Mariss McTucker, who writes about new albums for Lively Times, offers this list of her favorite Montana-made albums for 2015, “in no particular order”:
- Bill Mize, The Back of Beyond: Missoula’s Grammy-winning fingerstyle guitarist has a nimble proficiency so effortless and melodic, we take it for granted until we start to wonder how the heck he does that.
- T. Scot Wilburn and the Shut Up-n-Playboys, Café del Norte: Libby-reared Wilburn and his western-swing band perform his own songs, brimming with great storytelling, terrific singing, and fine instrumental work.
- The Kenny Coen Project, Who Is He?: This Flathead Valley blues trio performs songs of faith without the Bible-thumping. A first-class rhythm section, powerful vocals, and expert guitar chops make for a muscular and expansive sound.
- Louie Bond and the Texas Playgirl, She’ll Get You: The Missoula duo teams a long-time guitar pro with gifted singer Kimberlee Carlson to craft a terrific throwback album that mixes classic country, jazz, swing, and originals.
- Heather Lingle, Blue Town: Butte singer/songwriter engages her husky alto pipes on original alt-country tunes with dandy musical accompaniment. She shows off her spot-on country inflections to boot, and can sing with the best of ‘em.
- Mudslide Charley, New and Used: Missoula bluesmeisters take the listener to the marrow of the Delta blues on this album. It’s visceral and rough-hewn, yet polished at the same time.
- Dolce Canto, A Joyful Season: Missoula’s esteemed vocal ensemble effortlessly melds voices in varying configurations on this pretty and thoughtful Christmas album.
- David Morgenroth, Verdant: This instrumental album from the Missoula jazz-piano king is opulent and emotive. In true Morgenroth fashion, the work is loose and tight at the same time, due to the top-drawer musicianship and synergy among the players.