Ever since the cough hit planet Earth in 2020 billions of music fans have grown accustomed to experiencing music by themselves, be it in their earbuds or in their cars. Life without live music was excruciating, especially for fans in Montana where we savor every note of live music as bigger acts tend to fly over us for gigs in bigger cities on the West Coast.

But live music is thriving in Montana, and not just when the national acts throw us the occasional bone in Missoula, Billings, Great Falls or Bozeman. Musicians of all genres regardless of status look forward to live shows as much as we love to see them play, and not just for the paychecks or free beer tickets that are sometimes compensation for a gig. Just as a welder welds or a logger fells trees, a musician plays music; it's how they exist in the world.

Take Kyle Hunter a musician from Missoula;


His experience as a local musician playing to local crowds is a consummation of the love artists have for their art. Townsquare Media spoke to Kyle about his upcoming show at the Jack Saloon for Logger Days on September 17th, 2022.

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Credit: Benny Edwin
Credit: Benny Edwin

It's kind of the dream, I've been playing guitar since I was 7, 8 years old. But it's really cool, to be able to do this for a living and do it for a crowd that I appreciate in my home state. We branch out [for gigs in other states] a little bit too but mostly local honkytonks and festival stages in Montana.


Kyle's brand of music stems from many influences, and it shows in the music he and his band the Smokehouse Brothers play. When asked how he would define his sound:

Gosh, I get this question a lot. It's kind of funny because I don't really even know how to categorize us. You could call us country, you could call us Americana. But we mix in funk, we mix in hard rock. We jam out a bit. But yeah, I guess it country, Americana with a dash of a lot of other things.

INT: Are you a fan of the label or is it just music that you make?

Everybody likes to label things, right? But yeah I think it is just music, yeah. We just like to play and we'll play pretty much whatever. We cover a Jimmy Eat World song ("The Middle") It's a huge crowd pleaser for everybody. Once we start ripping into that...we'll play a sad slow country song and people are like "Oh this is good" but then we rip into that...you sit 'em down and then pick 'em right back up. It's pretty fun.


As mentioned above, the life without live music during the pandemic wasn't much fun. When asked about what it's like to perform in front of his people in a local venue, Kyle expressed his views as well as reminded us that he won't be the only one performing:

It's pretty awesome! We have a couple really great bands that are going after us; Transcendental Express and Fruition all the way from Portland. Fruition has a huge following and they're really well-loved in Missoula. It really feels amazing to even have the opportunity to get on the stage in front of probably a ton of familiar faces for me and the band too.

Just to be there and play music and make sure everyone has a good time, there's no greater satisfaction. That's ultimately what I do it for; it's just to be able to play and have people enjoy what we do. It's awesome.


Kyle's full interview can be found below. We'll see you at Logger Days at The Jack Saloon this Saturday!

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