By Thursday afternoon, Butte native Tim Pasquinzo had spent nearly 30 hours in a mini-van — traveling from his home in Nashville, accompanied by his wife, Danielle, five band members, equipment and even a dog.
But the trip is well worth it for the 2003 Butte High graduate, who will make his second appearance at Evel Knievel Days, entertaining the crowd Friday night.
The past year has been good for the shaggy-haired 22-year-old who grew up in Elk Park, devoted to Nirvana and the guitar. After graduation, Pasquinzo headed to school in California, where he met one of his heroes, Nashville guitarist and producer Johnny Hiland.
Pasquinzo switched to country music — he finds it easy to write the songs he has lived — and put together his first full-length CD called “Iron Horse.” It is with that album that Pasquinzo, now performing as Tim Montana, got to work with Hiland — a big break in a town known for competitiveness and sheer luck.
“No matter what, I got to work with one of my heroes,” said Pasquinzo. “I was blessed to work with him.” Music has always been a passion of Pasquinzo, who started playing guitar when he was 6 and performed at every Butte High talent show. He also has been encouraged by his hometown, from his mother, Merri — “she’s my biggest fan” — to Mark James of Greenfield Printers, who took payments from Pasquinzo when he was buying guitars. James also helped bring Pasquinzo back to Butte to appear at Evel Days.
He acknowledges his hometown in the liner notes in his new album. “… I would like to give a special shout out to Butte, Montana, the greatest city in America!” Pasquinzo plays, writes and sings music for a living at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, a well-known Nashville honky-tonk which has seen Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson on its stage.
“Timing is everything,” Pasquinzo said of the Nashville music business.
Having a professionally produced CD — which features Pasquinzo’s “Butte, America” and nine other Pasquinzo-penned songs — gives him a leg up on the competition.
“It gets you that much further,” he said. “You can say ‘here’s my record’.”