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Artists, writers welcome to find inspiration at weekly Terrapin Station gathering

“Terrapin Brothers” jam at the music center’s weekly Art Nite. Band members are, from left, keyboardist Bruce Babler, lead singer Brian Skinness, drummer Keith Bunnell and guitarist Frank Prout. (Shannon Geisen / Enterprise)

By shannon geisen

Psychedelic lights spiral throughout the blue-lit room and mellow tunes emanate from the stage where the band “Terrapin Brothers” grooves to ballad rock.

It’s a Wednesday night at Terrapin Station in Nevis.

Owner and band member Brian Skinness invites “painters, knitters, dancers, poets, writers to be part of the creative environment” every Wednesday at the art gallery and music center, located in downtown Nevis.

“There’s Art Nite and Every Other Art Nite,” joked Skinness. “Pick your poison.”

Skinness launched the weekly event last fall. There is no cost to attend.

Nevis resident Sara Lowry heard about Art Nite from an artistic friend. She quizzed Skinness about the gathering before attending.

“He said, ‘Whatever makes you happy, that’s what’s happening tonight,’” said Lowry. “I said, “‘All right then, I’ll be there!’”

Lowry brought her children so they could draw while enjoying music.

“Terrapin Brothers” are a guaranteed gig, performing “eclectic music with limited appeal,” quipped Skinness.

Brothers, though not by blood, Skinness and keyboardist Bruce Babler have jammed together most weeks since February 2003.

Terrapin Station grew up around them, with a house sound system, stage and lights.

In 2012, veteran musician Frank Prout added his bass guitar. Percussionist Keith Bunnell joined the band about a year ago.

They describe their musical genre as somewhere between “country-jazz,” “acid country” and “folk music with a beat.”

They play original songs as well as “covers in an original way,” said Skinness, favorites being “The Grateful Dead,” Neil Young, “The Moody Blues,” Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Wilco, Phosphorescent and Brian Jonestown Massacre.

There are more than 400 songs in their playlist.

“I just come every week,” said Babler. “Terrapin Station is the best place to hear music in northern Minnesota.”

“Brian is a gifted guy,” said Prout. “Finally, after all these years, I found someone I can play with – besides my wife, Debbie. It’s like we’re connected somehow. We can play anything at the drop of a hat.”

The band name is inspired by their brotherly connection.

“We used to be brothers and friends,” said Skinness.

“What are we now?” asks Prout.

“Terrapin Brothers,” replies Skinness. “We’re aiming for Terrapin Kings.”

For more information about Art Nite, call Terrapin Station at 652-3091.