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Mipso live at Lee Street theatre

By Glenn Hudson for Lee Street theatre

Mipso is part of a new generation of young artists that are continuing North Carolina’s long musical tradition. They will perform at Lee St. theatre Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Charlotte’s David Childers opens. Tickets are $20 plus tax and doors open at 7 p.m.

Mipso, featuring Joseph Terrell on guitar, Wood Robinson on upright bass, Jacob Sharp on mandolin, and Libby Rodenbough on fiddle, pays homage to the state’s legends, such as Doc Watson, in their music. But they are not a bluegrass band. They are an acoustic quartet.

And they have their own take on North Carolina’s home-grown music.

“We’re all North Carolinians,” said Terrell, who, like the others, is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill. “We’ve all studied North Carolina music in all of its forms. The first song I learned on guitar was a Doc Watson song. My grandma taught me take North Carolina music seriously.

“We don’t think of bluegrass as incompatible to the other types of music we listen to,” he said. “But we’re more at the songwriter end of the spectrum, taking what we learned from bluegrass. The way we meld it, it comes natural to us.”

There is no banjo in Mipso. Instead, you get a slower tempo than with bluegrass. And beautiful four-part harmonies compliment the lyrics that are absolutely a celebration of the Land of the Longleaf Pine, as North Carolina is known.

“You can never escape the music you heard when you were in the cradle,” said Terrell, regarding traditional bluegrass from the Tarheel state. “That’s what I was raised on. There is something about it that feels right. I was surrounded by that North Carolina music,” said Terrell, adding that several relatives were bluegrass musicians during his childhood. “I took it as old people music. But then I travelled. I studied guitar in South America and music from other cultures. Then I realized, ‘Hey, there’s music from where I’m from.’”

Mipso considers their upcoming Lee St. theatre show as a homecoming of sorts. The band has seen 26 states in the past eight weeks and they have a good fan base here.

“We feel 100 percent lucky and grateful that we’re able to make music,” said Terrell. “And we owe it to places like Salisbury because were are being encouraged by people that like what we’re doing.”

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