Six Mile Grove headlines ‘Americana Showcase’

Published 7:21 am Tuesday, March 23, 2010

They started as four guys who wanted to play music. One was from Austin, and three were from Lyle. They spent hours of practice sessions in a southern Minnesota farmhouse and more than a dozen years later, they have a strong Midwest following, an extensive touring schedule and six albums to show for it.

Six Mile Grove headlines the Americana Showcase Friday at the Paramount Theatre, a show that includes special guests Sally Barris, a 2009 Grammy Nominee, and award-winning artist Dan Israel.

“We just try to become better musicians, work on crafting songs, writing honest, heart-felt lyrics and the people seem to connect,” said Brandon Sampson, lead singer and guitar player for Six Mile Grove.

Six Mile Grove formed in the 1990s, and the four southeast Minnesota natives grew as a band from practice sessions both in the basement of Sampson’s parents’ house, and at his great grandmother’s farmhouse.

“We listened to the radio to figure out what people were doing and tried to copy that, and we listened to my parents’ records and we tried to copy that,” Sampson said about how the band first started out.

In addition to Sampson, the band is also made up of Sampson’s brother, Brian, who plays drums; Barry Nelson, who plays keyboard and guitar; and Austin’s own Dezi Wallace, who plays bass.

The band’s name comes from the woods that run through the Sampson family farm, a place home to the largest group of Shagbark Hickory trees this side of the Mississippi.

“There’s a township named after the Six Mile Grove. There’s a church named after the Six Mile Grove, and now there’s a band named after the Six Mile Grove,” Brandon said.

The group describes themselves as an Americana band that has a bluesy folk-rock sound.

Currently, the Americana Showcase is organized as a series of monthly events hosted Brandon, with each show including a diverse, variety of performers and styles.

The concept was originally conceived to introduce southeast Minnesota audiences to the Americana genre, but now the showcase has expanded as far as Nebraska and South Dakota, along with various other places in greater Minnesota.

Tickets for Friday’s show are $10, and they available online at www.americanashowcase.com and www.paramounttheatre.org, at the box office or by calling 434-0934.

As for Six Mile Grove, the band is still making albums and just released its sixth effort, a live album.

“We just love to play music and still do,” Brandon said

Americana Showcase

When: Friday, March 26, 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Paramount Theatre

125 Fourth Ave. NE

Tickets: $10