By Cameron Rasmusson
After a few months’ hiatus, ‘Live @ the Office’ returns next week with some of the best independent music Missoula, Mont., has to offer.
Nate Hegyi, also known as Nate Vernon, has built a substantial music career since he founded the Missoula indie staple Wartime Blues in 2007. Now, fresh off some major career milestones, Hegyi is exploring new territory with his solo project, Ovando. Sandpoint residents can sample the new project for themselves when Ovando plays the Reader office 6 p.m. Monday, March 28.
Ovando provides a welcome change of pace for Hegyi after a momentous 2015. The year got off to whirlwind start with the release of “April, Texas,” Wartime Blues’ third album. Funded through a successful Kickstarter, the album came together despite band members scattered across the country. “April, Texas,” offers a great example of Hegyi’s eye for characters and scene-setting, capturing the sensory details of a small town or the emotions filling a particularly persistent memory.
Following the album’s release, famous Portland, Ore., folk-rockers The Decemberists tapped Wartime Blues to accompany them on tour. The band joined Colin Meloy and company on a two-stop tour in Missoula and Salt Lake City, Utah. They’re just the latest in the series of big names they’ve supported, which include Bill Callahan, Prince Rama, Finn Riggins, Martha Scanlan, The Stone Foxes and Festival At Sandpoint favorite Devil Makes Three.
The new year finds Hegyi’s attention focused on Ovando. While the project realizes Hegyi’s songwriting in more intimate terms than the folk-rock spectacle of Wartime Blues—which has crammed as many as eight musicians under its billing—he still gets by with a little help from his friends. Joining him for a 16-day tour around the Pacific Northwest is cello virtuoso and Wartime Blues veteran Bethany Joyce.
I go back a few years with Wartime Blues, so for me, this show will be a regular trip down memory lane. They were one of the first local bands I followed while attending the University of Montana in Missoula. I still remember all the weekend nights my friends and I shouldered into crowds of music lovers at The Badlander, The Palace or the Top Hat to see their shows. Here’s hoping the show at the Reader office this Monday will be just as memorable.
Come join us 6 p.m. Monday, March 28, to give Ovando a warm Sandpoint welcome. As with other ‘Live @ The Office’ shows, you’ll find a low-key, attentive environment where the artists can perform more relaxed, informal shows. There’s no door charge, but we do ask that you bring a donation to support two hard-working and creative musicians on the road.