Nominations are now open for the Magic City Music Awards. This is turning out to be a landmark year for local music in Billings, with a number of strong new bands making their debut, and we’re planning a music awards show to match.
But first, we’d like to hear what local musicians you think should be recognized for their work.
You’ll find a few changes on the ballot this year, including a Best New Band category and the return of the Punk category. We’ve also split Singer/ Songwriter into separate Solo Performer and Songwriter of the Year awards, so that songwriters who perform with bands likewise have a chance at a Tuney.
We’ll also be unveiling the new Billings Music Hall of Fame and inducting one prominent local band as the first honorees. Here’s a hint: they’re the only band to have won their category’s award for an incredible 13 years in a row. It’s only September, but this year has already been packed with new music and standout performances. Here are some of my favorites – be sure to nominate yours as well.
Becky Sappington and the Bitter Road’s EP of original songs, “She Needs to Fly,” has been on heavy rotation in a number of local vehicles and homes since its June release. Becky’s songs are firing on all cylinders, with compelling songwriting, tight, spirited performances and a satisfying mix. This is music to blast out of your open windows while tearing down a gravel road.
You can catch them Oct. 10 at the Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co.’s Garage Pub.
Hubba Hubba’s June 9 benefit concert for the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter absolutely packed the garage, resulting in the longest beer line I’ve ever seen there, snaking all the way back to the sound board. Although a new and largely young band, this is clearly far from these musicians’ first rodeo.
They lay down assured, magnetic funk grooves, and it seems as if lead singer Cain Flores simply can’t help dancing – and neither could many audience members. Check the band’s Facebook page for upcoming performances.
Rock Lottery made its Billings debut in April, bringing together 15 local musicians who were randomly divided into three new bands. Each band then assembled a 25-minute set of music to perform.
The participants’ excitement was contagious, and the musicians ran with their opportunity to perform in different styles and with different bandmates from usual. Lindsey Jacobsen’s soulful rendition of “Baby Got Back” brought the house down with ’90s cover band Ten Things You Love About Us. Omnithex vocalist Dan Taylor joined forces with several jazz musicians for a fully improvised and seriously impressive rock performance as Train Wreck. Plan B followed with an eclectic set showcasing three new original songs by its members. Look for Billings’ second Rock Lottery sometime this coming spring.
John Roberts y Pan Blanco were ubiquitous crowd pleasers this summer as the band started to get the wider, regional attention that it well deserves. If Billings has a supergroup, this is it, and the level of musicianship and talent on that stage is staggering. The band nails the intricate, layered rhythms of their salsa, African and funk grooves, and coupled with John Roberts’ infectious energy as a band leader, the dance floor is hopping and three hours seem to pass in the blink of an eye. Catch them at the YVBC garage on Oct. 3 or at ZooMontana on Oct. 10.
Many (perhaps the majority) of these musicians also will be performing at the 2015 Magic City Music Awards show on Sunday, Nov. 8, at the Garage Pub, so mark your calendars. Proceeds from the show will again provide scholarships for young musicians attending AMP Camp here in Billings, and this time, a group of those AMP campers will be performing at the show as well.
Awards will be decided once again by popular vote, so remember to nominate your favorites today, either through the Outpost or online at www.magiccitymusicawards.com/nominations
See you at the show!
Last Updated on Thursday, 01 October 2015 18:14
Walking into two small rooms in the basement of an office building on the 700 block of Central Avenue in Billings, you’d never guess they house “the highest court in the land, on the earth.”
That’s how Cecil DeLabio described The Tacit Supreme In Law Court, of which he is The Chief Justice. He shares the office space with Ted Shinneman, who is the court’s Senior Chief Justice.
The two men were associated with the Freemen who staged an infamous standoff with law enforcement authorities near Jordan in 1996, and also with members of the “Freeman-on-the-Land” movement in Canada.
Their primary activity consists of sending letters, which they call “greetings,” to governmental officials and other authority figures around the world, informing them of the limitless power of The Tacit Supreme In Law Court. Recipients of the “greetings,” they say, include President Obama, the pope, the queen of England and officials in virtually every agency of the Canadian government.
They also teach people how to set up embassies, which then makes them, as ministers of Christ, free to travel anywhere in the world without a passport and not subject to the authority of usual courts or even, apparently, of law enforcement agencies.
But they also say they do not promote violence or rebellion, and that far from being opposed to government, they are protecting it by making sure its functionaries do not violate any laws.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 September 2015 20:58
“A Post on the Prairie,” a new piece by Billings playwright Ryan Gage, was inspired by the setting and by Gage’s love of post-apocalyptic fiction.
The play takes place around a campfire, just as Gage’s first one-act play did when he wrote it eight years ago.
“Part of me always wanted to return to that,” he said, “but with something bigger.”
That something was supplied by the post-apocalyptic context, based on his admiration of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” and “The Walking Dead,” the graphic novels that became a hit television series.
However, Gage warned “Walking Dead” fans that “there are no zombies. Anyone coming for zombies will be sorely disappointed.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 September 2015 20:38