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Sugar on the Roof on Center Stage Minnesota Ahead of Festival Rialto

Sugar on the Roof poses in old timey clothes holding their instruments
Sugar on the Roof is playing at Festival Rialto on Saturday, June 4th in Grand Rapids, MN

Sugar on the Roof is playing the Festival Rialto in Grand Rapids on June 4th at Rapids Brewery, and will be playing alongside Wild Horses, Mike Munson, Superior Siren, and LaPlant Road. The band is made up of Megan, Jefferson, and Clancy, who stopped by to talk with Brett Carter on KAXE/KBXE's Minnesota music show, Center Stage Minnesota. Click the player above if you'd like to hear the whole conversation.

When asked what folks can expect from a Sugar on the Roof show, Megan said they are a band playing the hits from the 30s, 40s, and today. They embrace the entertainment value that comes with music of the vaudeville era. Clancy described their act by putting it in the context of music from that time. "Part of the old shows in the Tin Pan Alley era was about entertainment. Megan has a theater background and my mom is an actor, so I was brought up in that vein as well. We've dipped our toe into the early side of entertainment where shenanigans do happen on stage."

There was also mention of a possible kazoo solo as part of their performance. Going for a kazoo solo is a pretty big risk for a musician, but the band said it would definitely be a tasteful kazoo solo.

But the shenanigans don't obstruct their music. It's interesting and enjoyable, with skillful musicians having fun together. Sugar on the Roof is a three-person outfit. They play modern arrangements of traditional folk music, and they use clever instrument combinations to add their own twist to songs from a different time. The trombone, guitar, and fiddle sound is timeless and somehow still surprising. Just take a look at the tags on the Bandcamp page for their 2021 album "Hat Drop" to learn what kind of journey you're going on when you listen to Sugar on the Roof: folk, western swing, dance music, early country, old time, stringband, Duluth.

KAXE/KBXE Music Director Kari Hedlund was impressed with Sugar's ability to make something new from something old when she introduced "Hat Drop" as the KAXE/KBXE album of the week last year. Kari wrote that Sugar on the Roof "think thoughtfully about covering that old time music and how to bring it into a world so different from when it came."

If you listen to the full interview by clicking the player at the top of the page, you'll hear three songs from "Hat Drop", the band's latest release. First, "Who Walks In When I Walk Out" a classic that Sugar added trombone to to give it their own flair. Then, "Ridding on Down" by Cyndi Walker a twangy dance number with great vocals from Megan. The set closed with "I Only Want a Buddy Not a Sweetheart," a playful tune that nodded at the fun baked into Sugar's approach to performing.

Festival Rialto is a one-day festival in Grand Rapids, MN featuring bands from across northern Minnesota. Learn more about Festival Rialto on their ticket and information site here.

KAXE/KBXE brings you music that matters to northern Minnesota. We'll be covering the Festival Rialto next week, and we're bringing you great music this summer. Stay tuned!

Festival Rialto Saturday June 4th at Rapids Brewing Co. Grand Rapids MN

Max Philbrook (he/him) is a Producer at KAXE focused on telling the stories of the people, events, and organizations that make up the fabric of northern Minnesota. Based out of Grand Rapids, Max spends his time reading fiction at the library, seeing sports and live music, and supporting the arts and cultural events in the area. Get in touch with Max if you have a story to tell, an event to publicize, or just want to chat about life in the northland.