I first met Doug Sternberg when his Jah Provide reggae band was in full swing playing regularly across the state from ski lifts to bar shifts. His lead singing, song writing, and guitar work were ital and vital to the unique rocky reggae they uncorked to enthusiastic audiences wherever they played. He has been involved with Ghost Town Sound since preparation got serious for our Montana debut at Alley Galleria in June 2009. Jah Provide released two righteous reggae albums in the 1990s, REGGAE IN THE ROCKIES and BURNING DAYLIGHT, the latter featuring Doug’s song “The Clock’s Running” which I later combined with a Paul Zarzyski poem “The Hand” into “The Clockhand’s Running” on my part mash-up/part Ghost Town Sound compilation, an expanded edition of DEEP WORD DUB. In addition Doug recorded a terrific reggae version of “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” for my long-brewing BASEMENT DUBS, now a GTS side-project. Sternberg is also presently part of the crucial classical-oriented Montana Guitar Ensemble. Doug brings his strong voice, native flute playing and bass guitar work to Ghost Town Sound with flavor and flair. Give thanks fellow ‘hollow bone’ traveler!
The mere existence of an original and roots reggae band from Montana may seem an anomaly in itself. Yet the message of reggae music is timeless and knows no bounds, so a Montana reggae band is true to the roots of the music is not really so surprising at all! Jah Provide—Montana’s original and roots reggae band—carries on the tradition instilled in reggae by its founders, the message of love and social justice presented through an infectious, highly danceable, and fun musical format!
Doug Sternberg, Chuck Porte, and Tim Poole— all original members of Montana’s Marathon Dance Band—have been exploring the potential of reggae music since its introduction to the American public in the mid 70’s. Former “MDB” fans will recall the group’s frequent forays into reggae dance music. In Jah Provide, these musicians are joined by horn players Michael Kakuk and Paul Richards, two of the finest all-round musical talents in Montana, to produce a refreshing new reggae experience. The 5 piece band has compiled a song list that includes many original compositions that are true to reggae’s traditions, including the tunes on the group’s debut album, “Reggae in the Rockies”, as well as many reggae classics by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, Toots and the Maytals the Skatellites, and others. All musical selections have been made with DANCE in mind, so be ready to move when this group takes the stage!
Explaining the group’s name, Sternberg states: “When love struggles for expression, Jah Provide. When people suffer from repression, Jah Provide. The name of the band says it all: The name of Jahlmighty first and foremost; a recognition that all things flow from the Creator and that we are all instruments to express the Creator’s love and peace; a blessing each time it is spoken.” Experience that love and peace—Jah Provide.
MONTANA GUITAR ENSEMBLE
Since forming in 1999, the Montana Guitar Ensemble has become Montana’s longest-standing and most prolific classical guitar ensemble. The group has produced four CDs, including MGE IV, their recent independently produced album.
The Ensemble has performed at numerous public concerts, weddings and receptions, art galleries, conventions, funerals, house concerts; fine dining establishments, and special events. Of other note, the Montana Guitar Ensemble has performed in Christmas concerts in conjunction with the Helena Symphony; numerous First Night Missoula New Year’s Eve concerts; appearances in conjunction with the Helena Chamber Singers, opening for the Muir Quartet at the Myrna Loy Center in Helena; appearances on HCTV Helena public television; outdoor concerts in conjunction with the Downtown Helena Business Improvement District; and numerous fund raisers, including shows for the Helena nonprofit Lost & Foundation and the annual Helena Friendship Center “Empty Bowls” concert, among others.
As the Ensemble’s repertoire and expertise continue to expand, the group looks forward to additional live performances and to the challenge of additional studio recordings. Look for the Montana Guitar Ensemble wherever quality, timeless classical guitar music is performed!
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DOUGLAS STERNBERG was also born in Ohtahku (Great Falls) and raised in Helena, Montana. The elder member of the Montana Guitar Ensemble, Douglas Sternberg has a long and varied love affair with professional music performance, starting in high school with his first instrumental surf-rock band, proceeding to groups performing blues, pop, straight-ahead rock & roll, country, 50’s & 60’s doo-wop, reggae, and Latin jazz, and finally arriving at the study of “serious” classical music.
The guitar has always been his instrument of choice in ensemble work — electric or acoustic guitar for many years — until taking up classical guitar, when “They took away my picks and all the dots on the fingerboard, and I knew this must be serious music!”
Douglas’ discography includes appearances on numerous CDs, including four albums with the Guitar Ensemble, and many TV and radio commercials. Additionally, Douglas took up the Native American flute in the 90’s, and for the last decade has offered Native flute and drum prayers through St. Peter’s Hospital Hospice program in Helena, Montana where, with partner Dianna Miller, he provides music therapy to the dying and their families. He is the founder of Mountain Chief Music, and a student of Laura Young of Amsterdam. Contact him at email@example.com.