The Saturday morning markets have never really been about music. Sure, we get the occasional string band set up along Higgins Avenue, and always the smattering of middle schoolers honking out "America The Beautiful" on a clarinet, but a cover charge-worthy display of fret work? Not so much.
Unless, that is, Dan Dubuque sets up at the Clark Fork River Market. Dubuque considers his influences wide ranging—from Trent Reznor to Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix—and you can often hear him sneak in a metallic riff or a smoky psychedelic chord or two when he plays the market. But Dubuque also knows his audience, and for the coffee-drinking, vegetable-seeking crowd that tends to congregate around his perch under the bridge, he sticks to mellower offerings like rhythmic soul and Eastern-styled strumming.
Dubuque brings in the crowd by playing a charango (a small stringed instrument from Bolivia) and the Weissenborn (a lap slide guitar; think Ben Harper). He plays alone, but often thumps his fingers against the body of the instruments to create a resonating hollow echo. He doesn't sing.
Dubuque grew up "on the rez" in Polson—though his ancestry is South American—and he currently lives out of his car, surfing friends' couches as he plays across the state. Although the traveling bard has begun booking more evening shows in town—he plays the Finn & Porter in August, after returning to the market July 18—he'll remain one of our favorite musicians for spicing up our Saturday morning soundtrack.