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Barley Jacks plays at Oak Center

See the Barley Jacks play live Saturday Oct. 12 at Oak Center General Store in Lake City.

A fiddle, guitar, bass and drums melodically melt to create the sound of The Barley Jacks.

The quartet produces music sprinkled with bluegrass, Celtic and roots flavors.

Hear them play at 8 p.m. Saturday Oct. 12 at the Oak Center General Store in Lake City.

Frontman and fiddler Brian Wicklund is joined by Joe Cruz on guitar, Kevin Rowe on bass and Joel Arpin on percussion.

The Minnesotan music veterans say they enjoy making music together so much that they sometimes giggle like little kids completely lost in a moment of play.

“Virtuosity, magic and a little danger combine to make every performance unique,” said Wicklund.

The Barley Jacks have released two albums including their 2010 debut record “Either Side of Night” and their 2011 “The Lighthouse.”

Tickets for the show are $5 to $15 based on ability to pay.

For more information about the band or about the show, check out, or call 507-753-2080.

Wicklund talks about his musicianship, writing and the outdoors.

How long have you been involved with music? With the Barley Jacks?

I’ve been playing music since I was seven years old. The Barley Jacks have been together for three years.

Describe your music genre.

I grew up playing bluegrass and folk fiddle styles such as old time and Irish. Others in the band have played for years in classical, rock, jazz, and Latin bands.

All of these influences work their way into our music. If I had to give an “elevator” statement, I’d have to say we are progressive bluegrass/Americana.

What instruments do you or can you play?

My main instrument is fiddle, but mandolin is a close second. That said, I can really play all string instruments to some degree.

Others in the band include acoustic guitar, upright bass and percussion.

What or who inspires your music?

I do most of the writing for the group. I live in Marine on St. Croix, Minn., which has a lot of natural beauty in the forest and river. The relationship we have with the land and with each other finds its way into the themes of my songs.

Describe the band’s dynamic.

We all play our instruments at a really high level. All four of us have great chops and everyone is very comfortable improvising.

We leave a lot open in tunes for spontaneity. We don’t always know where a song will go. It’s a blast playing with first-rate musicians like these guys who are not only comfortable with the unknown, they seek it.

Do you have a favorite piece of your own work?

I try to make my favorite piece the one that I’m playing at that moment.

Are you currently working on any project?

Yes. I’m writing for our third CD that we hope to record this winter.

What would you want most people to know about you, as a musician?

I really strive to give every show my “all.” I try to be as in the moment as I can be.

Hopefully that encourages the audience to do the same. It’s really fun when the band and the audience are equally committed to making each moment count.

What is one song off your top 10 favorite song list?

“A Crooked Road” by Darrell Scott

Do you have a favorite artist – in any type of art medium?

I’m inspired by heartfelt roots music of all kinds. These days I’ve been listening to master songwriters like Darrell Scott and Tim O’Brien for inspiration.

Besides music, do you have interesting hobbies?

I am a Nordic skier and technical coach for Stillwater High School and do citizen races. Others in the band are runners and mountain bikers.

We take our out-of-door sports pretty seriously. There are some really good cooks in the band, a wood turner and a fly fisherman.

What is one thing someone wouldn’t know about you?

I can play “Turkey in the Straw” on my teeth.

If you go…

Who: The Barley Jacks

When: 8 p.m. Saturday Oct. 12

Where: Oak Center General Store, Highway 63, rural Lake City

Cost: $5-$15 based on ability to pay

More info: 507-753-2080 or

Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

(651) 301-7880