Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January 23, 2017
Monroe Crossing sign travels everywhere with the band
   MONROE CROSSING USED THE BIG HAMMER AND NAILED IT in Paragould, AR, at Bluegrass Monday (4th Monday of each month) in the beautiful Collins Theatre, 120 West Emerson Street in downtown Paragould. Oh boy! Did they ever! The weather in northeast Arkansas was perfect for a change on a winter's day. As this Minnesota-based band of five heads back north from their ABM (Anywhere But Minnesota) Tour, they expect to run into plenty of ice and snow. We wish them well in their travels. We are sold on these folks, in case you cannot tell from reading below. I have enjoyed watching them perform for several years now. They are a credit to the music we all love. Thanks, Monroe Crossing! Come back soon!
Marquee at Collins Theatre
features Monroe Crossing
Marty Scarbrough introduces at left
Matt, David, Lisa, Derek (at back)
and Mark to the audience
MARTY SCARBROUGH, Program Director at KASU 91.9 FM from the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, handles the introductions and mentions the sponsors for Bluegrass Monday shows throughout the year. Marty and the crew at KASU do a fantastic job of covering all aspects of news and music programming. They know their bluegrass and gospel music over at KASU, let me tell ya!
       That being said, the band was in the South and in rare form! As you could guess, Monroe Crossing is heavily influenced by the Father of Bluegrass music, Bill Monroe. They hit the stage with fire in their strings! We must introduce this talented fivesome (is that even a word?) and let you know who sings and what they play.
Lisa sings
from left is David, Matt, Derek, and Matt
       LISA FUGLIE was born in Nigeria, Africa, of parents who were there doing agricultural research. They later returned to Minnesota to be closer to those Norwegian bachelor farmers that Garrison Keillor used to mention on "A Prairie Home Companion". Lisa plays fiddle and guitar and she handles vocals in a wonderful way! It's really fun to watch her face as she sings and plays. MARK ANDERSON is from Minnesota, where he met his wife, Lisa Fuglie. Mark plays the upright bass in a frantic, whirlwind manner! He goes all over the stage and all over that bass. He is such fun to watch! Mark and Lisa are the parents of 15-year-old twin boys.
Matt explaining this mandolin thing
to fans in the front row
       MATT THOMPSON is from Mankato, Minnesota (Ya, sure, you betcha!) and he is the right guy for that mandolin. He is the major spokesperson for Monroe Crossing. His humor is delightful. Matt also handles his part of the vocal harmony in their show.
Note: Apology for an awkward-looking block here. I couldn't get rid of it. Use your imagination that it's Derek singing "Joy, Joy, Joy" for his mom! 
       DEREK JOHNSON is originally from Washington State. He plays guitar and can sing a song like nobody's business. The band's new CD is heavy on covers of some great old country music songs from people like Hank Williams, Sr., Peter Rowan (formerly Bill Monroe's singer-guitarist), George Jones, Ray Price, Dave Dudley, and even Kitty Wells. Lisa Fuglie handles the Kitty Wells number.
David is the 'cool daddy' of the show
       DAVID ROBINSON won my heart the day I first saw this Muncie, Indiana, native. With his height, black suit, fedora, and black-and-white wingtip shoes, he is a smooth operator on banjo and Dobro(r) and even bass vocals. He's young and definitely a keeper!
Lisa on fiddle, Matt and Derek in back
David on guitar, Mark at right
       Here is their program in which you can find a lot of hard-driving bluegrass and also country, rock, and something called mo'grass (Motown rhythm and bluegrass in combination). If you weren't there for the 'live show or you would like to hear it again, you can hear the replay of Monroe Crossing this Sunday on KASU 91.9 FM or www.kasu.org, at about 12:30 p.m. with Marty Scarbrough hosting the show.
       Set 1: Mule Skinner Blues, Heartache and Stone, The Race Is On (George Jones), Crazy Arms (Ray Price), Into the Fire (Lisa featured, story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego), Cicada (David Robinson's frailing banjo number, available on CD called "The Road Has No End"), Georgia Piney Woods (written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant), Ramblin' Man (Hank, Sr., covered by David Robinson), The Walls of Time (Peter Rowan tune), Sea Cruise (ooh-wee, ooh-wee baby....), Makin' Believe (Kitty Wells, covered by Lisa), and Six Days on the Road (Dave Dudley, covered by Derek).
      Set 2: Life Is Like a Mountain Railway; Who's That Knockin' on My Door; Foggy Mountain Breakdown; Joy, Joy, Joy (Derek, written for his mother); In the Pines; My Girl (mo'grass style); Hobos in the Roundhouse (beautiful song written by Bill and Kate Isles); Doin' My Time; Purple Rain (a Prince number); At Last (Etta James number done by Lisa); Orange Blossom Special; Man of Constant Sorrow, and audience participation with Amazing Grace.
       We must tell you that Terry's Café is open at 4:30 p.m.'til about 6:45 on Bluegrass Monday nights, when they serve a delicious hot buffet with catfish, chicken, vegetables galore, desserts of all kinds, and beverages--all for a reasonable price! They are located a block from the theatre. Terry's Café is at 201 South Pruett in Paragould.
       Coming up at Bluegrass Monday: 2/27 Kevin Prater Band, 3/27 Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, 4/24 David Davis & the Warrior River Boys, 5/22 Nothin' Fancy, 6/26 Michael and Jennifer McLain, 7/24 Kenny & Amanda Smith, 8/28 Little Roy & Lizzie Show, 9/25 The Farm Hands, 10/23 The Jeanette Williams Band, 11/24 TBA.
Each person who attends the shows is asked to donate at least $5 when Marty Scarbrough passes the "Cat in the Hat" hat. All proceeds go to the performers, so give generously.
For more information:
Monroe Crossing  www.monroecrossing.com
KASU 91.9 FM  www.kasu.org  or Marty Scarbrough at mscarbro@astate.edu
Bill and Kate Isles  www.billandkateisles.com  

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