Montana’s community of musicians has been without live opportunities to perform for close to a year. When Sam Platts and his band, the Plainsmen, found themselves looking for a way to continue sharing music they wanted to do something that would be sustainable and bring together other musicians. In a stroke of luck, they connected with Pat Lokken, a videographer and technology guru from Bozeman, and together, they have created a weekly livestream. After the first shows, Tessy Lou Williams, who moved back home to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic, joined as a weekly featured guest.
Hosted at a restored barn near Norris, the show is designed in the vein of the old country variety shows, like the Porter Wagoner Show and The Johnny Cash Show. While casual livestreams from musicians’ homes have been a great way to connect with fans during the COVID-19 pandemic, Platts wanted to design something that could stand on its own as a recorded video, and with the help of Lokken, the show is filmed and streamed live on a stage with multiple cameras and high-quality sound. Doing the show live is important, as the band wants to bring the closest thing to a live performance possible into people’s homes. Each taping is live, and streamed as-is without editing.
Having their own avenue to share music has been great for the band; however, connecting with other musicians has been the biggest highlight. Past guests have included acts like Marcedes Carroll, Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs, and Brigid and Johnny Reedy. Upcoming guests include legends like Kostas, and Dave Walker. Like Sam Platts and the Plainsmen, other musicians are looking for new outlets to share their music.
To this point, the show has been a labor of love for Platts and the band, using tips to pay for the video production. With a solid catalog of livestreams under their belt and increasing viewership, the group plans to begin offering sponsorship opportunities with the goal of being able to pay guests a competitive wage, comparable to when they could play live. Platts also plans to continue the show into the future, post social distancing. Montana is lucky to have many acts travel through, and from more guest appearances to adding limited audiences, he sees a lot of potential in the show far beyond our current situation. For more information visit facebook.com/samplattsmusic or samplatts.com/
To see past shows, visit the links below:
Marcedes & Isaac Carrol:
Laney Lou & the Bird Dogs:
Brigid & Johnny Reedy: