Let there be (free) music

Sandpoint Summer Music Series returns

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

They say there’s no free lunch, but free music? Sure, why not.

Mattox Farm Productions is excited to announce the return of the Sandpoint Summer Music Series, during which nationally touring bands stop over for a free live concert in Farmin Park. The opening concert will feature Oregon-based Americana band Cedar Teeth at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 30.

Cedar Teeth, above, will play the opening concert for the Sandpoint Summer Music Series July 30 at 6 p.m. at Farmin Park. Courtesy photo.

Spearheaded by Robb Talbott, the free concert series is made possible thanks to the support of top-tier sponsors Pend Oreille Arts Council, Washington Trust Bank and Ting. Tier 2 sponsors are KPND and Heartwood Center, and Tier 3 consists of Kochava, Misty Mountain Furniture, Upside Kombucha, the Sandpoint Reader, 7B Grooves, North Root Architecture, North Idaho Towing, Selle Design Group, the Novas at Evergreen Realty and the Mycelium Collective.

“We have such great sponsors, who put the money out there and, for the most part, just want to see fun things happen in their community,” Talbott told the Reader. “We also get a lot of folks who have gone to the shows and have enjoyed them, so they also donate on a fairly regular occurrence as well. Between our locals and our businesses, we’re able to continue putting these free shows on every year.”

Normally a standalone outdoor concert, this year the Sandpoint Summer Music Series will join forces with the Summer Sampler, as both events will occur at the same time and place on June 30.

“I’m excited to partner with them for this first show,” Talbott said. “I hope it’ll add a nice quality music element to the Summer Sampler. Hopefully we bring in more people who might not have gone to the Summer Sampler, and vice versa.”

Talbott said he booked Cedar Teeth for the first show because he was impressed by their unique sound.

“The way they bend genres and have a great time on stage is pretty cool,” Talbott said. “Their joy of playing music is infectious. Those things really drew me to them — a banjo never hurts, either.”

Formed in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, Cedar Teeth’s 2014 debut album Hoot helped establish the band at live festivals like the Summer Meltdown and Wildwood, or at clubs throughout the Pacific Northwest where they have joined bands like Fruition, Motopony, Hot Buttered Rum, Magic Giant and Sandpoint’s own Shook Twins.

Cedar Teeth followed up their debut album with the 2017 EP Farewell to Green Mountain, on which the band explored more elements of indie rock and grunge, incorporating a touch of psychedelic folk and bluegrass to reflect the diversity inspired by their lives lived on the “dividing line of societal opposites,” according to the band. 

Filled with melodic harmonies, stomping good songs and a collective desire not to let the fire go out, Cedar Teeth playing live for free is just about as good as it gets. Whether you caught the band at Matchwood Brewing Co. in December 2021 during their Winter Solstice gathering or are hearing them for the first time, Cedar Teeth is certainly on the upswing.

Talbott said this opening show is just one of three booked for summer. San Diego husband-and-wife duo Little Hurricane will play Thursday, July 14 at 6 p.m.

“It’s amazing what kind of sound these two can produce,” Talbott said. “Especially how clean they are about it. It’s really energetic, captivating music — it’s a hard one not to be drawn into.”

Finally, Thursday, Aug. 10 at 6 p.m. will see Colorado’s Drunken Hearts, which gathers up the many strands of Americana into one clean, driven sound.

“They go all over the place and hit all the right notes for someone who likes Americana,” Talbott said.

A fourth free concert is in the works for September, but Talbott is awaiting funding to come through before booking it.

Talbott remains proud of booking these nationally touring bands for free shows in Sandpoint.

“I love being able to provide that for the community,” he said. “It’s a space where we can all get together and let all of our tensions loose, come together and hang out to enjoy each other’s company.”

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