2017 Hoot Performers
Here were the performers in the 2017 Livingston Hoot!
New Orleans Funk master Jon Cleary has been a fixture there since 1980. Cleary is considerable skilled as a tunesmith, and equally as accomplished as a keyboardist, guitarist, and a deeply soulful vocalist. Cleary’s thirty-five years of intensive hands-on work on the Crescent City scene has made him a respected peer of such New Orleans R&B icons as Dr. John and Allen Toussaint. Toussaint, in fact, took time from his busy schedule to write most of the horn arrangements for Cleary’s latest project GoGo Juice –which won the 2016 Best Roots Album Grammy Award.
As heard in the widely varied grooves and textures of GoGo Juice, Cleary’s sound incorporates such far-flung influences as ‘70s soul, gospel music, funk, Afro-Caribbean (and especially Afro-Cuban) rhythms and more. “I love New Orleans R&B, “ Cleary explains. “I’m a student of it – and a fan, first and foremost.”
His increasingly high-profile performances revealed a level of proficient versatility that led to recording sessions and international touring work – in an appropriately wide stylistic range – in the bands of Taj Mahal, John Scofield, Dr. John and, most notably, Bonnie Raitt. As a songwriter, he has written and co-written songs with and for Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal and the decade that he spent working with Raitt inspired her to unabashedly dub Cleary “the ninth wonder of the world.” Jon Cleary left Bonnie Raitt’s band in 2009 to concentrate on his own music.
“I’ve wanted to bring Jon Cleary up to Montana since before there was a Hoot,” said John Lowell of Mighty Fine Time and co-producer of the Livingston Hoot. “We saw him at the Maple Leaf in New Orleans in 2013 and have had him on our radar ever since. As a musician myself, there are only a handful of times I’ve been floored by a performer – that night was one.”
The Quebe Sisters
When The Quebe Sisters from Texas take a stage, and the triple-threat fiddle champions start playing and singing in multi-part close harmony, audiences are usually transfixed, then blown away by the trio’s vocal and instrumental performances.
The Quebe Sisters win standing ovations at just about every show they do. It’s been that way since 2000, when they started fiddling together as pre-teens. The girls earned solo and group accolades early on, winning state and national championships in their respective age groups in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Along with headlining their own shows to ever-growing audiences, they’ve shared stages with American music legends like Willie Nelson, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Ray Price, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, Riders in the Sky and many others. After more than a decade of travelling the U.S. and the world, and recording three acclaimed albums, Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe are pros in a variety of genres, and count many famous musicians among their biggest boosters.