Live at Red Rocks
The John Butler Trio may be smaller than most jam bands, but they sure know how to make a racket. The guys get a little help from their friends on this concert album -- Danielle Caruana trades harmonies with her husband, Mr. Butler himself, on "Losing You," and a Native American dancing troupe joins the group on several songs -- but most of Live at Red Rocks focuses on the trio itself, highlighting John Butler's guitar work and showcasing the multi-instrumental talents of bandmates Byron Luiters and Nicky Bomba, both of whom were still relatively new at the time of the album's recording. Playing live brings out the crunchy side in Butler's music, which loses some of the mainstream-skirting elements from April Uprising and gets back to the jam band appeal that first launched his career. He sings about revolution, about respecting your mother, about smoking marijuana, and he does so with a sort of skittish, imperfect voice that's solid enough to carry these melodies but doesn't take away from his guitar skills, which are the bread and butter of this three-disc set. You don't hear the crowd much, even on the quieter numbers, but you definitely see them on the DVD. They look like they're having fun. If you're a Butler fan, you probably will too.