Music of Montana

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Montana is a state of the United States. While only the 41st state to enter the union (1889) and only 44th in population (4 Western and 2 Eastern states have fewer people), the state is very diverse in its European-descended population, having Cornish, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, French-Canadian, German, Czech, Norwegian, Faroese, Finnish, Slovak, Serbian, Luxembourgish, Northern and Southern Italian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Cajun, Swiss-German, and Basque residents. The Native American population of the state is also, both traditionally and in modern times, extremely diverse, with more than two dozen ethnic groups (belonging to multiple ethnolinguistic groups) represented.

Due to its migration patterns and place in the American West, Montana has a very long history of pioneer folk music and cowboy songs and poetry. The state also has a tradition of baroque, classical, and romantic era music: two prominent musical institutions, both classical, are the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra, which was established in 1958, and the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra, which was established in 1963. The Helena Symphony was founded in 1955 and known to be one of the premier symphonies of Montana and the Northwest as a whole.

Montana has two official state songs: "Montana" and "Montana Melody".

Native American music[edit]

Montana is home to several Native American Reservations and traditionally to more than two dozen distinct tribes, each with their own forms of music. These include the Blackfoot, Crow, Flathead, Cheyenne, Chippewa-Cree, Gros Ventre, Assiniboine, and Sioux. An example of the modern synthesis of popular and traditional Native music in Montana is Jack Gladstone, a folk musician and lecturer/presenter who embraces Native themes, and who has collaborated with fellow Montana musician Rob Quist.

Popular music[edit]

Montana country musicians include Rob Quist, formerly of the Mission Mountain Wood Band. The Bridger Creek Boys [1], of Bozeman, are a Bluegrass band that were finalists at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival's 2007 Best New Band Contest.

Other popular musicians from Montana include Seattle's Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament (who attended the University of Montana), and guitarist/producer Steve Albini. Grunge pioneer Bruce Fairweather is also from Montana. Another well known band includes Helena and Missoula's The Skoidats, who recorded on New York City's Moon Ska label in the late 1990s. Lead singer Colin Meloy and Members of the Portland band The Decemberists are from Montana, and were in a band named after the small town of Tarkio, in Mineral County. Meloy graduated from the University of Montana in 1998. Seattle's Modest Mouse lead singer Isaac Brock was born in Helena. Doug Adkins is a country singer, born in Havre. Randy Rhoads is a country singer born in Wolf Point Montana and lived in Malta Mt. through most of his career in which he recorded with blue ridge records and appeared on TNNs Nashville Now with Ralph Emory 2 times.

John Mayer visited and fell in love with Bozeman, where he bought a house and re-settled in the spring of 2012. His album Paradise Valley is named for where he lives in Montana and features country music influences. One of Montana's favorite modern era rock bands is Dawghouse from Helena.

The most famous music venue in Montana is the MetraPark Arena, which opened in 1975 in Billings.


Electronic music composer Ruth Anderson was born in Kalispell.

Independent music scene[edit]

In the Flathead Valley, some of the more popular acts are Marshall Catch (country tinged-rock),[1] Luke Dowler (rock/singer-songwriter),[2] God Fearing Women, and The Rockaholics.

Music education[edit]

Post-secondary educational institutions which offer a program or major in music include the University of Montana - Missoula and Montana State University - Bozeman.


  1. ^ "Monk's Bar Brings in Marshall Catch Band". 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  2. ^ "10 Montana Bands You Should Listen to Now :: Music :: Lists :: Paste". Retrieved 2015-10-26.