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Arts & Life

Mullet River Boys Bring the '20s to Spearfish

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Mullet River Boys
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The music of the Mullet River Boys harkens back to the fiddle and jug bands of the 1920s. The Minnesota-based band is led by Jack Norton who plays banjo, ukulele, guitar, trumpet and harmonica. The Mullet River Boys also mix in washtub bass, washboards, kazoos, slide whistles, tuned bicycle horns and more - all with the goal of corrupting audiences with pleasure.

Although only in his mid-20s, Norton grew up listening to the records of his great-grandfather, who was a vaudeville performer. The old 78s included songs by Al Jolson, Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby. As a kid growing up in south Minneapolis, his neighbor was Tiny Tim whose act included playing the ukulele and singing old songs like "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips." While Norton was in elementary school, another artist specializing in music from the early 2oth-century, Leon Redbone, showed him how to play ragtime jazz on the guitar.

Jack Norton joined Dakota Midday and discussed his band's music and some of his more contemporary music pursuits, including his children's group, the Zinghoppers.

The Mullet River Boys perform at the Matthews Opera House in Spearfish on Friday evenings. The Zinghoppers present a children's concert Saturday morning. For details click here.

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