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Feb. 24: John Hiatt

March 17: Act TBD

April 13-14: 19th annual Bud Light Reggae Festival

Strangefolk and Samples will rock Sugarloaf

CARRABASSETT VALLEY – Not one but two popular jam/rock bands will take the stage Saturday, Jan. 27, when the Bud Light Concert Series welcomes Strangefolk and The Samples to Sugarloaf/USA.

Originally an acoustic duo, Strangefolk has expanded to include bass, drums and keyboards, creating a sound as varied as the backgrounds of the band members. Guitar player Jon Trafton’s songwriting contributions feature an intriguing blend of pop, rock and country elements.

Luke Patchen Montgomery on acoustic and electric guitar incorporates open tunings and flat-picking into his playing style and injects incredible energy and emotion into the band’s improvisational jams, while Erik Glockier’s bass playing is both grounding and melodic.

On drums is Russ Lawton who for several years played in the afro-fusion group Zzebra and has since toured with Trey Anastasio of Phish and the Gordon Stone Band, and works as a studio drummer. Don Scott on keyboards rounds out the group, utilizing styles ranging from jazz and rock to honky-tonk and bluegrass to create blistering solos, rich textures and funky rhythms.

The influences of rock, folk, blues and bluegrass are obvious in Strangefolk’s music. The group’s sound is unmistakable, and its songwriting is full of narrative lyrical content and inventive melody. Strangefolk’s trademark three-part harmonies and soaring lead guitars make them a favorite on the stage.

After 20 years of playing together, The Samples have also developed an impressive stage presence and have a reputation as a great live band. But they have also had some great studio albums.

The Samples had their chance at recording artist fame when they were signed to a major record label. They soon saw that the industry would not allow them to make the music they loved so they returned to the indie scene. Now, they credit word-of-mouth for their success.

All told, the Samples have 18 CDs, including studio albums, compilations and live releases. Their most recent was 2005’s “Rehearsing for Life” on Apache Records. If you’re looking for the live experience, which they are best known for, 2004’s “Live in Colorado” will hit the spot.

“Playing with The Samples is a lot of fun because the guys are so good, and the music is inspiring as well as spontaneous,” drummer Bill Mutchler says on the band’s Web site. “We all seem to understand some weird foreign language that we communicate with on stage.”

Tickets for the concert event are $20 in advance, $25 day of show. This is an 18-plus performance, and proper ID is required. Visit sugarloaf.com or call 1-800-THE-LOAF to purchase tickets and to book concert ski-and-stay packages.

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