Would you and your band be interested in playing at the Kamiah Super Jam?


The ISBA (Idaho Sawtooth Bluegrass Association) is inviting ANY band wishing to be considered for playing at the Kamiah Super Jam to please submit a song or two via an email/video of your band to rlberg@live.com.

This is a fund raiser for the Idaho Sawtooth Bluegrass Association so it’s a volunteer of your time. However, Mike and Tari Conroy will be recording each band and you’ll receive a free cd as a thank you.

The dates are May 15-17th and the stage show would be on the 16th. Please have your songs emailed to Randy (rlberg@live.com) no later than next Friday Feb 13th.

Kamiah is 3 hours West of Missoula on Hwy 12 out of Lolo.


Business Meeting at 2:00 DECEMBER 13 2014. 2423435

Following the business meeting there will be jamming around 3:00, followed by potluck dinner at 6:00, and more jamming to follow.  The association is furnishing the main course.  Please bring a side dish or dessert and a door prize (something musical or funny, not expensive).

bring your instruments and your songs and come have a good time with us at Ruby Inn on north Reserve, Missoula MT


Jim Widner’s 90th Birthday, come join us

500b10cb39e7b.preview-620Jim Widner’s daughters are having a 90th birthday party for Jim at the Darby clubhouse on Sat -October 11th from 2pm to 6pm. They will have a sign up sheet there for musicians to take turns playing on the microphone…Potluck at 2pm… Come join in the fun…


Jim Widner has lived in the same apartment in Darby for nearly a half century. He settled there after the band, the Snake River Outlaws, split and went their seperate ways. He never stopped fiddling. Widner was crowned national champion at old fiddle contests on a two occassions.  In a small apartment on Darby’s main street, there lives a living legend.

Sixty years ago, Widner was a member of a band called the Snake River Outlaws. In the 1950s, the four Idaho musicians made the airwaves sing from a small stage inside the Sunshine Bar at the corner of Missoula’s Woody and Alder streets.  “It was Montana’s skid row back then,” Widner said.  Gathered close to the microphone emblazoned with the letters KXLL, the young men played a popular style of old-time country music that ended up aired on radios in a half-dozen Western states.

After band members married and went their own way, Widner started entering fiddle contests on his weekends away from work at the Darby sawmills. He was crowned national old-time fiddle champion on a number of occasions and folks from everywhere took notice.

“Anywhere we go, when people learn where we live, they ask us if we know that fiddler from Darby,” said Mike Conroy, the organizer of Hardtimes Bluegrass Festival, “He’s the only living legend that I know.”

Jimmy Widner’s apartment is filled with memories of times when people stood and clapped as he made his fiddle sing.  “A fiddle can do just about anything if you know how to make it do it,” Widner said, as he leaned back in his kitchen chair.  Just behind him is a wall filled with a packed trophy case, photographs and other mementoes of his musical career.  “I’ve given back quite a few of my trophies,” Widner said “I just didn’t have room for them here.”

Born into a musical family – his dad was a fiddler who worked on the railroad – Widner didn’t really take to the fiddle in his younger years.  But that early introduction to music came in handy after he enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II. Widner spent a good deal of time on troop transport ships moving back and forth between the Pacific and European theaters. He found that some of those ships had a collection of musical instruments that soldiers could check out for a day.

“I learned to play by ear,” he said. “I didn’t really have any particular teacher. It is a gift that the Lord gives you for music. We played whenever we could just for our own enjoyment.”  When Widner came home from the war, he managed to get his hands on a better fiddle and began to practice.  Eventually he teamed up with Vern Wilburn and began playing at bars for $3 a night. The pair met an itinerant singer who went by the name of Wild Bill Lloyd, the Snake River Outlaw.  The three sang together until they found Lloyd dead in the car that he lived in by the railroad depot.

About that time, there was a young kid named Orval Fochtman hanging around the bar and singing to tunes on the jukebox. They enlisted him and Wilburn’s brother to become the Snake River Outlaws.  The four were tired of Weiser and so they piled into a 1937 Chevy panel van that had been used as a doughnut wagon and headed north.  They ended up in Missoula and the Sunshine Bar.

“We had a monopoly on that town back then,” Widner remembered. “It was really something to be inside the Sunshine Bar when we were playing. You could see winos brushing elbows with people in mink coats. You couldn’t even get inside the bar on a Saturday night, it was so crowded.”  Those who couldn’t squeeze in the door would stand outside and dance to the music drifting out of the open windows of parked cars from the performance being broadcast on the radio.

With his earnings, Fochtman purchased a reel-to-reel tape recorder and recorded the group’s live radio program. The Western Folklife Center eventually ended up with those tapes and had the music digitally recorded to produce a CD.  These days, Widner is done with contests and other huge events.  But he can sure still play. For folks with a good ear like Conroy, Widner hasn’t missed a beat.  “There is absolutely no one that sounds like Jimmy Widner. I can be clear across the grounds at the finals and hear his fiddle and instantly know it’s Jim Widner.  Many people play music, but Jim just feels the music in his own special way,” Conroy said.

“Sometimes some of those folks will stop by my place and we’ll talk about those days,” he said. “There are getting to be fewer and fewer of them too. It’s been quite an honor to be part of all this.  It’s just disappearing fast,” Widner said. “That’s what happens when you get older. There’s just not that many around who remember those good old times.”


THE DAVID GRISMAN SEXTET at Montana Snowbowl Ski Area, 9-14-14

Snowbowl Presentsgrisman
The David Grisman Sextet
September 14TH 2014 at 5PM
Limited VIP Packages& “Early-bird” prices for General Admission available!
Tickets available at www.SnowbowlMountainMusic.com

Bluegrass legend David Grisman takes the stage with “The David Grisman Sextet” for the inaugural concert of the new concert series “Snowbowl Mountain Music”      at Missoula’s local ski hill Montana Snowbowl, Sunday Sept. 14th 5PM. Local favorites “The Lil’ Smokies” will open.

Tickets go on sale Thursday May 15th. Tickets will be available online at snowbowlmountainmusic.com. A limited number of “VIP” packages ($65) will be available to purchase which include premium seating & parking and a special commemorative concert package. A limited number of “Early Bird” tickets ($35/$32 Adult/Student & Senior 65 ) will also be available until sold-out for General Admission. General Admission tickets will be available at Rockin’ Rudy’s and a dedicated box office location at a later date TBA.

About the Artist:
An acoustic pioneer and innovator, mandolinist/composer bandleader/producer David Grisman has forged a unique personal artistic path for nearly half a century, skillfully combining elements of the great American music/art forms — jazz and bluegrass with many international flavors and sensibilities to create his own distinctive idiom — “Dawg” music (the nickname given him by Jerry Garcia.) In doing so, he’s inspired new generations of acoustic string musicians, while creating his own niche in contemporary music. His career is littered with recording and performance collaborations with the biggest contemporary artists of our day including Sam bush, Jerry Garcia, Del McCoury, the Grateful Dead, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Earl Scruggs, and James Taylor.

MI0001335680In the 30 years since forming the seminal group the David Grisman Quintet, David’s ensembles have won numerous polls and awards, headlining major jazz, folk and bluegrass festivals around the world.

Come enjoy an evening with David Grisman under an open sky at the base of Montana Snowbowl, offering an epic experience in-synch with the natural beauty offered at Missoula’s local ski hill.


SAM BUSH!! at River City Roots Fest in Missoula MT


Sam Bush, a well-known mandolin player, will headline this year’s River City Roots Festival in downtown Missoula. The annual music, arts and culture festival is set for Aug. 23-24.

Bush won the 2009 Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement award, is known as a founding member of Newgrass Revival, and is considered the originator of “Newgrass” music. His most recent album “Circles Around Me” was No. 3 on the U.S. bluegrass charts.

Bush will play from 8:30-10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, on the Main Street main stage. The rest of the 2014 line-up will be announced at a later date.

Roots Fest is an admission-free festival that drew more than 15,000 people last year. The two-day event also features a juried art show, a four-mile competitive and fun run, a family fun festival in Caras Park, and a 15-vendor food court on Ryman Street. The 2014 event will also include a stand-up paddle board competition to be held on the Clark Fork River.

You Dont Want to Miss “Forest Flats” for Fantastic Pickin’ & Campin’ !!

MRBA ANNUAL CAMP OUT    August 1-3, 2014
The annual MRBA camp out will be held at Forrest Flats Highway 10 East between Turah and Clinton, about three miles East of Turah and three miles west of Clinton. There will be signs.

Dry camping Fri. Sat. and Sun, August 1st-3rd. You should come a day earlier, if you can, to join other early pickers plus grab a good camping spot.  Breakfast pot luck on Saturday and Sunday, Saturday nite the Association will provide the meat and desert.  We ask members to bring pot luck dishes to finish the meal.

There will be a $10.00 charge for non members or unpaid members for Saturday nite, should be a no brainer when dues are $10.00 each or $15.00 for family.  Family = two adults and minor children. You need to sign up in advance for Saturday meal.

To register: Forrest Clark Phone 406-825-7806 email bg4flats@blackfoot.net