By MICK HOLIEN
I was somewhat of an odd day for music – Sunday afternoon of fourth of July weekend.
But that sure did not seem to matter as arriving at Missoula about 20 minutes after 3 found me searching for blocks around the Sunrise Saloon to find a decent parking place.
And then I was chagrined to discover a $5 cover charge – something I can’t ever remember paying in Zootown, a sentiment shared by several but approaching the Strand Avenue watering hole there was little doubt just why I made the trip.
Most are some three decades older than the last time I saw them.
In fact some were the children of maybe a deceased parent that I used to spend time around and who might recognize me to say “aren’t I your Facebook friend? Almost in surprise.
Some were Grizzlies who had made trips to out-of-town games with whom I may have broken some bread and others were bowling buddies since indeed again that’s what brought me thank goodness to this glorious state.
But we came together almost in revival brought by a chance to hear once more the best female voice around in the valley for a couple of decades starting in the 80s and I can tell you I’d recognize the sweet sound of Jan Dell bout anywhere.
While she used to live less than a mile down the street from me I haven’t seen Jan since I caught a private plane home on New Year’s Eve to catch up with her at the Fort Owen Inn in Stevensville.
To tell the truth Jan probably doesn’t even know that story or how far I came in short order as all I remember is we played that afternoon, we lost, and Blaine was the coach.
It might well have been at historic MacArthur Court in Eugene.
But it was well worth it on that chilly and challenging winter night and the same thing applied Sunday as I moved close to the packed dance floor to put face to voice.
Most probably knew most words and with Ranch band member Louie Bond on guitar to her left and Ellie Nuno and her talking fiddle to her right it wasn’t much different than when I saw her the first time at the Cabin in East Missoula so long ago.
Reminiscent and wistful those were the days my friends.