Every Thursday at 5 p.m., Montana Press hosts live music with a Montana artist on Facebook live. Check out this interview with Toby Falcon of Counting Coup, a rock band out of Billings, Montana who will be playing the Montana Happy Hour this Thursday, June 18.
A self-described "western-blues-folk-rock group," Counting Coup is an indigenous term, pronounced “ko͞o”, meaning "to strike." In Native American culture, counting coup is the ultimate display of bravery. On the band's website, it's noted the term comes in many forms but the most well-known is the act of touching an enemy in battle, showing a chance to take their life and choosing not to. No matter the case, "Counting coup always includes risking one’s life for the sake of honor and bravery."
"We are no stranger to loss and hardship," says Falcon, "But we believe there is power in what you listen to. Music has had a profound effect on our lives and we hope to pay that forward."
Falcon chatted with Montana Press ahead of their Montana Happy Hour performance recently about the band, the music and their inspiration.
Montana Press: Can you tell me a little about how the band formed/how you evolved to the point you are now in your music?
Toby Falcon: We got started playing as a group in the winter of 2017/2018. That one was a record breaking year for snow, and also just a really tough time for us. We had suffered a lot of loss, so it seemed imperative to us to express ourselves honestly and come together in a positive way. Counting Coup is a Native American term for an act of bravery, and we hope we represent that.
MP: What/who are some of the major influences, past and present, that affect the band's sound?
Falcon: For us, it's all for the sake of the song. We look up to writers like Guy Clark and John Prine, while musically we are pretty eclectic. We draw sounds from Hank Williams to Jimi Hendrix, from Dawes to Muddy Waters.
MP: Tell us about your touring schedule right now, especially with COVID restrictions - where have you been and where are you headed? What are some of the challenges to touring and performing at this time?
Falcon: We've lost a lot of bookings, though they are starting to trickle back with small gatherings. When it comes to COVID19, we realize lost shows can't compare in the slightest to the lives and livelihoods lost in the pandemic. It's given us time to work on other things such as recordings and merch, so there's a blessing there. We all just hope we come out of the other side, stronger and smarter when the dust settles.
MP: What's something you'd say all the band members all have in common?
Falcon: We are all very alike, with a few personality differences. We are cut from very similar cloth. We all enjoy shooting pool, collecting and listening to vinyl, and enjoying the outdoors.
MP: What can we look forward to in your show/performance this week and at live and online performances in the future?
Falcon: Counting Coup is going to do as we've always done. We will continue to strive for that new favorite ol' song you never knew. We will ask you to feel and encourage you to dance. We will ride on until we are rugged, rowdy, and broken; and at the very least, offer a little distraction to this crazy life we all lead.
Check out Counting Coup LIVE at the Montana Press Monthly Facebook page this Thursday for a rockin' happy hour! For more info on the band, check out their website where uploaded performances are available.