Twang is a five-member traditional country and western band from Montana. Their sound is reminiscent of country and western music of the 1960’s and ‘70’s that was infused with steel guitars, and the rhythmic sound of foot-tapping guitar licks that people easily got up and danced to. As I watched the video I found myself tapping along to their sound and being taken back to the days when country and western music came from the real roots of the genre. Their music is upbeat and reminded me of the days of Porter Wagoner and Asleep at the Wheel. They even dressed the part; wearing big brimmed cowboy hats, shirts with neckerchiefs, vests, suits and cowboy boots.
The Shuffle Bums
The Shuffle Bums are a late 1950’s blues band based out of Livingston and Bozeman, Montana. The band plays long-forgotten and familiar rocking blues tunes to audiences all over Montana. The Shuffle Bums combine the musical stylings of vocals, harmonica, upright base, guitar, and drums to produce an authentic sound. As I listened to this group perform I felt as though I was in a time warp to the 1950’s blues era. The music was funky, yet sounded fresh. Some tunes I recognized, while others I was hearing for the first time. The band was very energetic and their stage presence was invigorating and exciting. The lead singer had a great raspiness to his voice for singing blues music. He was also a good harmonica player which he switched between singing and playing harmonica while being accompanied by the rest of the band.
Montana Rose is a four-member folk ensemble. Their sound is helmed by lead singer, Claudia Williams, who has a voice that is serene and melodic and perfect for folk music. She also could easily sing bluegrass because of her range and tone that so often accompanies the genre. The band played a variety of songs consisting of ballads and upbeat tunes set to upright bass, guitars, and bongos, showcased their ability to be diverse, yet staying true to the genre. The pure and honest sound is indicative of great folk artists Joan Baez and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and made for a very enjoyable listening experience.
Tappan Roberti Quartet
The Tappan Roberti Quartet is a jazz band comprised of Ann Tappan, Kelly Roberti, M.J. Williams, and Brad Edwards. Their sound is traditional, classic jazz that is remniscent of Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and Tony Bennett stylings. The musical arrangements boasted a rich, staccato sound that showcased the talents of the quartet. Ann Tappan has impeccable vocals that were reminiscent of Diana Krall and Billie Holiday. The band’s sound is very mesmerizing and calming. In traditional jazz style, the Tappan Roberti Quartet gives listeners a unique, musical experience.
Bob Nell is an accomplished solo pianist that has won the most elite of all jazz pianists awards; the Dewars Prize. He is also known for his incredible compositions and singing ability. His musical style was enjoyable to listen to. He played a variety of songs from slow and melodic to fast and upbeat. No matter the song, I could feel the music as Nell played; especially on the slower tunes. Nell’s music drew me in and was very enchanting. Being an avid piano fan, his style of playing appealed to me. All of his compositions were original works which showed what an immensely talented artist he is. There were many pans to Nell playing during the video which demonstrated just how accomplished he is.
Backburner is an instrumental jazz quartet from Bozeman, Montana, featuring Eric Funk, program host for 11th and Grant, on piano. The quartet features a vast array of swing, funk, Latin, and jazz waltz. The performances ranged from easy-listening to upbeat arrangements of original tunes. There was a lot of emphasis on Funk and his spectacular piano-playing ability. The piano in this quartet carries the band and gives it that special sound that the drums, bass, and saxophone relied on. However, the saxophone added much appeal to this quartet’s performance. There were also moments where the drums and bass were highlighted. It was relaxing and memorable. This is the kind of band that one could listen to after a long day to unwind.