The Archives of a Country Rock Band – Kilgore’s Trout Saloon

Kenneth G. Cross ’71 took an alternate route from many other Harvard graduates. After travelling around for a few years after he graduated, Cross and four friends opened up a saloon in northern Vermont. “There are an amazing amount of crazy people here,” Cross said last week from Kilgore’s Trout Saloon in Montgomery Center, Vermont. “It’s a small town–you know everybody.”

Them Fargo Brothers became acquainted with Kilgore’s in 1976.

More about Kilgore’s:

“Tim Murphy came to Montgomery in 1973 with a Harvard degree in political philosophy and a new graduate degree in urban planning.

He opened a saloon.

His partners were four college buddies. The men’s academic pedigree became a point of local pride, or perhaps puzzlement. In any case, they are still universally referred to in Montgomery as “the five guys from Harvard.”

It was the 1970s, baby boomers were fleeing urban areas, the skiing was great and Montgomery, improbably, was rocking. Kilgore’s Trout Saloon (the name is a double allusion, to the Kurt Vonnegut character Kilgore Trout and to the Trout River that ran behind the saloon), became a gathering spot for locals and newcomers.

Murphy and his partners served a $1.25 breakfast. They stayed open from before dawn till after midnight. They spouted ideas that founded new town institutions and traditions, a shot of adrenaline that further invigorated town life.” (The Burlington Free Press)

We, Them Fargo Brothers, were hired for the first time to play on St. Patty’s Day at the Saloon. We were billed as Them Farg O’Brothers!

This is Them Fargo Brothers at that time!


Left to right – Brad “Buck” Cardoza – lead guitar and vocals; Dave Allen – drums; Myself – guitar and vocals; Bruce Geiger – steel guitar and Bill “Slim” Rost – bass guitar and vocals. 

The ride from North Conway, New Hampshire to Montgomery Ctr., Vermont was about 3 hours. We piled into Dave Allen’s 1971 Ford Van with all the equipment and headed out on what was a “4 sixpack” journey. We always stopped at the first convenience store we saw to get provisions.

When we reached the mountains of Vermont, there was quite a bit of snow still on the ground and it was noticeably cooler. The sun was beginning to set over the mountain peaks and we all had to pee – really bad. Dave pulled the van onto the shoulder which was all snow and we immediately sank deep into the snowy crust – up to the rocker panels – we were stuck bad. This is a small two lane winding road and there was no one on it besides us. So we sat there – no cell phones at the time. And waited and waited. Finally a pick up truck approached and slowed down to check us out. The passenger in the truck wound down his window and said – “Looks like you’re stuck pretty bad!” Yup, we are. “Where ya headed?” We were heading to Montgomery Ctr. We’re the band playing at Kilgore’s Trout Saloon. “Well, Can’t have that! We’re about 15 miles out from there! We’ll head over there and have the tow truck sent out to pull you out!”

Sure enough, about a half hour later the tow truck showed up and pulled us out of the snow. There was damage to the left front tie rod so we couldn’t drive the van. So we were ceremoniously towed into town and deposited right in front of Kilgore’s. We exited the van to the front porch of the Saloon and were met by Gordon Cross and Tim Murphy holding a tray full of shots of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey! And a hearty welcome it was!!!

Kilgore’s remained our favorite place to play and for the next two years, we played on St. Patty’s Day. On one occasion, Gordon arranged for us to open for an Elvin Bishop concert in Burlington. That’s a story for another episode – Stay Tuned!!!

I thought you might enjoy listening to a new song I just finished in the studio – here’s the link:

See ya for Bill’s Happy Hour Saturdays at 6PM EDT on Street Jelly!






About Bill Madison

Bill Madison – Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist My musical career spans more than 40 years; from the Folk Music venues of Boston, New York City and Montreal during the 1960’s, to the ski resorts and honky tonks of Northern New England from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. In 1973, I released my first album called “Sunday Mornin’ Hayride”. That album has been re-released by Riverman Records and Yoga Records and was voted in the top ten retro re-issues for 2009 by the Acid Archives. In 1974, I formed Them Fargo Brothers which became New England’s Premier Country Rock Band, and I toured with the band until 1990. I am currently writing and recording in my studio and marketing my CD’s through my web site and have downloads available across the web. I am also seeking to license my music to films, etc. And I am a Featured Artist on
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