Music in the pines

Concert features national, local bluegrass bands

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Alan Bibey and Grasstowne, a bluegrass group from North Carolina, headline the annual Lonely Pines concert Sunday at the Stillwater Eagles Aerie No. 94. (Submitted Photo)

The annual Lonely Pines bluegrass concert series returns to the St. Croix Valley Sunday featuring local and national bands.

Alan Bibey and his band, Grasstowne from North Carolina, and the local group Blue Hazard, made up of young Stillwater-area musicians, perform starting at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Stillwater Eagles Aerie No. 94 in Oak Park Heights. Sunday’s performance by Grasstowne is one of group’s three Minnesota concerts, following appearances Friday in Maple Lake and Saturday in Duluth.

Since first hitting the scene in the early 1980s, Alan Bibey has made a name for himself as one of the most creative and technically gifted mandolin players in bluegrass and acoustic music. A performer who turned heads as an original member of The New Quicksilver, IIIrd Tyme Out, BlueRidge and now Grasstowne, Bibey’s tasteful innovations and pristine execution earned him inclusion in The Young Mando Monsters project, Mel Bay’s mandolin book “The Greatest Mandolin Players Of The Twentieth Century” as well as The Bluegrass All-Stars Sugar Hill Records project.

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The bluegrass group Blue Hazard, made up of young musicians from Stillwater and Marine on St. Croix, open for Grasstowne at the Lonely Pines bluegrass concert Sunday afternoon. (Submitted photo)

Grasstowne is comprised of Bibey, Dustin Pyrtle on guitar, Adam Haynes on fiddle, Justin Jenkins on banjo and Kameron Keller on bass. The band’s first two projects “The Road Headin’ Home” and “The OtherSide of Towne” went to numbers one and two respectively on the National Bluegrass Charts. “The Road Headin’ Home” remained number one for three months and won the 2008 “Album of the Year” award.

Opening the Stillwater concert is Blue Hazard, a group of young musicians who have made a name for themselves around the state. The group released its third album in December called “This World of Mine,” featuring mostly original music along with some popular cover songs. It offers a contemporary twist to traditional bluegrass. Four band members grew up in Stillwater and Marine on St. Croix. Blue Hazard has performed at Summer Tuesdays and Harvest Fest in downtown Stillwater.

Tickets for the Stillwater show are $15 in advance, $18 the day of the show and $9 for teenagers. Children ages 12 years and younger get in free. All seating is general admission. Call 800-635-3037 or visit www.MinnesotaBluegrass.org to buy tickets or get more information about the concert.

The Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA), a non-profit organization, produces the show, which is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Stillwater concert is also supported locally by Brockman Truck & Trailer, Neighbor Stop, Musicmaker’s Kits, Trinity Select, Lake Elmo Bank, Lakeland Heating & Air Conditioning, Gruber Pallets, Benchmark Cabinets, Guitar Center in Oakdale, and Northern Vineyards Winery.

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