Neal    Lewing,    lifelong      Montana    singer/songwriter,    actor,    playwright, author   and   poet,   features   a   sophisticated   four-octave   vocal   range   and warm   guitar   style   in   his   Legacy   series   of   music/history   programs.   His CDs   enjoyed   worldwide   distribution   even   before   the   days   of   electronic marketing.   His   1000+-song   repertoire   represents   virtually   every   genre from   traditional   to   standard,   blues,   jazz,   show   tunes,   western,   rock, country,         classical,         pop         and         original.         Visit         website: http://portpolsonplayers.com/ppp16/ Neal   Lewing   is   also   polite,   modest,   agreeable,   kind.   In   short,   he’s   really charming.   So   don’t   miss   your   chance   to   read   his   interview   and   visit   his performances. kn;i JBN:   Your   “Gary   Cooper-First,   Last   and   Always”   is   amazing.   Tell us how you came to create this program. NL:   I've   been   performing   all   my   life   and   have   always   been   interested   in   educating   people   about   different   aspects   of   western   history. About   10   years   ago   I   had   an   opportunity   to   put   a   program   together   about   folk   music   and   the   role   it   played   in   opening   the   west.   Now, I've   played   folk   music   for   60   years   or   so,   and   it   just   kinda   fell   into   place.   It   became   a   pretty   popular   program   so   I   wondered   what   else people   would   be   interested   in   learning   about.   Music   is   our   most   powerful   teaching   tool   and   has   been   for   a   million   years,   so   it's   a   great way   to   illustrate   any   historical   subject   so   it   doesn't   come   off   as   just   a   dry   lecture.   Now   I   have   thirteen   shows   in   the   series,   with   a couple more on the line. JBN: How do you choose the people or stories to present? NL:   They   have   to   resonate   with   me.   Gary   Cooper,   of   course,   as   I   mention   in   the   show,   is   a   lifelong   influence.   I   have   probably   one   of the   biggest   Gary   Cooper   movie   collections   in   Montana   –   he   made   92   movies   and   I   have   65   or   70   of   them. Another   of   my   shows   tells about   Thomas   Meagher,   our   first   territorial   of   governor.   We   started   researching   him   in   2009   and   his   powerful   story   resonated   so much. We've been to Ireland twice to research that show and even performed it there. I’ll never run out of stories to tell.    JBN: How long does it take you to create one of your programs? NL:    Most   fall   together   pretty   quickly.   I   can   usually   have   one   ready   to   go   in   about   a   month,   depending   on   how   detailed   the   research   is and how hard it is to locate some elements. JBN: You travel a lot with your programs. Where do you go? NL:  I've been all over, back and forth regionally and some outlying areas. Even to Ireland. JBN: Oh wow... which one? NL: My show on Thomas Francis Meagher, our first territorial of governor. A powerful story. JBN: What are some of your other programs? NL:   Well,   I   have   one   about   the   Missouri   River,   one   about   outlaws,   another   on   the   forest   service,   one   is   a   thank-you   to   farmers   and ranchers,   a   couple   of   Irish   Christmas   programs,   and   so   on.   I   see   somewhere   down   the   line   25   different   programs   in   the   series.   I'm thinking about some new ones now, one on black cowboys, one about unusual western women. JBN: You told that all your life was all about music. Can you be more specific? NL:   I   don't   remember   a   time   when   I   wasn't   singing.   When   I   was   about   five,   we   had   a   family   reunion   and   I   got   up   on   the   coal   chute and started singing and dancing. My mother said, “Go in the house and stop showing off.” Then, when I was in the fifth grade, I got an opportunity   to   sing   my   first   public   solo.   It   was   actually   “High   Noon,”   you   know,   from   the   Gary   Cooper   movie? And   I   thought,   “This   is   so cool!”   You   know,   the   girls,   they   like   that.   So   I   went,   “Ooh,   double    cool!”   Yeah.   So   I’ve   just   been   singing   in   different   groups   and   solo,   I have   couple   albums,   and   now   I   sing   with   an   Irish   group,   the   Montana   Sham   Rockers,   and   a   50's   group,   Those   Boomer   Boys.   It’s   all fun. My wife Karen and I run the Port Polson players theater in Polson, so there’s always something going on. JBN: You must love Montana. NL:   I   grew   up   in   Missoula   and   have   lived   in   Polson   for   40   years,   raised   a   family   there.   I   traveled   pretty   extensively   in   my   younger years   with   different   bands   and   so   forth,   lived   in   a   lot   of   big   cities   -   Portland,   in   Seattle,   Phoenix.   I   wanted   to   live   in   small   town.   In 1979,   I   got   the   opportunity   to   move   to   Polson   and   it   just   seemed   right   at   the   time. You   sacrifice   a   bit   to   live   in   a   small   town,   but   I   think that’s where America lives. JBN: I notice you asked the audience for stories to add to your program. NL:   I   learn   from   an   audience.   I'm   always   researching.   The   Gary   Cooper   show   I   did   last   night   was   different   from   the   last   one   a   month ago   because   I   keep   learning   new   things.   There's   one   fella   in   Helena   who   has   seen   my   Thomas   Meagher   show   three   times.   Every time   he   sees   it,   he   says,   “I   don't   remember   that   part   being   in   there   before.”   I   say,   “No,   I   just   learned   that   last   week.”   So   the   people give me insight and that keeps it fresh. JBN: Very important also that your family supports you in your artistic career. NL: Absolutely. My wife gives me a pretty long leash sometimes, she's very supportive. JBN: Do you have a motto for your life? NL:   (Smiles)   I   go   where   I   am   called   and   serve   as   I   am   able.   If   I   can   provide   diversion,   make   people   feel   good,   escape   for   awhile, that’s   what   I   love   to   do.   Bring   back   some   pleasant   memories,   conjure   up   some   nice   new   ones.   Nothing   mean-spirited,   there’s   plenty of that already. Like Gary Cooper said, “The thing I’m most proud of is the friends I’ve made.”
Johnson’s Billings News
Hosted by Johnson Computing
They are read.  We are Quoted!!!
  Neal Lewing: “If you can make people feel good… and I think, if you've been given a talent by the creator, you're obligated to use it.”
Interview
Photo by Western Heritage Center
Neal    Lewing,    lifelong   M     o     n     t     a     n     a         actor,           playwright, author       and       poet, features                      a sophisticated         four- octave     vocal     range and   warm   guitar   style in    his    Legacy    series of             music/history programs.     His     CDs enjoyed        worldwide distribution    even    before    the    days    of    electronic    marketing.    His 1000+-song    repertoire    represents    virtually    every    genre    from traditional   to   standard,   blues,   jazz,   show   tunes,   western,   rock, country,       classical,       pop       and       original.       Visit       website: http://portpolsonplayers.com/ppp16/ Neal   Lewing   is   also   polite,   modest,   agreeable,   kind.   In   short,   he’s really   charming.   So   don’t   miss   your   chance   to   read   his   interview and visit his performances. kn;i JBN:   Your   “Gary   Cooper-First,   Last   and   Always”   is   amazing. Tell us how you came to create this program. NL:    I've    been    performing    all    my    life    and    have    always    been interested   in   educating   people   about   different   aspects   of   western history. About   10   years   ago   I   had   an   opportunity   to   put   a   program together   about   folk   music   and   the   role   it   played   in   opening   the west.   Now,   I've   played   folk   music   for   60   years   or   so,   and   it   just kinda   fell   into   place.   It   became   a   pretty   popular   program   so   I wondered   what   else   people   would   be   interested   in   learning   about. Music   is   our   most   powerful   teaching   tool   and   has   been   for   a million   years,   so   it's   a   great   way   to   illustrate   any   historical   subject so   it   doesn't   come   off   as   just   a   dry   lecture.   Now   I   have   thirteen shows in the series, with a couple more on the line. JBN: How do you choose the people or stories to present? NL:   They   have   to   resonate   with   me.   Gary   Cooper,   of   course,   as   I mention   in   the   show,   is   a   lifelong   influence.   I   have   probably   one   of the   biggest   Gary   Cooper   movie   collections   in   Montana   –   he   made 92   movies   and   I   have   65   or   70   of   them. Another   of   my   shows   tells about    Thomas    Meagher,    our    first    territorial    of    governor.    We started   researching   him   in   2009   and   his   powerful   story   resonated so   much.   We've   been   to   Ireland   twice   to   research   that   show   and even performed it there. I’ll never run out of stories to tell.    JBN:    How    long    does    it    take    you    to    create    one    of    your programs? NL:    Most   fall   together   pretty   quickly.   I   can   usually   have   one   ready to   go   in   about   a   month,   depending   on   how   detailed   the   research is and how hard it is to locate some elements. JBN: You travel a lot with your programs. Where do you go? NL:     I've    been    all    over,    back    and    forth    regionally    and    some outlying areas. Even to Ireland. JBN: Oh wow... which one? NL:   My   show   on   Thomas   Francis   Meagher,   our   first   territorial   of governor. A powerful story. JBN: What are some of your other programs? NL:   Well,   I   have   one   about   the   Missouri   River,   one   about   outlaws, another   on   the   forest   service,   one   is   a   thank-you   to   farmers   and ranchers,   a   couple   of   Irish   Christmas   programs,   and   so   on.   I   see somewhere   down   the   line   25   different   programs   in   the   series.   I'm thinking   about   some   new   ones   now,   one   on   black   cowboys,   one about unusual western women. JBN:   You   told   that   all   your   life   was   all   about   music.   Can   you be more specific? NL:   I   don't   remember   a   time   when   I   wasn't   singing.   When   I   was about   five,   we   had   a   family   reunion   and   I   got   up   on   the   coal   chute and   started   singing   and   dancing.   My   mother   said,   “Go   in   the house   and   stop   showing   off.” Then,   when   I   was   in   the   fifth   grade,   I got   an   opportunity   to   sing   my   first   public   solo.   It   was   actually   “High Noon,”   you   know,   from   the   Gary   Cooper   movie?   And   I   thought, “This   is   so   cool!”   You   know,   the   girls,   they   like   that.   So   I   went, “Ooh,   double    cool!”   Yeah.   So   I’ve   just   been   singing   in   different groups   and   solo,   I   have   couple   albums,   and   now   I   sing   with   an Irish   group,   the   Montana   Sham   Rockers,   and   a   50's   group,   Those Boomer   Boys.   It’s   all   fun.   My   wife   Karen   and   I   run   the   Port   Polson players theater in Polson, so there’s always something going on. JBN: You must love Montana. NL:   I   grew   up   in   Missoula   and   have   lived   in   Polson   for   40   years, raised   a   family   there.   I   traveled   pretty   extensively   in   my   younger years   with   different   bands   and   so   forth,   lived   in   a   lot   of   big   cities   - Portland,   in   Seattle,   Phoenix.   I   wanted   to   live   in   small   town.   In 1979,   I   got   the   opportunity   to   move   to   Polson   and   it   just   seemed right   at   the   time.   You   sacrifice   a   bit   to   live   in   a   small   town,   but   I think that’s where America lives. JBN:   I   notice   you   asked   the   audience   for   stories   to   add   to your program. NL:   I   learn   from   an   audience.   I'm   always   researching.   The   Gary Cooper   show   I   did   last   night   was   different   from   the   last   one   a month   ago   because   I   keep   learning   new   things.   There's   one   fella in   Helena   who   has   seen   my   Thomas   Meagher   show   three   times. Every   time   he   sees   it,   he   says,   “I   don't   remember   that   part   being in   there   before.”   I   say,   “No,   I   just   learned   that   last   week.”   So   the people give me insight and that keeps it fresh. JBN:   Very   important   also   that   your   family   supports   you   in your artistic career. NL:   Absolutely.   My   wife   gives   me   a   pretty   long   leash   sometimes, she's very supportive. JBN: Do you have a motto for your life? NL:   (Smiles)   I   go   where   I   am   called   and   serve   as   I   am   able.   If   I can   provide   diversion,   make   people   feel   good,   escape   for   awhile, that’s   what   I   love   to   do.   Bring   back   some   pleasant   memories, conjure   up   some   nice   new   ones.   Nothing   mean-spirited,   there’s plenty   of   that   already.   Like   Gary   Cooper   said,   “The   thing   I’m   most proud of is the friends I’ve made.”
Johnson’s Billings News
Interview
Hosted by Johnson Computing
They are read.  We are Quoted!!!
  Neal Lewing: “If you can make people feel good… and I think, if you've been given a talent by the creator, you're obligated to use it.”
Photo by Western Heritage Center