It snowed today

It snowed today

Right click the photo and choose “view link in new window,” it is worth the view of the elk in the trees!Elk herd

Glacier Lily
We woke up to snow today. We were hoping for cooler weather to keep the snow in the mountains but this is a bit much. Like Jack said, “It isn’t going to flood in April this year.” The cool weather this spring will help the snow melt in an orderly fashion, if it warms up enough to actually melt!
Today we took a hike when it was the warmest, about 47 degrees. At the beginning of our hike, we saw a herd of elk. What a nice start. Then we hiked into a bit of a snow flurry. Our Chesapeake puppy, Freda
Pinegrass – A Bluegrass Band, Stevensville Montana Festival

Pinegrass – A Bluegrass Band, Stevensville Montana Festival

Pinegrass playing on stage in SteviThe Montana Rockies Bluegrass Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and performing bluegrass music.

The association, which was formed in 1999, offers a slate of events throughout the year to promote bluegrass music. This includes sponsoring performances by local and nationally recognized bluegrass bands, campouts of bluegrass pickers and fans, and workshops where enthusiasts can develop their music skills.

The 2009 spring festival, which is in its 10th year, gives bluegrass fans an opportunity to hear outstanding performances across spectrum of bluegrass music. Started by a few “bluegrassers” from the Missoula and Bitterroot Valley, the association now has over 250 members.

Bands performing this year:Acousticals, Bill Anderson & Jeff Trask, Black Mountain Boys, Bonnie Bliss & Stan Hall, BVDs, Gravel Road, Ken Benson & Friends, Larry Gangi, Sr., Mike & Tari Conroy, Pinegrass, Ramblin’ Rose, Salmon Valley String Band, Spring Thaw, Three Rivers Bluegrass, Will Williams, Wise River Mercantile. To read more about this event and the late-night jam and campover, visit our website at

An uncertain Top Hat – Steve Garr’s children consider future in wake of owner’s sudden death – By JOE NICKELL/Missoulian

An uncertain Top Hat – Steve Garr’s children consider future in wake of owner’s sudden death – By JOE NICKELL/Missoulian

See related posts about Pinegrass a Bluegrass Band

Garr Children

The four oldest children of legendary Top Hat bar owner Steve Garr, from left, Heidi, Nicole, Greta and Nate, spoke about their late father and about the future of the Missoula landmark Tuesday afternoon at the bar. Photo by MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian

The Top Hat has always been a place of many faces. To some, the bar on Front Street has been a low-key daytime hangout, a place where the conversation flows like slowly poured beer and where you’re perfectly welcome to light up a cigarette if you so please. Later at night, it’s been a place where a somewhat younger crowd gathered to play pool and listen to local jam-rock bands, bluegrass ensembles or the occasional touring act.

Whatever was happening on a given night, the crowd at the Top Hat was never homogenous. Rather, it encompassed every walk of Montana life: barely legal drinkers playing pool with grizzled bikers; young professionals and dreadlocked hippies swing-dancing on the dance floor.

It is a place where the walls themselves are lined with memories of the diverse faces that have passed through. Photos of old blues musicians – some of whom count among the most respected and famous in America – share space with bass drum heads donated by rock bands that few people ever heard of in the first place (any Nite Snackr fans still out there?).

But when all was said and done, those many faces were, in a way, simply a reflection of the man who owned and operated the Top Hat these past 21 years: Steve Garr….

…..“The bottom line is that this is just about as heartbreaking as you can imagine for us,”
Steve’s son says. “It’s our dad.”

Read the rest of the original story about Steve Garr and the Top Hat on


A potluck celebration of Steve Garr’s life will be held at the Top Hat this Saturday from 1 to 11 p.m. The event will serve as a fundraiser for Garr’s medical expenses. The event is open to the public, and musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments.

Pinegrass will play a few sets Saturday, February 7, at 6:30 pm. Richie Reinholdt will join them.
Note: Pinegrass played on Tuesday’s for about 20 years. We hope this isn’t the end of an era.

First hike, then ski – you do what you can to stay fit

There is not much snow in the Bitterroots right now, at least not enough to find a close place to cross country ski. These photos show a desperate attempt to exercise near home and find a place to ski!

Jack and I are spending about 8 hours a day working on the business, then attend meetings, Lady Griz Basketball (my daughter plays), play music with the band, and more. Winter is busier than you might think. He ties flies, writes material, works on gear and vehicles. I do admin and web stuff. The work is necessary, but so is a mind and fitness break. For Jack’s work and for health, it is important to stay fit. We work in couple of hours of outdoor activity each day. The photos show one of our outdoor excursions with our dog, Bela.

FOREVER BLUEGRASS (Pinegrass) by Joe Nickell for the Missoulian

FOREVER BLUEGRASS (Pinegrass) by Joe Nickell for the Missoulian

Pinegrass, a Bluegrass Band - by Joe Nickell for the Missoulian

Forever Bluegrass By JOE NICKELL – Like the seasons that govern the growth of all good things in nature, bluegrass music is forever dying away and resprouting anew. In the 1950s, the energetic sounds of Appalachia were spreading far and wide in American culture, until rock ’n’ roll appeared and diverted everyone’s attention…read the rest of his story.


The story of Pinegrass actually dates back to the late ’70s, when bluegrass bands such as Poor Monroe, the Great Northern Bluegrass Band (of which Ryan was a member), and Finley Creek frequented stages around western Montana. Over time, the members of those groups became the core of an increasingly tight-knit community of pickers and fans, who began gathering every Wednesday at a local instrument store called String Instrument Division or at the house of one of the musicians to play together in impromptu picking circles.
“Anybody could show up, and everybody got to play,” recalls Ryan fondly.

Like clockwork Pinegrass performs every Tuesday night at the Top Hat Lounge – click for map, located at 134 W. Front St. in Missoula. Through the end of this month, the band begins its performances at 10:30 p.m.; beginning on the first Tuesday of January, the band will begin its performances at 9 p.m. Admission is free.

Top Hat phone – (406) 728-9865


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: