Bluegrass Monday to Feature Monroe Crossing
JONESBORO — Monroe Crossing will perform a concert of bluegrass music on Monday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Collins Theatre, 120 West Emerson Street, in downtown Paragould.
Left to right — David Robinson, Matt Thompson, Derek Johnson, Lisa Fugile, Mark Anderson.
The concert is part of the Bluegrass Monday concert series presented by KASU 91.9 FM. KASU will literally “pass the hat” to collect money to pay the group. The suggested donation is $5 per person.
Named in honor of the creator of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, the band Monroe Crossing plays traditional bluegrass music, gospel songs, original melodies and their own unique treatments of songs that were not originally bluegrass tunes. The band performs over 150 concerts each year at bluegrass festivals, churches and venues across the country.
Monroe Crossing has recorded 15 CDs and has produced a concert DVD. Their newest CD features bluegrass arrangements of classic country songs by artists such as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, George Jones and Patsy Cline. The band released a CD including music recorded live at past Bluegrass Monday performances in 2015.
Based in Minnesota, Monroe Crossing is the only bluegrass band ever to be named “Artist of the Year” (2004) by the Minnesota Music Academy. The group has also been inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame and has received numerous awards from the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association. In both 2007 and in 2014, the band received the prestigious invitation to appear at the official showcase concert at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual convention.
Members of Monroe Crossing include Lisa Fugile who plays fiddle and sings. She was raised in Nigeria, Africa, and she first discovered bluegrass music through a 78-RPM record of music by Bill Monroe.
Matt Thompson of Mankato, Minn., plays mandolin and fiddle. He is a past winner of the “Mandolin Player of the Year” award given by the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association. He also serves as emcee for the band during their concerts.
Thompson has been playing bluegrass music in many bands over the past 30 years, including True Blue, a group that appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” nationally syndicated public radio program.
Mark Anderson plays bass in the group. His first musical experience was playing in alternative rock bands, but his musical tastes changed dramatically after being introduced to bluegrass music in 1995.
Derek Johnson sings and plays guitar. He co-founded the High 48s Bluegrass Band, a group that released four CDs, toured nationwide and won the prestigious Rocky Grass bluegrass band competition in 2008.
David Robinson plays banjo for the band. He became interested in folk and blues music at a young age, but exposure to a local bluegrass band led him to begin playing banjo at age 14. His banjo playing is influenced by David Holt and Earl Scruggs, and he also taught himself how to play guitar, mandolin and harmonica.
Monroe Crossing has been a full-time, professional bluegrass band since 2000. More details about the band, including videos of past performances, are available at www.monroecrossing.com.
Seating at the concert is first-come, first-served. Doors to the theatre will open at 6 p.m.
In addition to the concert, Terry’s Café, 201 South Pruett Street in Paragould, opens on Bluegrass Monday nights to welcome bluegrass music fans. The café serves a buffet meal beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the evenings of Bluegrass Monday concerts. Concessions will also be available at the Collins Theatre.
Bluegrass Monday concerts are held on the fourth Monday night of each month. These not-for-profit concerts are presented with support from Bibb Chiropractic, the Posey Peddler, Holiday Inn Express and Suites of Paragould, and KASU.
KASU, 91.9 FM, is the 100,000-watt public broadcasting service of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. For more information, contact KASU Program Director Marty Scarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or 870-972-2367. Bluegrass Monday is also on Facebook (search “Bluegrass Monday”).