Musicians' Spotlight

Montana Public Radio

Today's most talented and compelling musicians visit Musicians' 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 - Sunny Jain
    Drummer and composer Sunny Jain, the creative force behind the Bhangra fusion of Red Baraat as well as numerous other projects visits with host John Floridis.
    12 July 2023, 11:31 pm
  • 58 minutes 27 seconds
    The Allman-Betts Band Forge 'The United States Of Americana'
    When Duane Betts and Devon Allman decided to join musical forces, the collective heft of their last names served as an additional member of the Allman-Betts Band. Their dads, Dickie Betts and Gregg Allman, had co-founded the Allman Brothers Band.Duane Betts joins John Floridis by phone for a conversation about the band's most recent release, Bless Your Heart. The seven-piece thinks of this album as their "bonfire," built for the summer of 2020 and beyond. It's a double album follow-up to their 2019 debut, fueled by road-forged camaraderie and musical intensity, reflecting the individual and collective experiences of seven musicians, all of them drawing inspiration from the band’s symbolic hometown - a place Devon Allman calls “the United States of Americana.”
    7 July 2021, 12:33 am
  • 58 minutes 27 seconds
    Clarence Penn, 'Rhythmic Intoxication' And Thelonious Monk
    Faced with a guest's musical CV longer than his own arm, the wise radio host takes a tag-team approach to conversing with in-demand drummer, composer, bandleader, producer and teacher Clarence Penn. In this edition of Musician's Spotlight, John Floridis and Montana drummer and percussionist Ed Stalling hold radio rhythm-camp with the versatile, highly respected, chops-rich Penn.
    30 June 2021, 2:05 am
  • 58 minutes 27 seconds
    Shawn Colvin's Voice Combines Sparkle, Strength And Vulnerability
    How does Shawn Colvin stay busy during a pandemic? By pairing her own hits with classics of the silver screen. In Live From These Four Walls you’ll hear a solo acoustic reinterpretation of her 1992 album, Fat City, and a second album of movie songs like “Edelweiss,” “Beyond Thunderdome,” “To Sir With Love” and “Everybody’s Talking.”
    23 June 2021, 3:46 am
  • 58 minutes 28 seconds
    American Patchwork Quartet Weave Modern Immigrant Dreams Into Songs
    In 2020, singer Falu Shah, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, drummer Clarence Penn and guitarist & vocalist Clay Ross teamed up to form American Patchwork Quartet. They're on a mission to reclaim the immigrant soul of American roots music, interpreting timeless songs through a 21st century lens.It's not an accident that the four members of the group, each with a thriving solo career, came together to start reinterpreting American roots music. The quartet's goal is purposeful: to unleash music's magic to help counteract pervasive prejudices around immigration and race. American Patchwork Quartet consists of an eleventh-generation classical Hindustani musician, a drumming protégée of the late Ellis Marsalis, a first-call Issei jazz bassist, and a co-founder of Ranky Tanky, a Grammy-winning group inspired by the Gullah musical culture of the Carolina coast.
    8 June 2021, 7:48 pm
  • 58 minutes 27 seconds
    Chad Lawson's Piano Calms It Down
    You might know pianist, bandleader, composer and podcaster Chad Lawson for his interpretations of Chopin and Bach, or his jazzy reimagining of the Wizard of Oz, or his years leading The Chad Lawson trio. Maybe you've heard his compositions for the podcasts "Lore" and "Unobscured," or his solo piano albums.
    1 June 2021, 10:57 pm
  • 58 minutes 28 seconds
    Mette Kirkegaard's 'Simple Matters' Isn't So Simple
    Is there such a thing as “Nordic Americana?” Host John Floridis has discovered at least one example: the songwriting team of Danish singer, Mette Kirkegaard and legendary Montana songwriter, Kostas Lazarides. Their collaboration forms the backbone of Kirkegaard's most recent recording, “Simple Matters.”
    1 June 2021, 10:48 pm
  • 58 minutes 25 seconds
    Cyrille Aimée Sings Jazz 'With A Sniper's Precision'
    "Michael Jackson brushes shoulders with Sarah Vaughan in the person of Cyrille Aimée, a saucy, curly-haired jazz singer with one foot in tradition and the other in electronics." - Stephen Holden, New York Times
    19 May 2021, 4:24 am
  • 58 minutes 27 seconds
    Ranky Tanky's Songs Are 'Soulful Honey To The Ears'
    “A people blessed by God" is how Gullah speakers translate their Afro-English dialect's name. Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA are hotbeds of Gullah language, songs and stories, and the rich repertoire of the Charleston quintet Ranky Tanky doesn't disappoint: "ranky tanky" is Gullah for “get funky.” Singer Quiana Parler shares the band's origin story with John Floridis, and reflects on their 2020 Grammy win for Best Regional Roots Album. From playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies, the musical roots of Charleston are “rank” and fertile ground from which these contemporary musicians have grown. South Carolina natives Quentin Baxter, Kevin Hamilton, Charlton Singleton, and Clay Ross first came together in 1998, fresh out of university, to form a seminal Charleston jazz quartet. Now, united by years apart and a deeper understanding of home, they've reunited and have joined with one of the lowcountry’s most celebrated vocalists, Quiana Parler, to revive a musical tradition born in their own backyards.
    11 May 2021, 11:00 am
  • 58 minutes 26 seconds
    Sharon Isbin Is A 'Master Colorist' Of The Classical Guitar
    Sharon Isbin, "the Monet of the classical guitar," returns to Musician’s Spotlight to talk technique, collaboration and guitar diplomacy with host John Floridis. Isbin's accomplishments involve big numbers: she has recorded more than 30 albums, premiered 80 new works by composers like John Corigliano, Joseph Schwantner and Lukas Foss, performed as a soloist with over 200 orchestras around the world, appeared on numerous television and radio programs, hit #2 on Billboard, and won dozens of prestigious honors and awards. Isbin earned her degrees from Yale and studied with Andrès Segovia, Oscar Ghiglia, and noted Bach scholar and keyboardist, Rosalyn Tureck. She's the director of the guitar department at the Aspen Music Festival, and since 1989, at the Juilliard School, making her the first and only guitar instructor in Julliard's history. A few of the many guitarists Isbin has collaborated with from outside the classical world: Stanley Jordan, Nancy Wilson of Heart, Steve Van, and Larry Coryell.
    4 May 2021, 5:29 pm
  • 58 minutes 27 seconds
    Josh Farmer Fashions Music Out Of Life's Hand-me-Downs
    Missoula's Josh Farmer is a whirlwind of joyous musical creativity whose roles include but are not limited to: pianist, bandleader, performing singer-songwriter, teacher, choir director and community music organizer. With the album Mental Picture, Josh can add "solo recording artist." Here's how The Josh Farmer band describe themselves: "With a message of unity, equality and love for a creative community, their exciting, one-of-a-kind, live performances are known to incite vibes of happiness and freedom. Let go through joyful dance and sing along while Josh and his band do what they enjoy most!"
    3 May 2021, 2:21 am
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