Exactly one year ago I posted my first blog as a freelance writer, saying, “After a stint in the corporate newspaper world, I found myself with an ignited desire to create my own place.”

As 2010 dawns, I’m pleased to say 2009 was a healthy year for music in Montana. I won’t dish out a “Top Ten” or “Best Of” on this blog, but I do want to reflect on the year in music and remind my fellow Montanans that we’re fortunate to live in a state that provides us front row access to some top notch performers.

We all make choices, including where we decide to call home. I place importance on community, affordability and quality, and Billings delivers. I thank the people playing and providing music in Montana. Your pioneer spirit does not go unnoticed, and your dedication to live music and culture makes Billings a musical hub of the West.

February

Shrine Auditorium floor does not collapse despite best efforts of sold-out crowd at Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys headline a show at Billings' Shrine Auditorium Feb. 25, 2009.
Dropkick Murphys headline a show at Billings’ Shrine Auditorium Feb. 25, 2009.

March

Fishbone fuses funk into frozen Montana night

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Fishbone founder, lead singer and saxophonist Angelo Moore performs at the Garage Pub.

April

Black Flag, SST founder Greg Ginn jams at Railyard

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Greg Ginn plays bass with his band, the Taylor Texas Corrugators.

May

Lyle Lovett adds Billings date to Montana tour

Murder by Death channels ghosts of country music past

Sera Cahoone, Betsy Olson perform to hometown crowd

Sampling The Gourds’ tasty southern fruits

June

Queers unapologetic, just as punk should be

Cursive swells in small setting

After dragging his mic from the stage to the outdoors, Cursive frontman Tim Kasher sings in the midst of his fans.
After dragging his mic from the stage to the outdoors, Cursive frontman Tim Kasher sings in the midst of his fans.

July

CFAC raises money to benefit local charities

Bane engages sparse crowd

August

Hana Pestle sell out Venture

Railroad Earth lights up the Babcock Theater

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Railroad Earth performing at the Babcock Theater Aug. 20.

September

The mighty Modest Mouse

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Modest Mouse lights up the stage at the Alberta Bair Theater.

2009 Tuney winners announced

October

The Hold Steady returns

November

Little Brazil back in a big way

Emmylou Harris: a wistful, powerful presence

Emmylou Harris and Her Red Dirt Boys bid the crowd a farewell.
Emmylou Harris and Her Red Dirt Boys bid the crowd a farewell.

As 2010 rolls around, you’ll notice some changes to Pen and Paige, making it easier to track entertainment. Send me your feedback if you have suggestions on how to make this blog more accessible. I appreciate your support and thank you  for reading.