Bluegrass concert to benefit American Indian women in recovery


Roots music is the name of the game this Saturday night at the Cabooze, a bar and music venue on the Hiawatha Line in South Minneapolis, as the Duluth bluegrass string-based band Trampled by Turtles headlines a benefit concert. The concert will raise money for Kateri Residence, a safe and sober space for American Indian women in recovery. Performers will also include the local string band the Brass Kings, and—playing original and traditional folk and Piedmont-style blues—Charlie Parr.

The nonprofit organization Saint Stephen’s Human Services, founded by St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, launched its family of services in 1972 when it opened the Kateri Residence. In 2007, according to the organization’s annual report, over 64 women lived at Kateri House and an additional 47 were served as former residents in their Alumnae program.

Benefit for Kateri Residence at the Cabooze, 917 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis. 8 p.m. this Saturday, February 9. Ages 18+. For tickets ($18), see

Amber Becker, Development Associate at St. Stephen’s, explained that the organization’s community and volunteers are an extremely talented bunch. “It’s an absolute blessing when talented friends of ours take an interest in the programs and what we are doing. This Trampled by Turtles concert benefit is one of the simplest and most efficient and effective fundraisers any nonprofit could hope for.”

According to Becker, it’s an important and exciting event because the Kateri Residence is receiving the profits from all of the ticket sales. “If the Cabooze sells out,” said Becker, “it will be a very significant amount of money for the program.”

At first glance the program might not seem to overlap with down-home picking and barn-raising reels. So, how did Trampled By Turtles and the organization find each other? Well, David Simonett—lead vocalist and guitar player for the band—just happens to know Mikkel Beckman of the Brass Kings. Beckman works on the side as executive director of Saint Stephen’s Human Services and serves on the Board of Directors of Ford House and Alliance Housing.

“Last year the whole Trampled by Turtles band showed up and it was fabulous,” said Becker, referring to a previous benefit at the Cedar Cultural Center. “This year, much to our delight, Dave Simonett approached us saying he would like to do another benefit for the Kateri Residence and he would like to do it at the Cabooze. Then he went ahead and set everything up!”

Trampled by Turtles, a band City Pages calls “the Pogues of bluegrass—fast and loud and melodically severe,” released their fourth album Trouble last year. The band features Simonett on guitar, Tim Saxhaug on bass, Dave Carroll on banjo, Erik Berry on mandolin, and Ryan Young on fiddle.

“The show is about raising awareness—and, of course, money—locally,” said Simonett. ”I think once people realize that the Kateri Residence exists and all of the important help it gives our community, they’ll want to support it.”

Christopher Pommier ( is a citizen journalist in Minneapolis. He also writes poetry and works as an immigration case manager at a small downtown law firm.