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From CMT to the classroom: Billings-born country music star talks career paths at Poly Drive Elementary

Nationally-known band builds brand on giving back
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Posted at 9:55 AM, Mar 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-15 16:06:47-04

BILLINGS — From CMT to a Billings elementary class at Poly Drive Elementary, a Billings-born country music star is returning to his Montana roots to show students the sky's the limit.

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Austin Martin (left) and Marko Romain (right) host VIP-style Q & A session at Poly Drive Elementary

As students listened to the band’s lyrics, such as “flying high across the nation,” an excerpt from Austin Martin and the Herd’s CMT-debuted Country Drunk single, they were soaking up knowledge about song-writing and career paths in music.

After a VIP-style Q&A session with the band, the 4th and 5th-grade students were certainly flying high, enjoying the band’s catchy country rock style with a hip-hop attitude.

Students and educators fired off questions to the band members, such as: “What was your favorite music video?” and “Would you mind talking about that writing process and then how you take a story or that writing into a song?”

Songwriting is a talent this chart-climbing band has perfected. Now it's enjoying sharing its knowledge with the next generation, popping into the classroom to talk about music career paths before an all-ages concert at the Pub Station on March 15.

A group of students couldn't hold their excitement in as they prepared to get autographs on guitar picks and even their arms, exclaiming: “He is so cool. He’s a good singer. I think he should keep singing, he’s really good.”

“I am a touring country singer and I'm actually from Billings, Montana. I grew up here,” said Austin Martin, the center of the student's attention.

Lead guitarist Marko Romain grew up in Billings too, and both band members graduated from Central High School.

“It feels really, really awesome to be talking to them and hearing kind of what they want to do, and they are inspired to be doing music and everything,” says Marko Romain, lead guitarist for Austin Martin and the Herd band.

The band’s brand is built on giving back, not only in the classroom but local communities nationwide as they partner with Feeding America to give food to middle-class families who don’t qualify for assistance. In fact, their 2024 nationwide tour is called ‘Feeding the Herd.’

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Austin Martin and the Herd volunteer via Feeding America

From giving back musical knowledge and beyond, many would say Austin Martin and the Herd are ‘flying high,’ while lifting others up along the way.

“I thought that it was really cool that he’s done a lot of tours,” said Anker Kanning, a Poly Drive Elementary student.

“I want to be the next Taylor Swift, and like, I know that doesn’t happen overnight,” said Alyssa Brook, another Poly Drive Elementary student.

“I really like music because it makes me happy," said student Francenca Anderson.

“Fifth graders are so influential and so this was a great opportunity for them to come and listen to someone who has made it in the music industry,” said teacher Miss Whittmeyer.

If you would like to help the band with its Feeding America efforts right here in Montana, scan the QR code to donate.

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QR code for Montana donations to Feeding America

Austin Martin and the Herd perform March 15, 2024 at the Pub Station in Billings. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available online or at the door.

Read the band's full press release about its Billings tour stop below.

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Press release Billings tour stop

The band appeared Friday morning on Q2 Montana This Morning's Magic City Mixtape. Watch the performance here and here