Cottage Grove country band to perform at Minnesota State FairThose who like classic country music can get a homegrown taste on the first day of the Minnesota State Fair.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Those who like classic country music can get a homegrown taste on the first day of the Minnesota State Fair.
Darlene and Ken Nelson of Cottage Grove will perform as “Darlene and the Boys” at the bandshell on Thursday, Aug. 23.
The five-piece band features classic country and has a new CD, recorded in their home studio, to unveil at the fair called “Endless Highway.”
Ken and Darlene (Krings), married 25 years, are both Park High graduates and have lived in Cottage Grove all their lives.
Both grew up in homes where there was lots of music and learned to sing and play the guitar. Darlene has a recording of her singing with her father, Pat, when she was 5 years old.
“My dad accompanied me,” she said in an interview.
Darlene stared in “Oklahoma” when she was at Park and sang with various bands in college.
While she sang contemporary music, she started to like classic country while in college.
The couple has made more than a few trips to Nashville, the home of country music.
Darlene appeared on Ernest Tubb’s radio show and she was on the same stage as the late Kitty Wells.
Although she sang in her first talent show while in grade school, Darlene sang “Makin’ Believe” on “You Can Be a Star,” a Nashville talent show and came in first.
She also bested the rest on a talent show in Branson, Mo., singing “The Sweetest Thing.”
“Darlene and the Boys” has been together for about a year with Darlene as band leader.
On their new album, Darlene’s father sings harmony on two songs. One of Ken’s favorites from the new album is an up-tempo version of “Help me Make it Through the Night.”
Band members include Mikee Peterson, drummer who also sings harmony; Brian Walstad, bass guitar and songwriter who also sings harmony; and Eddy Schmidt, steel guitar and lead guitar, saxophone and singer. Ken plays lead guitar.
For more information, or to buy an album, go to darleneandtheboys.com.