Musicians' Spotlight

Thursday 7:30 -8:00 PM

Today's most talented and compelling musicians visit Musicians' Spotlight to "talk shop" and give you a deeper insight into their music. Host and producer John Floridis brings his own musical expertise  along with over a decade and a half of experience conducting interviews.

Guests on the show have included legendary musicians like B.B King; Alison Krauss; Lyle Lovett; Wilco; Brandi Carlile; Daryl Jones of the Rolling Stones; The Cowboy Junkies; Richard Thompson; Mary Chapin Carpenter; Bruce Cockburn; Shawn Colvin; and Chris Hillman of the Byrds; along with talented Montana artists like Jeni Flemming, Tom Catmull, Martha Scanlan, John Dunnigan, Jenn Adams, Jack Gladstone and Eden Atwood.

Ways To Connect

Renowned Jazz-Classical Pianist/Composer, Billy Childs

May 27, 2015

Billy Childs has been called "the most American composer since Aaron Copland." His musical marriage of jazz, classical and popular music styles is showcased in "Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro," which won Childs the most recent of his numerous Grammy awards.

Famed blues guitarist B.B. King in a 2009 performance
Tom Beetz

In June 2004, John Floridis and "Musicians' Spotlight" co-host Brian Kopper had the opportunity to talk shop with B.B. King on his tour bus.

Tune In For Two B.B. King Specials

May 15, 2015
Famed blues guitarist B.B. King in a 2009 performance
Tom Beetz

In honor of B.B. King's passing, we'll be airing two B.B. King specials next week.

Tune in Monday at 8:00 p.m. to hear a re-broadcast of a 2004 Musician's Spotlight interview with B.B. King.

Wednesday 10:00 to midnight enjoy a music-intensive two-hour program of B.B. King performances that celebrate his long-standing role as the unassailable "King of The Blues."

Tarina Westlund

The Portland Cello Project's repertoire includes Bach, Kanye West, and video game themes. They've carved out a niche based on the philosophy "Bring the cello to places where you wouldn't normally hear it."

Red Baraat's Bhangra drum and brass rhythms originate in the Punjabi wedding celebrations of Northern India, but the music is seasoned with a Brooklyn, NY mixture of funk, go-go, Latin, and jazz. Festivals and concert venues across the world have highlighted the band's party sound. Host John Floridis visits with the group during their tour stop in the Bitterroot valley.

Mudslide Charley Plays The Blues

Apr 8, 2015

Missoula, Montana's enduring purveyors of blues, Mudslide Charley, make a return visit to “Musicians’ Spotlight.”

Vocalist Moira Smiley balances a dizzying list of simultaneous projects: her own group VOCO; the indie rock band tUnE-yArDs; The Lomax Project; Irish supergroup Solas; and work with Billy Childs.

Carbon Leaf: Alt-Country And Celtic Folk

Mar 12, 2015

Virginia alt-country and Celtic folk is on tap when Barry Privett of the group Carbon Leaf visits with John Floridis on Musician's Spotlight.

Jake Shimabukuro

Mar 5, 2015

After his YouTube performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” went viral, ukulele virtuoso and composer Jake Shimabukuro’s career skyrocketed. Several recordings later, he has toured his “Uke Nations” show internationally, and continues to combine elements of jazz, blues, funk, rock, bluegrass, classical, folk and flamenco in his repertoire for this “under-the-radar” instrument. 

Jaime Vedres

In 1991, Marc Cohn took home the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. In the two decades since, he has recorded a series of self-titled albums full of piano-based gospel-blues folk songs, and has performed around the world. In 2005, a harrowing near-death experience helped sharpen Cohn’s musical focus.

Bridging the gap between finely-honed art rock and funky, jazz spirited dance grooves, Locksaw Cartel
brings a unique combination of performance styles to the stages of Montana.

Lee Ritenour

Jan 29, 2015

Name a musician who has received one Grammy award and seventeen Grammy nominations, and who recorded 40 albums under his own name and over 3,000 recording sessions as a sideman, accompanying Pink Floyd, Dizzy Gillespie, Simon and Garfunkel, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, among others.

McElroy Guitars

Though she is known as one of Leonard Cohen's go-to backup vocalists, Grammy-nominated singer, composer and arranger Perla Batalla is an artist with a capital "A."

Trevor Rogers

Jan 1, 2015

The Clumsy Lovers’ songwriter and lead vocalist Trevor Rogers visited host John Floridis to discuss his recent solo recording, Are You Happy Now? Rogers talked about balancing recording and touring with his  full-time gig as a father and husband, as well as the impact on his songwriting from the years he spent living in Missoula.

John Floridis hosts a holiday retrospective edition of "Musician's Spotlight," featuring music by artists who have appeared on the show during the past decade and a half. You'll hear music by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones; Derek Trucks with McCoy Tyner; NewGrange; John Gorka; Jerry Douglas; Alison Krauss with Natalie MacMaster; Karan Casey; The Indigo Girls with Brandi Carlile;

Dolce Canto

Dec 18, 2014

Dolce Canto began in 2001 with eight members, friends who missed the a cappella compositions they had studied and performed together in high school and college. On a whim, they decided to gather in order to read through some works. One public concert led to another. Since them, the group has grown to an auditioned ensemble of over thirty singers. John Floridis talks with director Peter Park and singers Tom Bensen and Beth Mast about the release of the group's second recording, "A Joyful Season."

Sean Watkins

Dec 11, 2014

Nickel Creek singer and guitarist Sean Watkins stopped by the MTPR studios during the group's 2014 Montana tour to play some tunes live and talk shop with host John Floridis. Sean describes both the new Nickel Creek album and his own new solo release.

Shelby Lynne

Dec 4, 2014

John Floridis talks with Grammy and CMA Award-winner Shelby Lynne about her personal and frequently biographical songs. Her fan base spans a wide range of musical audiences, a testament to her broad appeal. The interview was recorded in Bigfork, Montana as part of the Crown of The Continent Guitar Festival.

(Broadcast: Musicians' Spotlight, 9/9/14 and 12/4/14)

courtesy of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Mandolin virtuoso and Newgrass pioneer Sam Bush returns to Musician's Spotlight for a visit with host John Floridis.

Philip Aaberg

Nov 4, 2014
Courtesy of Phil Aaberg

Pianist and composer Philip Aaberg has played with the Boston Pops, at the Marlboro Chamber Music Festival, and with pop and blues musicians like Peter Gabriel, Elvin Bishop, and the Doobie Brothers. His piano playing is featured on more than 200 recordings by other artists. But Aaberg acknowledges his Montana "Hi-line" origins with pride. Not only does he live in the town where he grew up, but until late in her life, he continued studying with his early piano teacher.

Krista Detor

Oct 28, 2014

Indiana-based pianist and singer-songwriter Krista Detor's latest recording and accompanying book were inspired by a chance trip on Michigan's Lake Huron with good friends and even better red wine. Detor describes that experience, as well finding herself the only American writer featured in a recent BBC production honoring the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth.

Photo courtesy of UM Marching Band

From the sweltering heat of August through the freezing winds of November, they run drills, memorize movements and grow tight as a team.

They can also lay down an awesome beat.

Listen to find out just how much grit it takes to be a Griz.

Courtesy Photo

For the past decade, the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops have been highlighting the African-American place in American stringband music. Singer Rhiannon Giddens and multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins reflect on the band’s ascending career and how it fits into the history of the genre.

Birds Of Chicago

Oct 7, 2014

  "Rock & Roll in the old sense of the word: blues, country, gospel and folk...sun-lit, dappled in shadows....poetry you can dance to and poetry you can play really loud." Birds of Chicago founders Alison Russell and JT Nero (along with their 9-month-old  daughter, Ida) visit host John Floridis on the next Musician's Spotlight.

John Oates

Sep 30, 2014

John Oates has enjoyed a rich musical career, both as a duo with Daryl Hall and as a solo artist. A member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters' Hall of Fame, John keeps his ears and mind open to every musical and life experience.

Hilary Hahn

Sep 23, 2014
IMG Artists

Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn discusses her most recent recording, "In 27 Pieces," which is the culmination of a multi-year project. Hahn commissioned 26 composers from around the world to write short-form works, suitable for use by violinists as performance encores.

Trevor Rogers

Sep 16, 2014

The Clumsy Lovers’ songwriter and lead vocalist Trevor Rogers visited host John Floridis to discuss his recent solo recording, Are You Happy Now? Rogers talked about balancing recording and touring with his  full-time gig as a father and husband, as well as the impact on his songwriting from the years he spent living in Missoula.

(Broadcast: Musicians' Spotlight,  9/16/14)

Shelby Lynne

Sep 9, 2014

John Floridis talks with Grammy and CMA Award-winner Shelby Lynne about her personal and frequently biographical songs. Her fan base spans a wide range of musical audiences, a testament to her broad appeal. The interview was recorded in Bigfork, Montana as part of the Crown of The Continent Guitar Festival.

(Broadcast: Musicians' Spotlight, 9/9/14)

In our clip of the week, Eric Funk, a Bozeman composer, jazz musician and host of the MontanaPBS television series, "11th and Grant" talks about his creative process.

Eric says most of his compositions start not in front of a piano, but off the beaten path in the solitude of Montana's forests.

"Dismiss labels. Forget trying to fit into a scene. Be true and play your songs." It’s an accurate self-description by the Grammy-nominated bluegrass expansionists, The Infamous Stringdusters. Comfortable as they are in their own collective skin, the title of the group's new album, "Let It Go," works equally well as their slogan.

(Broadcast: Musician's Spotlight, 6/3/14 &  9/2/14)

Pages