By Ruth Nerhaugen, contributor
The last time they performed in this part of the country, cars were buried under snow in the parking lot of the St. Paul venue.
“We’re excited to see Minnesota in the fall,” said Matt Rolland, fiddle and guitar player for Run Boy Run and also manager for the Tucson, Arizona,-based band.
Run Boy Run will perform at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Sheldon Theatre.
Garrison Keillor played an important role in bringing the five-piece acoustic group to the state. They first performed on his radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion,” when it was in their home state.
“Garrison Keillor came backstage” after the show to talk to them about scheduling an appearance in St. Paul, Rolland said. They performed as part of a February 2013 broadcast, and returned to St. Paul later that year to play at the Turf Club.
Keillor, an author, performer and humorist, was so impressed that he penned the liner notes to the band’s debut CD. He also was quoted as saying “When I hear Run Boy Run, it all comes back to me, why I started doing that show back then. I hope they go on forever.”
Run Boy Run formed in 2009 and quickly made a name for itself, winning the band contest at Pickin’ in the Pines. The Americana/folk group made a special appearance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2012, and has been busy this year performing more than 100 shows around the country.
“We decided as a band we wanted to take full advantage of this window in our lives and do as much as we could to develop as a band,” Rolland said. “It’s been a definite year of growth and learning, but we’re in a good place.”
Run Boy Run has the advantage - and challenge - of being a family organization.
Performing with Rolland are his sister, Grace Rolland, on cello and vocals; his wife, Bekah Sandoval Rolland, on fiddle, guitars and vocals; her sister, Jen Sandoval, on mandolin and vocals; and Jesse Allen, a friend from college, on bass.
“With three strong female voices, singing separately or in harmony, and deeply rooted familial connection to traditional American music, Run Boy Run didn’t come lately to their sound,” Sheldon officials said. “It’s in their collective blood.”
The band’s format blends bluegrass, folk and old-timey American vernacular with touches of classical and jazz, spokesmen added.
The musicians all are songwriters as well as performers, Matt Rolland said.
“We approach song-writing individually, generally speaking, but song-arranging collaboratively,” he explained. “The transformation that songs take from start to finish when being arranged by the band is one of my favorite parts of being in a group.”
Their debut CD, “So Sang the Whippoorwill,” was released in March 2013 to regional and national acclaim. A new CD, “Something to Someone,” is being released Oct. 28 on Sky Island Records, but advance copies will be available at the Red Wing concert, Rolland said. It also can be ordered at music.runboyrunband.com.
“The new album features 10 original songs and one new traditional song arranged in the band’s signature harmony-driven, string-heavy sound,” according to the band’s publicity. Run Boy Run will perform songs from the new release during the Sheldon concert.
Red Wing is one of four area bookings on the CD release tour. Rolland said several Minnesota venues expressed interest in the band at the Midwest Arts Conference and got together to line up the shows. Run Boy Run also will be in Mahtomedi, Fergus Falls and Grand Rapids next week.
“We’re trying to constantly reach a wider and wider network of fans around the country and carve out a niche for ourselves in the folk/indie world that fits our personalities, our music and our band,” Rolland said.
Tickets to the concert are $20-$13 in advance, and $3 more if purchased the day of the performance. For information or reservations, call 651-388-8700 or go online to www.sheldontheatre.org.
If you go…
Who: Run Boy Run
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 25
Where: Sheldon Theatre
Cost: $20-$13 in advance, $23-$16 at the door
More info: 651-388-8700 or www.sheldontheatre.org