|Prairiegrass Bluegrass Festival is Feb. 9|
Prairiegrass would like to introduce the Red River Valley to regional bluegrass music at the Empire Arts Center, downtown Grand Forks, Saturday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. The local artists will make a day of it by hosting a jam session at the Best Western Town House Inn from 1 to 4 p.m. prior to the show. Come and introduce yourself and learn something about the bands and bluegrass music at the North Valley Arts Council’s “Backstage with the Arts” reception held at 6 p.m. in front of the stage at the Empire. The festival will start at 7 p.m., opened by Prairiegrass and followed by the Wood Picks (www.thewoodpicks.com), and featuring Cotton Wood (www.cottonwoodbluegrass.com). The show is sponsored in part by Empire Arts Center, the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals, North Valley Arts Council, Yellow Book, and Best Western Town House. Tickets are $10 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at 777-4090 or at the door before the show.
Artist backgrounds follow:
Prairiegrass members are from Grand Forks, Thompson, and Newfolden, Minn. These four musicians will put together a mix of styles that create a contemporary bluegrass sound that is lively and provides a hint of folk and barbershop, driven by traditional bluegrass banjo and clawhammer. The performance will feature several new songs written by Prairiegrass.
The Wood Picks came about a few years back when Joe Kezar (music store owner in Thief River Falls) was asked to perform at their functions. He would then call around to a few picking buddies and ask if they “would pick” with him. Thus the name Wood Picks. For some time now, the group has consisted of pickers Greg Dally on vocals and mandolin, Dustin “Boy” Keller on vocals and playing “Harold” the bass fiddle, Gene Lunsetter on vocals and flat top guitar, and Milo Ballingrud on vocals and banjo. Joe Kezar gets to sing a bit, play a little harp and fiddle, and enjoy the folks that “Would Pick” with him. The WoodPicks play a mix of gospel, bluegrass and Americana music at county fairs, festivals and various events throughout the area.
Cotton Wood is a North Dakota bluegrass band. They are local to Washburn, N.D., and perform in many bluegrass festivals in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana. Cotton Wood plays a variety of music using traditional bluegrass instruments. Everything from lively bluegrass, to popular, to country flavored music is their trademark. Cotton Wood has produced several CDs and performs original bluegrass music that is telling of the Northern Great Plains. Dan Foster plays mandolin/guitar, Keith Koch on guitar, Jill Wiese on bass/mandolin/guitar, and Lee Benjamin, banjo/dobro/guitar.