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Whistlepigs conclude MAC summer series
Photo supplied Monroe Arts Centers Summer Concert Series concludes with the bluegrass sound of The Whistlepigs String Band, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7 at the MAC. Reserved seat tickets are $25 and $20 and are available through the Monroe Arts Center box office at (608) 325-5700. Additional information can be found online at
MONROE - They're not The Whistling Pigs; not The Pig Whistles, The Pisslewigs, The Whistler Pigs, or even The Pig Whistle Dirt Band, as they have been referred to at times - they are The Whistlepigs String Band from Minneapolis.

This semi-traditional five-piece band, which has been playing its own brand of bluegrass crossed with old-time, blues and original music since 2003, will ignite the Monroe Arts Center stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7.

This is the third of three concerts presented as part of MAC's 2009-10 Summer Concert Series.

The Whistlepigs uphold the bluegrass tradition and break with convention, playing everything from Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers, and Flatt and Scruggs to The Beatles, and old Appalachian and Irish tunes. The 'Pigs round out their unique sound with a growing selection of original tunes and songs.

Fred Keller (mandolin, vocals) is the band's chief songwriter and "ethnomusicologist." He has the uncanny knack of finding the most bizarre and unusual songs from the strangest sources. He found the song gem for the band's album "Unjugged," "I Picked Up A Hammer and Knocked Him in the Head," and made it into a hit single. Keller has the ability to write a bluegrass song that sounds like it could have been written 100 years ago, but is completely free of cliche. The other members of the group are Chris Jones (guitar, vocals), Joel Olson (banjo, vocals), Ross Willits (bass, vocals), and Catie Jo Pidel (fiddle).

Pidel, who is the newest member of The Whistlepigs, met Keller, Jones, Willits, and Olson in 2003 at a bluegrass festival. At that time, Pidel was no stranger to the Minnesota bluegrass scene. She had been playing her fiddle on and off stage at local bluegrass festivals, jams and fiddle contests. After winning her age division at the 2007 Minnesota State Fair fiddle contest, Garrison Keillor asked her to be part of his Best of the Fair performance of "A Prairie Home Companion." In 2008, the band decided to make her a full-fledged Whistlepig, after having been a guest performer (or a "piglet" as she was called) with The Whistlepigs for five years.

Reserved seat tickets for The Whistlepigs String Band concert are $25 and $20. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Monroe Arts Center at (608) 325-5700, or in person at the box office, 1315 11th St. Additional information regarding this performance and other MAC events can be found online at

This event has been underwritten by The Swiss Colony, Monroe Publishing, LLC and Big Radio. Additional underwriting has been provided by Wisconsin Community Bank; Carter and Gruenewald Company; Carl and Vicki Hearing; and Jeff and Barb Ingebritsen.