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High-energy country music to kick off benefit

The Pistol Grip Band will present an evening of high-energy country music for the Richardton Health Center benefit on Saturday, Nov. 2.

The doors open at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 7 p.m. at the St. Mary's Social Center.

"We're like cheerleaders -- we get the crowd going," said Pat Erickson, who plays keyboard and sings. "We play much better if a lot of people are dancing."

Erickson is an original member of the Back Behind the Barn Boys, which played in Dickinson's Queen City Club in the 1980s. One of its songs, "Come on Sunday Morning" went No. 2 on the country charts.

Erickson studied piano for 13 years and planned to major in music in college, but soon dropped out to play professionally. He's toured with numerous artists including the Judds, George Straight and Southern Pacific. Living in Miles City, Mont., he joined Pistol Grip at the invitation of musician Verlynn Strommen.

"I thought I'd give it a try," Erickson said. "They were so darn much fun and that's how it happened."

Strommen, who ranches near Killdeer, plays lead on vocals and guitar. He brings more than 30 years of music experience. Over the years, he has played for Ferlin Huskey, Tommy Cash and the Haggar Brothers (Hee-Haw) who opened for Charlie Pride, Marty Robbins, Chris LeDoux and Doug Kershaw.

Strommen said he is a self-taught artist, who plays a variety of music.

"We're basically a country band, but we enjoy playing the old rock and roll or fit the situation for an older crowd, he said. "We do mostly weddings and private parties and some club work."

Scott Gaugler from Dunn Center is the rhythm guitarist. When he's not farming and ranching, you'll find him with the band.

The best part of playing is to watch the people enjoying themselves and having a good time, he said.

"People like to dance to our music, we play a little rock and roll and some blues, but mostly country music," he said.

The musicians also include:

Lisa Guether, lead vocalist and harmony from Killdeer. She works at the Dunn County Courthouse.

Mike Staus, drummer from Billings, Mont. He studied at the Berkley Institute of Music in Boston and joined the band three months ago.

For booking information, call Strommen at 701-590-1094.