Not another bluegrass show

With winter in full swing, school back in session and subzero temperatures making the couch more appealing than the chairlift, risks of cabin fever are running high among Bozemanites.

Luckily, one cure remains consistent in these discouraging times: live music. If you can muster up the motivation to head north of Main Street to the Filling Station next Thursday, the fast-plucking sounds of Head for the Hills will undoubtedly rejuvenate your soul.

A four-man string band from Fort Collins, Colo., Head for the Hills rejects the traditional “bluegrass” label, but their upbeat songs bring to mind images of a good old-fashioned foot-stomping hand-clapping hoedown. The guys can sing, too — well-tuned vocal harmonizing on tracks like “One Foot in the Grave” makes you want to sing along while grooving to the catchy melody, and the lyrics of “Goin’ Down” are bound to put a smile on your face: “I’m goin’ down to that place I gotta be/In the Colorado backcountry.”

The group met in 2004 at Colorado State University and quickly became a local favorite, earning the annual distinction of headlining the Mishawaka Amphitheater’s season-opening weekend.

As their name suggests, Head for the Hills shares the same values which prompted many of us to live in Bozeman, although it’s been a couple of years since they last played at the Zebra.

“This time of year, one of the best parts of being in this group is we all love to ski,” said guitar player Adam Kinghorn. “Montana’s especially cool because we always get to ski when we’re there.”

Skiing aside, the Head for the Hills sound seems ideal for the Filling Station, where bluegrassy string music feels most at home in Bozeman. “Sometimes the small shows are more intimate and more fun,” Kinghorn said. “The type of thing we’re going to play at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival is a similar set to what we’re going to be playing at the Filling Station. Because people are there and ready to hear us and we’re going to try and throw down as hard as we can.”

The band is currently working on recording their third studio album, which Kinghorn said “gets away from the hard-driving bluegrass thing and gets a little more into exploring different genres like jazz and indie rock and folk.” They will kick off their winter tour today in Colorado, marking their first opportunity to showcase the material they’ve been working on in the studio in a live setting.

“It’s just exciting to get back on the road,” Kinghorn said. “We’re extremely happy to be coming back to Bozeman — it’s been too long for us. We’re hoping people come to the show and we can’t wait to see them.”

Head for the Hills will play the Filling Station next Thursday, Jan. 24. The Kitchen Dwellers will kick off the night with music starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $11 at Cactus Records. For a taste of what’s coming check out headforthehillsmusic.com.