Emmy-nominated short film series The Montana Sessions is back for a third season featuring live performances in scenic locations throughout the state of Montana by The Lucky Valentines, Kitchen Dwellers, Kevin Van Dort, and Matt Wallin & His Nervous Breakdown.
Episodes five and six of The Montana Sessions season three showcase Flathead Valley-based mountain soul singer-songwriter Kevin Van Dort performing on the docks of Lake Five.
Located near the western entrance of Glacier National Park, the Lake Five community centers around the Lake Five Resort, which has been accommodating Montana visitors for over 100 years. What began as a homestead for settler couple James H. Ridenour and Oni Maude in 1915 soon caught the attention of Glacier National Park sightseers due to the impressive garden Oni maintained on their five acres. At the behest of two families from Great Falls, MT, Jim constructed a pair of cabins and in the summer of 1922 opened Retiro Cabins. Just over 100 years later, the business has been handed down from children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren of the Ridenauer’s to become a beloved staple of West Glacier, MT.
As for the name Lake Five, long before satellite imagery or airplanes, folklore has it that someone thought the lake resembled a number 5. Though modern imaging shows that the lake actually looks more like a V than a 5, the name stuck and remains a frequent conversation topic for visitors to this day.
A pioneer of what he calls “high mountain soul music,” Van Dort’s style combines blues influences from the Mississippi Delta with the rustic overtones of a slide on barn wood box guitar. With his gravelly timber and insightfully understated lyricism, he melds styles into a uniquely authentic dialect that transcends mountains and cultural boundaries alike.
For his first of two performances on The Montana Sessions season three, Kevin Van Dort offers a fitting performance of “Fishin’ Shoes” from a floating dock on Lake Five. Sitting on a log stump, armed with his simple wood box guitar, Van Dort bemoans his inability to fish anymore ever since he “Lost my baby to a fishin’ guy / Down by the fishin’ shore.” While picking out his bluesy tale of betrayal, grey clouds gather overhead and the water ripples from Van Dort’s wailing. Before long, the fishermen will have to return to the fishin’ shore.
Van Dort’s second episode finds him back on the docks of Lake Five, though mentally he’s in the kitchen cooking up a “Flaky Biscuit”. Trading his wood box guitar for a proper acoustic, Van Dort’s bluesy fingerpicking style remains a constant and further compliments his melancholy drawl. Like many of life’s lessons, the message of “Flaky Biscuit” comes from the kitchen as Van Dort warns, “Want my biscuits flaky in the morning / Want my baby strong as stone / If you don’t sweeten up honey baby / You know I have to carry on.”
Watch episodes five and six of The Montana Sessions season three featuring Kevin Van Dort performing “Fishin’ Shoes” and “Flaky Biscuit” on Lake Five below. Revisit episodes one and two with The Lucky Valentines here and episodes three and four with Kitchen Dwellers here. New episodes of The Montana Sessions will debut twice per week throughout April and into May via the 4:08 Productions YouTube page and Live For Live Music.
The Montana Sessions Season 3, Episode 5 – Kevin Van Dort – “Fishin’ Shoes” – Live from Lake Five
The Montana Sessions Season 3, Episode 6 – Kevin Van Dort – “Flaky Biscuit” – Live from Lake Five
Produced by Los Angeles- and Bozeman-based production company 4:08 Productions, The Montana Sessions highlights the great state of Montana by showcasing unique performances by its best and brightest musical talents in some of its most stunning outdoor locales. The series was made possible by a grant from The Greater Montana Foundation with additional support from The Montana Arts Council and Live For Live Music.
The Montana Sessions is directed by Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and 4:08 Productions founder Nic Davis. He made his feature film debut in 2021 with his Enormous: The Gorge Story, the star-studded documentary about beloved George, WA amphitheater The Gorge. He has released two more feature films since the beginning of this year, Ivan Doig: Landscapes of a Western Mind, about Montana author Ivan Doig, and 21 Miles, about the local societal ripples caused by Malibu, CA’s Pacific Coast Highway.
For more information on The Montana Sessions season three, head here. Watch the official season three trailer below.
The Montana Sessions – Season 3 Trailer
[Video: 4:08 Productions]