Idaho may be known for its stunning natural landscapes, but it’s also home to some of the best musicians in the world. From pop to rock, alternative rock to punk, the Gem State has produced an impressive lineup of singers, songwriters, and guitarists who have made significant contributions to the music industry.
Let’s take a look at the 20 famous musicians in Idaho and delve into what makes them special:
- 1. Built to Spill
- 2. Gary Peacock
- 3. Paul Revere and The Raiders
- 4. Curtis Stigers
- 5. Josh Ritter
- 6. Norma Zimmer
- 7. Doug Martsch
- 8. Ryan Stevenson
- 9. Eilen Jewell
- 10. Jake Sinclair
- 11. Rosalie Sorrels
- 12. Judy Lynn
- 13. Shook Twins
- 14. Providence
- 15. Caustic Resin
- 16. Paul Revere & the Raiders
- 17. Treepeople
- 18. Septic Death
- 19. The Ongoing Concept
- 20. Sun Blood Stories
1. Built to Spill
Built to Spill is an indie rock band formed in Boise, Idaho. The band’s frontman, Doug Martsch, is known for his intricate guitar work and introspective lyrics.
Built to Spill has released numerous critically acclaimed albums, including “Perfect From Now On,” “There’s Nothing Wrong With Love,” and “Keep It Like a Secret.” The band has toured extensively and has been a major influence on the indie rock scene.
2. Gary Peacock
Gary Peacock was a jazz bassist. He was a prominent figure in the jazz world for over six decades, playing with legendary musicians like Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, and Jack DeJohnette.
Peacock was known for his virtuosic playing style and his ability to blend seamlessly into any musical ensemble. Peacock passed away in September 2020, leaving behind a legacy as one of the most respected and influential bassists in jazz history.
3. Paul Revere and The Raiders
Paul Revere and The Raiders were a rock band who achieved national fame in the mid-1960s with a string of hits, including “Kicks,” “Hungry,” and “Good Thing.”
Their energetic live shows and catchy pop-rock sound made them a favorite among teenagers and helped to establish them as one of the most successful bands of the era. The band toured, recorded numerous albums, and were inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
4. Curtis Stigers
Curtis Stigers is a singer-songwriter, and saxophonist. He first gained fame with his hit song “I Wonder Why,” which reached the top 5 on the charts. Stigers has released numerous albums throughout his career, covering a wide range of musical styles from jazz to soft rock.
He has collaborated with artists like Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, and Eric Clapton, and released great songs like “You’re All That Matters To Me,” “Never Saw A Miracle,” and “Keep Me From The Cold.”
5. Josh Ritter
Josh Ritter is a folk singer-songwriter and musician. He has released multiple critically acclaimed albums, including “The Animal Years” and “So Runs the World Away.”
Ritter’s songs are known for their poetic lyrics and evocative storytelling, and his live performances are praised for their intimacy and energy. His music has been featured in films and TV shows like “Parenthood” and “The Other Woman.”
6. Norma Zimmer
Norma Zimmer was a singer who was best known for her work as the “Champagne Lady” on the Lawrence Welk Show, where she performed from 1960 to 1982.
Zimmer’s crystal-clear voice and warm personality made her a fan favorite, and she was often called upon to perform solos and duets with other members of the show.
7. Doug Martsch
Doug Martsch is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Boise, Idaho. He is best known as the frontman of the indie rock band Built to Spill. Martsch’s intricate guitar work and introspective lyrics have earned him a devoted following among indie rock fans, and he has been praised for his innovative approach to songwriting and recording.
In addition to his work with Built to Spill, Martsch has collaborated with other musicians and released a solo album entitled “Now You Know.”
8. Ryan Stevenson
Ryan Stevenson is a contemporary Christian singer and songwriter from Bonners Ferry, Idaho. He first gained fame with his hit single “Eye of the Storm,” which reached #1 on the Billboard Christian Airplay chart in 2016.
Stevenson’s music is known for its uplifting messages and catchy melodies, and he has been praised for his ability to connect with audiences through his live performances.
9. Eilen Jewell
Eilen Jewell is a singer-songwriter. Her music blends elements of folk, country, and blues, and she has been praised for her evocative lyrics and soulful vocals. Jewell has released multiple albums, including “Queen of the Minor Key,” “Down Hearted Blues,” and “Sea of Tears.”
10. Jake Sinclair
Jake Sinclair is a record producer, songwriter, and musician. He has worked with a wide range of artists, including Weezer, Panic! At The Disco, Sia, and P!nk, and has earned multiple Grammy nominations for his production work.
Sinclair is also credited for Taylor Swift’s “Everything Has Changed” as the sound engineer and bassist.
11. Rosalie Sorrels
Rosalie Sorrels was a folk singer who was known for her powerful voice and her ability to write and perform songs that spoke to the struggles of working-class Americans.
Sorrels released numerous albums throughout her career, including “If I Could Be The Rain” and “Borderline Heart,” and was widely regarded as one of the most important voices in the folk music scene.
12. Judy Lynn
Judy Lynn was a country music singer born in Boise, Idaho in 1936. She first gained fame in the 1950s and 60s with hit songs like “Footsteps of a Fool” and “My Secret.” Lynn was known for her powerful voice and her ability to infuse her music with a sense of humor and charm.
13. Shook Twins
The Shook Twins are a folk-pop duo from Sandpoint, Idaho. Made up of twin sisters Laurie and Katelyn Shook, the group is known for their intricate harmonies and their use of unconventional instruments like the banjo, glockenspiel, and golden egg.
They have released multiple albums, including “Window” and “What We Do,” and have toured extensively throughout the United States. The Shook Twins have also collaborated with other musicians, including Gregory Alan Isakov, Crooked Still, and Elephant Revival.
Providence is a rock band who has released multiple songs, including “Fantasy Fugue” and “Island of Light.” Providence is known for their powerful, anthemic music and their tracks that have classical and soft rock influences.
15. Caustic Resin
Caustic Resin is an indie rock band. The band was formed in 1988 and is known for their avant-garde approach to music, blending elements of punk, grunge, and psychedelia.
They have released multiple albums, including “The Medicine Is All Gone” and “Trick Question,” and have toured extensively throughout the United States. Netson has also collaborated with other musicians, including Built to Spill and Boris.
16. Paul Revere & the Raiders
Paul Revere & the Raiders were a rock band who achieved widespread fame in the mid-1960s with hits like “Kicks,” “Hungry,” and “Good Thing.”
The band’s high-energy performances and distinctive costumes, which included Revolutionary War-era outfits and tri-cornered hats, made them a popular live act. They were inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
Treepeople was an alternative rock band from Boise, Idaho. The band was known for their aggressive, high-energy music and their politically charged lyrics.
They released multiple albums, including “Guilt Regret Embarrassment” and “Something Vicious for Tomorrow,” and were influential in the punk rock scene. Line changes began in the late 1990s and members of Treepeople went on to play in other notable bands, including Built to Spill.
18. Septic Death
Septic Death was a hardcore punk band. The band was known for their intense, high-speed music and their confrontational lyrics.
They released multiple albums, including “Now That I Have the Attention What Do I Do With It?” and “Theme from Ozobozo,” and were influential in the hardcore punk scene. Septic Death disbanded in the late 1980s, but their music continues to be celebrated by fans of hardcore punk.
19. The Ongoing Concept
A metal band from Rathdrum, Idaho, The Ongoing Concept has released multiple albums, including “Saloon” and “Handmade.”
The Ongoing Concept is known for their eclectic, genre-blending music and their commitment to creating all of their instruments and equipment by hand. They have toured and been praised for their energetic live performances.
20. Sun Blood Stories
Sun Blood Stories is a psychedelic rock band. The band has released various albums, including “Twilight Midnight Morning,” “Electric Years,” and “Haunt Yourself.” Sun Blood Stories is known for their hypnotic, otherworldly music and their willingness to experiment with unconventional sounds and instrumentation.
Idaho is an extraordinary state for cultivating legendary musicians. From metalcore to folk, musicians in Idaho have proven their place, showcasing their talent and music for everyone to sit back and enjoy.
In the world of music, if you’re searching for hidden gems that are truly rare and extraordinary, Idaho should be at the top of your list, as it has produced some of the most legendary names in the industry.
Built to Spill Featured Image (Top-Left) by: Treefort Music Fest, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Gary Peacock Featured Image (Top-Right) by: Olivier Bruchez Lausanne, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Curtis Stigers Featured Image (Bottom-Right) by: Jonathan Brierley, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons