Where Are The Blues?

As an aspiring blues/jazz musician, I love the community and people of Bozeman. However, my beef with Bozeman is the fact that there are no blues around here! After Covid hit, the world has clearly been suffering, music especially. We are forgetting the world we used to live in, where people would go outside and play songs just for the fun of it. Recently, walking around downtown with friends and fellow musicians, I realized that, while there is a presence of music around, there are just not enough concerts, venues, or people playing out in the street. We need more live music/events on campus, and more blues music incorporated into the community.

If you walk around downtown on Main Street, or along Seventh Avenue, you can find music pretty much anywhere you go—there’s Music Villa, Eckroth Music, Vargo's Jazz City & Books, The Elm, The Rocking R Bar, a Karaoke bar, and even a local legend guitar player—all of which make Bozeman the wonderful place it is. The music is really what makes this place so great; the most common genres you'll hear around town are bluegrass, acoustic, “jam” band, hip-hop, country, punk, classic rock, reggae, symphonic, or bluesy jazz. There seems to be a lack of love for music right now, and that desperately needs to change. People need to appreciate what our local musicians are doing to put some spark into everyday life, to appreciate how much time and effort they put into making everyone’s day better. So, please take some time out of your day and try and find some of these places. It's definitely worth the walk, and it will lift your spirits.

Don't you feel better walking around town knowing that people are playing their hearts out and enjoying themselves everywhere you go? Having musicians playing on the street really builds community. From the jam band just having a blast to the college music majors, it's really a bigger part of Bozeman than people think. Music is everywhere around here; we just need to show it! People need to express themselves, especially after everything Covid did to our friends, family, and loved ones. People need community more than ever. Going around town hearing music is a surefire way to bring confidence and community back into our lives.

Being a music major and (debatably) one of the best harmonica players in Bozeman, I can say pretty confidently that music is supposed to educate the soul, the mind, and the behaviors of an individual. I think it’s the definition of music… and soul is to really put everything you have on the line, and have fun doing it. Music is also more than a part of Bozeman—music has singlehandedly helped shaped this community into what it is and, as a community, we need to show much more representation of this. Everything about this town is about the soul, and it's one of my main reasons for choosing this place in which to live and attend college.

The blues are suffering. With new types of music created every day, people are forgetting about the history and the old types of music that helped shaped hundreds of songs. Most of us have forgotten about legends like BB King and Sonny Boy Williams II. Bozeman is a very musically cultured place and, while there is a massive music scene, we really need to amplify it. Go to your local music store, buy a new instrument, let your soul walk in the essence of blues… let’s show the world what we got! Jazz, blues, reggae, classic rock, it doesn't matter what type of music you play; all that matters is that someone hears it. If you’re a musician, please just walk out when it's a little warmer and show us what you got! Make Bozeman the loudest state in the U.S. We have way too many souls and no representation for them. Get out there and be heard. Play for the people, for your loved ones, or for the community. I know they'll appreciate it.

Sonny John Nordstrand (aka SonnyJohnBlues) is the kid who plays harmonica around the MSU campus. He sees himself as a very experienced and charming person, constantly using his creativity and good nature to pursue his passion in playing the harmonica and the blues.