Back Up & Push opens Sounds of Spirit Lake

The Minneapolis bluegrass band plays Friday, July 16 in Menahga.

Back Up & Push, a traditional bluegrass band from Minneapolis, will be featured at Sounds of Spirit Lake at 7 p.m. Friday, July 16 in Menahga. (Photo submitted July 9, 2021)

The first concert of the 2021 Sounds of Spirit Lake season is at 7 p.m. Friday, July 16 on the shore of Spirit Lake in Menahga.

Music fans are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair and enjoy traditional bluegrass music performed by the Minneapolis-based band, Back Up & Push.

The band was formed out of a shared love of Kenny Baker fiddle tunes, Jim and Jesse vocal harmonies, Stanley and Scruggs banjo licks and a healthy skepticism of guitar breaks.

Band members include Michael Prewitt, lead vocals and guitar; David Robinson, vocals and banjo; AJ Srubas, fiddle; and Rina Rossi, vocals and bass.

Originally from rural Kentucky, Prewitt found as a shy, stuttering teenager that he actually liked being onstage. He now lives in East Grand Forks and teaches English at the University of North Dakota.


Robinson is a self-taught musician with an interest in early music. He learned to play bluegrass from the greats, attending Bill Monroe’s Historic Bean Blossom Fest during summers. He also plays guitar, mandolin and harmonica. In 2012, he joined the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame bluegrass group Monroe Crossing, touring with them internationally and playing at Carnegie Hall.

Srubas grew up in a musical Wisconsin family, latching onto the fiddle at age 10. He delved into Missouri-style breakdown fiddling, and has taught numerous workshops. He also plays Cajun fiddle.

Rossi took up the bass in sixth grade orchestra. While listening to mostly bluegrass and old-time music at home, she studied classical music for the next six years. As her abilities became known, she laid down the low end on various projects, including an album of original songs, and has also led many workshops.

Concerts are rain or shine, with the rain venue being a gymnasium at Menahga School, a couple blocks to the east.

This concert is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Five Wings Art Council, through a legislative appropriation from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Related Topics: MUSIC
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