By Sarah Gianelli EBS Associate Editor
BIG SKY – With a bonus Fourth of July concert added to the regular Thursday night Music in the Mountains concert series, June 29 through July 6 delivers a triple serving of free, live music from Center Stage in Big Sky Town Center Park.
The three-concert run begins with New Orleans Suspects at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 29. A conglomerate of seasoned New Orleans musicians who have played with the Neville Brothers, James Brown, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and The Radiators, the band includes “Mean” Willie Green on drums, Jeff Watkins on saxophone, Jake Eckert on guitar and vocals, CR Gruver on keyboards and vocals, and Eric Vogel on bass guitar.
Released in September 2016, their third studio album “Kaleidoscoped” encompasses traditional Louisiana genres such as Cajun swamp pop, Mardi Gras Indian funk, and a pastiche of Southern rock, Dr. John-style rhythm and blues, and traditional jazz all interpreted through the band’s colorfully distorted lens.
With a sound often described as “psychedelic funk” and a reputation for electrifying live performances, New Orleans Suspects has built a loyal fan-following that extends far beyond their hometown of New Orleans.
“I’ve been trying to get the New Orleans Suspects to Big Sky for several years, since they’ve come together as one of the premier super-groups of the New Orleans music scene,” said Brian Hurlbut, executive director of the Arts Council of Big Sky. “The musical resumes of the band members are as good as you’ll find anywhere, and the Big Sky audience will be in for a real treat to have these legendary players on our stage.”
The funky vibe continues with a special concert by The Tiny Band at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4. This will be the third year The Tiny Band ushers in the Big Sky fireworks display with their danceable repertoire of familiar Motown, rock, soul and pop standards featuring hits by Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Adele and more.
“The Tiny Band does a great job of playing music that everyone loves,” Hurlbut said. “Over the years, the arts council has learned that the July 4 concert is perfect for showcasing a band that can play a variety of styles and appeals to all ages—a melting pot of music to represent our melting pot of a country.”
Comprised of Bozeman musicians Ryan Matzinger, Jeni Fleming, Krista Barnett, Jake Fleming, Chris Cundy, Sean Lehmann, John Sanders and Drew Fleming, The Tiny Band brings big vocals, high energy, and anything but a tiny sound to Big Sky’s Center Stage for an evening that will culminate in a fireworks display at 10 p.m.
Closing out this segment of Music in the Mountains on July 6 is another band from down south, but this time from Texas, with an altogether different sound. Triple-threat fiddle champions, The Quebe Sisters straddle the genres of authentic Americana and indie folk, and have shared the national stage with legendary musicians on both sides of the divide.
“The Quebe Sisters are one of the hottest bands in the Americana/bluegrass scene right now,” Hurlbut said. “They are so unique; their sound is such a throwback to the early days of American music while still fitting in with the contemporary scene. To see and hear three fiddle players with accompanying harmonies will be truly special for the Big Sky Audience.”
Those hooked by The Quebe Sisters’ sounds can catch them again on Saturday, July 8, at the Montana Folk Festival in Butte.
Visit bigskyarts.org or call (406) 995-2742 for more information