Best Jam Band (2008)

Ten Dollar Outfit

TDO rocks on the contemporary tip, with an original sound that blends folk, rock, jazz, and pop — sometimes in a single song. The band's latest (and only) studio album, East Meets West, displays the Phoenix trio's ability to merge smart acoustic arrangements with unbridled jams, but it's Ten Dollar Outfit's two live albums — Live at The Clubhouse and Live at Chandler Center — that really show off the band's musical dexterity. Like the Grateful Dead, Ten Dollar Outfit takes its studio recordings and stretches them into epic, extemporaneous odysseys in a live setting. Given that frontman Brian Chartrand names Steely Dan as one of his biggest influences, it's no surprise that these jams are often keyboard-heavy and lean in a progressive-rock direction. In the studio, TDO is solid, but the live show is where the trio really comes unhinged and rocks it. And in an era when studio wizardry often masks musical ineptitude, being able to say your group is a "live band" is quite an accomplishment.


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