For romantics and lovers of exceptional talent alike, the Bitterroot Performing Arts Council will present Phoebe Hunt & the Gatherers in Hamilton for an unforgettable pre-Valentines date night on Saturday, Feb. 10.
Leaning on the sounds of her latest critically-acclaimed album, “Shanti’s Shadow,” singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Phoebe Hunt will share music that is collaborative - not only because of her experiences and training, but also because of musician support at her first Montana venue.
“The Gatherers are a crew of incredible instrumentalists active in the picking scene in Brooklyn, New York, that I fell into meeting through my husband, Dominick Leslie,” she said in a recent interview. “These picking buddies became really good friends and we started playing each other’s music. Six of us will be at the show in Hamilton, but our community is 30 musicians deep.”
Hunt explained that as performance opportunities arise, she “gathers” whomever can be there to play fully vested and healthy in every way.
“Our relationships with each other come first before the band,” she said. “No one ever has to feel like a friendship is compromised because they can’t play at a certain time at a particular venue. Instead the message is, 'Do whatever you need to do with your life to be fit to play with me.’ When we can have a symbiotic relationship and lift each other, we play each other’s music to the best of our abilities.
“So with my Gatherers, those I bring are very excited about every gig. Everyone has the best spirit and we feel so supported on the stage even through traveling and touring. It’s a very special group of guys that I feel very blessed to be able to play with."
She also considers the audience part of the "gatherers" as well, with their own contributions to the evening's performance.
“Music brings people together,” she said. “That energy unites and brings people who might believe in different philosophies, politics and religions, but for one evening, neighbors stand shoulder to shoulder or sit next to each other in a theater and share an experience and incredible vibrations of sound that they can enjoy. Music is such a uniting force in bringing people together.”
Hunt is especially in tune to peaceful collaborations after spending December touring in Amman, Jordan, and Nairobi, Kenya.
“I was playing with this really incredible bluegrass phenomenon, Della Mae,” she said. “They are a strong synergistic group that suddenly needed a substitute fiddle player for a short time. So I was privileged to join them on a state department tour representing the universal language of music and it was incredible.”
The group played at a peace summit in Nairobi , trying to help unite teenagers in Africa and address divisive issues like tribalism as well as connective issues like creating inner peace.
“It was really special and deeply affected me as a musician,” she said.
Since then, Hunt has been touring with Sierra Hull – a fan favorite from last year’s Bitterroot Performing Arts Series, who was in Hamilton last February.
“Sierra sends her love,” Hunt said. “She raved about her time in the Bitterroot Valley and I look forward to the same experience.”
After her performance in Montana, Hunt will meet Hull back in Florida for more concerts together.
“I have not been to Montana before and am really looking forward to it, especially knowing what an incredible audience is awaiting us,” she said. “I look forward to a wonderful evening.”
Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers will perform Saturday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. at Hamilton High School. To purchase tickets, stop by the BPAC Box office in Signal Square on Main Street in Hamilton or call 363-7946. Tickets to individual shows may also be purchased online at www.bitterrootperformingarts.org.
Next in the series lineup is and colorful performance of traditional Québécois music by De Temps Antan on Friday, March 23.