Muddy Water Band to perform in Bandstand

Jack Franzen & the Muddy Water Band will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 30, in the Gregory Park Bandstand in Brainerd.

Jack Franzen’s bands have been playing for well over 35 years. He has played with several bands during that time; The Orbits, a ‘50s county and soul band, C&R Express and then the Muddy Water Band.

Jack Franzen has been playing, singing and writing songs for more than 60 years. He will perform county music including songs from Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams; and 1950s music rock with songs by Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson.

Franzen was inducted into the Rock and Country Hall of Fame in 2004 for his time in The Orbits. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hall of Fame for his dedication, service to the music recording and entertainment industry. He received an honor award from the New York Pro/Am Song Jubilee for his song ”I keep hanging onto to you.” That song is on his latest CD.

The Muddy Water Band members include Franzen’s son John Franzen, who has played with his dad for more than 30 years, will be on drums and vocals; and Kevin Wright, a professional musician from the Arizona area. Wright relocated to Pine River a few years ago.

People are asked to bring their lawn chairs or blankets to Gregory Park to enjoy the music. Organizers stated social distancing will be practiced and wearing masks is encouraged.

In inclement weather, due to COVID-19, concerts will be canceled.

Concerts in the Park are free and open to the public. Concerts are a collaboration between Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department and The Center.

Sponsorship of this summer’s concert series is in honor and memory of Helen K. Mills, Stewart C. Mills Jr.’s mother, who used to skate around Gregory Park.

Baxter author releases book

Baxter author Ann Dunham recently released her new book, “The Secret Diary – A Latvian Love Story.”

Dunham wrote the book to highlight the struggle the strategic Baltic country of Latvia endured under both Soviet and German occupation. The story spans from 1918 to 1945.

The book is described as Elena received a diary as a gift for her 17th birthday. She recorded her life, love, and trials until she died in 1922. Her daughter, Emilya, found the book when she was the same age. Emilya filled the remaining pages with her own story of life and love during World War II and how the small town of Sabile, Latvia, and her family survived the war.

Her husband Jakobs was the only Jew in Sabile who survived the war by hiding in the forest and working with the partisans.

The book is available on and a copy will also be available at the Brainerd library.

Ruttger’s Blues & BBQ Bash is a go

DEERWOOD – Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge will host its third annual Blues & BBQ Bash from 5-9 p.m. Aug. 8.

The event will include three blues bands, including Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame inductee Dee Miller. The outdoor event also includes a barbecue feast prepared by Ruttger’s Executive Chef Erik Rasmussen.

Blues & BBQ Bash is open to the public, but limited to the first 250 people. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for youth, and must be purchased in advance by calling 218-678-2885, or online at blues-bbq-bash.

Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame member Dee Miller headlines the event. Miller’s “barrelhouse” style of singing has earned her the title of “The Duchess of the Blues,” a news release stated. Minneapolis blues group New Feral Cats and Brainerd bluesman Bruce Archer open for Miller.

The concert and BBQ feast will be hosted on Alec’s 9 golf course at Ruttger’s allowing ample room for guests to enjoy the music and socially distance themselves. Masks are required.

Live music set in New York Mills

NEW YORK MILLS — The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center is taking its 2020 concert series outdoors for Music in the Park at the NYM Sculpture Park/The Barn.

The concert is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 31. People are asked to bring their own chairs to the outdoor community event and spread out in the fresh air and wide open spaces, a news release stated.

An unofficial John Prine tribute concert featuring Minnesota musicians Dave Virnala and Amanda Standalone will perform. Virnala is a local musician who has performed at every annual Longest Night Music Festival ever at the Cultural Center. He began playing guitar at age 8 and has performed with Standalone and Spider John Koerner, among others. Virnala’s influences include John Prine and Guy Clark.

Standalone is an award-winning Minnesota based singer, songwriter, performer and composer of original music based in the American folk tradition. Standalone has released two albums, “Millions of Blackbirds” in 2010, which bears the title track “Bird flew Hard” for the HBO documentary “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert,” and “Trouble” in 2014, funded in part by a grant from the Lakes Region Arts Council. Her music is a soulful blend of acoustic folk/blues strongly influenced by American Roots music, a news release stated.

The musicians share the music of John Prine, an American country folk singer-songwriter. Prine was active as a composer, recording artist, and live performer from the early 1970s until his death, and was known for an often humorous style of original music that has elements of protest and social commentary. He was born in 1969 and passed away in April 2020 from COVID-19.

The concert event will also honor local musician Troy “T-Roy” Anderson, whose idea it was to host this concert. Anderson suffered a massive stroke and unexpectedly passed away July 3 at age 58.

Anderson taught himself to play guitar, harmonica and piano. He was also a talented songwriter and loved to write about his experiences. His musical influences included Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, John Prine, Kent Duchaine, Luther Allison and many other artists. Anderson loved bringing back the old blues song feel in his original material, a news release stated.

A free-will donation will be collected to cover the artist and event fees, and for a memorial donation for T-Roy Anderson.

Organizers will follow COVID-19 guidelines, including physical distancing. Attendees are asked to seat themselves in family groups, distanced from others. Face coverings and sanitizer are encouraged and available. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should not attend.