Bill Payne rocks Peach Street

Last weekend, at Peach Street Studios, performers and listeners gathered to record an authentic accolade to one of America’s best — Bill Payne, the only living founder of Little Feat. Payne plays keyboard and has extensive talents in music composition, songwriting and improvisation.

“Live from the Divide” (LFTD), a radio show that airs on various radio stations including Bozeman’s KGLT, recorded the concert for later broadcasting. Payne accompanied some of the songs, but also took the time to kick back and enjoy the show as LTFD brought in artists to perform covers of his songs and other Little Feat hits, including local favorites like The Bridger Creek Boys and the Hooligans.

Gabe Ballotta, Trevor Ostenson and Julia Cory Slovarp combined forces to cover Little Feat songs with cello and violins. This unique opportunity to play rock/blues music was valuable to Slovarp, who normally studies and performs classical music at MSU. “It is refreshing to step outside the box,” she said to the audience, “So please enjoy.”

And that they did. The audience was a dynamic force in the recording, with the musicians feeding off the energy in the room. “Just like live TV shows have audience participation, we have it for radio,” said Doc Wiley, executive producer of LFTD “We encourage the communication between the performer and listener.”

The rustic old west feel of Peach Street Studios combines wonderfully with live music, especially bluegrass, rock and blues. The show last Friday was sold out, and over 50 people were part of the tribute to Payne.

The unique experience helps fans to go deeper than the music. After Payne did his sound check, he told a story of the influence Little Feat had on rock. Many years ago, the Rolling Stones came to see Little Feat perform. “After the concert, Keith Richards came up to me and said: ‘Right mate, we’re made of the same cloth.’” Payne reflected on various experiences and styles he has gone through in his career. “But I’m not done yet,” he reminded the crowd.

“Here in the West, we have an ethos of entertaining ourselves,” Wiley said. “Live from the Divide” is currently finishing its third season celebrating the American songwriter. Located primarily at the Peach Street Studios in Bozeman, the show is a live recording of various artists who, above all, enjoy making music. Many of the players are locals, but national artists are also featured in the programming.

For ticket information or to find out more from LFTD, or to listen to past shows go to “Live from the Divide” can be heard on KGLT 97.1 on Mondays at 6 p.m.