Cowboy and Indian doesn't necessarily deserve the Billy Bob Thornton treatment, but it's inevitable: For the time being, the most notable thing about this promising but relatively unknown folk trio is the acting career of one of its members.
Jesse Plemons is best recognized as Landry from "Friday Night Lights." On the critically acclaimed television drama about Texas and football (produced, incidentally, by sometime Missoula resident Ron Fitzgerald), Plemons played the awkward everykid whose interests rarely meshed with those of his small town. For example, Landry started a wonderfully awful metal band with the school's only lesbian. They practiced in a garage and usually played in front of about 10 people at a local club. The band's name: Crucifictorious.
Cowboy and Indian is no Crucifictorious. Plemons and fellow vocalist Jazz Mills produce delicate harmonies over sparse, Southwestern-tinged tracks about heartbreak and hard living. There's the occasional boot-stomper, but most of the live performances posted online (predominately by "FNL" fans) feature more of a low-key, back porch vibe. Plemons plays guitar and harmonica, and sings with a distinct Texas drawl. Mills sounds more like Joni Mitchell, and usually dons a full Indian headdress. The group—guitarist/vocalist Daniel James completes the trio—plans to release its debut album later this year.
To its credit, Cowboy and Indian is gaining traction for its music rather than just Plemons's résumé. The band deserves the attention, as well as a better turnout than the typical Crucifictorious show.
Cowboy and Indian plays the Top Hat Wednesday, May 18, at 10 PM. $5.