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Jackson Hole News & Guide

Tram Jam singer keeps evolving

From skiing to music to ministering, Tram Jam singer is psyched to still be 'living the life.' [ Read more... ]

Jackson Hole News & Guide

Music Men — Multi-project minstrels pay the bills with many styles and band mates

     Outdoor adventures aren't the only thing in abundance in Jackson Hole: This is also a musician's mecca. Open mic are offered at a half dozen bars. Restaurants, hotels and other establishments hire aspiring or established musicians to entertain their guests. Free outdoor concerts offered at the base of Snow King and in the Village Commons as well as in Victor, Idaho present not only listening but playing opportunities.

     There is a proliferation of performers, but not all find themselves fortunate enough to book steady gigs at the various music venues in town - much less make a living as a musician.

     While eking out a career in music can be a roll of the dice, it helps to be versatile and willing to perform with numerous ensembles.

     Here are a handful of performers who are involved in multiple projects. Most of them told the News&Guide they have played with some of the others interviewed, in either a one-off situation or as members of the same full-fledged band. 

     "The Jackson music scene can be incestuous," guitarist and vocalist Dusty Nichols said.

    .....Peter Chandler

         Known primarily by the moniker "The Chanman", longtime resident Peter Chandler has been singing since he was a child.

         In high school, one of his guitar-playing best friends wanted to form a band and made Chandler his singer.

        "OK, I'm your singer," he says he told his buddy.

         And thus a career, more or less, was born.

        Initially coming to Jackson after graduation in 1978, he then went back east to Massachusetts (sic) to study religion while singing classical music in college. After returning here briefly he left again for a couple of years to attend Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, graduating in 1990.

     He then made his way back to the Hole for good in 1992 and began making a living as a musician by night and skiing during the day.

     Last week the Chanman ticked off the number of projects he is now involved in. Chanman solo as a singer/songwriter; as Papa Chan solo, duo, trio,or quartet (old time jazz); with Tram Jam (rock/reggae/blues), Chanman3 (reggae and originals) and with the Chanman Roots band (reggae).

     "I began focusing on music for two reasons," Chandler said "One is because I felt it was a way to continue my ministry to my culture, which is ski bums-the ski culture-as opposed to having a church. 

     "And the second is it was a way to support my skiing lifestyle since I worked after the Resort was closed." he said.

      His "Tram Jam" — held Saturdays at the Resort from 11am to 2pm and now in it's 21st year — allowed it's founder to have access to the mountain and combine the two loves of his life, skiing and music.

     He said that almost everyone he plays with plays in another band or two, "which can be a little difficult when you are trying to book gigs and other people are on hold." he said, "but it's the nature of the beast."

Unofficial Networks

The Art of Skiing: Original Ski Bum Music

Reaching the turnstile where a lovely lifty stands looking at my pass picture on an LED screen, the toe of my ski boot catches a miniscule break in the concrete and I stumble forward a few steps. She laughs, her eyes disguised by dark goggles. [ Read more... ]

Wyoming Public Media

Wyoming Artist Profile - Chanman Roots Band

Jackson Hole based Chanman Roots Band, fronted by Peter “Chanman” Chandler, are driven by strong rhythms, horns and a positive vibe. [ Read more... ]

Skiing Magazine

Meet Jackson's Chanman, just don't ask him to play "Pretty Woman."

        VIBE: Profile  Oh, He's Seen Ire and He's Seen Rain 



       CLAIM TO FAME: A Harvard Divinity School minister by training, Chanman serves God and skiers alike with original "ski bum" music at the base of the Jackson Hole tram. Sample lyrics: "When I grow up I wanna be a ski bum, don't you know what I wanna do? Sitting on the sundeck when it's all said and done, with a little snow bunny named Sue." (We aren't making this up.) With his three-member band Tram Jam, Chanman has played in sleet, blizzards, and sub-zero temps for 10 years running. "When it's cold and snowy, it's more "A" for effort than good music," he admits.

      ALTER EGOS: Chanman is involved in so many projects, it's hard to keep tabs on him-let alone recognize him. There's the well known, dreadlocked Chanman ("the hippie-ski-bum-singer-songwriter); there's Peter Chandler of the band Waist Deep, which just self-released it's first CD "Ski Bum Music"; and then there's the newest personality, Papa Chan, who tucks his dreads under a cowboy hat, suits up, and plays jazz standards in swanky hotels.

     THE BUMS: It's challenging to get a serious ski bum band project together these days. "No one wants to practice during the day, and no one has the energy at night."

     FOUND ART: Inspiration for "The Coffee Song" came after Chanman walked into the local grocery store and assembled the names of all the coffees into verse. Sample lyric: "Kona blend, Sumantra Mandalin, Irish Creme', Cinnamon Hazelnut, Amaretto...." For the title track of the latest album, Chandler sings, without pause, the names of nearly every run at Jackson Hole: "Hoback, Jackson Face, Green River, Rock Springs, Cody Bowl....Amphitheater, Paintbrush, Elevator, Expert Chutes, Twice is Nice..." You get the picture. The list goes on for more than seven minutes.

     GUN CONTROL: The last time Chanman saw God was in a Maine biker bar in 1991. We were up there playing blues and this guy asked me to play "Pretty Woman." I said no. He hauls a gun out, points it at me, and says 'play Pretty Woman.'"

Powder Magazine

Chanman releases "Gotta Take Some Turns"

    He has played the "Tram Jam" on the Jackson Hole tram Dock for more than a decade-in downwards of minus 20-degree weather. You've heard him in bars from Sun Valley to Salt Lake City. And you've seen him under the chairlift at every resort in-between, ripping through powder, humming his handcrafted tunes.

     Drawing on a lifetime of skiing, professional footbagging, making music, and preaching, Peter "Chanman" Chandler has upped the ante on his quest to document ski bum culture through song with Gotta Take Some Turns. Mixing simple Tom Waits-like melodies with acoustic guitar lines and sparse percussion reminiscent of Jack Johnson, Chandler's second album is original and powerful from start to finish.

     The Title track "Gotta Take Some Turns" spins the yarn of Bill Briggs legendary first ascent of the Grand Teton (I call him the Granddaddy of ski bum music", Chandler quips), while "Froze to the Bone", "Cowgirl", "Love Makes a Beautiful Day" and "Thanks and Praises" take listeners on a ride through Chandler's eclectic and intriguing life. If you have ever wondered what makes a turn a turn, or just like to listen to thoughtful music, Gotta Take Some Turns won't leave your car stereo for months. "Chanman's music has always been there progressing along with everyone's ski bum lifestyle writes skier Micah Black in the liner notes. "It has been a pleasure to listen to his music and watch him sing about the lifestyle he represents in Jackson Hole."

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CHANMAN SOLO is on sale now at Contact Chanman for a $10 download card.

Jazz Thursdays

Papa Chan & Johnny C Note play jazz standards weekly at Teton Pines, 6 to 9 pm starting December 5th.