Turnpike Troubadours, The Last Revel next up at Music in the Mountains

ARTS COUNCIL OF BIG SKY

The next two bands performing at the Arts Council’s Music in the Mountains concert series couldn’t be more different, yet share something in common: a rabid fan base built from energetic, rollicking live shows.

On Thursday, July 27, Oklahoma’s Turnpike Troubadours help kick off Big Sky’s popular PBR bull-riding event at 7 p.m. at Center Stage in Town Center Park. The Troubadours have garnered a huge following since their 2007 debut, “Bossier City.” At their best, the quintet synthesizes the populist, political folk of Woody Guthrie and the outlaw-styled honky-tonk of Waylon Jennings with doses of bluegrass, Cajun, and straight-up rock. 

Fronted by singer-guitarist Evan Felker and including bassist R.C. Edwards, fiddler Kyle Nix, guitarist Ryan Engleman, and drummer Gabe Pearson, the group celebrates and explores modern rural life with a full awareness of history, delicately avoiding being ornate revivalists. The band’s 2015 self-titled album debuted at number three on the Billboard country charts.

“The Troubadours put on one of the best live shows around,” said ACBS Executive Director Brian Hurlbut. “They have such a great sound, which will be perfect for the lead-in to the bull-riding event over the weekend.” 

Taking Center Stage on Thursday, Aug. 3, is Minnesota’s The Last Revel. Although the band has only been around for a few years, The Last Revel has also amassed a huge following around the country for their ability to blend the folk and rockabilly, with old-time string band and rock flavors to create a sound that’s as original as it is timeless. The trio utilizes their multi-instrumental abilities to bring the acoustic guitar, upright bass, fiddle, five-string banjo, harmonica, kick drum and three-part vocal harmonies together to consistently deliver “bombastic live performances,” as well as delicate and haunting folk ballads. 

Their third album, “Hazard & Fate,” released in April, further demonstrates their ability to create rich and delicately textured recorded material with a modern tip-of-the-hat to the storied history of American folk music. Montana has been particularly kind to the band, having been discovered at the Red Ants Pants Music Festival a few years ago and since then playing to big crowds across the state. 

“It’s been fun to watch the rise of The Last Revel over the past few years,” Hurlbut said. “Not only are they an amazing live band, they are super nice, humble and deserving people.”

The rest of the Music in the Mountains lineup includes DeadPhish Orchestra on Aug. 10; Andy Frasco and the U.N. on Aug. 17; the Ghost of Paul Revere on Aug. 24; and Con Brio to close out the concert season on Aug. 31. The seventh annual Big Sky Classical Music Festival, with special guests the Mambo Kings, will take place Aug. 11-13, and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks will provide a free performance in Town Center Park on Sept. 1.

All Town Center Park events are free and open to the public. Contact the Arts Council of Big Sky at (406) 995-2742 or visit bigskyarts.org for more information.