Hibbing blues guitarist has a blast
Hibbing native returns to the Northland to open Iron Range Blast II, a two-day rock festival this weekend in Chisholm. "I am looking forward to this," said guitarist Fredy Argir, who has called Austin, Texas, home for nearly 40 years. "I am going...
Hibbing native returns to the Northland to open Iron Range Blast II, a two-day rock festival this weekend in Chisholm.
"I am looking forward to this," said guitarist Fredy Argir, who has called Austin, Texas, home for nearly 40 years. "I am going to see a lot of people I haven't seen for years. It's almost like a hometown gig."
Well, a hometown gig with an international flavor.
In keeping with its British Invasion theme, the 10-act festival lineup includes British bands from the 1960s -- Badfinger and Savoy Brown -- and relative newcomer Sean Webster, whose 2004 debut album "Long Time Coming" was hailed as a gem by Britain's "Blues Matters!" magazine.
"It is going to be a really nice show," Argir said. "I mean Savoy Brown, who doesn't like Savoy Brown? They have been around nearly as long as I have."
Argir, a 1961 Hibbing High School graduate, got his start in music while in school, writing neoclassical compositions for piano. He started playing guitar and got into rock in the mid-'60s while stationed with the Air Force in Alaska.
"I met some guys who were good players and a lot of fun to hang out with," Argir recalled. "Next thing I realized was I could get an easy date. I thought 'Hey, this works for me.' I immediately started playing rock 'n' roll, and when I got out of the Air Force I just kept playing."
And play Argir has, although not always rock 'n' roll. He did the country dance hall circuit for a year, the national college folk coffeehouse circuit for four years. He played jazz and also played with a rhythm and blues band. He'll cut his 10th album this summer.
"I've settled now into kind of an acoustic style that covers a lot of things and really has no boundaries," said the singer/songwriter. "I don't think I have ever enjoyed music more than I do now."
Opening the Iron Range Blast gives Argir an opportunity to play an area he's only played a couple of times this decade.
Iron Range native and festival promoter Maurice Marcucci has made several changes to this year's festival. Instead of a one-day, 13-hour-long musical marathon, this year's event offers 14 hours of music over two days. The festival also changed venues -- moving from the St. Louis County Fairgrounds to the Minnesota Museum of Mining -- and dates, moving to June from August.
Organizers also have made changes to solve sound problems.
"Last year we had the stages next to each other," Marcucci said. "We needed to get them separated. We were getting drowned out by sound checks. This year we'll have the bands in earlier in the day so they can get their sound checks done."