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Celtic and bluegrass roots dominate next two Music in the Mountains

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The Elders; Jeff Austin and Two Bit Franks take Center Stage in August


The Elders—a band of six musicians with a shared passion for music rooted in Americana and Celtic folk rock—return to perform at Music in the Mountains in Big Sky Town Center Park on Thursday, Aug. 9 at 7:15 p.m.

Founded in 1998, The Elders weave together vocals, percussion, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, bass—even a whistle—into a timeless sound that combines storytelling and music that is progressive while remaining grounded in tradition.

Their eighth studio album, “True,” builds upon The Elders’ reputation for strong song-writing and narratives that explore history, legends, tall tales and real-life experiences in a mesh of styles, textures and harmonies. This latest album also includes a few straight instrumentals.

Celtic-influenced The Elders play Music in the Mountain on Thursday, Aug. 9. PHOTO BY BRIAN RICE

The Elders have headlined major Celtic festivals in North America and Europe and, for the past 14 years, the band has sponsored a 12-day tour of Ireland during which fans join them on excursions to historical and geographical sights during the day, and attend gatherings at local pubs or ballrooms at night for pints and performances by The Elders.

On Aug. 16, the Jeff Austin Band—no stranger to Big Sky—performs with special guests, and opening act Two Bit Franks.

Both Austin and Two Bit Franks are veterans of the Big Sky Resort’s annual Big Sky Big Grass festival and crowds can probably expect some jamming between them.

Austin, a founding member of Yonder Mountain String Band who left the band in 2014 and now tours with his own band, is known for his high-energy jam-infused bluegrass. This Music in the Mountains performance is the kick-off concert for the Moonlight MusicFest, which takes place the following two days at the Madison Village base area.

Featuring some of the finest bluegrass musicians in Montana,

Bluegrass stylists Jeff Austin and special guests Two Bit Frank bring the jam to Town Center Park on Aug. 16. PHOTO COURTESY OF ARTS COUNCIL OF BIG SKY

Two Bit Franks are John Lowell, Tom Murphy, Russ Smith, Jeff Shouse and Kevin Fabozzi. Creative solos, driving rhythm, hot vocals and interesting arrangements have earned the group regular slots at the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival, Big Sky’s Big Grass Bluegrass Festival, Missoula’s River City Roots Festival, the Livingston Summerfest and many more.

The Two Bit Franks—a name that evolved out of a package of frozen “skinless franks”—formed more than five years ago out of Lowell’s desire for a tighter, more polished outfit to play with than the looser jam-style bluegrass groups.

The Two Bit Franks take the stage at 7 p.m.; Austin will follow Two Bit Franks at 8:30 p.m.

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