MTPR

John Floridis

Host and Producer

John Floridis, the host and producer of Musician's Spotlight, has been with Montana Public Radio since 1997. He has interviewed over 200 musicians during that time from household names like B.B. King, Alison Krauss and Lyle Lovett, to Montana musicians such as Eden Atwood, Darko Butarac and Tom Catmull. He is also an independent recording and performing artist in his own right and a former registered music therapist.

Ways to Connect

Leni Stern
Sandrine Lee

“It has always been a political act, a practice in strength and defiance, to be a woman and a bandleader, a female electric guitarist and composer, who puts out her own albums and manages her own career..."

Those are the words of Leni Stern, German-born, New York-based electric guitarist, singer and composer.

Betsayda Machado on stage at the 2017 Montana Folk Festival in Butte, MT.
Josh Burnham

On their “Sabrosito Rico” tour in 2017, Venezuelan Afro-Soul tambor venezolano musicians Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo simultaneously mesmerized and energized audiences, including those at the 2017 Montana Folk Festival. Felix Contreras, host of NPR’s Alt.Latino, writes: “Watching Betsayda Machado y Parranda El Clavo perform is like peering back in time. The music's roots extend to the Venezuelan slave trade, and while the vocals are in Spanish and not an African dialect, the instruments the group plays date back more than 500 years."

Victor Wooten is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished bass guitarists of his generation; he’s been named among the "Top 10 Bassists of All Time" by readers of Rolling Stone magazine. Wooten, who has released ten solo recordings, is a co-founder of the long-standing ‘blu-bop’ band, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.

After Mercury and Grammy nominations and 10 years of platinum-selling albums and chart-topping songs, Scottish musician and soundtrack composer KT Tunstall was tired of the spotlight and ready to leave professional music. Then, in 2012, her father, a physicist at the University of St. Andrews, died.

The Wood Brothers.
Alysse Gafkjen

From childhood, Chris and Oliver Wood grew up hearing their dad's renditions of American roots music and their mother's poetry. They both became musicians: Oliver wrote songs and formed the blues/funk/r & b/country band, King Johnson, while Chris became a jazz bassist and co-founded the avant-groove trio, Medeski, Martin and Wood.

In this hour-long edition of Musician's Spotlight, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen drop by to reminisce with guest host Michael Marsolek about performing, recording, and creatively coping with the rapidly-changing music industry. The fast friends are renowned Texas folk singer-songwriters and former Texas A & M roommates, as well as musical contemporaries.

Josh Wool

For over a decade, Sam Beam has been creating music under the name Iron And Wine. Beam's cinematic songs have charmed listeners through five albums, numerous EPs and singles and the Archive series. Sam stopped by MTPR’s studios in fall 2017, where he recorded acoustic versions of several of his most popular songs and talked with host John Floridis about trusting his own trajectory and "getting lost in your own process and enthusiasms, because that's your only duty, as an artist." 

Eric Hendrikx

Three-time Grammy award-winning, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Ben Harper met up with host John Floridis to talk shop at the Big Sky Amphitheater in Missoula in July, 2017. Harper’s eclectic mix of blues, folk, soul, reggae and rock has earned him a devoted worldwide following throughout his career, which now spans more than a quarter-century. Hear from the artist (and avid skateboarder) who played his first gig at age 12, got a career kick-start from radio stations in Australia, and who frequently pairs activism with performing and recording.

The Seattle Times calls the music of John Lenti “a joy to behold,” while Gramphone praises Lenti’s playing of theorbo, lute, archlute, and baroque guitar for its “nuanced beauty and character.” He deploys his “uncommonly big sound” (Third Coast Digest) to acclaim as a soloist and chamber musician.

Ellis Marsalis, Jr. is regarded by many as New Orleans’s premier modern jazz pianist. He’s been performing professionally for over fifty years, recording almost twenty albums of his own and guesting on many others, but primarily, Marsalis has focused on education, teaching at the University of New Orleans, Xavier University in Louisiana, and the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts.

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