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Celebrate the red, white and blue at 2nd Street Stage

Rich Mattson and the Northstars will play at 2nd Street Stage July 6. Band members are Mattson, vocals and lead guitar; Germaine Gemberling, vocals and acoustic guitar; Curtis Mattson, drums; Kyle Westrick, bass and Ryan Young, violin. (Submitted photo)

Rich Mattson and the Northstars will entertain the 2nd Street Stage audience at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 6 on Main Street in Park Rapids.

Mattson is a musician/songwriter and producer/engineer living in Sparta, near Gilbert on the Iron Range. He began performing in 1980 at age 13 and took up songwriting shortly after that. Since then he has led and played with several bands, most notably the "Glenrustles" (1988-99) and national touring act "Ol' Yeller" (2000-13). In 1991, he opened his own recording studio in Uptown Minneapolis and over the years has worked with hundreds of artists.

Currently he is leading the acoustic folk-rock group, "Rich Mattson and the Northstars," and collaborating with his partner Germaine Gemberling. He also continues to record and produce music at his recording studio, Sparta Sound.

In the winter of 2014, Rich and Germaine decided to augment their folk-rock acoustic duo by adding drums, bass, and violin. Rich's nephew Curtis Mattson was chosen for the drum seat for his no-frills, deep-in-the-pocket style, not to mention his familiarity with his uncle's musical catalog. With the Northstars, Rich intended to dust off some old tunes and honor requests.

Jazz/fusion enthusiast, bassist extraordinaire and fellow Iron Ranger Kyle Westrick was tapped to replace original Northstars bassist Russell Bergum in the spring of 2016.

Rounding out the sound of the Northstars whenever possible (which is most often) is the violin of Ryan Young, who is well-known for his work with the bands "Trampled By Turtles" and "Pert Near Sandstone."

Park Rapids American Legion Post 212 is sponsoring the band and plans some special Independence Day activities.

The stage, beer garden and family activities are set on 2nd Street, between Main Avenue and Highway 71. Bring your own lawn chair. Arrive at 5 p.m. for the social hour. Buy a button at the beer garden for $1 off a beer and double prize drawing tickets.

2nd Street Stage continues every Thursday evening through Aug. 17. To see the complete summer line up, go to www.parkrapidsdowntown.com.

This activity is also made possible by the voters of Minnesota, through a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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