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James McMurtry and Jamie McLean Band to heat things up at Big Sky PBR

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By Jessianne Wright EBS Contributor

BOZEMAN – The fire started when competitors on the Professional Bull Riders circuit named Big Sky PBR the Event of the Year in 2013. Four years later, the event has been described as “Big Sky’s Biggest Week,” after claiming PBR’s Event of the Year title four times in a row and selling out tickets within 24 hours of going on sale June 1. Needless to say, this year’s widely anticipated Big Sky PBR is sure to fan the flames of a wild and good time, and part of the excitement stems from the mainstay after-party concerts.

Past years have brought renowned musicians like Hell’s Belles, Pinky and the Floyd and Jason Boland and the Stragglers to the Big Sky stage.

This year, Big Sky PBR will host Turnpike Troubadours for the free Thursday night Music in the Mountains concert on July 27, at Center Stage in Town Center Park.

The music continues on Friday, July 28, and Saturday, July 29, at approximately 9 p.m. Music plays after the last cowboy takes his ride, with the American rock and folk songwriter James McMurtry taking the SAV stage Friday and the honest rock ‘n’ roll band led by Jamie McLean playing Saturday. Concert access is included with PBR tickets, or music-only tickets are available online or at the door.

The son of “Lonesome Dove” author Larry McMurtry, James McMurtry has been a famously political songwriter, taking on an unassuming vocal style and presence as he plays songs that move like a story. His first album, “Too Long in the Wasteland,” came in 1989 and poignant lyrics have been a hallmark of each album that’s followed. His most recent record, “Complicated Game,” came out in 2015 and featured the tunesmith’s incredible ability to craft a song and deliver it with endless energy.

McMurtry’s PBR debut isn’t the first time he’s played in Big Sky Country, and this summer the artist will make some noise at multiple Montana festivals.

“I always look forward to playing anywhere in Montana because people move in Montana, they get up and dance so we know they’re having a good time,” he said. “Performance can be scary in places where they just listen and stare at us.”

The dynamic trio comprising the Jamie McLean Band also looks forward to making some noise on the Big Sky stage.

“The atmosphere is huge, the production is fantastic and there are just such great vibes at the event,” McLean said. “We are thrilled to add to the evening.”

With McLean on guitar and vocals, Brian Griffin on drums, and Ben Mars on the bass, these guys play tones of southern roots rock, blues, R&B, funk and soul. “Take the straightforward, no-nonsense rock of the Rolling Stones and The Black Crowes and mix in the personal sincerity of Ryan Adams and Tom Petty and the result is the Jamie McLean Band,” the musicians say.

Having played in Big Sky before, McLean said he is particularly excited to take in the PBR action as a spectator, but also partake in local activities.

“We are looking forward to doing some hiking and mountain biking and hopefully some golf and fly fishing,” McLean said.

For more information about Big Sky PBR or to purchase music-only tickets visit To learn more about the PBR music artists visit, or

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