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Preston couple's band set to release album
By Bretta Grabau
, Bluff Country News Group
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 6:43 AM
Dave and Beth Anderson's band, The Purdy River Band will be releasing their album, "Midnight Run" soon. Shown from left are Jon Anderson, Chuck Lahr, Beth Anderson and Dave Anderson. COURTESY OF EMILY ANDERSON
In the vast world of the radio, Internet and television, there are many different genres of music - classical, rock, jazz and bluegrass are just the tip of the iceberg. Many genres are broken down further into subgenres.
One couple from Preston focuses a great deal on the bluegrass style of music. Dave and Beth Anderson have a rich history of musical talent. Both play several different instruments and have passed that talent on to their children. Throughout the years, they have participated in several different bands and currently, they are involved in more than one band.
One of the bands they play with, The Purdy River Band, is introducing an album to the public within the next few weeks.
The Purdy River Band consists of Dave and Beth Anderson, Dave's brother, Jon, and Chuck Lahr of Manchester, Iowa. Jon and Lahr also have a vast amount of experiences from bands in the past. Like Dave and Beth, Jon is also involved in several other bands at present.
Many of the songs The Purdy River Band performs, which are also on the upcoming album, are original numbers written by Lahr himself. Though the band members do not restrict themselves to original songs, these originals are the primary focus of the band.
The band was formed last year, mostly on accident, Lahr said.
"I was always looking to record my songs but never really pursued it. Music was always a sideline to my regular job. I was aware of Dave and saw him and Beth perform in Highway 52 Bluegrass Band," Lahr stated.
While sitting in the audience watching, he realized Dave played in a bluesy style he liked. At that time, Lahr was looking for members to be in a band. He eventually found out Highway 52 split up and headed to Preston for a recording session with Dave at his Studio 411 Recording.
"We got a call one day for a job at the Winona County Fair. Chuck said yes and that he had a few guys to play the mandolin and bass. Later, he called me saying the guys had a list of excuses why they couldn't do it. So we had a job but no band," Dave related.
To fill this gap, Beth stepped forward, reluctantly at first, to play the upright bass. Dave's brother, Jon, was enlisted to take over the mandolin. And the rest is history.
One interesting aspect of this band is their practicing schedule. They have none. Jon lives in Golden Valley near Minneapolis and Lahr lives in Manchester, Iowa. Not a situation very conducive to practicing often. But, the band members admit it doesn't really matter.
"We really don't need to practice because we have all played so much. No matter how we play, it works with what is in Chuck's head. We only need more homework on the lyrics for the chorus," Dave stated.
The main time for "practicing" comes just prior to a show when the band is together.
"We find some quiet place to run through the songs before we go up on stage. The others are good enough to go at the drop of a hat," Lahr noted.
Coming up with songs often is a little random.
"Getting the ideas for the songs is so varied, but I use several approaches. I write potential titles from everyday things in a book, sit and strum the guitar trying several keys and humming, or use some memories from my childhood or my imagination," Lahr said.
One particular song is based on his past. The song "Midnight Run," the title track of the new album, is the story of his uncle and his mysterious death.
Recording for the new album also came from Dave's Studio 411 Recording. Recording the songs for the CD was not a fast process.
"We took the longer route for recording. I have done bands and been able to do all the recording in one day and then work on the mixing and through emails. For us, it was all done in the living rooms. I went to the Cities to record Jon," Dave stated.
"Dave is a genius at the computer. He knows all the tricks of the trade. Recording takes a lot of time for me. Writing is what comes easy," Lahr added.
Generally, the songs on the album are played with four instruments. Lahr is the main vocalist and plays guitar. Dave plays the banjo, Jon the mandolin (and occasionally the dobro) and Beth plays the upright bass. For the lyrics, they join in with Lahr in a two- or three-part harmony on the chorus.
This past weekend, The Purdy River Band launched their season of shows at the Northwoods Bluegrass Festival in Ladysmith, Wis. Lahr spent all winter putting together the group's schedule.
"I spent all winter lining up performances for this year. We have many venues we will be playing at and many have several shows. We have between 35 and 40 shows for this summer," he added.
Depending on the venue, the shows for The Purdy River Band range from 45 minutes in length to three hours.
"Normally festivals have us playing about 45 to 50 minutes. If we are playing at fairs like the Dodge County Fair, those can be from an hour and a half to three hours with breaks," Beth related.
With so many shows, one would think they might get tired of all the traveling and playing. Not so with the Andersons.
"We enjoy it because we love playing and have fun," Beth commented.
The new CD will be released in a few weeks. It will be available online on sites such as iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Walmart and other big name sites.
So bluegrass fans, keep a weather eye out for the new release, "Midnight Run," by The Purdy River Band.
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