Friday, April 30, 2010

Storyhill's Big Sky Tour, Day 2

After getting back into Bozeman late last night I slept really well in the comfortable apartment above Chris Cunningham's Basecamp Studio. I woke up to a beautiful snowy morning, made myself breakfast and drank tea to the sounds of classic country on local station KGLT. I braved the cold to go for a run and then tagged along with Storyhill to go to their performance at the hip music shop Music Villa, which was streamed online and will probably be archived there too. It's a sweet store with a very impressive collection of Gibson guitars.

Then we went to the Ellen Theatre for soundcheck. Funny enough, this was the one gig I wasn't playing at...but I at least got a photo of me with the sign.

Before the show, I explored a little of downtown Bozeman with John Hermanson, hitting the Leaf and Bean (apparently where Chris and Johnny played when they were kids) and Cactus Records, where I bought some fun gifts. Then I joined Storyhill, their families and some other friends for a nice dinner at the new Starky's (I had an amazing wild mushroom and asparagus polenta) and returned to the theater for a pre-show cocktail hour, where I caught up with KGLT's Ron Craig and Paul Oliver.

Missoula songwriter Tom Catmull opened the show and did a great set, totally living up to all the the lovely thing Chris and Johnny had told me. Highlights of his set included "Dirty Valley Lows," "The Crows," and an unusually quirky blues song with the line "I got a love as big as China and a shovel in my hand."

After a short break, Storyhill did an amazing 90-minute set, starting with songs from their new album Shade of the Trees and working their way back to older fan favorites. Seeing them perform in their hometown for their parents, old classmates and long-time fans was something special. There was such a warm vibe in the room enhanced by the amazing sound. Storyhill's voices never sounded better than they did in that room. The recently rennovated historic theater (where the boys remember seeing Star Wars and Batman as kids) has perfect natural acoustics, and the sound guy Rich did a beautiful job getting a nice tone out of their voices and guitars. Highlights of their set included "Avalon," "World Go Round," "Paradise Lost," and their older song "The Storm," dedicated to their mothers. After an enthusiastic encore, they came out in front of the mics to do a heartbreakingly beautiful unplugged version of "Give Up the Ghost" and then "Absorka Air." Then they plugged back in to do their traditional closer "Steady On."

After the show I got to meet KGLT staffer Jim Kehoe (who I have talked and emailed with for years but never met) and then joined a crew over at Plonk, the hip bar down the street. We closed the place down.

Another great day in Montana. Looking forward to seeing new territory tomorrow as we drive to Kalispell...

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