”

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