A series of concerts bringing together the best musicians in Laramie and around the state is set to kick off next weekend.

The inaugural edition of the Laradise Music Showcase is set for 8:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Gryphon Theatre, 710 Garfield. Tickets are $5 in advance or $7 at the door.

The concert features J Shogren Shanghai’d, Elk Tongue and Whippoorwill, all of which have Laramie ties. The series is set to continue Feb. 16 with Lander’s Low Water String Band and Laramie’s 10ȼ Stranger. A third installment of the showcase is scheduled for March 9, featuring Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons of Jackson, together with the Peculiar Patriots of Laramie.

Gryphon Theatre manager Adam Bender said he’s hoping to expose audiences to the range of music in Laramie and Wyoming.

“We’re trying to offer all different genres,” he said.

He’s planning three more concerts next fall, tentatively aligned around rock, hip hop and country sounds.

“We’re trying to make sure that we cover all our bases,” he said.

As he created the initial line-up for the Laradise Music Showcase, Bender drew on connections he’s made with bands as the director of What Fest, a music festival that’s taken place in Riverside for the past six years but is moving to Centennial this summer.

Like What Fest, the goal of the showcase is to provide a platform for musicians to grow their audience.

“We have a thriving, awesome music scene in Laramie that a lot of people don’t know about,” he said.

He’s also hoping to nurture networking between groups, and he’s enlisting community and business support. Coal Creek Tap is one of the event’s sponsors.

“There’s a lot of that intertwining that goes on, but there’s a lot of separation in town too,” he said. “I’m just trying to get everybody on the same page.”

J Shogren Shanghai’d, led by University of Wyoming economist Jason Shogren, has an eclectic sound that Shogren described as a “catawampus style of Americana music.”

Elk Tongue, composed of four friends from a range of musical backgrounds, plays psychedelic rock and roll with a variety of influences.

Whippoorwill is a two-person alt-rock group that formed when Patti Fiasco frontwoman Alysia Kraft met Texas musician Staci Foster several years ago.

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