The Big Sky Stringband performs a broad collection of original American roots music and unique covers. Founded by Jay Stanek (guitarist/vocals) and Chris Meier (mandolin/vocals), the Stringband builds a new generation of folk music around it's core strengths: solid songwriting and textured grooves. The band recently released 'Flyin' Blind,' a live album featuring 12 original compositions and the band's unique take on 2 traditional songs. The collection highlights the energy of a Big Sky show and features the looseness that defines the Big Sky sound. The album's release was celebrated at Chicago's alt-country heaven, The Hideout, in August, 2005. With train wrecks, clotheslines and broken fences as the backdrop, Stanek and Meier weave stories of mill workers, first loves and mine fires into a tapestry of Americana. But these songs are more than a glimpse at American life, they are the quest for the American Dream embodied in song. The band's song 'Centralia,' a straight-ahead bluegrass chronicle of the real-life underground mine shaft fires that caused the evacuation and near-condemnation of Centralia, PA brings perspective to the heartbreak and helplessness of the city's citizens. The song's dead-on message and easy hook have been featured in documentaries on both PBS and NPR. While strong songwriting set's the stage for the Big Sky Stringband success, it is the actual playing that delivers the punch. From traditional country to bluegrass and from folk to blues, the Big Sky Stringband empowers it's listeners to feel apart of it's songs. With the familiarity of theme and message, each individual listener is invited out into the baptismal waters of the Stringband's sound. With Jay Stanek's driving acoustic guitar, Matthew Mallory's edgy lead work and Chris Meier's mandolin front-and-center, the band's sound is a derivative of distinct musical genres brought to life by the rhythm section of Bob Bechstein (drums) and Dick Mallory (fretless bass). Together, Big Sky's live gigs merge a traditional string band style with jazz-inspired improvisational jams. Dynamic and powerful, these live performances like the ones featured on 'Flyin' Blind' provide an opportunity for the listener to get caught up in down-home Midwestern music. The Stringband lays down songs that captivate the audience and make them feel like they could be characters in each song, in each story, in each truly American moment. The Big Sky Stringband stands on the shoulders of American roots music with only the big sky above.