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Sunday, February 26

Review and Photos: The Dodgy Mountain Men - The Top Hat - 2/21/12 - Missoula, MT

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A good question one could ask is what kind of music comes from Montana?  With The Dodgy Mountain Men the answer you could say is simply complicated, or rather complicated yet simple.  The band is creative and stylish in their own way, worry free, and most of all they think outside the box.  Grounded in the Northern Rocky Mountains, which contributes not only to their namesake, but creates the landscape that needless-to-say fuels their creativity.  Their ever-evolving sound could only be described as a very relaxed tight-rope walk between assemblages of genres and what one could expect from their show is the sensation of beach-folk-stomp-grass. This sound, brewed together by The Dodgy Mountain Men is the kind of music that comes from Montana.
The Dodgy Mountain Men are an on the rise, and not the overnight sensational rise you see with a band of strangers that discover success, happiness and the fountain of youth overnight.  This homemade quintet consisting of Eric Bostrom (Acoustic Guitar,Vocals), Jed Nussbaum (Mandolin, Electirc Guitar, Vocals), Clyde Netzley (Tablas), and Scott Howard (bass) have enjoyed a steady rise from playing small bars and parties to touring the largest cities in the Pacific Northwest. I privileged myself to this by heading down to The Top Hat this past Tuesday, Feb 22nd to watch them open for the mainstay bluegrass kings of tomorrow; Greensky Bluegrass.
Dodgy started the hour long set with an original song where Eric Bostrom’s voice was instantly noticed as sounding crisp, clear and sonically soulful. During this opening the one distinct noise that permeated through the gathering crowd was the  tablas  being beat down with tribal rhythm by Clyde who was situated in an elevated stance behind the other band members. It was an opening jam that proved from the start what DMM was all about, being creative while brushing the edge of folk/stomp music. They quickly moved into the song “Montana Storms” a song written by Eric about and inspired by his home state.  Jed on the mandolin really set the mood during this song starting it off with quick fingers, as they swayed and danced back and forth on the strings.  
Plucking and strumming notes as if a storm was a’brewing. Jed shined in the mid-section of this track having- should I even dare say a Jedi like mandolin jam session while the band melted together transforming as one; here I officially declared them as country-island-jam-bluegrass.  The mouthful that was my spur of the moment penned genre, gave subtle justice to their playing.  Later taking over vocals for a more country stomp style song called “Hell Through a Bullet Hole” Jed, with more old school honky-tonk type lyrics was followed by a clean cut transition into another jam as I am sure they have done many times throughout the two years they have been together. This jam was musical desert with Scott Howard holding down the bass line, all the while wearing his on-stage winter beanie as the rest of the members gave to the crowd bits and pieces of a jam that sounded like a deep in the woods String Cheese Incident.
The  tablas  then introduced the next song which was “Down that Road”, where the combo country-twang vocals of both Jed and Eric are heard throughout. Their harmonies, notable on this and many occasions during their short opening set.  A cover was played by the name of “Tombstone Blues” with band shout outs bestowed upon Mr. Bob Dylan before and after the song. Jed then switched it up and strapped on his electric guitar as he proceeded to begin a mellow soothing shred to start the next song about a preacher man, which seemed the perfect fit for the timing in the set, and the energy in the now almost full room.  Another original by the name of “Sleep When I'm Dead” was played followed by the last song of the night which was none better then a bass-line driven Led Zepplin cover of “"Bron-Y-Aur Stomp"”.
Dodgy opened up the show and evening like pure professionals and showed off a new style of music that can only be described in this context: Imagine, if you can, four guys walk out of the deep woods, coming off a mountain that rises on the edge of the sea only to find a beach with campfire and instruments all around, where then they proceeded to live, sleep, and write music. 
Well played DMM, well played!!!!
Words: Zach Nelson of MissoulaLIVE and Phish and The Dead contributor &
            Sammy Martin
Photos: Kevin Kenly of Kevin Kenly Photography and Phish and The Dead 

You can read an interview with member Jed Nussbaum here, find out about future tour dates and possibly a debut album in the works.