Montana Public Radio

Musician's Spotlight

Tues. 7 p.m.

Today's most talented and compelling musicians visit Musician's Spotlight to "talk shop" and give you a deeper insight into their music. Host and producer John Floridis brings his own musical expertise  along with over a decade and a half of experience conducting interviews.

Guests on the show have included legendary musicians like B.B King; Alison Krauss; Lyle Lovett; Wilco; Brandi Carlile; Daryl Jones of the Rolling Stones; The Cowboy Junkies; Richard Thompson; Mary Chapin Carpenter; Bruce Cockburn; Shawn Colvin; and Chris Hillman of the Byrds; along with talented Montana artists like Jeni Flemming, Tom Catmull, Martha Scanlan, John Dunnigan, Jenn Adams, Jack Gladstone and Eden Atwood.

Musician's Spotlight archive on iTunes

courtesy of The Hot Sardines

Elizabeth Bougerol, co-leader and singer with The Hot Sardines, joins host John Floridis by phone to talk about the band's genesis. During their COVID-19-enforced performing hiatus, members of the band have been composing new music.

Courtesy of Lucy Kaplansky

Lucy Kaplansky returns to Musician’s Spotlight, joining host John Floridis by phone from Cape Cod. She self-produced her most recent recording project, Everyday Street, and released it only through her website. Shawn Colvin joined Lucy on one of the album's songs, “Old Friends."

The New Big Sky Singers: Rob Quist, Gary Funk, Don Collins, Don MacDonald and Pete Hand
Aaron Pruitt

Host John Floridis interviews Rob Quist, Don Collins and Don MacDonald of the New Big Sky Singers.  At the time of this interview, the group was planning a CD release and reunion concert for their new recording, 50 Years Ago Today, right when the COVID-19 pandemic brought live music performances to a halt.

Matt Wilson personifies the spontaneous energy of jazz. He's a drummer's drummer who seems to be everywhere at once, teaching, playing, recording, and bringing jazz to new audiences with the motto: "The answer is YES ... if it's legal."

Eighteen-year-old Tanya Gabrielian's true dedication to music revealed itself one eventful day during kung fu practice. A Harvard biomedical engineering student on a gap year at London's Royal Academy of Music, she kicked, slipped, and fell forward. But instead of shielding her head with her hands, instinctively, the pianist-violist pulled her hands back, risking injury to her head in order to spare the tools of her music.

The Hot Club of Cowtown’s stylistic genesis–as well as title–stems from the realization that the great heritage of strings (guitars and violins) originates mutually with the Manouche gypsies of France and the no-less virtuosic hillbilly pickers and fiddlers of Oklahoma and Texas….Together for over 21 years and fourteen albums, the threesome of high-heeled violinist Elana James, guitarist Whit Smith and bassist Jake Erwin showed from the beginning that jazz and country music could exist together on the same page, a highly commendable achievement if ever there was one.”
-Will Friedwald, Wall Street Journal

Merriam Webster's defines the noun “fruition” as “pleasurable use or possession: enjoyment.” With the cancellation of the band's 2020's live stage concerts, how does Fruition member Jay Cobb Anderson define it? The same as always: creating songs that sing for themselves. "We are pretty adamant and a bit obssessed about making the song shine in its own way, realizing the song, taking out our egos or expectations of what the song is and letting it be itself."      

Host John Floridis catches up with Seamus Egan: teen prodigy, multi-instrumentalist, film composer, bandleader and co-founder of the beloved Irish-American band, Solas. If you've watched the film "The Brothers McMullen" or listened to Sarah McLachlan’s “Weep Not for the Memories,” you've heard Egan's compositions.

Bear's Den, Nick Spear In The 'Musician's Spotlight'

Apr 14, 2020
Bear's Den, Nick Spear
Courtesy of Bear's Den and Nick Speark

Bear's Den, the British band fronted by Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones, first toured the US in a campervan, a trip featured in the 2014 documentary, “Austin to Boston.”  Davie and Jones talk with host John Floridis about their 2019 album, "So That You Might Hear Me," and the change in tone it represents. Next, Flathead Valley singer-songwriter and actor Nick Spear explains how projects like the series of music videos shot in Montana ghost towns help him keep “the story” front and center, combining his passions for acting and music-making.

Douglas Kent Hall

The vocation of instrumentalist, composer and NEA National Heritage Fellow Rahim AlHaj has brought him joy and exile, praise and torture -- always accompanied by a soundtrack provided by the 5,000-year-old Arabic oud.