Montana Public Radio

Beth Anne Austein

Host and Producer

Beth Anne Austein has been spinning tunes on the air (The Folk Show, Dancing With Tradition, Freeforms), as well as recording, editing and mixing audio for Montana Public Radio and Montana PBS, since the Clinton Administration. She’s jockeyed faders or "fixed it in post” for The Plant Detective; Listeners Bookstall; Fieldnotes; Musicians Spotlight; The Write Question; Storycorps; Selected Shorts; Bill Raoul’s music series; orchestral and chamber concerts; lecture series; news interviews; and outside producers’ programs about topics ranging from philosophy to ticks.

Ways to Connect

Ivan Saul Cutler

Israeli-American cellist, conductor, and teacher Amit Peled first test-drove the cello at age 10. "I grew up in a rural kibbutz in Israel, and when I was in 4th grade, we were asked what instrument we would like to play. I picked the cello, because of a girl I wanted to get to know." At that time, Peled, who stands 6'5", was more interested in basketball than music. But by age 17, the two passions had swapped places, and his musical engine was firing on all cylinders.

Courtesy of Pat Metheny

Jazz guitar master Pat Metheny has won twenty Grammy awards in ten different categories, playing and improvising a style that is modern in conception but grounded deeply in the jazz tradition of melody, swing, and the blues. in 2013, John Floridis welcomed Metheny to Musician’s Spotlight, taking a close look at the art behind Metheny's “bright, accessible modern jazz.”

Galactic (L) and Dirty Dozen Brass Band (R).

This week, Musician’s Spotlight features an audience with some of the Crescent City’s funkiest musical kings.  In 2010, John Floridis spoke with drummer Stanton Moore and sax and harmonica player Ben Ellman of Galactic, the jam band that’s been “holding uptown down with that funky sound” since 1994. In 2011, vocalist and baritone saxophonist Roger Lewis of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band told John how the legendary group - which began in 1977 as the house band for the Dirty Dozen Social Aid and Pleasure Club - has injected r&b and modern jazz into the brass band heritage of New Orleans.   

courtesy of Bruce Cockburn

The audience at a Bruce Cockburn concert gets boisterous over  “If I Had A Rocket Launcher” and reflective with the opening chords of “One Day I Walk” and “Wondering Where the Lions Are.” More than five decades into his career, Cockburn’s guitar craftsmanship and gravelly-to-smooth voice convey wide-eyed wonder, full-on fury and everything in between, delivering the mixture of opinion, observation and quietly stinging humor that characterizes his songs. 

Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin

This week's Musician’s Spotlight features two Austin, TX, Grammy-winning singer-songwriters who choose not to stay at arena's length from their fans: from 2016, Patty Griffin, and from 2013, Shawn Colvin.

Courtesy of Marc Cohn / James McMurtry

From the Musician’s Spotlight archives: a pair of programs featuring Marc Cohn and James McMurtry, each of which won a Montana Broadcasters Association’s E.B. Craney Award for best non-commercial radio program.

Susan Gibson
courtesy of Susan Gibson

After penning "Wide Open Spaces," a song that blew the doors off country music for The Dixie Chicks, former Montanan (and faithful annual visitor) Susan Gibson hit the open road with a van full of happy dogs and a heart full of songs to share. But the trip hasn’t only traversed la-la land. Gibson's latest album, The Hard Stuff, takes an uplifting look at the stuff that hurts.

Alicia Olatuja
Deneka Peniston

Singer, composer and arranger Alicia Olatuja first entered the national spotlight in 2013 as featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. John Floridis caught up with Olatuja to talk about her second recording, Intuition: Songs From The Minds Of Women.

Russ Nasset and Martha Scanlon
Josh Burnham / courtesy of Martha Scanlon

If you attended college in Missoula in the last 25 years, you probably closed down the Union Club dancing to Russ Nasset and the Revelators. Nasset takes his inspiration from songs, genres and stories passed down to him from a childhood spent in Shelby, on Montana’s Hi-Line.

Moira Smiley, Howard Levy
courtesy of Moira Smiley, Howard Levy

From intricate jazz solos to his "Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra,” he has stretched the harmonica beyond its ostensible limits. She sings “old modal folk songs” with Solas one week and performs with the indie band tUnE-yArDs the next. This week, "Musician's Spotlight" features encores with Howard Levy and Moira Smiley, two musicians for whom visionary boundary-pushing is just an ordinary Tuesday.