The Asheville-based Jon Stickley Trio -- led by guitarist Jon Stickley with bandmates Lindsay Pruett (violin/fiddle) and Hunter Deacon (drums) -- brought their unique blend of instrumental Americana to the intimate upstairs room of the SGHR Saturday night. The band seemingly covered miles of territory in a 90 minute span that saw complex compositions, head banging raucousness, symphonic beauty, and long periods of indefinable (yet awe inspiring) musicianship.
Americana means different things to different people, and lately the term has been dumbed down to encompass nearly any music played on acoustic instruments. But Americana is music that pulls from the types of ‘roots’ music that was created or celebrated in America- in other words, blends of folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass, and more. And if Americana has been its heyday of over the last couple decades of modern music, I hereby dub JST as post-modern Americana. JST’s concoction of acoustic jazz, folk, bluegrass, and more fits the typical Americana bill, but then shreds the standard playbook by adding themes of heavy metal, dubstep, dance, punk, and more to the fold.
That sounds like a lot for 90 minutes. But the music doesn’t jump genres for the sake of complicatedness or to buck the typical music trends or labels. Stickley leads the group through passages that blend and somehow make songs that cover a century of American music seem natural. This is aided (in my opinion) by the group being instrumental, as the lyrical content and melodies that typically accompany songs would have constrained the group’s ability to weave through their music so effortlessly. The result was a set that offered me something rare- a truly unique musical experience.