Montana on the Move

Coty Hogue
Coty Hogue

Coty Hogue grew up in a small Montana town of about 850 people with a music-loving family, but the notion of making a living performing for an audience wasn’t part of that experience.

It wasn’t until college in Bellingham, Washington, that the now-29-year-old began wrapping music into her life in deeper ways, starting with a degree in music and anthropology and then by joining the campus radio station crew. “I knew that I really wanted to have music in my life and to start to play out,” she says. “I grew up listening to a bunch of stuff but it was in college that I got into the old-time and bluegrass and acoustic world.”

Part of that was thanks to a series of folk music experience courses, where Hogue met fellow student Aaron Guest, who now plays 12-string guitar in the Coty Hogue Trio along with mandolin and fiddle player Kat Bula, also a college-town pal. Hogue sings and plays guitar and clawhammer banjo. “Whether it’s my originals or cover tunes, it’s all in the acoustic Americana-ish vein, with a lot of harmonies,” she says. “I love singing with Kat and Aaron. They’re both great singers and we do a lot of harmonies.”

Hogue’s arrangements, whether of her own songs or for amazing covers of Bruce Springsteen (“I’m On Fire”) or Fleetwood Mac (“Second Hand News”), are spare, beautiful and thoughtful. The sweeping vistas of her Montana childhood and a sense of spaciousness and connection to nature shine through her songs. It’s the kind of honest music you can put on, take a deep breath and relax, knowing you’re in good hands.

Corwin Bolt and the Wingnuts join the Coty Hogue Trio 8:30 pm Wednesday, Jan. 7, at Sam Bond’s; $5. The Coty Hogue Trio also plays 8:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 8, at Axe & Fiddle, Cottage Grove; free. 21-plus.