Musician Fred Montana is Performing Classics from “The Great American Songbook” Live at 3 Fingers Pub
There comes the point when a person stops chasing their dreams and begins living them, whether the dream is a base hit in the semi-pro/minor leagues, building a successful business, or rekindling a childhood dream on the threshold of retirement. That dreamer is Fred Montana, and on Saturday, September 10, he’ll be performing live at Three Fingers Pub right here in Hawley at 7:00 p.m.
“Fred Montana is making a long-held dream come true. With the same belief and tenacity, he applied to earning a baseball scholarship and playing sei-pro/minor league baseball as a young man, he then built a highly successful Human Resources business. Montana has been focused like a laser on building his dreams—a career as a solo cover artist, singing the timeless music of the “The Great American Songbook,” the standards made famous by Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Tony Bennett, Neal Diamond, Frankie Valli, Barry Manilow, Michael Buble, and other music icons. “I sing the songs we grew up with, fell in love to, and still listen to today,” Fred Montana stated.
The Teaneck, New Jersey native’s music career started at just thirteen on city street corners with a group of guys singing Acapella. While Montana’s parents always had music playing on the record player, his dad was against him pursuing a music career, and told him to keep his mind on sports. Needless to say, Montana’s dad didn’t know about the Acapella group; however, after a big shot from Decca Records invited the group down to the studio to cut a record—Montana had to come clean to his dad. “The record turned out to be successful, and they wanted to sign us, but I couldn’t sign anything because I was only fourteen. When I told my dad, he hit the ceiling and I had to drop out of the group. They replaced me, but I’m still on the record,” Montana shared.
Decca Records released the record in 1963, and “Denise,” written by Neil Levenson, was one song on the record that caught everyone’s attention. Life took Montana in a different direction, and it would be nearly fifty years before he found the spotlight again.
In May 2013, Montana took the stage at Biaggi’s in Eden Prairie, MN. Standing in the spotlight of a sold-out event packed with “supportive friends and fans,” Montana stopped chasing and began living his dream. He was quickly signed on for a range of regular gigs, and has taken his audiences, including veteran musicians, by surprise with the “smooth, rich” quality of his voice and his ability to “play” with a phrase. “Fred understands and executes the morphing and stretching of phrasing in the way Frank Sinatra epitomized during the Big Band era. He finds a deep pocket in the groove of contemporary, straight-ahead pop,” RCA jazz pianist and Gold record holder Rahjta Ren said.
Montana takes the stage regularly at The Lounge in Shakopee, where they renovated a room just for him, The Lodge in Robbinsdale, The Corral, and the Chase Hotel in Brainerd. “His “Bringing It Home” show at Maggiano’s in Hackensack, NJ and New Your City were early sell-outs, and his September 13, 2016 reprisal at Biagio’s, Paramus, NJ was even bigger. In November 2014, Montana opened in several Las Vegas lounges and cruise ships.”
When Montana released his second and most recent album, “Lost in Montana,” it featured his “diversity” and “range” from classics to pop to current day tunes.
So what brings an out of towner and talented musician like Fred, who has a “growing, appreciative following” and the ability to pack the house on show night and sell out for special events to Hawley, Minnesota?
It so happens that many years ago Fred Montana met a woman, fell in love, and the two tied the knot. That woman turned out to be Hawley Class of ’75 graduate Karen Pellikka. “It was her great sense of humor that attracted me to her, and one thing led to another, and we’ve been married for nearly thirty years,” Montana said. Karen’s parents, Hans and Dorothy Pellikka, owned and operated the Coast-to-Coast hardware store right here in Hawley. While the couple attended the Hawley all-school reunion over the summer, he was flattered to learn people recognized the Fred Montana name, and just like that, Montana’s playing at 3 Fingers Pub this coming Saturday evening.
“I’m looking forward to playing in Hawley. It should be a fun time, and the place will likely be packed with familiar faces and old classmates,” Montana said. “The best venues to play are those with an intimate setting of only fifty to a hundred people, and the view from the stage is incredible! The biggest impact for me is how people react to the music, whether singing, laughing, or even crying. I had one tear up while I was singing, who later told me that was their wedding song. That’s what’s great about music. It’s the universal language.”
“Each person walks into the venue where I’m singing with their stack of stresses and worries, and they want to feel good for at least a little while. I feel that it’s my responsibility not just to deliver a powerful song and a great show but to touch every person’s soul. I can see the tension ease, faces light up, and as people move to the music, their hearts open and heal,” Montana shared.
“Fred Montana is one of the true hidden talents of the Twin Cities, if not the country. Fred connects with the audience and makes you feel like you’re a part of the show, touching on your emotions through his interaction and song. Every time I have seen Fred sing, it feels like a new performance with Fred adding fresh songs to performances. Fred Montana is a show you do not want to miss,” Pliny Smith commented.
“I set out to live my dream, to sing the songs I love. I never imagined how wonderful it would be to share that dream with so many wonderful people. With every song, I want to let people know it’s never too late to reach their dream. I hope I can be an example of never giving up on your dream. I’ll sing every day of my life, if for nothing else but the pure joy of it,” Montana concluded.