The hidden talent behind the musician who began The Country Music Show


We’re one week away from a musical fundraiser for Community Action Food Bank. Today KLEW News Reporter Shannon Moudy sat down with the man behind the event. She joins us now in studio with his story.

Monte Garrison knows that the right words, in the right order, can strike a chord in a stranger. He knows that a steel guitar, can make you feel something. And for nearly a decade, he’s been using music to help those who are on the downswing in life, because he knows all too well what that’s like.

Monte Garrison knows the value of a simple song.

"I've just always loved country music,” said Monte.

But it didn’t start that way.

"I got a late start,” said Monte.

Garrison was a teacher in Oregon for 35 years, never knowing he had a hidden talent, until one of his sixth graders asked for help writing a goodbye poem for a friend. He had one simple question: how does it make you feel? At 45-years-old…that spurred something inside of him.

"Any time I can write a song with enough feeling in it that afterwards people come up crying, that's when I know I've got a great country song,” said Monte.

Garrison is now 77 and music is his full-time job. But he’s never lost that drive to make people feel, which explains one of his most meaningful songs.

"I met Billy Wilson… Billy was on the streets of Lewiston and living under the bridge,” said Monte.

"I'll Be Ok” is Billy’s story, set to song. But it’s also the story of how Monte Garrison began a country music show to give back.

"I just got to thinking, how can I use this song to further the cause of the homeless,” said Monte.

For nine years, Garrison has coordinated the show to benefit Community Action Food Bank. He opens every year with this song. This year he’ll take the stage again, even is his hands shake or his voice waivers.

Garrison is battling Parkinson’s Disease. But just like the man who inspired his song, Garrison is a fighter who knows you have to play on.

"It's kind of a transition that has to happen,” said Monte. “With anybody that catches something like Parkinson's, you gotta recognize that this could happen or this could happen. My wife's been good to help me that way. You know we're here right now and we'll take it on."

Monte also has a special surprise; he’ll be premiering a music video for this song at the show on Friday. For more information on this family-friendly event, check out our website,

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