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 s i n g e r / s o n g w r i t e r , 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