By Brian Hurlbut Arts Council of Big Sky

BIG SKY – The Arts Council of Big Sky’s free summer concert series will wrap up the season with Montana favorites, Cold Hard Cash and Pinky and the Floyd, Aug. 30 and Sept. 6.

On Thursday, Aug. 30, the Arts Council welcomes one of Montana’s favorite bands, the Cold Hard Cash Show, to Center Stage at Town Center Park. The Cold Hard Cash Show is an innovative tribute to the life and music of Johnny Cash.

Frontman Merle Peterson moves and sings like Cash, with power, composure, intensity and focus—more calculated than contrived. Peterson’s band includes Johnny Pope Staelens (bass) and Felipe Torres (drums); their unparalleled comprehension of Cash music goes beyond just the notes and into subtlety, nuance and proper tone. The Cold Hard Cash Show captures the look, feel and sound of ‘Folsom Prison’ era Cash, with a repertoire of more than 100 hits and classics spanning his five-decade career.

On Thursday, Sept. 6, Pinky and the Floyd will play at Town Center Park. This group calls Montana home, and was recently called the Northwest’s Hottest Pink Floyd tribute band. Founded in 2007, Pinky is a grassroots effort that’s exploded in popularity, selling out shows across the state. The group puts on an amazing live show that’s both note-for-note and improvisational. Their superb musicianship, energy and stage presence sets them apart from other tribute bands.

All Pinky members are professional working musicians, assembled from genres across the board. All told, the group is members of more than 20 bands spanning genres from Americana, Vintage Swing, Hip Hop, Jazz, Country, Salsa, Funk, Rock to Blues.

Each member “…unconsciously affects the overall sound,” the group says. “As players, musicians and artists, whatever you’ve got comes with you…” Between the 10 of them, they have a lot! You can expect albums in their entirety, and something from every Floyd genre—from Syd Barrett to Division Bell, and everything in between.

This summer’s free concerts take place in Town Center Park on Ousel Falls Road in Big Sky. The park opens at 6 p.m., and music typically starts at 7 p.m. Food and beverages from local vendors will be available. Please no glass containers or pets in the park during concerts. Admission is free and suitable for all ages, and there is plenty of parking available. For more information on these concerts and to hear songs from the artists, visit bigskyarts.org.