Music at the Martin keeps culture alive in Winnemucca

Music at the Martin keeps culture alive in Winnemucca

Music at the Martin keeps culture alive in Winnemucca

Concerts with nationally-renowned artists are not the norm in small, rural communities, but Winnemucca’s auspicious location makes the city a crossroads for many talented artists traveling through to perform at larger venues. The banquet room in the historical Martin Hotel has welcomed prominent musical talents that have performed for audiences of thousands, all thanks to the Great Basin Arts & Entertainment (GBAE) organization . 

“We have brought such a tremendous amount of talent across that stage. Without the organization it wouldn’t be possible,” said Pauline Grimm, the Secretary Treasurer of GBAE for over 20 years. 

GBAE curates these cultural enriching and intimate concerts performed by unique artists and has been since the organization formed in 1977. These concerts are special to the community in that they keep culture alive in Winnemucca. Grimm explained the humble beginnings of the organization, as she started helping out by hanging flyers over two decades ago.

“We used to have to go find bands, but now they find us,” exclaimed Grimm.  

Although the Martin’s banquet room is only able to accommodate under a hundred people at a time, these concerts are just as significant, if not more significant, as those in large municipalities with tens of thousands of patrons. 

“As fun as playing for a thousand people is, I think it becomes less personal. Some of the shows we remember the best were for ten to fifteen people; they just stick in your memory,” said Josh Moore, one of the vocalists and guitarists for the band, Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs. The band played a fantastic show at the Martin Hotel on June 1st, just one of the 19 stops on their six week tour. 

According to their biography, “Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs are an energetic Americana band from Bozeman, Montana, that infuses four-part harmonies, engaging songwriting, and rock-n-roll drive into a modern approach to traditional folk music. Coming from varied musical backgrounds, the five-person ensemble creates a sound unique to them, but one that finds common ground by adding the energy of Montana’s big sky country into their music.”  

“Winnemucca likes to gather socially and these concerts bring out a cross-section of Winnemucca,” said John Arant, owner of the Martin Hotel. 

GBAE provides tickets to these concerts at a low cost and with 100 percent of the profits going to the performers. The Martin Hotel feeds the band and a local hotel provides rooms to the band as well, according to GBAE. The community and GBAE organization truly work together to make these concerts happen.

“We’re in a unique position and the bands are looking for other shows to fill in while they’re traveling on tour,” explained Grimm. The band is able to perform for an intimate crowd, meet fans face to face, and sell merchandise to help fund their tour.

“We didn’t know what to expect coming here, but we really had such a great time,” said Lena (Laney) Schiffer, a vocalist, guitarist, and percussionist for Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs. The band played a full set and astonished the crowd with additional songs they played when the audience begged for more. 

“These are people who are truly on the road, truly professionals,” said Arant, and added “The Martin is on the historic registry because it is a significant gathering place for people in the city and these concerts make it truly that.”