When most people think of Montana they think of big wide open spaces. They think of ranches with cattle and sheep wandering the prairie. If there is one thing most outsiders don’t realize it is that Montana has an amazing music scene. Here are just a few of the talented rockers you can see and hear this summer around the state.
Montana Fact: Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament hails from Havre, Montana.
Billings, Montana is home to the versatile rock band Stranded By Choice. In 2012 this group was nominated for a Magic City Music Award after just eight months in the business. Featuring Keith Yoder on guitar, Rich Feeley on bass and vocals, Eli Nordstrom on rythm guitar, Levi Luoma on drums, and keyboardist Nick Pierson, the versatile band delivers original rock and a few cover tunes to get Montana feet moving. Veterans of the local bar scene and house parties, Stranded By Choice was originally formed by bassist Rich Feeley. Doing cover songs at first, the band has evolved into a working original group that plays live shows all over Montana.
The 6 time winners of the Best of Bozeman: Entertainer by the Tributary/Bozone are an original rock band that has shared the stage with such top acts as Barenaked Ladies, Shawn Mullins, and The Kentucky Headhunters. With 7 albums under their belt, The Clintons have played close to 1000 shows since they were formed in 1999. Getting their start at a frat party in Bozeman, Montana, the eclectic quartet featuring John McLellan on guitar and vocals, A.J. Miller on bass guitar, Josh Keehr, percussion, and Levi Kujala, drums. Among the band’s accolades and trivia, they were featured on CNN & a live, international FOX News, they were Gibson Acoustic New Artist of the Year 2008, Featured artist on PBS 11th & Grant 2011 Season, Over 2 million views on their Youtube channel (http://www.youtube.com/theclintons), and they have had Over 150,000 ringtone downloads (http://www.myxer.com/artist/2985034/). The Clintons continue to rock audiences wherever they perform.
Described as “straightforward rock”, The Farthest Edge have released their first self-titled album and have played the famous Whiskey-a-Go-Go in Los Angeles, rocking the house. The band was created in 2011 by Rich Candelaria, Patrick Michaelis, and Matt Ryan. Patrick Lee, Zack Coggins, and bass player Stefan Flores later came on board and The Farthest Edge was complete. Playing in venues throughout Montana and beyond, they continue to bring it. Playing at venues such as the Oscar Park amphitheater in Billings, Montana, Al Bedoo Shrine Auditorium in Billings. and the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, South Dakota, the band gets around and is used to playing big, packed houses.
Pinky and the Floyd has been mesmerizing, rocking, and delighting Pink Floyd fans and audiences new to the classic 70’s band for years. Founded in 2007, the Pink Floyd tribute band has sold out shows across the state and the US. Members Luke Flansburg (lead guitar/vocals), Dustin Tucker (rhythm guitar/vocals), Sean Lehmann (upright and electric bass), Joe Kirchner (keyboards), Chris Cundy (Hammond B3 organ), Jake Fleming (sax, guitar, vocals), Adam Greenburg (drums), Drew Fleming (percussion, samples), Jeni Fleming (vocals), and vocalist Krista Barnett are a tight performing unit that proves practice makes perfect. The band members were prior members of some of the best rock bands in Montana and the intricately woven sounds and collaborative style shines through.
Montana is not just about cattle and tumbleweeds, the rock bands are driven by a pure wild force. From Billings to Helena, Montana knows how to rock!
Photo Courtesy of Luringa