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Thu, April 25

'White Man's Blues' pours over plaza this weekend

Courtesy photo

Perfect Strangers' talented mix of musicians, right, are headlining the Prescott Bluegrass Festival Saturday and Sunday.

The committee dropped its short-lived Friday night indoor concert that included a cover charge, but it has been providing a free Saturday night concert for four years in a row.

This year's Saturday night street dance next to the plaza will feature the newgrass sounds of Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band from 7 to 10 p.m.

The Rubber Band describes its eclectic sound as "post Hee Haw Funkadelic Hip Hop Newgrass," blending elements of rock, country, folk, pop, bluegrass and jazz.

The Salt Lake City band has appeared on national TV and radio, opened for bands such as 10,000 Maniacs and Creed. They were the 1997 National Band Champion at the premier gathering of newgrass sound, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and appear on the Telluride festival's 25th anniversary CD.

Rubber Band also will perform during the daytime festivities alongside four other bands.

Perfect Strangers will headline the main festival.

Perfect Strangers is a new band comprised of established bluegrass veterans assembled by Chris Brashear to play on his CD. They clicked so well that they ended up sticking together.

Perfect Strangers includes banjo player Bob Black, a veteran of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, and National Flatpicking Champion Peter McLaughlin. All five members join in soulful harmonies.

"If you're in the mood for one of the most soulful groups in bluegrass … check out Perfect Strangers," wrote Barry McCloud for Country Music Today. "They might just as well have been called Lonesome Strangers, for their music is in the great tradition of the most mournful soul-touching bluegrass."

The longstanding Bluegrass Patriots, Chris Stuart & Backcountry, and the Flagstaff-based Burnett Family will round out the festival, with balladeer Mark Brooks as master of ceremonies.

For a complete schedule of when each band performs, see the festival's Web site at

To help defray the festival costs, people can buy T-shirts as well as raffle tickets for prizes such as a Fender guitar, resort stays and even "Beer for a Year."

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