Meet the Music – Pert Near Sandstone

OTC-ON ICE! is a celebration of all things Minnesota in the winter.  And that includes music.  We wanted to help you get to know the musicians that will be playing at the 2019 event.  Here’s a closer look at Pert Near Sandstone who will be playing Saturday, Feb. 9th at 8:00 pm.

Us: “What town(s) are you from?”

Nate Sipe: “Kevin, J, and I were friends from Park Center high school in Brooklyn Park (MN). Going separate ways after graduating, we ran into each other again years later and informally began playing acoustic music weekly. That turned into a performing outfit. Justin came to us from White Bear Lake, having played in other groups and becoming a good friend, a substitute bassist, then a contributing singer and songwriter. Matt was a friend of our last bass player and was living in Missouri when we met him. Originally from Osseo, nearby where we grew up, he was welcomed as our touring clogger immediately when he moved back to the Twin Cities.”

Us: “So is this the current band roster? Nate Sipe: Mandolin, Fiddle / Kevin Kniebel: Banjo / J Lenz: Acoustic Guitar / Justin Bruhn: Upright Bass / Matt Cartier: Clogs & Fiddle”

Nate: “Yes, that is the current lineup. Matt doesn’t play the fiddle with us during performances, although he has once or twice only.”

Us: “How would u describe your music?”

Nate: “I think of our sound as modern string band music, informed equally by old-time American folk music and the popular music that we grew up on, which includes everything from Bob Dylan to Young MC. We have been deeply influenced by the West Bank Minneapolis folk scene dating from the 60’s through today, as well as other contemporary Minnesota musicians.”

Us: “What do you like about winter in Minnesota?”

Nate: “Minnesota winters are a reset button for creativity and finding warmth in other people and the community. I think the arts benefit from the down time during winter. Being outdoors in the Minnesota winter is amazingly quiet, and a strangely beautiful reverse world from the other three seasons. It’s a comforting atmosphere that draws the imagination to other realms.”

Us: “Do you ever fish/ice fish?”

Nate: “Oh yeah! I was raised bobber fishing at a family cabin, ice fishing on Mille Lacs, and grew up spending walleye opener at Woodland Park on East Battle Lake each year. I have family in the Park Rapids area and spent uncountable hours in the woods and in the lakes in that area. My current angling trips are usually fly fishing for trout in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. To speak for the others, I believe they each had a similar upbringing, fishing through the seasons.”

Us: “Anything else people should know about the upcoming show?”

Nate:  “Pert Near has been working on a new album, so there will be some brand new material we will try out on the ice! Also, we will have a pair of Blue Ox Festival tickets to giveaway, so sign up on the email list!”

Here’s a sample of their music:


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