The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 28, 2013

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

By Tanner Kent
The Free Press

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.

The Center — which is now seated in a new, two-story location a few blocks away from its old location on State Street — is looking for artists to submit art for its bathroom door signs.

As the newsletter states: “Images may have something to do with being a man or a woman, it can be funny or serious, or something in between. There are no subject rules as long as it is not gross, inappropriate, or a total embarrassment.”

All types of media are accepted, but they must be presented on cardstock no larger than 8-inches-by-10-inches. Works will be hung for a minimum of one month. If the words “Men’s Room” and/or “Women’s Room” are not clearly incorporated into the design, they will be added at the bottom when laminating.

Those interested, however, must sign up in person at the arts center.

-- Want to play for a winner?

The St. Peter-based Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps — which happens to be a three-time Drum Corps Associates Class A champion — have openings in all sections. Anyone with experience — whether marching band, concert band or dance — is welcome to join.

The next rehearsals are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at St. Peter High School. Those interested are asked to check the Govenaires’ Facebook page to RSVP and receive more details.

Instruments and equipment are provided, but new brass players are recommended to bring their own instruments, if possible.

The Govenaires’ 2013 production is “Chasing Hollywood.”