Friday, August 12th: Nonfiction, music. Aaron Parrett reads from his new book, Montana Americana Music: Boot Stomping in Big Sky Country. After the reading, Aaron & guests will play some tunes! 7pm.
Montana's relationship to Americana music is as wide and deep as the famed Missouri river that inspired countless musicians seated at its shores. From the fiddling of Pierre Cruzatte and George Gibson in the Corps of Discovery to the modern day loner-folk of Joey Running Crane and Cameron Boster, the Treasure State inspires the production of top-notch country music. In the 1950s, bands like the Snake River Outlaws fostered a longstanding love of hillbilly honky-tonk, and in the 1970s the Mission Mountain Wood Band added a homegrown flavor of their own. Contemporary acts like The Lil' Smokies and songwriter Martha Scanlan promise a vibrant future for the local sound. Author and musician Aaron Parrett explored this history to show what it means to boot stomp in Big Sky Country.
From recollections and unpublished images of the iconic Aber Day Keggers and hall of famer Charlie Pride's first forays into music to the contributions of today's rising stars, the first full-length history of any genre of music in Montana offers an intimate glimpse into the dominate sounds of the Treasure State. More than a mere accounting of musical acts and events, the book is a rich and thoughtful exploration of what Americana music entails, beyond the founding components of Bluegrass, Country, Western Swing and roots music in general.
Dr. Aaron Parrett has published fiction in The Massachusetts Review, The Wisconsin Review, Open Spaces, The New Montana Story, and other journals. His essays have appeared in Montana: The Magazine of Western History, The Complete Montana Gothic, The Old-Time Herald, and other places. He has recorded four CDs of original songs, and his music has appeared in several films, including the Emmy-winning Libby, Montana. His books include Out of Earth's Cradle: The Translunar Narrative in the Western Tradition (2004), Montana Then and Now (2014), and Literary Butte: A History in Novels and Film (2015). Two years ago, with Peter Koch, he launched The Territorial Press, devoted to fine letterpress editions of Montana writing.