Monroe Crossing to Perform at KASU's Bluegrass Monday
JONESBORO – Monroe Crossing will kick off the new year of the Bluegrass Monday concert series by performing a concert Monday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m., at the Collins Theatre, 120 West Emerson Street, in downtown Paragould. The Bluegrass Monday concert series is presented by KASU 91.9 FM.
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 arrangements of songs that originated in a style of music other than bluegrass. The group formed in 2000, and the band performs over 150 concerts each year at bluegrass festivals, churches and venues across the country.
Monroe Crossing (from left) David Robinson, Matt Thompson, Derek Johnson, Lisa Fuglie, Mark Anderson. — Photo by Jamey Guy.
Monroe Crossing has recorded 15 CDs and has produced a concert DVD. A CD, including music recorded live at past Bluegrass Monday performances, was released by the band 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.
Lisa Fuglie is a founding member of Monroe Crossing. She plays fiddle, guitar and mandolin, plus she is a featured lead vocalist for the group. She was raised in Nigeria, Africa, and she first discovered bluegrass music through a 78 RPM record of music by Bill Monroe. Fugile has also performed with the groups The Hers, The Outskirts, and The Deadly Nightshade Family Singers. In addition, she received a Folk Arts Apprenticeship Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to study fiddle with Bill Hinkley, an acclaimed musician from Minnesota.
Matt Thompson of Mankato, Minn., plays mandolin and fiddle, and is also a founding member of the group. 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 played 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. Anderson is known for the energy and humor he brings to Monroe Crossing’s live performances. He is also a founding member of the band, and has written original songs for the band that appear on their CDs.
Derek Johnson sings and plays guitar. Similar to Anderson, his first musical experiences were in rock-and-roll bands, but he too discovered a love for bluegrass music. Prior to joining Monroe Crossing in 2011, Johnson 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. He joined Monroe Crossing at age 18 in 2012. His banjo playing is influenced by David Holt and Earl Scruggs, and he has also taught himself how to play guitar, mandolin and harmonica. When not on the road with Monroe Crossing, Robinson performs with other musicians in a variety of styles in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and beyond.
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. KASU will literally “pass the hat” to collect money to pay the group. The suggested donation is $5 per person.
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 happen on the fourth Monday night of each month. These concerts are presented with support from Bibb Chiropractic, the Posey Peddler, the Northeast Arkansas Bluegrass Association, 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 mscarbro@AState.edu or 870-972-2367. Bluegrass Monday is also on Facebook (search “Bluegrass Monday”).