NISSWA-Fiddle, banjo and guitar virtuoso Joe Newberry joins versatile April Verch for a Grassroots Concerts performance at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in the Live Well Nightclub and Coffee Bar in Nisswa.
It is the last concert of the fall season.
Verch, a fiddler, singer and step dancer, knows how relevant an old tune can be. She grew up in the Ottawa Valley of Ontario surrounded by her father's country band rehearsing in the "Newpart," the Verch family room, playing award-winning fiddle tunes at church and community dances.
Verch decided early on she wanted to be a professional musician. In her early teens, Verch found herself at Mark O'Connor's fiddle camp, to which she later returned as an instructor, rooming with young musicians who strove to become carbon copies of their idols and learning a lot from the encounter, organizers stated in an email release.
"I asked myself, 'How are these girls going to do it? They sound exactly like somebody else'," Verch stated in the release. "'How am I going to not sound like somebody from Canada, or somebody who I'm listening to, and make my own sound?' It was really important at that age to grasp that."
By the time Verch graduated high school, she'd won the Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Championship and released a pair of albums, followed by a year at Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music and a win at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition, which made her the first woman ever to take both of her country's two top contests.
Newberry, a frequent guest performer on "A Prairie Home Companion," is a Missouri native and North Carolina transplant who has played music most of his life. He grew up in a family full of singers and dancers. He took up the guitar and banjo as a teenager and learned fiddle tunes from great Missouri fiddlers.
As a young man, Newberry quickly became an anchor of the incredible music scene in North Carolina, the release stated. He still writes songs that consistently show up on Bluegrass charts, does solo and studio work and plays and teaches at festivals and workshops in North America and abroad.
"Both Newberry and Verch became masters of their traditions and tour the world with their respective bands and projects," the release stated. "Yet they never forget the roots of their music, that connection to the people in the audience, on the dance floor, to the community sparked by a good song.
"The collaboration of these veteran performers, who come from distinct traditions and parts of the world, is fueled by their kindred passion for bringing people together to celebrate traditional music. Blues and ballads stem into Canadian regional styles and originals. Their voices blend in harmony, their tasteful instrumentals prove that these masters have nothing left to prove, and then their feet kick up the dust in perfect rhythm ... and together, they make you remember why this music existed in the first place."
This will be Newberry's debut at Grassroots Concerts and Verch's third visit. She last performed in the concert series with her ensemble in March of 2013.
The Live Well Nightclub and Coffee Bar is located in the Journey Church next to the school in Nisswa.
Grassroots Concerts are made possible in part by a grant provided by the Five Wings Arts Council with funds through the Minnesota State Legislature. Grassroots Concerts is a nonprofit under the Internal Revenue Code.
Concert general admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 with listening attention, when accompanied by an adult. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for seating preference.
At each concert, non-perishable food and cash donations are welcomed, with donations delivered to local food shelves by Grassroots volunteers.
For information go to www.grassrootsconcerts.org or visit Grassroots Concerts on Facebook.