The Free Press, Mankato, MN


February 28, 2013

Notebook: Bitterroot releases new EP; Waseca looking for toilet humor

ST PETER — There are two types of people in America: People who drink from a Mason jar, and people who don’t.

Mankato’s three-piece Americana/folk/bluegrass combo The Bitterroot Band plays music for the former. And they’ve just issued an online-only EP, appropriately titled “Mason Jar EP.” With four tracks of stubble-chinned, on-the-rocks folk and blues dressed in bluegrass flannel, Ryan Acker said the recording process was “surprisingly smooth” and the band is excited to share the material.

“We do feel really good about it,” said Acker, who is joined in Bitterroot by Lee Henke and Vinnie Donatelle. “What I like about this genre is that it’s always being reinvented. For us, it’s fun to reinvent the way instruments are played and the way songs are constructed.”

The Bitterroot Band is also planning its first mini-tour in March. With four shows in four nights, the band will travel from St. Paul to Chicago to Wisconsin.

“It’s definitely the longest we’ve been on the road at one time,” Acker said.

For more information, or to hear the new EP, visit

-- Poetry lovers shouldn’t miss the “Image and the Word” exhibit at the Twin Rivers Council for the Arts Gallery.

The exhibit includes photographs set to poetry by members of the Southern Minnesota Poets Society. Among my favorites are Henry Panowitsch’s playfully desirous conversation between a dilapidated washing machine and the stone wall against which it rests (photograph by Nancy Walbeck); and Yvonne Cariveau’s “Farewell Tour, a poem about one farmer’s last visit to the barn that sheltered his livelihood (photograph by Kay Herbst Helms).

The gallery is located in the Emy Frentz Arts Guild, 523 S. Second St.

-- The Waseca Arts Center is encouraging a little toilet humor.

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