Touring band cancels show because of venue owner: Idaho’s ‘scary’ lieutenant governor

Touring musician Jeff Crosby grew up in McCall.

But, like all Idaho natives, he can’t know every detail about the Gem State.

That’s why the singer-guitarist felt compelled to share a last-moment cancellation Wednesday on social media — just days before he and his band were scheduled to perform in Idaho Falls.

The date? Saturday. The venue? The Celt Pub & Grill.

The problem? The Irish restaurant and bar is co-owned by Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin. Yep, the controversial politician who delivered a taped speech Feb. 25 at a conference in Florida organized by a white nationalist. Idaho Gov. Brad Little released a statement three days later declaring “there is no place for racism and hate in the great State of Idaho.”

Crosby’s message on Facebook included a ubiquitous, ridiculous photo of McGeachin awkwardly hoisting a handgun and bible with an American flag nearby.

“Just found out far-right scary racist lady Janice McGeachin owns the venue … ” Crosby wrote, “and the band and I can’t in good conscience be affiliated with these types of people in any way. We’re canceling and in the process of rescheduling at a new venue at a later date. Look forward to being back soon Idaho Falls! Stay tuned. Also this woman is RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR. Let’s vote these people out, Idaho! This state deserves better.”

Maybe the worst part? Crosby is intimately familiar with The Celt. “We’ve played there a couple times in the past,” Crosby told me by phone. “I wasn’t aware. I had no idea.”

Crosby found out about the venue’s infamous owner after fans from Idaho Falls reached out saying they wanted to attend the show — but not at The Celt, because of McGeachin.

“I can’t believe it took me this long to find out,” Crosby added with a laugh. “We just found this out yesterday! It was like, ‘Oh my God!’”

Crosby said the band wouldn’t want to potentially help McGeachin’s campaign financially by performing at The Celt.

Jeff Crosby was raised in McCall, Idaho. But music has taken him across the globe.

But the choice to cancel felt bigger than politics, he added.

“The band and I kind of landed on, it doesn’t even feel political,” Crosby said. “It’s stepping (into) more human rights territory. Racism shouldn’t be political.”

Crosby, 35, has toured in the United States and Europe for more than a decade. After relocating to Los Angeles in 2012, he landed two songs on the now-defunct FX series “Sons of Anarchy.” For the next five years, his Americana group played more than 200 shows annually: bars, festivals, even biker rallies, he said. Crosby has “a couple hundred gigs on the books” for touring that starts next month, he added.

In addition to leading his own band, Crosby has worked as a touring guitarist for gritty rocker Jerry Joseph and Idaho-turned-Texas band Reckless Kelly. He co-wrote four songs on Reckless Kelly’s latest album, “American Jackpot/American Girls.”

Crosby lived in Nashville for three years before moving back to Boise shortly after the pandemic began in 2020. His latest album, “Northstar,” was released that year.

A fitting Crosby single, “Un-American,” was released last fall. It was inspired by a bar conversation at his old stomping grounds in McCall.

Jeff Crosby · unAmerican

“I’d moved back to Idaho from Nashville as all touring appeared to be canceling,” he explained in a press release, “and I found myself back in the small town I’d grown up in and getting the ‘inside scoop’ on world conspiracies. I heard a few guys arguing about what it meant to be an American at a local bar and one of ‘em just kept saying, ‘Well that’s un-American!’ ”

Having the choice to nix a show in Idaho Falls because of the venue owner?

That’s totally American.

“Yeah. Yeah!” Crosby agreed. “Absolutely.”

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