Let’s just get this out on the table in case any optimists are still sporting those rose-colored glasses: Waking up on November 3 will be depressing for most Dems and progressives in Montana. OK, now let’s pretend like we have a good chance in the gubernatorial race. (No laughing.) Democratic candidate-shopping looks grim. Brian Schweitzer is a stuntman. He’ll take the wheel of the school bus to drive seniors to Canada for prescription pills. He’ll interview just about anybody with a résumé and a hint of political ambition for Lt. Governor. Then he’ll pick a Republican.
During last Thursday’s gubernatorial debate in Helena, Schweitzer’s responses to a moderator’s questions ranged from disappointing to, well, infuriating. Schweitzer voiced opposition to civil unions. When the moderator asked him where he would find the extra $350 million necessary for public education, he denied that $350 million was necessary. Over the last couple months, he’s waffled on increasing taxes. Plus, Schweitzer’s experience lies not with government but with wheat and barley and mint. Now, maybe if you’re a lapdog, you don’t need experience—you sit or stay, or mostly roll over on command. For experience, welcome John Vincent, chair of Gallatin County Commission, and Schweitzer’s only rival in the primaries. He’s been mayor of Bozeman. He served in the Montana House of Representatives for 16 years. He’s been Montana Speaker of the House twice. And, by the way, his choice for Lt. Governor, Mary Sexton, Teton County Commissioner, is a Democrat. He’s in favor of civil unions, and he does want to see Montana’s schools get more money. Sadly, Vincent entered the race late, and he is a little gray, a little bland. He lacks the Big “C”—charisma—and when it’s all about electability, charisma counts. If RockXhardplace, we’re X. Schweitzer is, gulp, probably more electable with his Republican running mate, Montana Sen. John Bohlinger. Vincent has some better ideas, but unless something catalyzes his campaign, he seems unlikely to stay in the race past June. Maybe we should put those rose-colored glasses back on.
After weeks of writing songs off of the top of his head, several genuine country performances and the recording of his own album, the word is out on country singer Matt Lindahl: He may not be the Nashville Star, but that’s not to say he isn’t a Nashville star.
The goofy guy, who put in many years under the smoky lights of Missoula’s bar scene, stole America’s heart with his washboard and his realness, but didn’t land the prize record deal in the end.
On Saturday, May 1, Lindahl finished third in the competition, a rank that earns him the right to travel with the “Final Four” musicians of the show on a Nashville Star tour that starts in June.
Lindahl’s website called his placement “the end of the beginning,” and his forthcoming album Adobe Trailer Motel is sure to prove that statement correct.
Nashville Star fans have littered the program’s website with pro-Lindahl messages, as well.
“Matt Lindahl is a refreshing breath of air. So many of today’s stars all sound alike,” one fan wrote. “It is really refreshing to hear someone so talented and he has his own unique style.”
The closest town to Missoula on the Nashville Star tour is Seattle, Wash., where Lindahl will play on July 13.
Missoula to Matt: keep on rockin’.