Longtime central Montana troubadour Rich Matoon returns to a favorite Electric City haunt on Saturday. Catch him at the Celtic Cowboy at 7 p.m.
After residing in Great Falls for 11 years and working at the C.M Russell Museum, Matoon moved to Montana City a year ago. He stills performs regularly at various Great Falls live music venues.
Matoon describes his current playlist as “eclectic with a pile of originals.” The multi-instrumentalist plays gut string acoustic guitar, mountain dulcimer, Native American flute, cajon (African box drum), rattles and harmonica. Cover material reaches rock and roll, rockabilly, Chicago jump blues, country, folk, jazz and classical from artists such as Delbert McClinton, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Pat Boone, Erik “Fingers” Ray, Jimmy Murphy, and Coleman Hawkins.
“I might even do an Irish tune,” Matoon chuckles.
He started performing at the Celtic Cowboy not long after the pub and restaurant opened in 2013.
“It’s a really good room for me,” Matoon says. “It’s a nice little stage, perfect for a solo guy. The people that go there are great and the staff is great.”
Lately, Matoon has been venturing beyond his usual territory in search of new venues.
“The thing that’s newest is I’m back on the road,” he’s explains, citing a recent foray of 2,000 miles in less than a week at venues in Portland, Spokane, Missoula and Dillon.
“I’m just tryin’ to flex my muscles as a solo artist, and the response has been good so far,” Matoon says.
He’s also working to book a series of dates in Europe this fall, which would be his ninth trip to the continent.
Matoon’s most recent recording project is the Mozart composition “Eine Kleine Machtmusik” arranged in three guitar parts that he hopes to perform live sometime in the future.
“I just wanted a big challenge,” he explains, noting it’s a work in progress. “It’s a long project.”
Another recent Matoon endeavor is exploring jug band music and the possibility of assembling such a band. He’s already built and experimented with a washtub bass from plans he acquired on the Internet.
Meanwhile, Easter Sunday at the Celtic Cowboy includes an Irish harp performance by Great Falls musician Lonnie Baker. He presents Irish atmospheric music from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Baker’s instrument is a 36-string Irish harp, which is smaller than a traditional harp. He’s played Irish harp for a dozen years and studied at the Irish Harp Centre in Castleconnell, County Limerick, for three months in 2007.
Baker’s repertoire includes Irish airs such as “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms,” “She Moves Through the Fair” and “My Lagan Love” as well as dance tunes that include “The Frost is All Over” and “My Darling Asleep.”
Baker also is a member of the local Irish groups Rare Ould Times and Cry of Deer.
Cry of the Deer makes a special appearance at the Celtic Cowboy on Monday from 5 to 9 p.m. for National Tartan Day, a holiday honoring Americans of Scottish and Irish-Scottish roots. Baker is joined in Cry of the Deer by Peter Wilson on piano, accordion, tin whistle and bodhran and Molly Wilson on fiddle, tin whistle and bodhran.
Pete Swanson is a local musician and freelance writer. Reach him at 727-0438.