Documentary concert showcases America’s history in song and verse

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Historic documentary meets live concert performance as Romancing the West comes to the Museum at Central School at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, as Northwest Montana Historical Society presents this educational time-traveling experience. Singer/songwriter Christina Lynn Martin and cowboy poet and balladeer Butch Martin tell the human story of over 250 years of the people of the American West through their trials, tribulations and triumphs and celebrate their diverse cultures, lives and legacies.

The story of Romancing the West is a gentle unveiling of Christina Lynn Martin’s vision, including songs written about the West over a 30-year period and epic classics by renowned artists.

The music and imagery tell of the Native American people and the Russian ships exploring the West Coast, the Spanish quest into Alta California and the building of the Mission chain, the Lewis and Clarke expedition, the blazing of the Oregon Trail, the Trail of Tears, the Gold Rush, and the coming of the railroad. As the centuries turn, visit the Roaring ’20s, the Great Depression and World War ll, the post-war boom, dawning of the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, and Vietnam, arriving at this present age of political polarization. Romancing the West celebrates the triumph of the human spirit through feast, famine and decades of social and political change, telling the story of the American people rising above their differences to share this great land today.

The story of Western Expansionism is told in historic photographs, rare film, video, live poetry and original music written by Christina, songs about the West including “City of Roses” (Portland), “Columbia” (Columbia River), and “Wallowa Skies” in tribute to the Nez Perce people. Butch recites master poems about life on the Western Trail including “The Ballad of William Sycamore” and “Laska.” As the show moves from the Old West into the modern West, the music ranges from traditional Western, folk/Celtic to jazz, big band and pop/rock. Within the show is a moving tribute to veterans, a majestic musical tribute to the national parks, and to hometown America.

The Martins’ mission continues to be “to foster love and respect for our fellow man and the love of this land by telling the sometimes painful story of Western Expansionism and celebrating the diverse cultures whose stories continue to inform and inspire our Nation and our world.”

The couple make their home in a log cabin in Applegate Valley in southern Oregon. This April marks the sixth consecutive year of touring with the show in National Trail Centers, concert series and theaters.

For show information, visit romancingthewest.org.

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