Bart Budwig
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Bart Budwig

Moscow, Idaho, United States | SELF

Moscow, Idaho, United States | SELF
Band Folk Americana


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"Bart Budwig Takes Ketchum by Storm at Papa Hemi's Hideaway"

24-year-old singer-songwriter Bart Budwig proved beyond a shadow of a doubt last weekend that music-loving Idahoans dont have to travel to a big city in their state to hear the sort of heartfelt blues music that theyre eagerly talking -- and thinking -- about days after they first heard it.

Budwig -- a very talented native of Moscow, Idaho, who has also lived in Monterey, CA, Mesa, AZ and Russell, Ontario -- says one of his biggest music influences growing up was, ironically, fellow acclaimed Idaho singer-songwriter Josh Ritter -- ironic, because the house Budwig currently rents in Moscow is owned by Ritter ... one of several indicators that Budwig is, indeed, following the creative path he was MEANT to follow.

Although his music certainly has been influenced to some extent by the likes of Ritter -- and also by musicians such as Tom Waits, Ben Folds, John Mayer,, Dave Brubeck, Vince Guaraldi, Cake, Wallflowers, and Ben Harper -- Budwig has a very powerful and poignant voice that is very much HIS OWN ... a voice that doesnt show any signs whatsoever of being quieted, let alone SILENCED, anytime soon.

This spring, Budwig formed his own band in Moscow (Bart and the Budwiggers), with acoustic and bass guitarist Mike Hightower, drummer Cooper Trail and electric guitarist Andy Abrams.

Samples of their music can be found at


Every once in awhile Ill hear someones music that affects me soooooo personally and sooooo powerfully it literally will take me several days AT LEAST before I can really digest -- and fully appreciate -- what Ive just heard. It happened with Molly Venter. It happened with Sheryll Mae Grace. And last weekend it happened again -- with Bart Budwig.

Had it not been for all the truly great jazz and blues clubs there, I certainly would have left Los Angeles MUCH sooner than I eventually did (in 1989), but I had noooo idea just how undeniably HUNGRY I was for BLUES music, especially, until I heard Moscow, Idaho sin ger-songwriter BART BUDWIG during his very successeful back-to-back performances last weekend at Papa Hemis Hideaway (a consistently-groundbreaking music venue that ONCE AGAIN vividly reminded me why I ALWAYS look at THEIR music listngs in the newspaper each week before I look at any of the OTHER Wood River Valley venues).

Although there IS SOME degree of indie-folk music coursing through his young veins, much of what Budwig writes and sings is indelibly blues-oriented in nature, ranging from BEAUTIFUL GIRL (a heartfelt apology song if ever there was one) to HAPPY BONES (a wonderful and wondering meditation on his girlfriends obvious importance in his life -- and also some of the very complicated and challenging emotional and psychological pitfalls that sometimes arise FROM it), to LIVE WITH YOUR DECISIONS (an apologetically angry song bristling with righteous indignation that lambasts a former friend for narrow-mindedly and selfishly leaving his wife and family), to CARNIVORE (a verrrry Tom Waits-like song about an incessantly uncommunicative girlfriend with something obviously on her mind which she nonetheless refuses to share with her Significant Other -- the MONSTER UNDER THE BED, as it were, as Budwig eloquently and exasperatingly puts it), to A COKE AND A SMILE (an initially upbeat tune with increasingly downbeat lyrics -- an anguished ode to much simpler and happier times, back when Mom-made sandwiches, heavy metal music and cars were his main concerns ... long before being Tired, Lonely and Blue began becoming something of a lifestyle for him), to SUNNY PROPOSITION (another quiet and affecting meditation on lost innocence, with a deceptively upbeat title whose lyrics quickly and cannily defy your initial expectations -- one where Budwig wisely notes: When you get the GOOD days, you gotta take em SLOW).

But the TWO REAL STANDOUTS for me -- both during his Papa Hemis shows last weekend, and also on his unabashedly cathartic and inspired A COKE AND A SMILE album -- are the songs DREAM and PEACE, both of which deal with Budwig desperately and angrily trying to come to grips with, makes some sense out of, and eventually also trying to find some sort of closure over the death of his close friend, Emmie Law, who was killed by a car while jogging on a country road some four years ago (his A COKE AND SMILE album is dedicated to both her and his late mother) ... a woman who apparently had a terrific knack for making the sun poke through the proverbial clouds, and who often provided him with moments of unbridled optimism amidst an often ugly world.

As with Sheryll Mae Grace and Molly Venter -- not to mention countless blues legends whose names permeated my thoughts repeatedly while I eagerly listened to his often verrrry powerful and poignant music (everyone from B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Joe Turner and Amos Milbourne, to Charles Brown, Johnny Otis, Memphis Slim and Lightnin Hopkins) -- Budwig has clearly had to endure A LOT more than he arguably SHOULD have for someone who hasnt even reached the age of 30 yet. And while it may not always be the EASIEST (or SAFEST) of journeys to ride along with him on sometimes, we, as attentive listeners, are ultimately MUCH BETTER FOR that journey.

I know I am.... - Sun Valley Online

"Bart and the Budwiggers"

Last week I was lost, flipping stations, aimless, stumbling in a half-lit room searching for a sound with some soul. The answer came to me accidentally. The world clicked into place once more at a flash of greased lightning, coming from none other than Moscow’s very own Bart and the Budwiggers laying out the blues before Low Red Land at the Nuart.
Deep waters run curiously serene. Consider the multiple folded, crumpled, inter-woven layers of maritime life surging and withdrawing within the strata of an ocean trench.
Now, picture the face of the ocean on an apparently calm day. The tide rises, the tide falls. Breathe in, breathe out. A wind stirs a swell that makes you gasp – the tide rises, the tide falls, and you breathe more calmly in the peace.
Budwig, curiously, reaches his listeners with the same effect as this natural phenomenon. Years of sounding the depths of personal trauma and family tragedy have given Budwig a profound familiarity with the deep waters he lets stream into his piercing lyrics; bobbing along to the accompaniment, they begin mildly, gather steam, and swell as the throaty current of Budwig’s husky vocals and buoyant guitar reach a zenith of intensity.
Although it is difficult to hear unless tipped off, Budwig claims the control and gradual grand rise of momentum in the first albums of Coldplay as a model for his tunes. Similarly, you can hear the playful quality of Vince Guaraldi in the Budwigger’s strings, after a hint. “Basically, I just want to make people feel good when they listen to my music, not in a stupid way but in a really genuine way,” explained Budwig.

Budwig has taken a newish direction for his indigo blues by coming together with his life-long friend Andy Abrams and his prodigy-pal Cooper Trail to form Bart and the Budwiggers, a natural outgrowth of the trio’s jamming as a church worship team. Abrams, a local civil engineer and father of two, taught Trail to play the drums when he was six. Now Trail, 13, is in 8th grade and at least five other bands and he jokes that Abrams’ claim to fame will be as his teacher. In his off-time from homework and band practice, Trail also rides the unicycle which, if you needed something more, is absolute proof of extraordinary talent. Trail’s rhythm ‘n’ beat behind Abram’s super-solid lead guitar give Budwig the freedom to explore the full emotional range of his songs with his vocals. The release is beautifully apparent, especially as a song approaches its climax. This sense of liberation sets the Budwiggers apart from Bart’s solo work.

If you need to instill your soul with calm waters, or require an upbeat song to put priorities in their place, I recommend the Budwigger blues.
Catch the Budwiggers at the Battle of the Bands Fri., 10 April, 7:00 at the CUB Senior Ballroom in Pullman or check out their next show at the 1912 Center in Moscow on Fri., 18 April, at 10:00 p.m.

Molly is a freelance journalist and a senior at New St. Andrew’s College with a special interest in postcards and goldfish. She writes for The Loop 21 and keeps the blog A New Amsterdam - Stereopathic Music

"Bart Budwig"

"As he strums his guitar, which once belonged to his mother, Budwig's raw vocals take the listener on his emotional journey."
- Omie Drawhorn, The Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Nov 20, 2008) - The Daily News


A Coke and a Smile (EP)
Happy Bones (EP)
Don't Be a Dictator
Whisky Girl Demo



You don’t have to live in sunless Seattle to appreciate Budwig’s music. Lyrically Budwig's music is unquestionably deep, even melancholy at times. But it’s effortless to look beyond the sometimes-heart-wrenching words with Budwig’s choice palette of smooth upbeat folk rock, and blues.

Has performed with: Rocky Votolato, Sera Cahoone, Roadside Graves, Cedric Watson, The Horse Thieves, Casey Frazier, Jen Lowe, Two Sheds, John Craigie, and Jason Webley

Show Schedule/Press Kit: