Local Band of Professors Releases Original Album
By Brent Zundel
For the MSU Exponent
November 17, 2011
With final exams fast approaching, the name “Textbook Blues” likely conjures up many different images in students’ heads, but four Bozeman residents recently gave attendees at the Filling Station a different image. “Textbook Blues” is a local band composed of four members, all of whom have some connection to teaching, thus providing a fitting name.
John Priscu, a professor in the Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (LRES) Department, shreds a mean lead guitar when not conducting nationally renowned research in Antarctica. Edis Kittrell, an English professor who also teaches in the Honors College, provides a soulful lead voice.
Warren Jones, an environmental engineering professor and former Faculty Senate Chair, keeps rhythm for the band by playing a skillful bass. To round out the quartet, Greg Vallor holds a crisp beat on the drums. Although he holds a teaching credential, presumably he no longer teaches because he can “do.”
With a curriculum vitae that impressive, one might wonder whether the band has an IQ requirement. The members embrace that aspect, making light of their day jobs with the band’s name and by covering their most recent album with equations.
To celebrate “Got Your Number,” their first album of completely original material, the group held a CD release party last Thursday at the Filling Station. An eclectic mix of attendees gathered to support the local band, most of whom could be grouped into one of two categories, based on appearance: friends and students of the band.
The majority of students who showed up were civil and environmental engineering students, who cheered every times Jones played a solo riff or sang.
“So, the east side of campus knows how to have fun!” chuckled Jones after a particularly rousing cheer.
At the Filler, the band played a set that included original songs and covers. During the show, the band covered songs from both Stevie Ray Vaughan and Santana and, impressively, Priscu’s skills were up to the tall feat of playing songs by these guitar gods.
The group’s new album is a mix of blues and rock with occasional touches of jazz that has a clean sound. All 13 songs are original material and reflect on themes from each member’s life. During my review, I particularly enjoyed the satirical “Priorities,” which is reminiscent of George Thorogood’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” with its bluesy, spoken word-style storytelling.
The album is available for purchase on the group’s website: textbookblues.com.
Author’s Note: After a year-long battle with glioblastoma, Dr. Warren Jones, beloved professor of environmental engineering at MSU, passed away on July 7, 2013. Donations in his memory can be made to the Warren L. Jones Memorial Scholarship, managed by the MSU Alumni Foundation.