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NPR Arts & Life

The Singing Snow Plow Driver Of Bozeman, Mont.

Winter driving can be unpleasant, dangerous and — for people who work to keep road conditions safe — time consuming.

The long hours that Justin Horak, a snow plow driver in Montana, passes behind the wheel recently gave him musical inspiration.

He recently recorded himself belting a lighthearted plea for other drivers to respect the plow. When his young daughter convinced him to post the video to YouTube, Horak never expected it to take off.

But in the three weeks since he uploaded "County Plow Guy," the video has racked up more than 13,000 views.

"I just have been so amazed with the response. I made it as a joke just for myself and maybe a few of my coworkers, and it's just exploded," Horak said.

"I think people like to just see a normal guy go out there and do something different."

Now, radio stations around the state are airing his tune. A country station in Bozeman even wants him to re-record it in a studio with instrumentals.

His lyrics, set to the tune of Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman," a song that was made famous by Glen Campbell, are an ode to the travails of plow drivers, and a friendly reminder to fellow drivers to be courteous and slow down. The song also warns against tailgating and trying to pass snow plows.

In place of a "lineman for the county," of course, Horak designates himself a "plow man for the county."

"I see you giving me the finger. I see you texting and driving. And when they slide off the corners, they break all the signs."

"County Plow Guy" may be a parody, but Horak takes music seriously. He studied music at Montana State University and the University of Montana, and wrote the piano music for his own wedding. Right now, he sings in Bozeman's symphonic and chamber choirs. He's had several parts in Bozeman's Intermountain Opera, for which he devotes about six months of preparation.

"Music has always been a huge, huge part of my life," he said. "People have different ways that they use it, but everybody uses it in some sort of personal way to them."

Horak says he probably won't release another song for a while. Right now, he's busy preparing to audition for another opera, "The Marriage Of Figaro."

Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio. To see more, visit Yellowstone Public Radio.

Corrected: January 29, 2020 at 12:00 AM EST
In the audio of this story, as in a previous Web version, we incorrectly imply that "Wichita Lineman" was written by Glen Campbell. It was written by Jimmy Webb, while Campbell was the first to record the song and make it famous.