David Boone Makes His Return to the Flathead

By Beacon Staff

There’s something deeper than the joy of putting on a quality concert pulling folk musician David Boone back to the Flathead.

A popular fixture in the Flathead just a few years ago, the valley has been largely absent of Boone’s music since about 2008. That will change this spring, however, when Boone is set to make his return.

Boone comes back with plans to perform regularly at valley venues through the end of the summer, beginning April 2. And though he will be touring to raise money toward recording his new album, Boone said his motivation to come back to the Flathead is one based on friendship.

During his shows in years past, Boone developed a strong following. And as one of Boone’s biggest supporters, Eric Berry never failed to show up with a crowd and his kids to enjoy the smooth folk music.

Eventually, the relationship between fan and performer became more like a friendship, Boone said. But an accident in 2008 changed everything.

Berry, who worked with his partner Vince Padilla on the Eastside Brick Community project in Kalispell, passed away in May 2008 at the age of 37 after a motorcycle crash. His death resonated with many in the community, including Boone.

“When we heard news that Eric had passed away, we went to the memorial,” Boone said, “and I kind of stopped going to Flathead.”

He played a couple shows at The Raven last summer, Boone said, but never had a consistent Flathead schedule.

Boone’s recent return to the valley began with completion of the Boiler Room coffee house last year, which constituted the final piece of the Eastside Brick project. Boone got a call telling him that Berry’s project had come to fruition, and was asked if he would like to play for the opening.

It wasn’t even a question that he would do it, Boone said.

“Eric was always a big supporter of the music,” Boone said. “I ended up playing the songs that he would request.”

The concert was a cathartic and inspiring event, Boone said, one that reminded him of his connection to the people in the Flathead and created a new bond with the Boiler Room.

So it’s only fitting that Boone would kick off his spring return to the valley with an April 2 concert at the Boiler Room, playing with duo The Controls.

Bringing Boone back to the Eastside Brick makes sense now that it is finished, Padilla said, adding that the coffee house is quickly becoming a popular venue for live music.

“He was one of Eric’s favorite local artists here,” Padilla said. “We had a great time when he was here last time.”

Having released 10 albums and received plenty of accolades for his refreshing and endearing music, Boone is also heading back to the studio in April to begin work on his next album. His goal is to give this collection of songs the best production quality of any album yet, Boone said, and he is putting more creative energy into this project than ever before.

To help pay for his artistic endeavor, Boone has booked concerts in Missoula and now in the Flathead. But he also puts his talent toward helping his friends, and will take part of the “Rock the Mic for Mike” concert in Missoula, which will serve as a fundraiser to help pay a friend’s medical bills.

Times like those are what make music such an important piece of his life, Boone said, and it has been since his early boyhood memories of his father sneaking him out to the truck to listen to Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan.

Growing up in Seeley Lake and singing hymns and gospels instilled a sense of melody and composition early in life, and Boone starting writing his own music at 14. Now Boone lives in Missoula and is considered one of the area’s most prolific and popular musicians.

His future performances in the Flathead will range from personal, solo concerts to larger productions with trios or duos and festivals. Specific dates are not yet set, but Boone plans on playing regularly through the end of summer.

He has also been working with Whitefish sound engineer Toby Scott, which gives him another important tether to the valley. These connections make the concerts about more than just a good show, Boone said, because the music becomes more than just a pleasant background setting for the audience.

“It’s neat to see when an event is about more than just a concert or the music that night,” Boone said. “There’s a lot of good reasons to get back to the Flathead.”

David Boone and The Controls play at the Boiler Room in Kalispell on April 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10 in advance and $12 at the door and can be purchased at the Boiler Room or by calling 406-260-4122.