Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a local brew and live music after a long hot day. Nothing shouts Montana summers like country; be it Americana/folk with some grit, to boundary-pushing blues rock. The following seven events are excellent opportunities to get out and enjoy Missoula’s thriving music scene.
Texas-legend, Lyle Lovett, will be playing the new KettleHouse Amphitheater with his large band on Thursday, Jul 13th. Lovett boasts a career that spans three decades and is defined by 14 albums of groundbreaking Americana. He is known for his unconventional mixture of Americana, jazz, swing, gospel, folk, and blues.
Having won four Grammy Awards, the Americana Music Association’s trailblazer award, Lovett will be joined in Missoula by his Large Band for the first time. The singer, composer and actor played The Wilma with childhood friend Robert Earl Keen in 2016. Joined by his full accompaniment, the icon will be sure to open the new amphitheater with big talent and big sound.
Armed with fiery songs and a road-warrior attitude, The Black Lillies will play The Top Hat on Wednesday, Jul 19th. Though the group is based in Tennessee, they push against the Nashville music-trends by creating their own unique mix of folk, soul, red dirt country, blues and jazz. The Black Lillies….
“cross generations and musical genres – country, folk, blues and…a touch of the Dead, for good measure.” -Vanity Fair
Vocalist and front-man, Cruz Contreras, is the mainstay in the group, but The Black Lillies rotating lineup has included names from bands like Micky and The Motorcars and Jill Andrews. The group has played from venue to venue to solidify their reputation over the past years, sometimes sharing the bill with major-label headliners. Compared to venues like The Grand Ole Opry, The Top Hat will provide an intimate venue to enjoy this concert experience.
Son of country music star Waylon Jennings, Shooter Jennings & Waymore’s Outlaws are set to play The Top Hat with Billy Strings on Thursday, Jul 27th. Opening for Jennings and his band is up-and-coming acoustic, bluegrass artist Billy Strings.
Multitalented, Shooter Jennings has his own record label, Black Country Rock, under which he has produced eight studio albums, two live albums and many projects. The latest of which mixes fiddles, synthesizers and hard-rock guitars. Countach (For Gorgio) marks another creative step for the artist, functioning as an ode to Giorgio Morodor.
James McMurtry will return to The Top Hat on Saturday, Jul 29th as part of his Westbound & Down: Full-Band Summer tour. The seasoned barroom rock guitarist has sold out the venue twice in previous years.
“James McMurtry is one of my very few favorite songwriters on Earth and these days he’s working at the top of his game. ” -Jason Isbell
McMurtry combines politically astute story telling with gritty roots rock. Make sure to purchase tickets early to avoid any chance of a sold out show!
Frequently touring through Missoula, Ryan Chrys & the Rough Cuts will perform a FREE show at The Top Hat on Saturday, Aug 12th. The “new outlaw country” band has opened for the likes of Blackberry Smoke and Shakey Graves.
Ryan Chrys’s charismatic stage presence is solidly backed by the musicianship of the Rough Cuts. The band has won many accolades regionally and will provide for an entertaining and lively night at The Top Hat
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Reckless Kelly, described as “Americana in all its far-flung glory,” will play The Top Hat on Friday, Aug 18th. The band will be joined by openers Shotgun Rider, who have been featured on ABC’s ‘Nashville’ and seen three records featured in the iTunes Country Top 20.
“Son Volt’s album Trace had a major effect on us. People like Joe Ely, Ray Kennedy and Robert Earl Keen were always big supporters. Our goal was to make music that had a country vibe but a solid rock edge.” -Cody Braun
Co-founders and front-men, Cody and Willy Braun performed with their father’s band, Muzzie Braun. Formed in Austin-Texas, this Americana-Country band produces a similar rock-edge to Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit (below)
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit will be headlining The Wilma on Saturday, Sept 9th. The date is a part of the release tour for critically acclaimed album, The Nashville Sound. The album leans on a grittier rock-influenced Americana, for Isbell’s intellectual storytelling and social commentary.
The 400 Unit also features Isbell’s wife, Amanda Shires, who has headlined in Missoula with her solo work in the past. Isbell will be joined by Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, who have also stretched to the tops of charts; indie-folk with an aggressive rock edge. Considering the raw talent and the fact that Jason Isbell sold out The Top Hat in 2013, tickets should be purchased in advance to avoid a sell out!
Tickets for all events are available now at The Top Hat in downtown Missoula, online at logjampresents.com and by calling (877) 987-6487.