Blues Bulletin: The Soulful Side of Missoula’s Concert Lineup

Whether it’s playing with a full horn section, or hitting the blues rock fans with a slide guitar and gospel back-up vocals, the following artists are bringing their version of blues to The Rocky Mountains.

July 12th: JJGrey & Mofro (The Wilma)

Straight out of Florida, JJ Grey has been labeled a “soul-bent swamp rocker.” The group, under the moniker Mofro, has a fluid line-up. Regardless of who accompanies Grey, the group packs a big sound, boasting a unique brand of roots-rock with a twist of Memphis soul.

Grey’s live performance has been defined by the front-man’s fierceness and honesty that truly connect him to his audience. The band opened for Josh Ritter at The Wilma last summer, gracing Missoula with the quirky and compassionate live-show for which they’re known. Check out photos from their last show in town here.

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July 15th: The Marcus King Band (The Top Hat) 

Marcus King stands, just 21 years old, as the front-man to the “soul-influenced psychedelic Southern rock” band by his own name. The multi-instrumentalist’s talent was championed by Warren Haynes (The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule), who also produced their 2016 self-titled album. The album features Haynes on slide guitar (Virginia) and Derek Trucks (Self-Hatred).

Their music ranges from more traditional Americana-roots, to funky R&B to Southern-soul that stems from King’s roots in Greenville South Carolina. The song-writer uses his art as a form of therapy, putting his experiences into words and then pouring his emotional energy into the music on stage. King states,

“I want people to feel the same thing we feel — to leave the show feeling some sense of release. It’s almost like the show ends, and everyone can take a deep breath together.”

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July 28th: Blues Traveler (The Wilma)

Back on a 30th Anniversary Tour after a medically urgent hiatus (John Popper Surgery), Blues Traveler will play The Wilma on July 28th. The units most recent collaborations include work with 30H!3, JC Chasez from ‘NSYNC, the Dirty Heads, and Hanson (huge variety!). With a six-time platinum on the album four accompanied by another platinum and three US Gold album certifications, the band is incredibly well-known. Many fans will recognize hits like “Run Around,” which made a reappearance on the Billboard charts in 2014.

Playing with Con Brio, who will open with their own brand of funky pop and soul, the evening is sure to be lively and memorable.

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July 28th: Parker Millsap (The Top Hat)

“Last night in Atlanta I saw one of the best concerts I have ever seen…It restored my faith in music.”  

Sir Elton John

Though a restoration of faith is an entirely subjective experience, anyone whose curiosity may have been sparked should come to The Top Hat on July 28th for Parker Millsap. The 24 year old from Oklahoma produces a blues-folk cross-over that falls somewhere in the genre of Delta Blues.

Millsap’s small-town, pious roots bred a musician that “grew up with gospel,” who sings with a ‘jarring’ amount of soul and the “wild and dirty” flare that’s beyond his years. The result blends “fire and brimstone preaching with rock, blues and ‘Waits-ian’ imagery.” Millsap has opened for the likes of Old Crow Medicine Show,  Jason Isbell, Tedeschi Trucks, Lakestreet Dive, and Shovels & Rope and will quickly be headlining the same venues that he opened.

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August 2nd: Tedeschi Trucks Band (The KettleHouse Amphitheater)

The husband-wife led ensemble known as Tedeschi Trucks Band will headline The KettleHouse Amphitheater on Wed, August 2nd  for their Wheels of Soul Tour. Highly anticipated, the show will be the third at Missoula’s new venue. The 12 person ensemble is known for their incredible musicianship alongside a rich sound from backup vocalists and a horn section.

Derek Trucks, husband and slide-guitarist, was raised in The Allman Brother’s family (nephew of drummer Butch Trucks) and has been listed in the top twenty guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine. The searing guitar solos, accompanied by Susan Tedeschi’s powerful pipes have been labeled “a wall of talent on stage,” by Denver Westword.

One of several premier outdoor venues on the band’s tour, The KettleHouse Amphitheater show for these blues-rock heavyweights is not to be missed.

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Tickets are always available online through the event page, over the phone at (877) 987-6487, or at The Top Hat’s box office in downtown Missoula.