Musketeer Gripweed, led by Jason Downing - or Reverend Monkey Paw Patterson, as he is called - takes the stage at three20south in Breckenridge tonight with its "American revival stomp shake ass holla" music, as the Reverend describes it.
"We draw from a lot of musical styles from Delta blues to Southern rock. Our inspiration is love and our motive is to bring love to people through music," Downing said. The band's name comes from the 1967 movie, "How I Won the War," featuring John Lennon.
Performance art comes part and parcel with Gripweed's act, with the live show centered on Downing as Reverend Monkey Paw Patterson, who promoters describe as "a wild-eyed pioneer preacher armed with gasoline, straight razors and hellfire" capable of whipping crowds into "a near-religious frenzy." Fans move their own "monkey paws" - an open hand with clenched fingers - to the beat.
In that vein, Downing promises a show that lends itself to testifying, and one that has "more live intense energy than the crowd has ever seen."
After its 2011 debut album, "Dyin' Day," Gripweed released "Straight Razor Revival," featuring Luther Dickinson from The Black Crowes and North Mississippi Allstars, this year. "Through our music we hope to wake people up," Downing said. "We are trying to have a revival and share our music with people." The band has been touring Colorado and heads to California in October for the Joshua Tree Roots Music Festival.
"We value our relationships with each other and being good to those around us above all else," said Downing, who chose a mutt out of all dog breeds to describe the band, the members of which he said come from diverse backgrounds and "are extremely loyal to our families and friends [and] generally just happy to be alive."
The Westword described the new release as "razor sharp."
Musketeer Gripweed has supported acts such as Trampled by Turtles, North Mississippi Allstars and Tedeschi Trucks Band and performed festivals including South by Southwest, the Old South Pearl Jam Festival in Denver and New West Fest in Fort Collins.
As to what kind of show concertgoers can expect, Downing said: "Ever been to a tent revival? What other band boasts a frontman who dresses like a Civil War era preacher and acts the part? There's a message to the music: it doesn't take any money to make the world a better place; treat each other with a little more kindness, compassion and respect; it will happen for free."
At the end of the day, however, Dowing admits: "We are just a rock n roll band; so come out to the show and you tell us."