Montana Tunesmith - Under Yellowstone Skies

Under Yellowstone Skies

Montana Tunesmith

Nashville North Records
P. O. Box 2008
Red Lodge, MT 59068
Ph: 406-446-3438

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Guntram Gudowius
(gg10555@yahoo.de)

Homegrown acoustic duo Montana Tunesmith performs homespun songs with local patriotism. For those of us who have visited that mountain state the lyrics revive the memories of the splendor of the landscapes. For others, they're a fitting description that might spark their interest. The local tourist office should get hold of this CD.

Brothers Tim and Mike Nordstrom's tenor voices are well matched for harmony singing and, there's always room for nice harmonies. Tim sings lead in most songs. They sing, without embellishments, about the place they come from and love, and about their experiences, just the way that you might catch them around a campfire. They both play guitar, and for this recording they added mostly acoustic instruments played by other local musicians.

The song arrangement that sticks out is a tribute to John Denver with full synththesized strings. (I usually listen the first time without reading the liner notes and there was Brother John riding on the "Calypso", without doubt as far as the music was concerned. In the lyrics Tim asks for continued guidance in the task of preserving nature.)

Other themes concern the birth of Tim's daughter; the qualities of the family dog; the joys of fishing in clear mountain lakes; the longing for the mountains after living in the city too long; meeting friends at a local Montana bar; a coal mine disaster; a great-grandmother travelling west by train with her son after her husband had found a place to settle; and the great outdoors as another "church". For me as a pagan there are too frequent references to God or God's country, but that's just a personal opinion.

The most catching is certainly the title track with a moving native flute intro, a plea for the survival of the buffalo and the Native American.

All in all it is a pleasant piece of work.

The Musicians:

Tim Nordstrom - lead vocal, guitar
Mike Nordstrom - vocal, guitar
Craig Hall - bass, mandolin, electric guitar, synth string arrangement
Michael Blessing - percussion, synthesizer
Nanci Padilla - fiddle
Reeves Petroff - dobro
Ray Padilla - upright bass
Chris Cunningham - harmonica, harmony vocal, accordion, guitar
Kyle Brenner - cello
Ken Light - Native American flute

Track List:

  • Montana Therapy
  • Castin' For Cutthroat
  • Spirit Of Yellowstone
  • New Age Religion
  • First Snow
  • Comin' Home
  • Boot Jack Gap
  • Smith Mine
  • Small Montana Bar
  • Born To Retrieve
  • Brother John
  • Little Aurora
  • Instrumental
  • Under Yellowstone Skies

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2001, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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