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Billings, Montana, United States | SELF

Billings, Montana, United States | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Earthshine's "Live@Bob's" Review at Music Street Journal"

Live @Bob's
Review by Larry Toering

On Live @ Bob's, tracks one through seven are recorded at Bob's studio in Billings, MT. Seven through eleven are previously recorded, so this isn't live in front of an audience as one might think by its title. Bob's is the studio of Bob Brown. Earthshine's debut CD is a much more raw listening experience so this is not as descriptive as their second release which is even more prog inclined. This band is truly awe inspiring, one of the most uplifting and refreshing I've heard in the last decade.

Track by Track Review

Things open with a familiar sound and out of it grows a thing of perfection and beauty. This is a magnificent track full of every essential element it takes to be so. “How can I intrude” but to say that, and the vocals are like that of a bird. That is a frequent feeling one gets when listening to Earthshine.

Every Last Man
This has a deep sort of spooky underlying vibe to it with acoustic guitar and bass heavy grooves and swiping textures backing a very stretching vocal performance from Kris Prinzing, one of her best to these ears. It’s another amazing track.

Fingers of Dusk
Crisp guitar lines open this number and the bass joins in, and then more soft beautiful vocals take over. Some very lovely guitar soling is featured here with complementing acoustic bass. "The feeling is so softly sublime..." says it all. "Springtime is not yet here" as light totally meets dark in this organic collision of wonder.

Nice slow start leads to a big build up with fewer words on this track. Everything is so precise, that one is easily swept away by this sweet little gem.

This is like some kind of exercise in vocal mastery with heartfelt lyrics to spare. It’s another soul touching Earthshine standard.

Sea Shanty
Scott Prinzing takes the opening vocals in brooding fashion with a flowing harmonica from Gary Ferguson, and Kris Prinzing adding vocal touches make this a cool change. I really like how it contrasts against the tune that preceded it.

This is up there with my favorite Earthshine tracks, no disputing. It's an amazing song and most would agree that it's got everything this band is about. There is a Beatles vibe to this.

Hand of Fatimah
Things get even more progressive here, more heavenly vocals along with a string arrangement are featured here - what an amazing voice.

The Dark Waltz
“Dark” is the only way to describe this haunting tune. Violin adds a fine texture to this super soft, yet intensely progressive folk number. It's complete with the type of violin and acoustic bass sparring this group is so good at. Tim Todd provides the violin. "Nothing we do soothes the pain..." This is another musically and poetically brilliant track.

More violin is featured in yet another slow and intricate song full of enchanting spirit. Amazing musical passages carry this up with more of the best Earthshine has to offer. There are more Beatles vibes.

Twelve Hours
This track opens with nice percussion and soft vocals from both Prinzing's. It’s another organically progressive folk ballad of hypnotic proportions. Brad Edwards is featured on djembe here. - Music Street Journal

"Earthshine "Take Flight" Reviewed in Montana statewide publication"

Earthshine: Take Flight

Wife-and-husband duo Kris and Scott Prinzing of Billings, aka Earthshine, packs sonic images of our precious floating globe on their new CD, Take Flight. They praise Earth, pray for it, and gnash their musical teeth over what selfish humanity is doing to it.
All 10 originals were written and arranged by guitarist and vocalist Kris, accompanied by Scott and musical guests. She plays fluid acoustic guitar licks, and Scott provides seamless duo lead and harmony singing in his strong baritone. He also plays acoustic bass.
Several pieces are love songs; others are anguished tomes about the ruin humankind is wreaking on the planet. All are wrapped in gauzy and transcendental strains that at first seem incongruous, but work.
Kris Prinzing, who sounds like she is a classically trained vocalist, has good technique, and sings loads of lyrics awash in long musical phrases. The pretty, almost country “Sweet Friend,” for example, finds her singing “while me and my sisters complain over lattes” smoothly and cleanly, and stretching out her vibrato on “new peace will finally have daa-awnn-n-ned,” making the last word rather like a mantra.
Melodic flute and mandolin strains open the moody “Such a Journey”; and the title cut, “Take Flight,” has a fluttery, musical dissonance that gives a sense of movement. “Visions” is infused with cool harmony singing, from a pair comfortable doing so for a long time.
Scott’s chant-like lead singing about the tragedy of war in the Middle- Eastern inflected “Insurgency” is appropriately disconcerting, yet mesmerizing. Dreamy cello underlies “Special World,” and “Autumn” is a march that extols the beauty of the season.
The album was recorded by Gil Stober at Peak Recording and Sound in Bozeman, and all proceeds from sales support the MusEco Media Education Project. Learn more at – Mariss McTucker

PDF version: (scroll to "About Music" section)
- "Lively Times" and "State of the Arts" (cross-published, March 2010)

"Earthshine "Take Flight" Review by Larry Toering"

Kristen and Scott Prinzing, from Billings, MT, bring their natural talents together for a second helping of their progressive folk stylings. Take Flight is a well crafted conceptual work of educational art. It's not easy to even label as “prog” but it's clearly inclined as such, yet there are endless ways to describe everything going on here.

They both have roots in rock and metal, but it's only hinted at here, although can be given credit to their overall approach. She writes the music and lyrics and has a hauntingly beautiful voice and he perfectly complements her with whispering backing vocals. All the while she plays excellent understated acoustic guitar and he magically weaves killer acoustic bass lines around it. He also plays mandolin and even “Blackcountry Lute” on one track. It finds the listener in a vast sea of swirling arrangements and features magnificent flute and bass sparring, and solos from both of the two instruments. They're backed by extraordinary musicians: Ben Klein, flute, Tim Todd, electric violin, Brad Edwards, percussion and Kyle Brenner, cello.

Folk and prog unite in a humble gathering of pleasing acoustic based tunes, and the result is a soul satisfactory achievement. This CD package is printed on 100% recycled paper, 70% of which is post consumer content, keeping with the duo’s overall natural approach.

Track by Track Review

If a cool pleasant breeze had a sound, this is what it might sound like from a bird's perspective. This gentle tune resembles a flight so well that it's almost spooky. Kristen's vocals just fly with the wind over the quiet melodies while Scott complements her unique voice, also very quietly but so effectively. There is a lot of flute which picks up in a few of the right places but doesn't dominate the very well balanced arrangement. Within the first few seconds you can hear the prog inclinations; it's refreshing to listen to such quiet yet so heavy handed music at the same time. Every second is captivating and suspenseful, making this a very pleasant number.

Sweet Friend
Things get absolutely mesmerizing as this track progresses, and it's easy to quote a lyric of significance when describing it. "Someday I'm sure we'll find the perfect words / They will just roll off our tongues / People will hear them and all will be clear / New place will finally have dawned." All kinds of atmospheric sounds just draw the ears into a trance while the vocals deliver a lashing of gut level aimed advice. This track is a well put together piece that displays a vibe of darkness underneath the shiny sound. This is one of the album’s most enticing elements.

Such A Journey
There’s a tasty gypsy guitar intro as a flemenco flavored vibe gets this one underway and stays the course throughout, spiced with sharp melodies and an echoing ambience. We get more in-flight perception, but grounded in this case, although seemingly at one with the earth and sky. This contains simply beautiful lyrics, "lost in limbs, waves of pine / lillies in morning light...." This track is completely defined in its title, speaking for all living things and music as if they're at one with each other in all certainty. By this time the listener is fully engaged and looking forward to what lies ahead in this musical journey, itself.

Take Flight
In this, the title track, the wings proceed to spread as more exploration of the barriers between man-made things and nature, and the effects each has on the other. There is no holding back the apologetic driven observation Kristen clearly makes and thoughtfully delivers, as she hits home with yet more of the emotive concept upon which the disc is built. Some more lovely guitar is featured as the arrangement oozes with complexity. There is a lot of musical flight as well, as things start to become more progressive and take full shape. Exploring the ignored and pointing the finger where it belongs, "suffer me not / I will hear no more...." This is a gripping point and there is no turning back on the theme as it continues to compel and soothe the soul. It's not easy to describe the level of sheer honesty and enchanting mysticism they emote. It's all intertwined with such organic ease that it's truly magical. This is about dealing with the acknowledgement of our mistakes as told through the eyes of the on-looking creatures who are affected by the aftermath of our ways. We're reminded of "this myopic enchantment we have / regarding just who and what we actually are..." Brilliant! These artists get inside the mind with a clever subtlety and purity not often found in modern music. "Millions will never even know...."

The intensity blooms fully in this amazing track, as more flute continues to complement Kristen’s voice as she expresses visions of what could be as they squeeze the life from her. There is lovely guitar in this one as well. Melodically blissful and desperately compelling in its art, “breathtaking,” is the most effective - Music Street Journal

"Sharing concerns for the environment"

Story available at

Published on Saturday, February 17, 2007.

Of The Gazette Staff
Kris Prinzing describes "waste not, want not" as her mantra.

It's also the title of her radio show on local environmental issues, which airs once a month on Yellowstone Public Radio.

The lifestyle of Kris and her husband, Scott, reflects their concern for the environment.

They bought a house with Kris' parents, sharing it like a duplex without the dividing walls. Scott added on to an existing, apartment-like space, using construction materials salvaged from other building sites, including a friend's ranch. Before the former Education Building at Montana State University-Billings was demolished, they salvaged two doors. Scott spied two of the addition's windows as they were about to be carted off to the dump by a West End homeowner.

"We're great for finding uses for things," Kris said. "Ninety-nine percent of everything in here is either bought used or found."

Her equation excludes artwork done by her father, Bob Rickels, a former art professor and volunteer at the Yellowstone Art Museum.

Kris has a master's degree in education with a concentration in environmental philosophy and citizen education. Scott, who produces a public radio show on Montana music and writes for the several publications including the Billings Outpost, also has a master's degree in education and is certified to teach elementary-school students.

Together they created a nonprofit business, the MusEco Media and Education Project, to focus on the intersection of their interests in the environment, music, visual arts and American Indian issues.

Scott traces his interest in the environment to an ecology club he started in the third grade after seeing the TV commercial of the actor Iron Eyes Cody shedding a tear over a bag of trash at his feet. Kris traces her ethic back to her father's waste-not lifestyle.

"It was about being so deeply in love with the natural world and trying to live a life consistent with that love," she said.

Her father's creativity and thriftiness were apparent in the tiny cabin he built at East Rosebud Lake. When the cabin burned in the Shepard Mountain fire in 1996, the couple helped rebuild it.

"It symbolized so much of what I value, the humbleness, of what you need to be happy, which is so little," Kris said.

While she credits her father with kindling her frugality, her mother challenged Kris to live in a way that was consistent with her values and beliefs.

Most days, the Prinzings walk or ride bicycles to their office on Poly Drive. They own a used diesel van and buy bio-diesel fuel when they can find it. Both are vegetarians, a decision prompted by ethical rather than health concerns. They buy their groceries at health-food stores and shop thrift stores for clothing.

"I think my watch is the only thing I'm wearing that we bought new," Scott said.

In addition to his freelance writing, he teaches an after-school class at Friendship House. The pair also performs as an acoustic music duo. Although they have cobbled together a series of ventures consistent with their passions, nothing they undertake is particularly well-funded.

"We live well below the poverty level," Scott said, "but we feel we live very full, rich lives." - The Billings Gazette


Interview by Scott Bischke

Long-time Montana roots: (Kris) In the early 1960s, dad built a cabin at East Rosebud Lake by hand, and we came to Montana every summer. I always considered myself a resident of Montana who was forced to go back to Minnesota in the winters because my father had a job there.

Meeting the love of their lives: (Scott) We met 19 years ago in a coffee shop in Dinkytown (a Minneapolis neighborhood), kitty-corner from the coffee shop where Bob Dylan made his first public performance outside of Hibbing. We got married a year and a half later in a mountain meadow at East Rosebud.

Sharing the loves of their lives: (Kris) Both of us have enduring interests in the environment and in music, which serve as the principle organizing focuses of our lives. Scott's life would not be complete without music; my life would not be worth living if I weren't doing something for the planet.

MusEco: (Kris) We decided to combine all of our interests and start a non-profit. MusEco is an organization that works to improve the quality of life in Billings and Montana by providing people with the information they need to have a better relationship with the natural world, to support Montana musicians, to better understand Native Americans in our society and to appreciate the artistic richness that is part of our Montana tradition.

Montana Muse: (Scott) Montana Muse is a weekly public radio program that features Montana music and helps build and support the local music community. MusEco produces and provides the show to Yellowstone Public Radio.

Earthshine: (Kris) One of the ways Scott and I connected was through music. Together we started a band called "Earthshine." I write all the music and lyrics and do the lead singing. Scott plays the acoustic bass guitar, mandolin and dulcimer. You might spot us at the Garage Pub, Unitarian Fellowship, Bridge Creek in Red Lodge or any one of a number of local music venues.

Native American programs: (Scott) Neither Kris nor I are Native American, but both our degrees include majors in American Indian Studies, as well as Masters in Education. In January, we started a Native American Youth Television program to air on community access television. The program works in conjunction with the Indian Club at Lewis and Clark Middle School and is sponsored by the Friendship House and the Indian Health Board. Part of the goal is to expose all students, and in particular Native American students, to career opportunities and give them a voice and positive outlet in their own community.

Sustainable living focus: (Kris) There's a real paucity of good, quality information about creating a more sustainable world. We're trying to expand what's available to people here. MusEco's program, Waste Not Want Not, (which aired on Yellowstone Public Radio), was a part of that goal, as are the video projects we're moving into with Montana PBS and other outlets.

Why Billings? (Scott) We've now lived in Billings for more than a decade. We're just so happy to be able to make a life for ourselves doing what we enjoy and sharing it with other people. And especially to do that work here in Montana-this is the center of our universe. - Magic City Experience Magazine

"Earthshine CD"

Lots of folks know Scott Prinzing, the bearded music critic over at The Outpost. But I’m guessing not as many know his beautiful wife Kris. Her voice is amazing on the couple’s new disc “Take Flight.”

Known as Earthshine, the Prinzings are performing over at the Toucan Gallery tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. for the inaugral First Fridays at 2500 on Montana Avenue. Check out their live show and visit the five participating art galleries. There will be free food and beverages. - Billings Gazette


#1: Live@Bob's, December 2007
#2: Take Flight, January 2009
#3: Cold Night, due out February of 2011

Listen to tracks on this EPK and on our MySpace page:



Earthshine is an all-originals acoustic duo of Kris (Rickels) Prinzing and her husband Scott Prinzing, with all songs written by Kris. Kris also sings most of the songs.

Kris and Scott's day job is just as economically promising as being musicians: they founded and run a micro non-profit that does educational media for the general public. Music and environmental sustainability are our main specialty areas. More at

Kris's musical background was primarily in classical flute with later jazz vocal study. She was also involved for many years in classical dance. Late in her teen years, her brother introduced her to the classic hard rock/heavy metal cannon, which has been very influential on her songwriting.

Scott has been playing bass and guitar since he was ten years old and is a professional audiophile and music writer.

The two formed their musical partnership 7 years after they married, and have been playing happily together ever since.

The music of Earthshine reflects the unusual musical proclivities of Kris - strictly classical (particularly baroque and before) until about age 17, when (as mentioned above) she began to explore the best of the classic rock cannon and also began to take a formal, studied interest in jazz.

Scott has a lifelong - literally - interest in all things music. Scott has an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music with a specialty in hard rock and heavy metal of the 60's to the 80's. Scott has years and years of playing experience as well, singing since he could make sounds and beginning guitar at ten. He was the lead singer and played bass in the original Portland, OR metal band Glacier ( in the 80's, and sang, played bass and guitar in a variety of other cover and original bands for years.

His spectrum of musical knowledge pools together to inspire him to create the most original yet classic-sounding harmonies and bass (and mandolin) accompaniment to Kris's compositions.

Earthshine are a deeply green musical duo. We have been heavily involved in conservation and sustainability education since the late 80's and in our personal, professional, musical and recreational lives, we make choices and conduct ourselves in a manner that minimizes our impact on the earth and all its living creatures.

Hey - another important note: Earthshine won their hometown's "Best Folk" award in 2008; the Tuney Award from the Billings Outpost.