Spotlight 

At one of Abendego's recent practice sessions wiggly dogs were scolded by mandolinist Ryan Burnett with shouts of, "Out of the kitchen!" but the band members were relaxed and forthcoming. With a new CD, their first, just coming out, and with the band on the verge of a four-week, 20-show tour that will take them through six states, they have every reason to be.

The story of how the Missoula-based band Abendego formed reads an awful lot like their music sounds. One serendipitous event led to another. Last year, there was a party, then a squirrel in an electrical box, then another party with a guy who looked like some other guy with the same name asking, "Is anyone here in a band? Does anyone here know anyone who's in a band?" A lost wallet, a phone call, and things just seemed to fall into place. Or as guitarist Sarah Lindmark puts it, "Things just clicked."

That's something along the lines of how the six members of Abendego view their music; as a combination of seemingly random events, distinct opinions, and epiphanies that converge in the music and become something altogether spontaneous and unique. Their sound is resolutely energetic, danceable and undeniably upbeat.

Photo by Chad Harder
Help Abendego launch its first CD this Thursday at the Ritz.


While recording their CD, Album "A" at Tapas Records here in Missoula, they shied away from using the studio environment to lay down individual tracks and create a really polished product. Instead they opted for a more home-grown sound. "We wanted our first CD to be representative of what we sound like in person," stated drummer Scott Barnett. "In that sense it's very much like a live recording where we're all interacting the same way we do in concert," added keyboardist Matt Jones.

It's that sort of authenticity that seems to be a priority for Abendego. Gabe Otto, bassist and vocalist, put it this way. "With six people, there's bound to be conflict, especially since we operate democratically. But we like to think the conflict keeps the music interesting."

The name, Abendego, also the name of a Sly and the Family Stone song, is taken from the biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who refused to bow down to the king of Babylon. The members of Abendego feel it's important that their music be informed by their beliefs, they say, while being flexible enough to appeal to whoever responds to it, and at the same time remain unconcerned with being popular. As violinist Beth Fortune, when referring to the role of her formal music education, put it, "These things greatly contribute to what I bring to the band and help so much with the music I play. Whether anyone else wants to take and use them, that's up to them."

Abendego hosts a CD release party this Thursday July 22 at 9:30 p.m. at the Ritz. Admission FREE.

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