With it’s one-of-a-kind music, local band Misfit Moonshiners weaves a positive message into every song. The trio describes their distinctive sound as “Southern rockin’ country” and have graced venues in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana for the past two years.
Fans are often found dancing and singing along to lyrics of songs such as “Right Where You’re At,” a tune about failling in love; “Cowboys Comin’ home,” a song about the American flag; and “Coming Down,” about an addict finding the strength to get sober.
“If our message can touch people at the core, and let them be themselves, we have succeeded,” says lead guitarist and singer-songwriter Jaremy Jess Erickson. “What we play epitomizes the heartbeat of this valley.”
In addition to Erickson, drummer and singer-songwriter Shawn Doyle and six-string bass player Jason Reeder mesmerize crowds on both sides of the Tetons and beyond. The trio plays in Teton Village’s Concert on the Commons summer series and Music Under the Tram in the winter, in addition to performing regularly at Moose Hockey games at the Snow King Ice Arena. They’ve also played at Jackson Hole Live, where they opened for Lukas Nelson, and at regional venues in Montana and Idaho.
“People like the originality of our music,” Erickson says. “Our music centers on growing up here, being here, and just surviving.”
The band’s name was derived from the members’ varied backgrounds and the good-humored nature of their music. Erickson is from Newcastle, Wyoming; Doyle moved to Jackson at age 7; and Reeder grew up in a small town in Arkansas. Now all three live in Idaho, so Doyle dubs their music “all-original podunk Idaho rock and roll.”
Erickson started playing music at 11 years old on a $50 guitar his father bought in Mexico, and he began composing music in high school. He kept his work in a secret notebook well before he could predict his musical success. His modern country band called Moulton Jess rocked the valley from 2006 to 2010 as he played alongside Kole Moulton, Peter Bryan, and Gary Stewart. That band set the stage for the evolution of Misfit Moonshiners.
Doyle, who also handles bookings and promotions for the band, began playing drums at 7 years old. His music teacher and mentor, Tom Dunham, inspired him. Erickson first met Doyle when he was playing with Moulton Jess, and they set up Doyle’s drum set in Erickson’s garage. Their tight friendship evolved into a unique three-piece band in 2015 with the addition of Reeder.
Erickson said that Reeder changed everything about what the band was doing because Reeder could cover another guitar player’s part with the six-string bass.
“Shawn and I hold down the rhythm and Jason fills in the rest, so we have been able to keep going as a three-piece band,” Erickson says. “In such a small valley, it is rare to come across such a versatile bassist. It’s amazing what he can do.”
Reeder, a self-taught bass player, claims the six-string offers a wider variety of note selections and a deeper sound.
“It allows me to get down to lower registers without adjusting the tuning on my bass,” Reeder says.
With a repertoire of 40 original songs, Misfit Moonshiners is currently working on an extended play record with Jeff Lord-Alge, which will be available for download on iTunes and Amazon, and play on TouchTunes and AMI Jukeboxes.
“Right now, we’re all just happy to be playing original music,” Doyle says, “And hopefully helping our listeners get lost from everyday life, if only for a little while.