Sera Cahoone lite

Sera Cahoone performs with pedal steel player Jay Kardong during a stripped-down performance of their band's songs.
Sera Cahoone and Jay Kardong perform a duet of Cahoone's music.

Sub Pop artist Sera Cahoone didn’t stay away from Billings long, returning to a room less occupied than it was during her full band performance in May. However, the presence of close friends and fans provided an informal, communicative atmosphere for her to perform with pedal steel player Jay Kardong, who said such informal shows are often his favorite.

Though Cahoone typically performs with a full band, she and Kardong reduced their lineup to the essentials to open for Son Volt on a cross-country three-week tour, which exposed the duo to larger crowds and plenty of potential new fans.

In their Billings performance, the two played many of the songs from Cahoone’s 2008 Sub Pop debut, “Only As The Day Is Long,” as well as few from her self-released first album, “Sera Cahoone.” Kardong’s pedal steel cried out sweetly through the venue as Cahoone’s alluring vocals drifted softly among the charmed audience.
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Sera Cahoone returns to Billings

Americana singer/songwriter Sera Cahoone performs in Billings Sept. 30.
Americana singer/songwriter Sera Cahoone performs in Billings Sept. 30.

After wrapping a tour with Son Volt in Minneapolis, alt country musician Sera Cahoone is gigging her way home to Seattle and plans her only Montana stop in Billings on Sept. 30.

Frontwoman for her self-titled band, Cahoone was last in Billings in early May. She performed to a large crowd, many whom came to support Betsy Olson, a Billings musician that relocated to Seattle to launch her music career.

Church Mouse, aka Burke Jam, Americana folk artist from Missoula, opens the concert, which begins at 9 .m. at the Railyard. Tickets, costing $10, are available at the door only.

Sera Cahoone, Betsy Olson perform to hometown crowd

Sera Cahoon
Sera Cahoone performed May 4, 2009 in Billings.
Betsy Olson performs with Sera Cahoone
Betsy Olson performed with Sera Cahoone May 4, 2009 in Billings.

Sera Cahoone headlined a reunion of sorts last night with hometown sensation Betsy Olson. The two women, who are roommates in Seattle, performed together: Betsy on guitar, Sera on drums. Betsy was welcomed back to her hometown with great affection and enthusiasm, performing her bluesy tunes for friends, family, and fans. Even Betsy’s grandma got on the dance floor.

Sera then took the stage and fronted her own band, Sera Cahoone. Her acoustic guitar and the pedal steel sweetly sang through the noisy bar as the band launched into their unique brand of alt-country.

Sera Cahoon
Sera Cahoone performed May 4, 2009 in Billings.

The venue was noticeably packed for a Monday and though Betsy kept the audience captivated, Sera serenaded us with her enduring, tender voice. A wonderful melancholy settled across the bar, the music ebbing and flowing around the pedal steel. Betsy joined Sera for “Only As The Day Is Long,” and together they exuded a sense of place, the stage a fitting platform for their multiple talents.

Sera Cahoone takes her time through Montana

Sera Cahoone performs at the KEXP Studios (Photo by Kyle Johnson)
Sera Cahoone performs at the KEXP Studios in Seattle. (Photo by Kyle Johnson)

From drumming with bar bands at a young age to the studio with Band of Horses, Sera Cahoone already had a respectable indie career before picking up a guitar and fronting her own band in 2006. With stripped-down sincerity, Cahoone’s peaceful voice matched with her acoustic strumming bestowed an honest, tastefully countrified folk, putting forth her roots as just the beginning.

The acoustic Americana singer/songwriter brings her country-noir sound to Billings, headlining an alt-country evening of music at the Railyard on Monday.

Cahoone, vocalist and guitarist for her self-titled band, is on an abbreviated tour of the west with three scheduled Montana dates, including Billings. Her band features Cahoone on vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica and the talents of four others. The band creates a rich tapestry of sound with the electrified teardrop of the pedal steel and the gorgeous, resonating sounds of the dobro guitar, as well as the alt twang of banjo.

Cahoone’s musical roots are tangled in the northwestern Sub Pop family. She drummed with Carissa’s Wierd, and after the clutishly-popular Seattle “sadcore” band split, she moved on to form a solo career. Former bandmates Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke formed Band of Horses, though Brooke split after the band’s first album to form the indie rock band Grand Archives.

While focusing on her soloist career, Cahoone came together with Bridwell and Brooke to drum on the Band of Horses’ 2006 debut full-length release, Everything All The Time. Cahoone self-released her first album, filled with thought-provoking country songs, that same year. The album gained the attention of Seattle’s KEXP and other media outlets such as National Public Radio.

Cahoone released her second country-noir album, Only As the Day Is Long, on Sub Pop Records in March 2008.

Cahoone is scheduled to play Missoula Saturday at the Badlander, Bozeman’s Filling Station on Sunday and at the Railyard in Billings Monday. Cahoone will perform on drums with opening act Betsy Olson. Olson, originally of Billings, moved to Seattle in 2001 to launch her music career.

Tickets for the Billings are $7, available at the door only.