NISSWA -- The Sugar Kings will bring a unique brand of traditional and original American music to the Nisswa Community Center, where the group will appear Nov. 16 in the Grassroots Concerts series.
The trio describes itself as "left-of-center" in its dedication to lifting American roots musical forms out of the museums and archives to infuse them with the spark and vitality that the group says traditional music deserves.
The Sugar Kings are Cam Waters, a veteran acoustic guitarist who has recorded three solo albums; Clint Hoover, a harmonica wizard adept on both the chromatic and diatonic harps; and Steve Sandberg, whose tuba and trombone playing and vocal harmonies balance the act.
The Sugar Kings debut recording helped them launch a Midwestern tour and evoked critical support from independent and public radio stations.
"Take Your Time, Mr. Brown," a 2000 release, touts the trio's collective attitude: Serve up "big, greasy blues and jug-band music" and mix it with additional flavors from pre-World War II jazz and Western swing to Tom Waits and the Sugar Kings' own off-kilter imaginations.
Jim Musser of the Iowa City Press-Citizen describes it as a "warm, full-bodied sound that goes down like fine sippin' whiskey."
"Waters has long displayed a deep-rooted interest in vintage American blues and jazz," said Musser.
After producing three sturdy, introspective solo albums, Waters found a new venue for his songwriting and the polishing of some worthy chestnuts from the past.
The group's recording includes 15 tracks, with 12 of them harkening from 1926-1944 -- tunes written by the likes of Jazz Gillum, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Fats Waller, Leroy Carr, Louis Jordan and Gene Autry.
The other three cuts are from Tom Waits, Don Gibson and the Sugar Kings' Hoover.
"This is the kind of record where Tom Waits fits perfectly with Gene Autry," said Tom Surowitz in the Star Tribune. He describes the musicians as players of "music from the old 78s -- acoustic blues, garage jazz, country and hokum -- as if it was their birthright."
Show time for the Nisswa concert is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12 at the gate only.
Those attending Grassroots Concerts are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations for the Salvation Army food shelf. The fall concert series concludes Nov. 30 with Dakota Dave Hull and Kari Larson. For information, call (218) 963-2976 or 218-746-3930, or visit the Grassroots Concerts Web site, www.uslink.net/~bradshaw.
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