MTPR

Musician's Spotlight

Thursday 7:30 -8:00 PM

Today's most talented and compelling musicians visit Musician's 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.

Musician's Spotlight podcast

Musician's Spotlight archive on iTunes

Ben Sollee, who describes himself as "cellist, composer, storyteller," brings a sweet grace and gritty groove to his diverse mix of styles. Appalachian mountain music segues into blues, a Bach cello suite leads to a Paul Simon cover, then to the bluegrass music of Sollee's native Kentucky.

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Grace Potter makes her first visit to Musicians’ Spotlight to talk about her debut solo recording, which comes after a decade of touring and recording with The Nocturnals. Known for her magnetic stage presence, soaring vocals and adventurous keyboard solos, Grace’s new album, Midnight, reveals a more personal and reflective side of her music.

Lauded as “the greatest living exponent of the electric violin,” Tracy Silverman’s groundbreaking work with the 6-string electric violin defies musical boundaries. Silverman joins John Floridis in the Musicians' Spotlight this week.

Mary Carlson, Vespidae Photography

Born in Philipsburg, Montana and holding a master’s degree in Appalachian studies, instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Coty Hogue immersed herself in old music, studying with Ginny Hawker, before starting to write and record a few of her own songs alongside favorite traditional gems.

"The Shape Of Things Gone Missing, The Shape Of Things to Come” - that’s the poetic title of singer-songwriter Martha Scanlan’s most recent album. Martha returns to “Musicians’ Spotlight” to discuss this recording project as well as her efforts to shine a spotlight on threats to southeastern Montana’s unique Tongue River Valley: its landscape, pace, and way of life.

This week's “Musicians’ Spotlight” is a St. Patrick's Day special honoring some of the best Irish music we've featured on the program - traditional, contemporary, and something in between. Highlights include the duo John Doyle and Karan Casey, and sean-nós singer and former member of the Hothouse Flowers, Liam Ó Maonlaí.

The arresting vocal style of Darlingside has launched the band into the upper echelons of indie baroque-folk. Appropriately for a group that started as an a capella quartet at Williams College, there’s no designated “lead singer;" everyone sings melodies, either in harmony or in unison.

When Camila Meza moved to New York in 2009 from her native Chile, American jazz fans discovered her rare combination of talents; Meza is a singer, guitar player, songwriter and arranger. Her expressive phrasing and unique vocal timbre, combined with soulful improvisations on the guitar, take us on a joyful musical journey full of beauty and adventure.

Darrell Scott is one of the luminaries of "Americana" and American folk music; he’s a multi-instrumentalist, an award-winning songwriter, and a powerful interpreter of songs of all stripes. Scott’s most recent recording project, "Ten," lies very close to his heart; it's ten songs by the late Montana doctor/singer-songwriter, Ben Bullington, with whom Scott struck up a close friendship in the last years of Bullington's life. 

More than forty years after he founded the legendary Kronos Quartet, violinist David Harrington's passion for string music - and his drive for nailing a live performance - is stronger than ever. Harrington recalls the origins of the pioneering quartet's vision and reflects on the diversity of musical styles represented in its huge repertoire of commissioned works.

The band Snarky Puppy has been described as "a truly different kind of musical animal."  Once Texas’s best-kept musical secret, they’ve become a Grammy-winning jazz, funk world, soul and pop combo, collecting fans like Prince and Pat Metheny along the way. Their most recent recording, a collaboration with Metropol Orkest, a Dutch orchestra, has topped Billboard charts in several categories.

Host John Floridis gets reacquainted with singer-songwriter (and past “Musicians’ Spotlight” guest) Patty Griffin. They discuss the making of her recent recording, "Servant of Love," as well as what it means to be a middle-aged artist.

The Missoula jazz fusion quartet The Captain Wilson Conspiracy make their first (and possibly last) appearance on "Musicians’ Spotlight." Steve Kalling, Keaton Wilson, and Ed Stalling talk with John Floridis about the challenge of keeping a collaborative music project vibrant and current while its members maintain their "day" jobs - or graduate from Ph.D. programs and get jobs elsewhere.

John Floridis caught up with guitarist-composer-bandleader Dweezil Zappa during Dweezil’s stint at the 2015 Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival in Bigfork, MT. As the "Zappa plays Zappa" tour (a tribute to Dweezil’s late father, Frank Zappa) continues, he's released the first album of his own work in over a decade, "Via Zamatta'."

This week on "Musicians' Spotlight:" “Wild Child doesn’t want a place to hide. Song after song, town after town, they’ll wear their hearts on their sleeves, addicted to the rush that only comes when thousands of strangers know all their secrets and sing them back, because they’re the audience's secrets, too.”  

"We want to write about a world both intimate and vast, about little people on Great Plains." So says vocalist Edda Glass, whose ethereal voice provides the counterpoint to the deceptively complex guitar work of Max Hatt. The duo, formerly of Helena, Montana and now based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, combine folk, jazz, and a touch of bossa nova with Glass's vocal lyricism.

Cheesecake Studio

Since his debut at age thirteen with the Cotton Club All-Star Band of Harlem, guitarist and singer "King" Solomon Hicks has been winning over audiences at music festivals, clubs, churches, and rock arenas around the world with his virtuosic mix of blues, jazz, funk, gospel, classical, R & B, Afro-Cuban and classic rock.

Madeleine Peyroux’s sultry voice and winsome blend of folk, pop and jazz songs have taken her to concert halls, jazz clubs and festivals all over the world.

Host John Floridis engages in some serious guitar shop-talk with Eric Johnson and Mike Stern, two iconic guitarists whose music has, for decades, pushed the boundaries of jazz, rock and pop music.

Never one to hold back his opinion - musically, politically or otherwise -  James McMurtry ("America's fiercest singer-songwriter" - CNN) returns to “Musicians’ Spotlight.”

The funky “heart-on-the-sleeve” blues-soul-reggae of Brent Jameson and The Sordid Seeds have made them a favorite at western Montana clubs and festivals.

Legendary jazz saxophonist Azar Lawrence released "Prayer For My Ancestors" in 2008, 33 years after his 1976 album, "People Moving". But the long gap between recordings doesn't mean Lawrence has been short of work. He's known as the go-to sideman for McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw.

Tim O’Brien is one of the most respected and versatile songwriter-performers in bluegrass and American traditional music. He’s won numerous Grammy and International Bluegrass Music Awards and has released ten solo recordings, while contributing to dozens more. In November 2013 O’Brien was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.

Trombonist and composer Ryan Keberle was born and raised in Spokane, WA, the son of two music educators. Since 1999, he's made a career in New York City as the go-to player for any jazz band in need of a trombonist. Besides touring as a frontman and releasing recordings under his own name, Keberle’s list of collaborators includes Wynton Marsalis, Beyonce, Sufjan Stevens, Alicia Keys and, through soundtrack work, Woody Allen.

MTPR Programs Win Broadcasters' Awards

Jun 17, 2015
John Floridis, host of "Musician's Spotlight" and Beth Anne Austein, MTPR producer both won awards from the Montana Broadcasters Association.
William Marcus

Two MTPR programs win "EB" awards from the Montana Broadcasters Association.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones's Classic Southern Soul

Jun 17, 2015
McClister

St. Paul & The Broken Bones is “one of 2014’s most impressive DIY stories,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. National television appearances and top billing at summer music festivals are piling up for the Birmingham, AL soul band whose shows are characterized, in the words of Bob Boilen of NPR Music, by "heart and soul and flair."

Beth Wood describes herself as a "modern-day troubadour and believer in the power of song."

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."

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