By Amanda Eggert EBS Staff Writer
When Brian Hurlbut, Arts Council of Big Sky’s executive director, contacted Blitzen Trapper’s booking agent about playing aThursday night Music in the Mountains event this summer, he didn’t expect a “yes.”
“I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to get them,” Hurlbut said of the band, one of his favorites. “I’m pretty surprised.”
Hurlbut has been a fan since he discovered their 2008 album “Furr,” which was named “one of the most gorgeous rock albums of the year” by Rolling Stone magazine. “Furr” prompted comparisons to Neil Young and Fleet Foxes; it was one of three Blitzen Trapper albums to make it onto the Billboard 200.
Hurlbut said Portland, Ore.-based Blitzen Trapper plays “music of the Western landscape.”
“It’s really good road trip music,” he said. “In Montana, we drive a lot, so it’s almost like a soundtrack to Montana.”
After attending a handful of the band’s live performances, Hurlbut was sold on the quality of their live show, but he’s only seen them play smaller venues. “I feel like they’re ready for a bigger Montana audience. To picture them on the stage in Big Sky – for me personally, that’s awesome,” he said. “And I kind of want to get the stage rocking a little bit.”
“All Across this Land,” Blitzen Trapper’s 2015 studio album and latest in a highly varied eight-album discography, hearkens back to 2008, when “Black River Killer” and the title track from “Furr” made waves in the indie-folk scene.
According to the band’s website, “All Across This Land” is a “tightly defined piece of classic rock and roll, full of big riffs, bigger hooks, and compelling, instantly relatable lyrics.”
Hurlbut said most of the Thursday night Music in the Mountains acts have been booked. A mix of returning and new-to-Big Sky musicians will take to the stage in Town Center Park this summer, and attendance is free. The Black Lillies, Jamie McLean Band, DeadPhish Orchestra, The Band of Heathens, Fruition and Amy Helm have all signed on.
“Everyone says last year was the best year, and this gives us a reason to try to make this year even better,” Hurlbut said. “We’re excited to kick it off June.” The Black Lilies will play the first show of the season on June 23.
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