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Music in the Mountains kicks off with Laney Lou, Steep Canyon Rangers

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BIG SKY – The Grammy-winning sounds of North Carolina’s Steep Canyon Rangers will fill the Big Sky Town Center on Saturday, July 3, for the first concert in the Arts Council of Big Sky’s acclaimed Music in the Mountains free summer concert series.

The concert will take place in the Town Center Plaza, on the south end of the Wilson Hotel, and will start at 7 p.m. Opening the show are local bluegrass sensations Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs. Admission is free, but parking at various lots around the venue will be $20 per vehicle. Carpooling, walking or riding is strongly encouraged. Food and beverages will be available from several vendors, but no glass containers or dogs are allowed into the concert area. Town Center Avenue will be closed for the duration of the concert.

The usual location of the concerts will be Len Hill Park, but the area isn’t quite ready for the crowds typically seen for the Arts Council’s free concerts. Instead, the plaza will act as the venue until the park is available on July 15.

“We’re really excited to utilize the new plaza for a big concert,” said Brian Hurlbut, the Arts Council’s executive director. “It will be a great gathering space for the community and it no doubt will be a fun event that kicks off the summer music.”

The Steep Canyon Rangers are big players in the bluegrass, country and Americana scene today. Since their inception in 2000, the band has racked up a Grammy Award (and a nomination), numerous International Bluegrass Music Association awards, several number one albums, and a reputation for incredible live performances. In 2020 the Steep Canyon Rangers released two albums, both on Yep Roc Records, including “North Carolina Songbook,” a recording of their live performance of all North Carolina Songwriters performed in 2019 at Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC. This was nominated for a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. The band won a Grammy in 2013 for “Nobody Knows You,” and was also nominated in 2012 for Rare “Bird Alert.”

Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs are an energetic Americana band from Bozeman that infuses four-part harmonies, engaging songwriting, and rock-n-roll drive into a modern approach to traditional folk music. Coming from varied musical backgrounds, the five-person ensemble creates a sound unique to them, but one that finds common ground by adding the energy of Montana’s big sky country into their music. The Bird Dogs have been taking their infectious sound on the road since 2013, supporting acts such as The Travelin’ McCourys, The Steeldrivers, The Steep Canyon Rangers, The Jeff Austin Band, Amy Helm, Leftover Salmon, Town Mountain and many more.

While the Arts Council is excited to again be hosting concerts after taking last year off, the nonprofit organization is stressing that the safety of the concertgoers is paramount.

“We’re not that far removed from the COVID restrictions,” said Hurlbut. “We just ask that everyone is respectful to one another. We all want to have a good time and enjoy the music, but let’s just do that in a safe and courteous manner.”

The July 3 concert is the first of two events that take place over the holiday weekend. The Tiny Band once again returns to Big Sky for another epic concert on July 4 in the plaza. This year, however, there will be no fireworks as the Arts Council has cancelled them due to the forecasted high temperatures and high fire danger.

For more information on these events please visit the Arts Council’s Facebook page or their web site at

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