Life Is for the Living
Montana Magazine Review Life is For the Living, Montana Tunesmith, 2003 Rarely a day goes by when I don't find a snippet of a Montana Tunesmith song in my head. Today I found myself singing Castin' For Cutthroat and I don't even fish. Montana Tunesmith is an acoustic duo of Red Lodge brothers Tim and Mike Nordstrom. Lloyd Maines produced their sophomore release using the same seasoned country and bluegrass musicians from his 2003 Grammy Award-winning Dixie Chicks album. The title track views the natural world as a church of sorts: On Sunday if I'm missin' my therapeutic fishin'/I'll call it my religion and I'll go/About three hours later, I'll say a little prayer/and thank him for the repair of my soul. Life in Montana is often envisioned as the rural Old West, despite the fact that the majority of Montanans today live in urban areas. It's a place where it can be summer in the middle of November at the same time that you're frostbit and hip deep in snow. Living in a Yellowstone gateway community near a ski area is a mixed blessing, and the Tunesmiths pick up on that tension: Trophy houses stand where the elk once lay and even parts of mountains they don't look the same. If their debut album evoked John Denver and Jerry Jeff Walker, the newer light-hearted songs (Caffeine Dependent, Copenhagen, Jim Beam and Me and Dyin' On the Line Creek Plateau) sound like Jimmy Buffet in the Beartooth Mountains . But whether poking fun at themselves or looking deeper within, there is always the unmistakable sibling harmony. Montana Tunesmith is essential listening for all Montanans.