GREAT FALLS — The Kingston Trio revolutionized music at the end of the 1950s. What the trio says made music accessible to all their fans and had a major effect on pop culture.

“The Kingston Trio, when you look at musical acts or you look at actors or somebody who’s made an impact on society and in culture, that’s one of the reasons why the Kingston Trio is so famous and successful and long-lasting is because when they broke, suddenly people quit wearing pompadours and suddenly people started dressing differently,” explained Mike Marvin, Guitarist for the Kingston Trio, adding, “Some people’s boys were crew cutting their hair. Every high school had a folk band, every fraternity. It was a societal change that the Kingston Trio triggered, and that doesn’t happen very often.”

For those that don’t know the trio, they were nominated for 8 Grammy’s, winning in the inaugural award show. At the time the Kingston trio would be considered a part of the folk genre. Folk wasn’t a designated area of the first Grammy Awards, and the trio took home the Grammy for Best Country and Western Performance, for its hit, Tom Dooley.

“… it’s important to note that the trio never considered themselves to be folk singers, considered themselves to be more of, entertainers,” said Marvin and chiming in, Buddy Woodward, a tenor guitarist for the group.

Heading into 1957, the Calypso craze was roaring, as Harry Belafonte’s hit record soared to a whopping one million copies sold. The world was changing, and the Kingston Trio made history.

“The trio just broke through with that folk music sound. It was interesting for a group doing a ballad like Tom Dooley. That really was the breakthrough song and it’s a murder ballad. But then they did some very high-powered, almost bluegrass tempo folk songs, too, so that really got people excited,” explained Tim Gorelangton, the banjo player for the group.

Mike Marvin, Buddy Woodward, and Tim Gorelangton are not the original founding members, but all three have ties to past trio members.

Mike was a close family friend of Nick Reynolds, often referred to as his Stepfather, but more of a mentor. Tim Gorelangton and Mike have been performing for nearly 50 years and are the only of the three to have recorded a song with Nick Reynolds. Buddy Woodward has “folk cred” to the max. According to the Kingston Trio website, “In retrospect, Buddy now sees that he has been preparing his entire life to take on this amazing challenge as a bona fide member of The Kingston Trio.”

He’s doing it.

“I remind myself that people are not there to see me. They’re there to see the Kingston Trio.” Woodward explained.

It’s safe to say that there is a sense of pride when the modern trio takes the stage, and more so a sense of responsibility.

Woodward added, “It’s a big responsibility. The Kingston Trio are the missing link between the Weavers, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Dan Fogelberg, America, etc., etc., etc.”

Gorelangton also shared, “It got them inspired to start making their own music. So, we are grateful for this.”

Mike reflected on what Nick Reynolds would have to say about the group now. He says, he doesn’t know but could believe that he is proud of the new trio.

This isn’t the first time the Kingston Trio has made a Montana tour; in fact, this is the third or fourth time they’ve come through.

“Montana, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, there’s certain parts of the United States that they’ve really thrown their arms around the Kingston Trio and Montana is one of them,” Marvin said.

The Kingston Trio is making a stop on Saturday night in Bozeman and rounding off the tour in Billings. For more information on the Kingston Trio, click here.

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