Rick Bass + Stellarondo

Rick Bass + Stellarondo

 Missoula, Montana, USA
BandSpoken WordFolk

Songs and Scored Short Stories.


When award-winning author Rick Bass and Montana-based chamber folk band Stellarondo team up to present a live performance of original songs and "scored" short stories, the audience is taken on a dreamy, luminous journey.

Cello, pedal steel, guitars, banjo, double bass, and various percussion instruments merge and swirl with Rick's words with profound effect. The show engages both sides of the brain, the story-processing side as well as the music-listening side, and audiences are thus alternately lulled and stimulated simultaneously.

"Rick Bass and Stellarondo mesmerized the audience from the first note to the last vibrations of the weeping saw. Start with the haunting voice and lyrics of Caroline Keys, throw in an astonishingly versatile and talented band, and then mix that up with the poetic story-telling of Rick Bass, and I can confidently say that I've never tasted such a beautiful ensemble of art. It's a magic recipe." - Brian Schott, founding editor, Whitefish Review

"Stellarondo's music is utterly unique: a cutting-edge blend of orchestral folk and rock with splashes of bluegrass and country. When the band hooks up with an expert storyteller, Rick Bass, the performance is mesmerizing. You hear one story in the music and one in the narration that, somehow, weave together to form something wonderful and new." - Cherie Newman, Montana Public Radio

"Rick Bass is a national treasure." -Carl Hiassen

"Bass's language glistens with the beauty of the landscape he evokes.” San Francisco Chronicle

"One of this country's most intelligent and sensitive short story writers."--New York Times Book Review

"Stellarondo is the sound of the new Western frontier." -Joe Nickell, Missoulian

"Fresh possibilities is what Stellarondo is all about, from its crystalline lyrical imagery to its imaginative soundscapes conveying the expansiveness of Big Sky country." -Marga Lincoln, Helena Independent Record

"High Lonesome meets subterranean post-apocalyptica." -Joe Nickell, Missoulian

Stellarondo and writer Rick Bass began collaborating in Missoula, Montana during summer 2011.

Bass says:

“I volunteered to write something for Stellarondo’s web page and began going to their weekly practices, taking notes for that purpose. During this process, we started talking about stories, and sounds, and rhythms and arcs, and before we knew it we found ourselves working together—me on some songs they were writing, and Stellarondo asking me to read stories and adjust pacing and diction as they developed songs that fit the meter and mood of the shorter pieces.

It’s been an amazing experience, and I don’t mean to represent it as the somewhat-standard poetry-and-jazz fare that is sometimes encountered late at night in college towns and settings. If that sounds harsh and critical I don’t mean it to be. What I mean to convey is that this is way different from anything I’ve seen or heard; not only are they scoring stories as they would the visuals for cinema, we are adjusting my stories, editing, tempering, reworking.”

A Rick Bass and Stellarondo set typically includes two sets, each containing two "scored" short stories and three to four Stellarondo songs (audio on this EPK includes one scored story and two Stellarondo songs).

Rick's short fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, and others, and has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, and the O. Henry Awards: Prize Stories. His most recent novel, Nashville Chrome, is about the country music industry in the 1950s.


Rick Bass and Stellarondo recorded an album of Scored Stories with Adam Selzer and John Askew at Type Foundry in Portland, Oregon.

Release date: October 2012

Montana Public Radio produced an hour-long Rick Bass and Stellarondo special in 2011 that can be heard here:

Set List

Set I
Strawberry Cake
"Eating" (short story)
The Roofer
"The Windy Day" (essay)
Set II
"The Canoeists" (short story)
What I Know
Hotel Roberts
"The Bear" (short story)

How'd You Get So Good At Leavin'