Join us Saturday in Brainerd for the Great Northern Radio Show

Today we pack up the overnight bag and trek from the Mesabi Range to the Cuyuna Range, a drive much more common to my family in the 1950s but one seldom taken nowadays. My dad spent some time in Crosby as a kid as his dad and grandpa mined the last underground iron ore there. That’s all done now, and the nearby city center of Brainerd is better known for tourism these days. My family returned to the Mesabi and that’s where I’m from.

I’m headed to Brainerd this weekend for Saturday night’s Great Northern Radio Show at the John Chalberg Theatre at Central Lakes College. This is our third show, midway through our 2012 run as we head to towns around northern Minnesota playing music, telling stories and having a laugh.

Entitled “Maybe About Trains,” this show will pay particular attention to Brainerd’s railroad past and how it relates to the city’s present and future. We cascade through time and space, using music and some well timed comedy as our portal.

We feature music from Rich Mattson and Baby Grant Johnson as The Bitter Spills, Eric Pollard and his solo project Actual Wolf, Brainerd’s The Danver Patients doing punk rock in a whole new style, local singer and recent Brainerd High School grad Katie Wig, along with our old friends Iris Kolodji and Sonny Johnson from our past shows, and perhaps more surprises.

A very strong cast of local community actors bolsters our Great Northern Radio Players, including Nancy Waller, Charlie and Sue Johnson, David Vieths, Jon Bjorkquist, C.J. Anderson and Iron Range broadcasting veteran Scott Hanson on sound effects. We had some notable assistance from Dan Rohr.

I wrote the show with Matt Nelson, along with a guest sketch by Duluth writer John Ramos. We have a handful of guests lined up to talk about some aspect of life in Brainerd.

Some free tickets for the show remain, but I wouldn’t wait to reserve them if I were you. Call 800/662-5799 to get on the list. We ask that the studio audience be seated by 4:30. There are usually a few tickets left at the door as well.

We broadcast live on the KAXE/KBXE-Northern Community Radio network 5-7 p.m. Saturday. You can hear us on 91.7 KAXE (Grand Rapids, the Range, Aitkin), 89.9 Brainerd, and 90.5 KBXE (Bemidji and Bagley). We stream live at A podcast will be provided some time after the show. You may wish to listen to our Oct. 15, 2011 debut in Hibbing (Parts 1 & 2) or our April 7 Bemidji show from earlier this year. We continue to make progress toward what I hope becomes a very special program that shares a unique sound with a larger audience.

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