Tickling The Ivories

I was very fortunate to visit Philip Aaberg at his Sweetgrass Music recording studio in Chester, MT recently.

Chester is a small town located on US Hwy 2, about 45 minutes east of Shelby (I-15). It’s also Philip’s boyhood home and, as of a few years ago, his new permanent home.

We first stopped at the Sweetgrass Music offices located in a very cool old building undergoing renovation in downtown Chester. All of Philip’s CDs were displayed and I recognized two of the ones I have, Live From Montana and a more recent blues CD.

With a nod to his Montana home and roots, songs on the Live From Montana CD have titles like The Big Open, Marias River Breakdown, Before Barbed Wire, Going to The Sun…well, you get the picture that there is a definite tie to Montana here! This CD was also a Grammy nominee.

The design is also pure Montana with emphasis on the Hi-Line area where Chester is located.

We ventured next to the recording studio – a treat for the eyes just driving up! The design is pure grain bin style – no kidding! This is wheat country and what an appropriate theme.

The Great Northern Bed & Breakfast is connected to the recording studio which is then connected to the Aaberg home. Perfect for those who come to study with Philip and convenient for the host and hostess in doing breakfast.

A nice fit for the Great Northern name is a beautiful stained glass window in the bed and breakfast.

Local Chester stained glass artist Craig Waldron designed this window and it’s a wonderful tribute to those old Great Northern trains (now Burlington North/Santa Fe). The rail line parallels US Hwy 2 as it travels along Montana’s northern border, affectionately referred to as The Hi-Line.

I like how the Aaberg’s have woven in so many local touches to their music and their unique B&B lodging.

I think we were all hoping for a chance to hear Philip play. After all, it’s great to see the studio, see that gorgeous piano and see all the recording equipment BUT the real deal is when you hear that music!

Well, Philip was more than delighted to play for us and we all just stood in awe. The accoustics were perfect and the music was an absolute treat.

What a perfect day!

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