Minnesota bluegrass group Stoney Lonesome released two recordings on Red House Records and were frequently featured on Prairie Home Companion. Minnesota bluegrass sounds like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it? Yet we have an active bluegrass scene.

The lady out front in Stoney Lonesome was the lovely Kate MacKenzie. Kate recorded two discs under her own name: Let Them Talk (1994) and Age of Innocence (1996). I went to her CD release party/show for Age of Innocence at the Cedar Cultural Center. Kate made it a special evening. Among the musicians who flew in to back her that night was then teenage mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile.

The place was packed and Kate put on a long show. Standing in line for refreshments at intermission, I found myself next to Kate. Having followed Stoney Lonesome around town for a few years, I expressed my admiration for Kate and her work and her show. Kate told me she had fallen in love and was moving to Oregon. You’ve got to be kidding me! Kate, come back! We will forgive and forget.

Kate made a few friends along the way. On her recording of Kieran Kane’s “Forgive and Forget,” for example, she was joined by Ron Block (banjo), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Nick Forster (guitar, harmony vocal), Viktor Krauss (bass), Adam Steffey (mandolin) — bluegrass all-stars — and the incomparable Emmylou Harris (harmony vocal).

After a long absence Kate has resumed recording in Mackenzie Adkins. All I know is what I read here by David Edin on Garrison Keillor’s site.

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