Margo Valiante
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Margo Valiante

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Blues Americana


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"Austin Music Minute-Margo Valiante"

Austin-based singer-songwriter Margo Valiante is originally from Jackson, Wyoming, where she grew up in a musical family and was playing multiple instruments at a young age. However, her voice is her primary instrument. Her classical vocal training gave her the confidence to pursue her original material. And it’s a remarkable voice, indeed. She’s gotten comparisons to artists that she admires, like Bonnie Raitt and Patty Griffin.
It’s a voice like hers that will move you. Valiante’s EP “I Can’t Pray” is a good preview of her forthcoming full-length release…

Valiante’s latest recording is a five-song EP, I Can’t Pray, and includes a rerecording of “Mama Don’t Know,” which was originally on her first release, New Blue (2008). She’s currently at work on her second full-length.

You can see Margo Valiante perform tonight at 9:15 p.m. at Momo’s Club, 618 W. 6th St. This evening’s line-up begins with Bettysoo at 8 p.m., followed by Havilah Rand at 10:45 p.m., and The Night We Left at midnight. Check them all out. - KUT-Laurie Gallardo

"Rich Brotherton- Guitarist, Robert Earl Keen"

We're lucky Margo decided to join us here in Austin. Jackson, WY, is nice, but way more folks will get to experience her giant talent now that she's living in the Live Music Capital. She sings great, she writes great, she performs great, the band's great; it's the whole package. Check out her shows - you'll see. - Quote

"Austin Music Awards 09-10"


1. Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
2. Carolyn Wonderland
3. Gary Clark Jr.
4. Los Lonely Boys
5. Blues Mafia
6. Eric Tessmer
7. Ruthie Foster
8. Guy Forsyth
9. Shawn Pittman
10. Margo Valiante


1. Bright Light Social Hour
2. Speak
3. Suzanna Choffel
4. Spoon
5. The Daze
6. Quiet Company
7. GBMojo
8. Mother Falcon
9. Margo Valiante
10. The Midgetmen - Austin Chronicle

"Margo Valiante Recieves Honorable Mention from The 2007 Telluride Troubadour Contest"

2007 Music Contests

Once again, songwriters and bands from around the country will take part in the nationally recognized Telluride Troubadour and band competitions, vying for beautiful instruments, cash prizes and well deserved recognition. There is no charge to hang out and listen to the wonderful music of fine songwriters and great string bands, so check them out at Elks Park on Thursday and Friday. Then enjoy the finalists on the Festival main stage on Saturday.
2004 Troubadour Winner Brian Joseph

2006 Troubadour Winner Nels Andrews
Telluride Troubadour Contest

The Telluride Troubadour Competition is a nationally recognized songwriter competition open to anyone who writes and performs original music and who is not currently signed to a major recording or publishing deal. Contestants are judged on the quality of the song’s composition, vocal delivery, and the overall performance. Finalists are awarded cash and prizes, as well as critical acclaim, well-deserved recognition, and a chance to perform on the festival main stage!

The Telluride Troubadour Competition has been held in conjunction with the Telluride Bluegrass Festival since 1991. Previous winners include Larry Good (1991), Cosy Sheridan (1992), Dan Sheridan (1993), Catie Curtis (1994), LJ Booth (1995), Michael Lille (1996), Jonathan Kingham (1997), Eugene Ruffolo (1998), Libby Kirkpatrick (1999), Mary Coppin (2000), Kris Delmhorst (2001), Deb Talan (2002), Rachel Davis (2003), Brian Joseph (2004), and Keith Greeninger (2005), Nels Andrews (2006).
2007 Troubadours

A record number of over six-hundred fifty songs of all styles were submitted from all over the world for the 2007 contest. The quality of the songs continues to impress us every year. After several rounds of listening by our panel of music industry professionals, we narrowed the field down to these finalists. Congratulations to everyone who entered. We encourage you to consider our Folks Showcase contest later this summer.
2007 Troubadour grand prize - a custom Shanti guitar

2007 Troubadour grand prize - a custom Shanti guitar
2007 Telluride Troubadour Finalists

* Patti Casey - Montpelier, VT
* Kev Corbett - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
* Chuck E. Costa - New Haven, CT
* John William Davis - St. Marys, GA
* Ellis - Minnneapolis, MN
* Dan Gonzalez - Cambridge, MA
* Gregory Alan Isakov - Boulder, CO
* Tina Malia - San Francisco, CA
* Sarah Sample - Laramie, WY
* Beth Wood - Arlington, TX

* 1st Alternate - Datri Bean - Austin, TX
* 2nd Alternate - Charlotte Kendrick - Pawling, NY

Honorable Mentions

* Cary Cooper - Dallas, TX
* Rose Cousins - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
* Dan Craig - Denver, CO
* Roy Davis - Portland, ME
* Jenee Halstead - Boston, MA
* Phil Henry - Rutland, VT
* Laura Meyer - Westport, CT
* Audrey Auld Mezera - Nashville, TN
* Cari Minor - Boulder, CO
* Ana Miura - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
* Alastair Moock - Boston, MA
* Chris Pureka - Northampton, MA
* Frank Gayer Martin - Glenwood Springs, CO
* Matt Johnson - Carbondale, CO
* John Stewart - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
* TC Higgins - Marine on St. Croix, MN
* Margo Valiante - Jackson Hole, WY
* Kate Graves - Salt Lake City, UT

2007 Troubadour Schedule

* Preliminary Round.
12:00pm, Thursday, June 21st. Elks Park Stage (across from the Sheridan Opera House on Main Street).
* Final Round.
3:15pm, Friday, June 22nd. Elks Park Stage.
* The Troubadour winner performs a fifteen minute set at 3:45pm on Saturday, June 23rd on the Festival Main Stage in front of 10,000 happy festivarians from all over the world. Award is presented immediately after performance.

Telluride Troubadour Competition Prizes

* 1st Place:A Custom Shanti Guitar ($9,000 retail; it’s gorgeous. Constructed of Indian Rosewood and Sitka Spruce, bound in Koa wood with Blue River agate and Malokite inlays), $300 cash, and Saturday Festival Main Stage performance.
* 2nd Place: $500 Cash and Martin Travel Guitar
* 3rd Place: $400 Cash and Martin Travel Guitar
* 4th Place: $300 Cash and Martin Travel Guitar
* 5th Place: $200 Cash
* 6th-10th Place: $100 Cash
* All finalists also receive:
o One complimentary four-day pass to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival that includes camping in the Town Park campground
o An “In the Round” performance time slot on our workshop stage at Elks Park. You may sell your CD’s from this stage.
o An opportunity to perform live on the radio over the weekend at KOTO-FM in Telluride
o Guitar strings courtesy of D’Addario and Elixir Strings
o A free 30-minute consultation with performance coach Kate Grace-MacElveen on Thursday and Friday.
o Sign-ups for all of the above will be available on Thursday.

Telluride Troubadour Competition Rules

Recording quality is not critical. Recordings with multiple instruments and/or vocals are acceptable, but we prefer to hear simpler recordings which highlight "the song" and how it would sound in a solo setting as it will be performed in the contest.

SonicbidsYou can now submit in one of two ways:

* Submit online: Visit for downloading instructions. In order to submit online, you must be ready to pay the $10/song fee online with a credit card. Limit 2 songs/person.
* Submit via mail: Starting December 6, 2006, contestants should submit a cassette tape or CD with the songs/tracks for consideration clearly specified, and $10/song (limit 2 songs per person, checks made out to Planet Bluegrass). Recordings will not be returned. Send your CDs/tapes and entrance fee to:

Planet Bluegrass
Attn: Troubadour Contest
PO Box 769
Lyons, CO 80540

Elks Park

Elks Park, Telluride Colorado
Contestants cannot be signed to a major label or publishing deal.
* All tapes and CD’s must be postmarked by the cut-off date of April 20, 2007, to be eligible.
* Ten contestants will be chosen for the preliminary round in Telluride.
* You will be notified by the May 11, 2007 if you are selected and the selected names will also appear on this webpage. Only finalists will be notified.
* Each finalist will be awarded a complimentary weekend pass to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival that includes camping for one.
* In Telluride, each contestant will play 2 original songs in the preliminary round and five finalists will play 2 original songs in the final round. Contestants may not repeat songs from preliminaries in the finals. Recommended time limit: 5 minutes per song. Points will be deducted for significantly exceeding this limit.
* Acoustic instruments with pickups are permitted as well as EQ devices but no effects.
* Instruments allowed are those that can be carried out to the mics with the performer. A keyboard will be provided if necessary.
* No backup musicians allowed. This is a solo competition.

Troubadours Score in these Categories

* 50% Quality of Composition (includes depth, in sight, cleverness, awesome beauty...)
* 25% Quality of Vocal Rendering (includes vocal quality, pitch, delivery, etc...)
* 25% Quality of Delivery (includes instrumental technique, induction of charismatic mania)

Elk Park stage

Elk Park stage
Tips from the Telluride Troubadour Judges

* Perform material commensurate with your playing ability. The judges mark you down if you get “way over your head”. It’s better to relax and play something easier in a tasteful and clean manner with a good feel. Music competitions are a test of nerve as much as skill. Your ability to perform elegantly under pressure goes with the territory.
* Scores are not cumulative from the preliminaries to the finals. The finals are a new contest; everyone starts on a fresh and equal footing.
* Judges may confer to ensure fairness and consistency in the rating process.
* In the event of ties or virtual ties, the judges as a group will be allowed discretion to confer to reach a consensus regarding the winner. A virtual tie is defined as total scores within 5 points of each other. If a “Tie-breaker” is called, you must play one song that is different from your previous songs. It’s a good idea to have a tie-breaker tune ready.
* The Troubadour contest is meant to be a competition among singer/songwriters. “Novelty” songs will be judged as such, and result in a loss of points.
* Previous first place winners are not eligible to re-enter the Troubadour competition.
* The contestant order will be randomly assigned at the contest site prior to the start of each round.
* Prizes are awarded directly after the final round! Stay nearby if you want to reap the rewards you richly deserve.
- Planet Bluegrass

"Music on Main: Clumsy Lovers and local musicians tonight"

Music on Main: Clumsy Lovers and local musicians tonight
Thursday, July 24, 2008

By Aaron Davis
Jackson Hole, Wyoming - The Clumsy Lovers, known for their quirky folk-rock, will perform for tonight's Music on Main Concert in Driggs (incorrectly listed in the Galaxy calendar as Moses Guest and The New Mastersounds). The show is 6 – 9 p.m. outside in the Driggs City Center Plaza, located at 60 S. Main Street. Folk-blues singer Margo Valiante will be joined by Ben Wiinship to open the show. The show is free and open to the public, though donations are appreciated. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets. For more information about Teton Valley Foundation, parking suggestions, and a complete summer lineup, visit
- Planet Jackson Hole

"Women of Jackson take Center stage"

Women of Jackson take Center stage
Wednesday, September 19, 2007

By Sam Petri
Jackson Hole, Wyo.-Five years ago, when Susan Prince produced her first “Women of Jackson” concert, she held the show in the Lodge Room at Snow King Center. The event was a hit, got bigger, and so she moved it to Dancers’ Workshop’s Studio 1 in the then-brand new Center for the Arts.

Now, thanks to a grant from the Equipoise Fund – a nonprofit dedicated to energizing, enriching and encouraging the vision, voice and visibility of the women and girls of Wyoming – she and the event are ready for the Big Time.

The fifth annual Women of Jackson showcase will start at 7 p.m. on Friday in the Center for the Arts Theater, at 265 S. Cache St. Tickets to the concert – which will feature an all-female lineup of musicians from the Jackson Hole area – cost $15 for adults, $10 for students and members of the Jackson Hole Music Experience. All proceeds will benefit the Women’s and Students’ Music Scholarship Fund.

As Prince put it, “It’s the cheapest show going at the Center for the Arts, with the best performers, too.” So no excuses – show up.

The two-set concert will feature 10-minute performances by a wide array of local women whose names should be familiar by now, as most perform around town on a regular basis. The Sacred Mountain Drummers will welcome the audience with a unifying percussion set that includes a 48-inch “powwow drum.”

Then native Mainer and frequent Hootenanny performer Lina Marquis will play, followed by Sara Carlson – who began playing in Jackson Hole when she moved here seven years ago – and Willow Star Squires of Victor, Idaho, who will play her jumbo goddess guitar with a rhythmic finger-picking style. Award-winning songwriter, performer and music teacher Beth McIntosh will headline the first set with a 30-minute closing performance.

After a 20-minute intermission, the second set will begin again with the Sacred Mountain Drummers. Then Julie Payne, who was a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival songwriter concert this past August, will perform. Liz McCorquodale and Deb Carpenter will represent valley Celtic band Strings Attached, which ranges in membership from two to seven players and features a variety of instruments from fiddles to spoons.

Following the Celts, the audience will be transported to West Africa when Djembe Fo takes the stage. The West African dance and drumming group of Victor, Idaho, will play and dance to rhythms from Mali and Guinea. Catapulting the audience back home, the Miller Sisters will take the stage with rockabilly soul that’s always a crowd pleaser. Then, just before all the artists take the stage to lead a drum and chant into the lobby, Margo Valiante will perform, whose emotional vocals combined with her guitar playing just might make you cry tears of honey (that’s a good thing).

On her Web site, Valiante, who grew up in Jackson, brings up a good point: “I used to have to sneak into bars to play at open mics just to be heard.”

Organizer Susan Prince agrees. “There are not too many venues outside of bars.”
On Friday at the Center for the Arts, anyone can attend and women of all ages will perform. But for those of you who know a nip nourishes your musical experience, have no fear, there will be wine, beer and drinks in the lobby and an after-scene featuring DJ Essence and area vendors. - Planet Jackson Hole

"Chicks Rock' n Rule"

Chicks Rock' n Rule
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

By Jake Nichols
Jackson Hole, Wyo.-The dream of Susan Jones has come a long way from the glorified open mike night for girls in 2002. Now in its sixth year, with Seadar Dodson at the helm, the event has blossomed into an evening of entertainment at the Center Theater featuring Grammy-nominated recording artist Tift Merritt.
“Susan always had the idea of bringing in a headliner and stepping up the event,” Dodson said. [Jackson Hole] Music Experience was ready to really push it to another level and raise a lot more money.”

JHME uses proceeds from the Women of Jackson concert series to fund programs like Rock & Roll Camp, Friday Live, and various jazz workshops. Musicians interested in getting involved with JHME classes and programs can fill out a scholarship application in the lobby the night of the concert.

Dodson said she believes the music scene in Jackson is fairly healthy and women are well-represented but she would like to see local musicians exposed to more positive and successful women role models.

“We have a tremendous talent pool in this town as far as women musicians,” Dodson said. “I think Jackson’s really unique being a small touristy mountain town, people tend to have a lot of ambition and they go after their dreams.”
From the Miller Sisters to Margo Valiante to Anne Sibley, local songstresses now have someone they can look up to … if only for an evening. Dodson said a committee worked hard finding the right artist to represent her ilk.

“First, we wanted someone who could perform solo and was charming on stage and relatable to the audience,” Dodson revealed. “We wanted someone who hadn’t been to Jackson before. Tift ended up at the very top of that list.” Dodson said Merritt’s ability to accompany herself on either piano or guitar was also a plus. “And we knew Tift could not only do slow, bring-everyone-in kind of stuff, but she could speed up the temp too and have a good mixture of both.”

The committee also considered Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) and Joley Holland (The Be Good Tanyas), but in the end, Tift was unanimous. “She blew all of us away,” she said. “We all thought, ‘We really need to get her here.’” PJH

Center for the Arts - Center Theatre. Friday, September 26. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Valerie Seaberg & Thomas Turiano open the show at 7:30 p.m. Ann Sibley and Margo Valiante will perform together following Seaberg and Turiano. Merritt will close the show after an intermission. Cost is $25, $20 for JHME members. Tickets are available through the Center Box Office at 265 S. Cache St. or online at

Catherine Tift Merritt is not one to draw attention to herself. So it would be easy for the demure southern singer-songwriter to get lost in the cogs and crannies of the music industry. Radio hasn’t quite figured her out, MTV couldn’t spell her last name, and record stores aren’t sure where to stock any of her three releases.
And don’t ask Merritt what she sounds like. “Maybe a little like if Creedence Clearwater Revival had a girl singer who loved Dusty Springfield and Bruce Springsteen and old French movies and played a real warm summer night right after a thunderstorm,” she states on her website. “But really … I’m pretty sure I just sound like me.”

Tift seems content, however, with the realization she will probably never find a predictable placard in record stores. “It’s so horrible,” said the singer who has always gone by her middle name. “I get put in ‘country’ and I think ‘Oh my gosh.’ But some of these things happen to me from the choices I make artistically, and I can’t apologize for that.”

And remaining true to her muse has worked so far. The 33-year-old has been a critics’ darling since her debut release in 2002, Bramble Rose. Time magazine called it one of the top 10 CDs of the year. She was nominated for a Grammy in 2004 for the follow-up, Tambourine. Appearances on Leno, Letterman, Austin City Limits and the Grand Ole Opry followed.

Now, Merritt is touring her third release, Another Country, on Fantasy Records, which has already yielded a video for the single “Broken.” The 11-song album was written during her sojourn in Paris, France last year. Planet JH caught up with Merritt in North Carolina, where she was preparing to hit the road in support of her newest release.

Planet Jackson Hole: You live in New York City now. Do you ever think of Paris or North Carolina anymore?

Tift Merritt: I love New York. I don’t think I will be there forever, but there’s so much energy and so many artists that it’s really nice. North Carolina and New York City mean two very different things to me. And France is somewhere I sort of identify with for reasons unknown.

PJH: You’re hardly ever home, anyway; touring, playing on television and all that. What was it like playing on the late night talk shows?

TM: I was on Letterman as Emmylou Harris’ backup singer before I did my own spot. So she made sure everyone was really nice to me (laughs). I played “Morning is My Destination” on Letterman last June and “Broken” for Leno in March. Those shows are really fun. They are so ‘pro’ because they do it everyday.

PJH: What about the Grand Ole Opry with Charlie Louvin?

TM: That was great. He’s, like, your grandfather’s age yet he’s so full of spunk and definitely flirty.

PJH: The music business is going through changes now. Artists are less like indentured servants to their labels. Are there still pressures on you, though, to be a commercial success even while you enjoy more artistic freedom?

TM: Absolutely. It’s not one thing or the other. I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I think it’s a question of being true to yourself, but also being smart. If you ask me: “Do you need success, or radio, or MTV? Well, do I need to pay my band and get them health insurance? Yes.” So at some point it has to become a financially viable thing just so we can have the ability to keep doing it.

PJH: Your songs seem so personal, so intimate. How do you keep that when you hand them over to the band?

TM: Fundamentally, even though I’m trying to write something that has a really intimate personal thing going on, it’s not something that will fall apart in your hand. To write a good song, I want it to stand all alone on its own. But I also want it to have enough backbone – no matter how fragile or intangible or intimate the message – that it can hold a bunch of music. So when I take it to the band, it’s not going to get stomped on or fall apart or something.

That’s why I think of Carole King as such an influence. You take the songs from something like “Tapestry,” and they are extremely intimate, but you could have a whole symphony playing them and it wouldn’t feel forced.

PJH: How was it working with George [Drakoulias]? (Drakoulias is a protégé of Rick Rubin and has produced records for The Black Crowes, Tom Petty, Low Stars, Jayhawks, Screaming Trees and others. He produced Merritt’s last two albums.)

TM: George is great. I was really excited to work with him again. I’m definitely of the mind that when you work with someone the first time, you are sort of learning each other and scratching the surface. [After Tambourine], I felt that we had more work to do.

PJH: He’s worked with one of my favorite singers: Maria McKee.

TM: Maria sang on Tambourine. I was able to meet her. She is certainly one of my heroes. She’s amazing. Her voice is like a force of Nature. She is so intense, I was looking at her singing for me and thinking, “What am I doing making a record? This is the person with all the talent.”

PJH: Your styles are different. Your voice is more delicate, but I hear the intensity there without you having to over-sing like some of the vocal gymnasts you hear on American Idol or something.

TM: I hate that stuff. I come at singing from the point of view of a writer. And I don’t really think that over-singing or vocal acrobatics is … it’s like a writer using too many adjectives.

Also, I come from a really interesting place, musically. I learned about music from my dad and his record collection. The main things he had that he would listen to were Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, and Percy Sledge. He would figure them out on piano or guitar and play them to me. That, to me, is a very modern idea of a folk musician, playing by ear from my dad.

PJH: I love the Memphis soul stuff you sprinkle in on your albums. Where does that come from?

TM: It comes from singing about sincerity. On one hand, there’s this kind of singer-songwriter thing that says sincerity can sometimes fall apart in your hand, but soul music is such sincere music, and it’s so strong that I gravitate to it as a singer and as a band member. I just remember coming off the road from Bramble Rose and saying, “I’m really tired of playing all these wistful, quiet songs.” I want to keep the sincerity, but I don’t want that to mean that it can’t be strong.

PJH: Your new video for “Broken” is cool. Real artsy.

TM: That’s directed by Martyn Atkins (Depeche Mode, Sheryl Crow). We wanted to make a very small French film. People ask me, “Where did you shoot that?” We did it in downtown LA. Isn’t that funny? We didn’t have the budget to go to France.

It was a lot like making a documentary. I really enjoyed making the record and I’m really happy right now where I am with this record label. You don’t have to have someone from Hair and Makeup telling you what to wear. You don’t have to do any of that stuff. So it was me and a very small crew. It was very natural. I really enjoy that. And I think that it is very much a truer representation of the kind of music I do. It isn’t about being perfect. As a woman, visually, it’s not about being anything but yourself. And I think that’s a really good thing.

PJH: You don’t get ‘dolled up’ enough from what I read on the Internet.

TM: Did you ‘Google’ me?

PJH: It’s called research and, yeah, I did. I found out from that …

TM: [Screeches] Oh No. I’m actually at my best friend’s house right now, and she got really upset ‘cuz she saw it on there. I said, “Kristin, don’t read that. Don’t tell me about it.” What did it say? They wrote that I wear too many clothes, right?

PJH: Yeah, they rated you a 71. They said you look like you have all the curves in all the right places; it’s just hard to tell under all those clothes.

TM: I think that’s so funny.

PJH: My point is, they rated you a 71, but the readers rated you 84. So AskMen doesn’t get you. Just like your music, which can sometimes be overlooked by industry programmers, critics get it. Listeners get it. How do we get the whole world on the Tift Merritt train?

TM: I don’t know that I really care that AskMen doesn’t get me. Maybe it’s really important that they don’t. I think I am aspiring to be ‘not disposable.’ I aspire to be a career artist and [I hope to be] doing this 20 years from now. It isn’t like I have to convince “Entertainment Tonight” that they have to keep talking about me. I just have to keep doing good things and grow steadily at all times.

PJH: You better dress warm for Jackson.

TM: I’m excited. I’ve never been to Jackson or Wyoming. I’m bringing my dad. He likes to go fishing.

PJH: Are you bringing the band?

TM: No. Some people think, “Oh, that’ll be boring.” I don’t know. There’s a real emotional intensity to playing solo. The Arts Center has a really beautiful piano from what I understand, so I’m really excited about that.

Women of Jackson

Sibley is one-half of the husband-wife acoustic duo working as Anne & Pete Sibley. Sibley and her spouse sang together in their high school choir before developing an onstage persona at the local hootenanny. The duo began recording in 2004, and they play regularly at folk/bluegrass festivals across the nation.

Seadar on Sibley: “Anne was actually one of the first women that I was blown away by when I moved to town. She has this almost pure innocent quality to her voice. I have a much lower voice. I really love when I hear people sing in this almost angelic way and can hit it really well. She’s phenomenal.

“And she loves what she does, with every part of her. She loves being a part of music in every way she can. Her and Pete taught at the bluegrass camp last year, and they are all about supporting the town and supporting music in this town.”

Valiante gets noticed as soon as she opens her throat. Fronting the local band Boondocks, the Skidmore College music grad can convincingly cover a lot of ground between jazz, country and rock. Give her a blues number, though, and you’d better give her room. “She can really belt it,” local musician Sarah Carlson once said while watching Valiante absolutely destroy a Susan Tedeschi cover at the Fireman’s ball last year. Valiante seems equally at home with a brooding Gillian Welch song or handling the halting jazz style of the late Eva Cassidy.

Seadar on Valiante: “Margo moved to Austin this month and is going to try and pursue her dream there. She has been playing the past couple of years with Boondocks and they have been doing really well. Margo just finished her solo album New Blue earlier this year.”

A chance meeting between hitchhiker and driver spawned the burgeoning career of Tom & Val. No one is sure who picked up who, but the two Wilson residents fell into easy harmony.

The pair debuted professionally in the spring of 2007, playing wedding gigs and private parties. They mine the vein Tuck & Patti reveled in for years. Their material often includes Rory Block, Bonnie Raitt, Maria Muldaur, Joan Armatrading, Natalie Cole and Ricky Lee Jones.

Seadar on Seaberg: “This is the first time that they have been in Women of Jackson. We wanted some new blood in there. Ever since they started going to open mikes, they were killing it from the very beginning. She has a very jazzy, soulful voice and they do really well with some of the older cover songs.”

- Planet Jackson Hole

"Boondocks celebrates new disc with party at the wort"

Boondocks celebrates new disc with party at the Wort
Wednesday, August 29, 2007

By Richard Anderson
The word “boondocks” evokes a hardscrabble existence scratched out of a parsimonious land, suspicious – maybe even a little dangerous – rural types who work hard and drink harder, and dark, mysterious realms at the end of that long dirt road you never dared to turn down.

It makes an apt name for the Jackson Hole five-piece that plays for its own CD release party 7-11 p.m. on Friday in the Silver Dollar Bar, located in the Wort Hotel, a half block west of the Town Square on Broadway. Playing a mix of blues, hard rocking electric country and a few traditionals, the band evokes associations of the hard life, hard partiers, and also the warm folksiness that one inevitably comes to experience and appreciate once you, the outsider, is welcomed in.

Boondock’s new disc, “Live at the Silver Dollar,” was, as the title implies, recorded over the course of two nights at the famed downtown saloon in January of this year, and the dates find the five players in fine form. Vocalist Margo Valiante wails convincingly on Bonnie Raitt’s “Give It Up or Let Me Go” and the traditional “Soul of a Man,” and also contributes some fine originals, worthy, indeed, of the recognition she recently won at the Telluride Troubadour Songwriting Competition.

Guitarist-mandolinist Aaron Davis is rock solid on his solos and offers some of the set’s finest originals. Harp man John Kuzloski shows what “Bluegrass Now” magazine means when they praised his “righteous harmonica playing.” And bassist Bryan Perkes and drummer Andy Peterson keep the whole unit swinging with often ferocious timekeeping, as on the traditional “Crawdad Song.”

It’s a fun mix of musics and styles, deftly performed by five well-practiced players who appear to just be getting better and better together, and if this disc, released on their own Gros Ventre River Records, is any indication, their shows make for a rowdy party.
CDs are available at any Boondocks show, The Wort Hotel Gift shop, Valley Bookstore, Main Event and Mountunes in Jackson, at Big Hole Music in Driggs, Idaho, at, and online at and iTunes.
- Planet Jackson Hole


2010 I Can’t Pray, Margo Valiante
2009 Fishing Music II Compilation, Ben Winship
2008 New Blue, Margo Valiante
2008 Shuttle Diplomacy, Growling Old Men
2008 Love Just Love, Michael G. Batdorf
2008 Rear View Mirror, Aaron Davis
2007 Live at The Silver Dollar, Boondocks




In the words of her hometown newspaper in Jackson,
WY, “Margo Valiante sings the blues high, strong and
convincingly,” a skill she acquired in the mountains
and has brought to Austin, TX since 2008. A seasoned
performer from the first note to the last, you’ll never hear
a moment of hesitation in her songwriting or in her voice.
The Austin Chronicle approves of Margo’s”…supple
suede vocals,” on her album I Can’t Pray (2010), “there’s
an overall soulfulness that buys her a ticket into the
ranks of Austin’s established female vocalists.” Her fans,
often comparing her voice to those of Bonnie Raitt and
Patty Griffin, say her voice could stop a train, not to
mention stop every room she plays to.

Margo's passionate live performance and unique
songwriting perspective landed her a showcase at
the 2010 Triple A Radio Conference in Boulder, CO.
Many of the tracks on I Can’t Pray are now climbing
the charts and getting unprecedented spins for an EP.
Her songs 'I Can’t Pray' and 'First Born Son' also placed
her in the top three at the 2010 Rocky Mountain Folks
Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival and made the
regionals in the Mountain Stage NewSong competition.

I Can’t Pray was recorded with famed Austin guitarist, Rich Brotherton (Robert Earl Keen) along with her Austin-based band. Her second release in the last two years has a connective, soulful tone throughout its five tracks. The album is carefully steeped in Blues/Alt-Country and effortlessly displays her extensive vocal range and power. In the title track, Margo ties in her response to the whiskey-soaked lyrics of the song Moonshiner juxtaposed with the memory of herself as a young, apprehensive church-goer. The line “Go tell them all…that I can’t pray” is rooted from one of her first solos during a church concert. “I was told to sing a solo in Go Tell It on the Mountain…I hated every minute of it,” she laughs, “It was a song that later embodied my rejection of and constant fascination with religion and gospel music.” This emotion is palpable throughout the song I Can’t Pray and strongly woven into her stirring performances on this record.


“As produced by Rich Brotherton, Margo Valiante’s blues on five-song EP I Can’t Pray favor the Bonnie Raitt/Americana style. That’s a comfortable and expressive place for Valiante to be since relocating to Austin. With warm organ work from Riley Osbourn and supple suede vocals, there’s an overall soulfulness that buys her a ticket into the ranks of Austin’s established female vocalists.”

-Margaret Moser, Austin Chronicle

“Emotional and intelligent songs, coupled with
passionate music and vocals make Margo an artist to
pay attention to.”

- Jack Barton, VP/Triple A, FMQB

“Organic and authentic…Margo Valiante stands out
with well-crafted songwriting and a most expressive and
powerful voice.”

- Grady Kirkpatrick, Wyoming Public Radio

“It’s a voice like hers that will move you. Valiante’s EP “I Can’t Pray” is a good preview of her forthcoming full-length release…”

-Laurie Gallardo, KUT Radio, Texas Music Matters

“We’re lucky Margo decided to join us here in Austin. Jackson, WY, is nice, but way more folks will get to experience her giant talent now that she’s living in the Live Music Capital. She sings great, she writes great, she performs great, the band’s great; it’s the whole package. Check out her shows – you’ll see.”

-Rich Brotherton, Producer/Guitarist, Robert Earl Keen

2010 I Can’t Pray, Margo Valiante
2009 Fishing Music II Compilation, Ben Winship
2008 New Blue, Margo Valiante
2008 Shuttle Diplomacy, Growling Old Men
2008 Love Just Love, Michael G. Batdorf
2008 Rear View Mirror, Aaron Davis
2007 Live at The Silver Dollar, Boondocks

2010- 3rd Place- Rocky Mountain Folks Fest Songwriters Showcase, Lyons, CO
2010- 4th Place- Telluride Troubadour Competition
2010- Regional Finalist- Mountain Stage NewSong Contest
2009- Winner- Wildflower Performing Songwriter Competition
2007- Honorable Mention- Telluride Troubadour Competition