Kalispell songbird Halladay Quist has released a self-titled album that lets her clear high voice soar. Quist needs no introduction. She’s the daughter of Mission Mountain Wood Band alum Rob Quist, so she heard lots of harmonies at home, and the elder Quist encouraged her at a young age to test musical waters.
In college she honed her pipes singing in a choir that toured Europe. Now, she and her dad tour together, and collaborated on a project to turn Salish and Kootenai oral stories into songs for children as part of Montana’s Indian Reading series.
Quist plays guitar, bass and banjo on the recording; she is also a piano player. Here she explores country-rock, folk, some jazzy blues, bluegrass, and heck, there’s even a reggae-tinged number (“Just a Little Love”). Helpmates on the CD are Jason Collum, drums; Doug Kahan, bass; Mason Embry, keys; Mark Evitts, fiddle; and Mike Ulvila, guitar.
Most of the songs are hers. Charlie Black and St. Ignatius’ musical son, Tim Ryan, wrote the music for “Fly Away.” It’s got an exotic, jazzy feel, and Quist utters lots of long notes and ooh-woohs. She has good breath control, and this one shows it.
Quist sings a lovely rendition of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”; it’s a banjo finger-snapper (really!), and shows off her accomplished tone. The banjo complements “Go With You” as well. It’s a jitterbugger with a toe-tappin’ beat.
”The Ballad of Pretty Mae” is a classic backwoods saga, with love, drugs, and murder part of the scenario. Pretty melodies abound on this debut, and the accompaniment is top-notch. Watch for Quist’s new album of rock ’n roll poetry, to be released later this year.
– Mariss McTucker