Announcement 1

JJ Grey and Mofro (Support TBA)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Zoo Montana (2100 South Shiloh Road, Billings, MT 59106)

Rain or Shine

General Admission/All Ages

Doors at 5PM/Show at 6PM

$43 in advance/Day of show

$2 of every ticket sold will be donated to Zoo Montana

Additional fees may apply

Tickets on sale Friday, 4/21 at 10AM

From the days of playing greasy local juke joints to headlining major festivals, JJ Grey remains an unfettered, blissful performer, singing with a blue-collared spirit over the bone-deep grooves of his compositions. His presence before an audience is something startling and immediate, at times a funk rave-up, other times a sort of mass-absolution for the mortal weaknesses that make him and his audience human. When you see JJ Grey and his band Mofro live—and you truly, absolutely must—the man is fearless.

Onstage, Grey delivers his songs with compassion and a relentless honesty, but perhaps not until Ol’ Glory has a studio record captured the fierceness and intimacy that defines a Grey live performance. “I wanted that crucial lived-in feel,” Grey says of Ol’ Glory, and here he hits his mark. On the new album, Grey and his current Mofro lineup offer grace and groove in equal measure, with an easygoing quality to the production that makes those beautiful muscular drum-breaks sound as though the band has set up in your living room.

Despite a redoubtable stage presence, Grey does get performance anxiety—specifically, when he's suspended 50 feet above the soil of his pecan grove, clearing moss from the upper trees. “The tops of the trees are even worse,” he laughs, “say closer to 70, maybe even 80 feet. I'm not phobic about heights, but I don't think anyone's crazy about getting up in a bucket and swinging all around. I wanted to fertilize this year but didn't get a chance. This February I will, about two tons—to feed the trees.”

When he isn't touring, Grey exerts his prodigious energies on the family land, a former chicken-farm that was run by his maternal grandmother and grandfather. The farm boasts a recording studio, a warehouse that doubles as Grey's gym, an open-air barn, and of course those 50-odd pecan trees that occasionally require Grey to go airborne with his sprayer.

For devoted listeners, there is something fitting, even affirmative in Grey's commitment to the land of his north Florida home. The farms and eddying swamps of his youth are as much a part of Grey's music as the Louisiana swamp-blues tradition, or the singer's collection of old Stax records.

As a boy, Grey was drawn to country-rockers, including Jerry Reed, and to Otis Redding and the other luminaries of Memphis soul; Run-D.M.C., meanwhile, played on repeat in the parking lot of his high school (note the hip-hop inflections on “A Night to Remember”). Merging these traditions, and working with a blue-collar ethic that brooked no bullshit, Grey began touring as Mofro in the late '90s, with backbeats that crossed Steve Cropper with George Clinton and a lyrical directness that made his debut LP Blackwater (2001) a calling-card among roots-rock aficionados. Soon, he was expanding his tours beyond America and the U.K., playing ever-larger clubs and eventually massive festivals, as his fan base grew from a modest group of loyal initiates into something resembling a national coalition.

Grey takes no shortcuts on the homestead, and he certainly takes no shortcuts in his music. While he has metaphorically speaking “drawn blood” making all his albums, his latest effort, Ol’ Glory, found him spending more time than ever working over the new material. A hip-shooting, off-the-cuff performer (often his first vocal takes end up pleasing him best), Grey was able to stretch his legs a bit while constructing the lyrics and vocal lines to Ol’ Glory.

“I would visit it much more often in my mind, visit it more often on the guitar in my house,” Grey says. “I like an album to have a balance, like a novel or like a film. A triumph, a dark brooding moment, or a moment of peace—that's the only thing I consistently try to achieve with a record.”

 Grey has been living this balance throughout his career, and Ol’ Glory is a beautifully paced little film. On “The Island,” Grey sounds like Coleridge on a happy day: “All beneath the canopy / of ageless oaks whose secrets keep / Forever in her beauty / This island is my home.” “A Night to Remember” finds the singer in first-rate swagger: “I flipped up my collar ah man / I went ahead and put on my best James Dean / and you'd a thought I was Clark Gable squinting through that smoke.” And “Turn Loose” has Grey in fast-rhyme mode in keeping with the song's title: “You work a stride / curbside thumbing a ride / on Lane Avenue / While your kids be on their knees / praying Jesus please.” From the profane to the sacred, the sly to the sublime, Grey feels out his range as a songwriter with ever-greater assurance.

The mood and drive of Ol’ Glory are testament to this achievement. The album ranks with Grey’s very best work; among other things, the secret spirituality of his music is perhaps more accessible here than ever before. On “Everything Is a Song,” he sings of “the joy with no opposite,” a sacred state that Grey describes to me:

“It can happen to anybody: you sit still and you feel things tingling around you, everything's alive around you, and in that a smile comes on your face involuntarily, and in that I felt no opposite. It has no part of the play of good and bad or of comedy or tragedy. I know it’s just a play on words but it feels like more than just being happy because you got what you wanted — this is a joy. A joy that doesn’t get involved one way or the next; it just is.”

Grey's most treasured albums include Otis Redding's In Person at the Whisky a Go Go and Jerry Reed's greatest hits, and the singer once told me that he grew up “wanting to be Jerry Reed but with less of a country, more of a soul thing.” With Ol’ Glory, Grey does his idols proud. It's a country record where the stories are all part of one great mystery; it's a blues record with one foot in the church; it's a Memphis soul record that takes place in the country.

In short, Ol’ Glory is that most singular thing, a record by JJ Grey—the north Florida sage and soulbent swamp rocker.

Tickets are available at 1111presents.com, Pub Station Box Office (2502 First Avenue North), Zoo Montana (2100 South Shiloh Road, Billings, MT 59106) or by calling (877) 987- 6487.



 

The Yellowstone Bluegrass Association is sponsoring a concert in Billings on Thursday, May 4 at the Blue Creek Baptist Church, 2337 Blue Creek Rd. The band, is Masontown and consists of a talented, young group of Bluegrass musicians from Colorado. The concert time is 7 pm with admission of $20 at the door. This event is co-sponsored by Hansen Music.
 
Masontown Bio:

Eric Wiggs (guitar/vocals) Mike Canney (mandolin) Natalie Padilla (fiddle/vocals) Bradley Morse (bass)

"Masontown is 4 corners of great music. 4 musicians hold up a new sound, delivering the creative reharmonization of a tenured melody. This progressive and heartening aesthetic is sure to last." - Eli West (Cahalen Morrison & Eli West)

"Masontown’s music is as high energy as the mountains they hail from! Their repertoire consists of delightful renditions of classic Bluegrass songs paired with exciting original tunes. The 'nationally acclaimed' fiddling is highly engaging and the talent and sheer joy of the musicians is striking!"
- Bridget Law (Elephant Revival)

"This is a very tight band. They’re writing really cool tunes, great arrangements and playing with a confidence and taste usually reserved for the recording studio. Young bands rarely sound so cohesive! The Front Range has a new group to be reckoned with."
- Grant Gordy (Mr. Sun)

A new and enchanting sound has emerged from the hotbed of the Colorado roots music scene. Masontown, a young band with a concept as timeless as the Rocky Mountains, has alighted onto a bluegrass community that has already produced some of the best that the acoustic music world has to offer. But Colorado, and the wider world of modern music, hasn’t quite heard this yet.

A lauded fiddle champion and classical violinist. A veteran bluegrass mandolin player and composer. One of Colorado’s jazz guitar greats reborn as a flatpicking sensation. An upright bassist with roots running deep in the classical and jazz traditions. These are the individual elements that come together to create Masontown.

Masontown’s sound is a exciting take on the American acoustic tradition. At once fresh and familiar, the group unites the sounds of bluegrass, old-time, folk, and new acoustic music into a sonic melting pot that hearkens back to our deep musical traditions while remaining defiantly modern in conception. Echoes of the poignant exploration of the Matt Flinner Trio blend with the fierce drive of Bill Monroe and the plaintive song- craft of Cahalen Morrison and Eli West. It’s no surprise that the members of Masontown have shared the stage with many of these musical icons that their sound evokes.

The listening halls and dance floors of Colorado have already begun to hail the arrival of this new force in the acoustic music community. Masontown is a band on the move, driven to delight the ears, touch the hearts, and move the feet of generations of music lovers in Colorado and far beyond. 

Pub Station (2502 First Avenue North, Billings, MT 59101)

General Admission/All Ages

Doors at 6:30PM / Show at 7:30PM

$15 Advance/$18 Day of Show

Tickets on sale Friday, 4/14 at 10AM

Ticket price includes base Ticketfly service charge. Additional fees may apply depending on purchase method.

 

Jared & The Mill is a southwestern indie rock band, formed in 2011 in Phoenix, AZ. The band has spent the past few years touring extensively through the venues, dives, theaters, festivals, and arenas of the U.S. and Canada, playing alongside new burgeoning bands and established acts, and developing a strong and rooted fan base along the way. The band has multiple and successful independent releases, the most recent 2016, Orme Dugas was recorded and produced by Ryan Hewitt in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

“Orme Dugas blurs lines to the point where the ambiguity becomes an asset unto itself, a record that sounds exactly like Jared & The Mill to the returning listener but a little more gray to a newcomer. It’s not rock, it’s not country, it’s not folk, but it’s not quite pop. So where do they fit? They’ve opened for the Zac Brown Band, the War on Drugs, Allen Stone, & the Killers, to name a few, and while it’s an impressive list, it’s a still a grab bag. Their undefinable nature is also their strongest weapon.” - K.C. Libman Phoenix New Times.

 

As the band has stated, “Our music has been called, compared and regarded by a number of different names and genres, and we've been influenced and shaped by many different events and people, but more than anything, we'd like to think that some shred of the Southwest -- of our home -- can be found in the heart of our music.”

 

 

Tickets are available at thepubstation.com, Pub Station Box Office (2502 First Avenue North), or by calling (877) 987- 6487.

 

Pub Station Ballroom (2502 First Avenue North, Billings, MT 59101)

General Admission/All Ages

Doors at 7PM / Show at 8PM

$31.50 Advance/$34 Day of Show

Tickets on sale Friday, 4/28 at 10AM

Ticket price includes base Ticketfly service charge. Additional fees may apply depending on purchase method.

Singer-songwriter Matisyahu has been on journey inward for more than a decade.  The journey has been private and public. The journey has at times been explicitly external, even while being driven by internal change. Now nearly thirteen years after the release of his first studio record, Matisyahu and his band have done something unmatched in his past repertoire; they have crafted that journey into a musically thematic eight song movement.

The band features longtime guitarist Aaron Dugan, Dub Trio bassist and drummer Stu Brooks and Joe Tomino, and keyboard virtuoso BigYuki -- and the journey starts with them.  The band improvised for hours in the studio with Matisyahu watching on as an admirer without singing a single lyric.  Out of the improvisations grew melodic themes, rhythmic peaks and valleys, blissful and proto-song guitar passages, deep dub meditations and ultimately an inspired instrumental record until itself.  Only once the band had crafted this musical narrative, did Matisyahu begin to work on a lyrical narrative of his own -- a lyrical narrative that is simultaneously informed and integrated with the music yet driven by Matisyahu’s own personal journey.  The result is Undercurrent, Matisyahu’s sixth studio album.

The record is musically Matisyahu’s most courageous release to date and lyrically his most vulnerable.

The courage in the music comes from trust.  Trust in the band.   And only in the band.  There are no post-production bells and whistles or litany of special guests on Undercurrent.  On the opening track, “Step Out into the Light” the band lays out a repetitive minimalist verse section that anchors the listener in a near meditative loop only to open up into a gorgeous set of chord changes that makes the chorus feel revelatory, as if the listener has earned this release, and can achieve the song-title’s call to action.

By the record’s third track, “Coming Up Empty” the band has established melodic themes that will be called upon or re-harmonized later in the record, and just two songs in, it is clear that these musicians are road-tested, brave-song-crafters, with tens-of-thousands of hours of playing together embedded in their muscles and fortified in their bones.

The vulnerability in the lyrics comes from acceptance. Acceptance in uncertainly. Acceptance in the actions of one’s younger self and acceptance that while the future may be uncertain, having the courage to trust gives us all the best chance at meaningful relationships. It’s a lyrical reframing of the Jewish philosophical differences between emunah (faith) and bitachon (trust). Faith, the constant, and trust the immediate. Matisyahu sets the stage for this conceptually on the record’s opening track, but he digs in internally on the authoritative plea in the chorus of “Back to the Old”, [I’m giving up, I’m giving in / All I got is what’s right in front of me / Is the people that I see…].  He projects it outwardly through questioning in “Forest of Faith”, [What’s a man got to do, Oh! / To get through to you?] And finally works towards acceptance on the guitar-driven gem “Headright, [And I know feelings come and go / How should hold on, should I let go].

These forces direct the journey of Undercurrent, and as the record progresses the music begins to open up into full band improvisations like a relationship becoming more trusting, willing to take chances, knowing there’s acceptance in the process.  A stunning example of this is on the record’s fifth track “Tell Me”.  If you stop the song at the three-and-a-half-minute mark, you have a great reggae-tinged pop tune that promises to make a hit radio single.  The track however continues for another six-and-half-minutes, beginning with a beautifully re-harmonized keyboard reference to the song’s opening wordless vocal melody.  From there the entire band begins to improvise.  Each player speaking briefly but with purpose, adding slowly and deliberately to the conversation.  Drums and bass falling in and out.  Guitar and keyboards calling back and forth to each other. The listener can almost intuit the personalities of each musician. The musical conversation continues to build, each band member adding to the improvisation without playing on top of one another. Trust and respect. This is truly Matisyahu the band.  Matisyahu the singer is patiently waiting for the band to direct the journey, and he joins back in with a near whisper as the rhythm section finds that incomparable dub groove Brooks and Tomino are famous for.

The level of interplay between Matisyahu and his band mates on Undercurrent is unquestionable and requires multiple listens.  Each repetition of a song reveals a guitar line from Dugan that elevates a vocal melody that only 15 years of experience together can achieve.  Keyboard patterns from Yuki unrealized in a previous listen connect one song to another and the full band improvisations that climax with an impressive exploratory section on the record’s final track “Driftin’” achieve the rare feat of capturing a band’s live potential on a studio album. 

Ultimately, Undercurrent, is a fully realized concept album crafted by a band-of-brothers who have learned to hold a conversation that is both comforting and challenging at the same time. It plays like a revelatory session with a great psychotherapist. 

Like someone watching an ocean wave move chaotically towards the shore unaware of the undercurrent pulling mightily back in the opposite direction, Matisyahu and his band have achieved a musical retelling of the Matisyahu story that explores the forces within that inspire us all, challenge us all, break us down, lift us up, and yet are rarely obvious to the outside observer.

Tickets are available at thepubstation.com, Pub Station Box Office (2502 First Avenue North), or by calling (877) 987- 6487.

 

May Events and Programs:

ArtWalk & Jam at the YAM

Friday, May 5, 2017

4–9 p.m.

Museum admission is free during Artwalk and will once again begin with an early bird starting at 4 p.m. at the Yellowstone Art Museum. Meet your friends at the YAM to start out your ArtWalk. Enjoy live music by Rod Tochihara while checking out our newest summer exhibitions. Check out the new artwork for purchase in the Art Collectors’ Corner by Wendy and Jason Jam, Carol Welch, Neil Jussila, and Stephen Haraden. Cash bar and light hors d’oeuvres provided, free parking, and first drink is free for new member sign-ups.

Dollar Day

Saturday, May 6, 2017

10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Admission is free for members or $1 for all others the first Saturday of every month.

Drawing as a Conversation

Drawing Class led by Artist-in-Residence Robin Earles

Saturday, May 6, 2017

1–3:30 p.m.

Ages 16 to adult

$45 members, $50 non-members (supplies included)

Robin Earles will demonstrate drawing techniques that allow you to explore your own unique language while working in concert or conversation with artwork currently on exhibition. This unique experience will help you to better understand the works of others, build empathy for that art, while connecting you with your own mark making abilities.

Book-signing with artist Theodore Waddell

Thursday, May 11, 2017

6:30–7:30 p.m.

Admission is free for members or included with regular museum admission.

Meet the artist at this discussion and book-signing.  This magnificent new book about the artist’s life and work has been years in the making.  Get your autographed copy of My Montana: Theodore Waddell, Paintings and Sculpture, 1959-2016, written by Rick Newby with essays by many others including Pat Williams, Patrick Zentz, and Paul Zarzyski. Distributed by the University of Oklahoma Press.

Docent 2nd Saturday: Art for Kids

Saturday, May 13, 2017

10 a.m.–12 p.m.

Ages 5-12

$6 members, $7 non-members

“Share Your Story”– Illustrate the many ways you are unique and one-of-a-kind with layers of acrylic on canvas influenced by Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith: In the Footsteps of My Ancestors. Registration opens 1 week prior to each class. Contact Berenice Munson at 406-256-6804 x232 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Raven’s Café d’Art Mother’s Day Brunch Special

Saturday & Sunday, May 13 & 14, 2017

10 a.m.–3 p.m. each day

Treat your mom for Mother’s Day at Raven’s Café d’Art. Enjoy unique brunch selections or special luncheon items that include appetizers, dessert, and champagne. Limited seating with outdoor seating in the atrium available, weather permitting. Make your reservation by calling 406-256-6804.

International Museum Free Day

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Admission is free all day for everyone in honor of International Museum Day. Check out Artrageous at the Alberta Bair Theater!  What a “RUSH”!  YAM members can get their tickets to Artrageous for $22.  YAM members enjoy rush ticketing prices when they show their YAM member ID.

Pictograph Cave Tour

Friday, May 19, 2017

10–11 a.m.

In conjunction with Art in Action: Marking Time, park manager, Jarret Kostrba, will lead an hour-long tour of the Pictograph Cave State Park. This tour is free, but donations are always appreciated. As space is limited, advance registration is suggested. Tour will meet at the Visitor Center at the Park. Call the front desk at 406-256-6804 to reserve your spot!

FAM at the YAM

Friday Family Fun Night

Friday, May 19, 2017

5–7 p.m.

$6 member child, $7 non-member child

Free member adults, $3 non-member adult

No registration required. All ages are welcome.

Join in on this opportunity for the whole family to come and make art together! Session taught by local artist Tori Wardrip. Come and go between 5 – 7 p.m.

Cola Pen Drawing

Saturday, May 20, 2017

10 a.m.–1 p.m.

$35 for members; $40 for non-members

Create a customized drawing pen using readily available materials such as a recycled soda can in this Experience Art Adult Education half-day workshop led by local artist Sarah Behrens Lemon. For more information and to sign-up, call the museum front desk at 406-256-6804 or visit us online at www.artmuseum.org/education/adult-education.

After 5–Unplugged

Thursday, May 25, 2017

5–8 p.m.

$3 wristband admission 21+, under age 21 welcome

Unwind with music featuring the Parker Brown Trio, drinks, and fantastic art at the YAM.

Veterans and Armed Forces Free Day

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Admission is free all day for everyone in honor of all veterans and active duty military.

June Events and Programs:

Dollar Day

Saturday, June 3, 2017

10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Admission is free for members or $1 for all others the first Saturday of every month.

Will James Free Day

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Admission is free all day for everyone in honor of all veterans and active duty military.

Open Studio

Thursday, June 15, 22, 29, 2017

10 a.m.–noon or 1–3 p.m.

Ages 5 – 12

$6 members, $7 non-members

Open studio is every Thursday from June 16 – July 28. Registration recommended and opens one week prior to each class. Walk-ins are welcome. For class details please visit online at www.artmuseum.orgwww.artmuseum.org/education/childrens-classes-and-activities.To register please contact: Berenice Munson, Education Program Coordinator, at 406-256-6804 x232 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Special program by Jack Gladstone, Montana’s Troubadour

Blackfeet Animal Persons: Native Perspectives of Nature

Saturday, June 17, 2017

7:00 p.m.

Montana Gallery, General admission seating

Admission is $8 for members and $10 for non-members

Join us for this special performance by Jack Gladstone, “Montana’s Troubadour” one of Native America’s premier lyric story smiths.  From a panorama of personification, Jack shares the traditional Blackfeet perspective of kinship and connection with our Cosmos.

In a career spanning over three decades, Jack is regarded as a cultural bridge builder. In 2015, Jack was honored with a Governor’s Humanities Award. He is also an inductee to the University of Washington Alumni Hall of Fame, a C.M. Russell Heritage Award recipient, and winner of a “Best Historical Recording” award from the Native American Music Association. In 2010 Jack released Native Anthropology, a landmark recording achievement, co-produced by legendary multi-instrumentalist Dave Griffith and Montana’s Grammy nominated composer, Phil Aaberg.

Exhibitions:

EXHIBITION 2016-2017 SEASON SPONSORS: David Orser and Ossie Abrams, and U.S. Bank

Boundless Visions: Selections from the Permanent Collection

Exhibition is ongoing

The discoveries made by local artists are not always in the history books!  Gain insight into the art of our region by visiting Boundless Visions.  Selections that allude to the land, to the tenacity of those who work here, and to the many and diverse connections that exist are on view every day.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: In the Footsteps of My Ancestors

On view through July 16, 2017

Montana Gallery

This is the first major solo exhibition of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s work in her native state of Montana in over a generation.  In keeping with the YAM’s Montana Masters series goals, Smith is a mature, late-career artist with extraordinary aesthetic, intellectual, and curatorial achievements to her credit.  The evolution of her lifelong investigations is a cornerstone of this exhibition.

TITLE SPONSORS:  Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Art in Action: Marking Time

On view through August 6, 2017

NW Projects Gallery

Make your own mark at the YAM as we continue with the second in a series of participatory exhibitions, Art in Action, designed to activate and demonstrate museum visitors’ curiosity and creativity. Visitors will leave their marks on the walls of the YAM’s Northwest Projects Gallery, signifying their presence in the world of imagination. Participants may choose to visit over and over in order to interact with the marks left behind by others.

CONTRIBUTING SPONSORS: Anonymous, Wells Fargo

Archaea: Rosane Volchan O’Conor

On view through August 6, 2017

Charles M. Bair Family Gallery

Rosane Volchan O’Conor’s unique installation is inspired by the Yellowstone’s history and micro-biome. Using “archaea”—microscopic organisms that survive in extreme environments—as a focal point, the artist’s immersive installation is suggestive of these forms crawling off the walls, hanging crystalized in space, and mutating into clusters across the floor.  Using a variety of conventional and unconventional materials, O’Conor has transformed the YAM’s gallery into a miniature universe.