Sunday, October 25, 2015


Following is a schedule of bands performing for Saturday breakfasts at the Owl Café in Laurel, MT. If any new bands are interested in playing beginning in January, 2016, they should call John Letcher at 406-633-0099.

October 31:            Southbound

November 7:          Memory Lane

November 14:        Highway 302

November 21:        Yesterday's Wine

November 28:        Spur of the Moment

December 5:          Back Porch Band

December 12:       Spur of the Moment

December 18:        Highway 302

December 28:       Spur of the Moment


The band "Yesterday's Wine" played their second gig at the Owl Café on Saturday and have another scheduled on November 21, 2015.  They are a family band based around  88 year old patriarch, Elmer Webb, of Belfry and his sons and their wives.  They performed as a trio on Saturday morning with Elmer on electric lead Fender guitar, son, Steve, singing lead and rhythm guitar while son, Ed, provided the electric bass accompaniment. I have known them for a long time as Steve served the Old Time Fiddlers as president (and equipment hauler) for about ten years. They mainly play old "classic country" stuff, but have an innovation that was quite unique to my mind. Steve and Ed both had music stands with I-Pads on them.  Steve had programmed a huge number of country songs with cord changes onto them.  Between numbers you could observe his finger flicking through various pages  until he found the one to perform.  He also had a program to transpose to different keys automatically.  The music may have been from earlier times, but the technique to access them was certainly very up to date. Great job, Steve Webb!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


After awakening very early Monday morning I tuned into MT PBS and stumbled upon a late night showing of Austin City Limits. There was big tall Ray Benson and "Asleep At The Wheel" cranking out those old western swing standards.  They even had one of Bob Wills original Texas Playboys join in on a vocal.  Then at 5 AM the bluegrass Jubilee show featured the "Lonesome River Band" which plays good old fashioned bluegrass music. The fiddler and banjo player really tore up a hot version of "Angeline The Baker." It doesn't get any better than that.  Yep, sometimes a little insomnia can be a good  thing. 



Our last event for the year will be our Harvest Jam.  Mark your calendars for Saturday November 14th staring at 1 PM.  This is an all day jam, just like our Mid Winter Jam,  but we will have it at a new venue, instead of the Unitarian Hall  , we will have it at the BLUE CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH, 2337 Blue Creek Road,  just south of Riverfront Park.  We have Blue's BBQ planned,  but you can also bring a salad or a dessert if you would like.  Served will be pulled pork sliders, ranch flavor pasta salad, and their delicious baked beans!  So come and enjoy a day of pickin and eatin before the holidays arrive!
     It is also time to plan for our up coming election of Board Members.... if you would like to be on the Board... please let me know.  Elections will be next month already, and would love to have you join us!

ROGER'S NOTE: Blue Creek Baptist pastor is Lee Jackson, lead singer and mandolin picker of the Milestown Band. It is a bit out of town, but should be a nice fall drive with autumn colors along the Yellowstone.  This event is for paid up YBA members only, but you can pay up at the Church.  Individual memberships are now $20.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Following are more photos from the Fall Showcase:

The raucous Hillbillings

Highway 302


Trio harmonies from Songdog Serenade
Pat Bruin & Canon


Local area fans enjoyed another showcase performed by eight area bands on Friday evening, October 16. 2015, at the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch chapel.  The Miles City group "Milestown" filled in at the last minute to replace a band which had cancelled and performed very well. Photos from the evening are shown with more to come in another post.

                                                  Old timers with fiddler Gladys Burns
                                                            The Unexpected Band
Spur of the Moment
MC Terry Jessee the old folkie with 12 string  

Friday, October 16, 2015



Here is the order in which the bands will be playing Friday:

1.  Plots and Rocks
2.  Memory Lane
3.  Ed Pierson
4.  Spur of the Moment
5.  The Hillbillings
6.  Song Dog Serenade
7.  Highway 302
     Bluegrass County Line had to cancel.  See you all tomorrow night!

Monday, October 12, 2015


From:  Paddy Moore

Paddy Moore is a very fine graphic artist as well as bass player and vocalist for the bluegrass band "Songdog Serenade."  This poster is her creation. The YBA is fortunate to have she and her hubby Scott Moore as talented and very active members.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


In the opinion of this blogger, a founder of the bluegrass club in Billings, MT, the Yellowstone Bluegrass Association has been struggling for a number of years.  The constant diminishing of facility use by the Billings Public Schools and the closing of the Prairie Winds Cafe in Molt and it's Saturday morning bluegrass with breakfast have been major factors. Some readers may have wondered why several recent posts have been dedicated to the new jams at the Elks Lodge. They are continuing to pick up steam and become more popular with both pickers and fans. The Friday October 9th session had some 20 musicians participating and an increasing number of fans.  Some are out for dinner and/or drinks at the Elks and come downstairs to enjoy the bluegrass music. Some bring their drinks along. Ohers respond to announcements in local media. A portion  of last Friday's  picking circle are shown above.

The Elks jams are proving to be very good for regaining the earlier strength of the YBA.  In addition the recent months of Saturday bluegrass music at the Owl Cafe in Laurel, MT, are drawing even larger crowds than the Molt sessions had.  This is not surprising as Laurel has a population of more than 7,000 and has several more  nearby towns.  Of course it is barely 15 miles from the Billings city limits with it's 100,000 to draw from.  Some retirement facilities have even sent buses from Billings for the Owl activities While established bands have normally provided the bluegrass entertainment, a unique group performed last Saturday, October 10, 2015. "Spur of the Moment" was originally scheduled, but had to drop out with just a day or two's notice.  As a result several pickers decided to simply put a six person jam band together and they actually wowed the crowd with their musical compilations.  They included Paddy Moore on bass and Scott Moore on lead guitar from "Songdog Serenade" plus Larry Larson on rhythm guitar and Jim McGowan banjo of "Hiway 302."  Lee Jackson of "Milestown" played mandolin and Arlen Ellis contributed dobro licks. This impromptu group actually outperformed some of the other groups who have played the Owl.  Thanks to those six pickers for doing a great job and making sure that "the show goes on."

There will be no bluegrass jam at the Elks this Friday October 16 as the Fall YBA Showcase will take place in the Chapel of the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch.  See other posts for more information.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


The third YBA jam at the Elks Club on Lewis Avenue was the best one yet as more experienced musicians and vocalists attended.  That is valuable for novice pickers in attendance.  Photos are from that event:


2015 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards Winners

Entertainer of the Year: The Earls of Leicester
Female Vocalist of the Year: Rhonda Vincent
Male Vocalist of the Year: Shawn Camp
Vocal Group of the Year: Balsam Range
Instrumental Group of the Year: The Earls of Leicester
Song of the Year: “Moon Over Memphis,” Balsam Range
Album of the Year: The Earls of Leicester, The Earls of Leicester (produced by Jerry Douglas)
Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year: “Who Will Sing for Me,” the Earls of Leicester
Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year: “The Three Bells,” Jerry Douglas, Mike Auldridge, Rob Ickes
Emerging Artist of the Year: Becky Buller
Recorded Event of the Year: “Southern Flavor,” Becky Buller with Peter Rowan, Michael Feagan, Buddy Spicher, Ernie Sykes, Roland White and Blake Williams
Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year: Becky Buller
Banjo Player of the Year: Rob McCoury
Bass Player of the Year: Tim Surrett
Dobro Player of the Year: Jerry Douglas
Fiddle Player of the Year: Michael Cleveland
Guitar Player of the Year: Bryan Sutton
Mandolin Player of the Year: Jesse Brock
Inductees into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame: Bill Keith and Larry Sparks
Distinguished Achievement Awards: Alison Brown, Murphy Henry, the International Bluegrass Music Museum, “Bashful Brother” Oswald Kirby and Steve Martin

Friday, October 2, 2015


Music continues at the Owl Café in Laurel, MT, on Saturday AMs.  Enjoy an old fashioned country café breakfast served up by Kathy and her staff and listen to some old time music as well. Here is the latest band schedule:

Oct,. 3                   Highway 302
Oct. 10                  Spur of the Moment
Oct. 17                  Old Time Fiddlers
Oct. 24                  Yesterdays Wine

This is all that is available at this time.

We have since learned that Spur of the Moment will not be performing on Oct. 10. A band will be there, but no announcement as to which is yet available..