On July 24, Monroe Crossing, the bluegrass quintet based in Minnesota, unpacked their instruments in KUFM's Studio B, grouped around a single microphone, and recorded a short set, chatting between songs with "What I Like About Jazz" host John Arvish about gigs - including the collaborative bluegrass mass that won the group several performances at Carnegie Hall.
In this session, you'll hear hard-driving bass, sweet, tight vocal harmonies, and alternately cheerful, reverential and woeful lyrics paired with bouncy melodies. Monroe Crossing is adept among traditional bluegrass bands in combining lyrical depth and musical buoyancy, especially on their original songs. Their repertoire includes standards by Monroe and Scruggs and tunes mined from masters of other genres beyond bluegrass, like Etta James, Stephen Stills, and The Temptations. All are played with a fine blending of mandolin, fiddle and banjo.
The set list:
1. Easy to Get Lost (Derek Johnson)
2. Into the Fire (Lisa Fuglie)
3. Me and Billy (Lisa Fuglie)
4. Cicada (Lisa Fuglie)
Monroe Crossing formed in 2000, and fourteen albums later, the 2015 incarnation of the band includes three original members. David Robinson plays banjo; Derek Johnson sings and plays guitar; Matt Thompson sings and plays mandolin and fiddle; Lisa Fuglie sings and play fiddle, mandolin and guitar; and Mark Anderson sings and plays bass (and techie gadgets).
The band is busy: they perform over a hundred and fifty show a year. In addition to their collaborations with classical choirs like VocalEssence and Dolce Canto, they also perform in schools as part of a music education program sponsored by the Minnesota State Arts Board.