Natalie Padilla + The Growling Old Men

Enjoy feel-good fiddle-fueled folk in Helena and Missoula

On Stage

Two-time national fiddle champion Natalie Padilla returns to The Myrna Loy in Helena for a rare Montana concert with longtime friends, John Lowell and Ben Winship of The Growling Old Men, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3. The trio also performs at 7 p.m. Aug. 4 at Longstaff House in Missoula as Growling Old Men and Melodius Young Woman.

Ben Winship and John Lowell are "not so old, not so growly," wrote Garrison Keillor. "They're great."
Ben Winship and John Lowell are “not so old, not so growly,” wrote Garrison Keillor. “They’re great.”

Padilla has known Lowell her whole life and Winship for a big swath of it. In addition to vibrant solo careers, Winship and Lowell play together as The Growling Old Men.

All three performers are celebrated songwriters and musicians who will be sharing a lot of their new, original tunes.

“We’re all musicians that have put a lot of time and energy into creating our own music and albums,” says Padilla. “Throughout the years we’ve played together a lot. There will be some duos, a few solo things and a lot of stuff as a trio.”

“We’re focusing on a lot of harmony singing and original songs and tunes,” she says.

While they plan to lean into playing more original music, the songs are “very much in the vein of folk, singer/songwriter, with kind of an old-time bluegrass style.”

Winship (mandolin and vocals) and Lowell (guitar and vocals) are both veterans of the Northern Rockies acoustic music world. The duo delivers a tight yet relaxed mix of original and traditional bluegrass songs, ballads and tunes. They’ve produced four CDs as a duo, as well as solo efforts and group projects with a host of other acclaimed musicians.

Padilla grew up in Montana in a musical household with musician parents who were members of the acclaimed bluegrass group, Wheel Hoss, along with Lowell.

Bluegrass Today calls her “a rarity in the fiddle world, being equally as adept at folk, bluegrass, Celtic and old-time music, as she is with the classical repertoire as a violinist. Her original music has consistently showed the same breadth and depth, exploring sounds of every sort with her instrument.”

“I play a lot of classical music,” she says, as well as Celtic. “I am planning a solo set of jigs.”

Padilla, who earned a music performance degree at the University of Northern Colorado, released a new album in March, Montana Wildflower.

A founding member of the new acoustic band Masontown, which has been on hiatus since the pandemic, she also played and toured with Elephant Revival. She recently moved to Northampton, Mass., and is the newest member of the Vermont band, Low Lily.

An accomplished classical musician, she’s also been a member of the Bozeman symphony.

Although known for her violin playing, Padilla will also be playing banjo and possibly guitar for the Thursday concert, with Winship on mandolin and vocals and Lowell on guitar and vocals.

Tickets are $20 and are available at the box office, 15 N. Ewing, or call 406-443-0287.

For information on their Missoula show, visit Longstaff House.