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Barnes duo to present Valentine's Day concert at Motley UMC

Brian and Sheralyn Barnes will present a concert at the Motley United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14. The husband and wife duo offer stellar acoustic guitar and mandolin playing; smooth vocals and harmonies. This concert is underwritten by Unity Bank.

Husband and wife duo Brian and Sheralyn Barnes, joined by bass player James Dungan-Seaver, will present a concert at the United Methodist Church in Motley at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, as part of the Staples Motley Area Arts Council's regular season. The show is underwritten by Unity Bank.

Expect to hear a wide variety of music, including swing and pop tunes, movie themes, latin music and a few originals. "Perfect for Valentines!" Brian Barnes said recently, adding that he will also be telling some stories about the songs and their writers.

The Barnes couple, now of St. Paul, have been performing together for 15 years. They are known for their stellar acoustic guitar and mandolin playing, smooth vocals and harmonies. Individually, they have been a part of several award-winning bands over the years, performing across the United States as well as internationally. James Dungan-Seaver, originally from Knoxville, Tenn., is one of the premiere bass players in the Twin Cities.

A native of Louisville, Ky., Brian wanted to be in a band "as far back as I can remember." He began studying the classical guitar at age 12, with hopes of joining a rock band some day. However, when his older brother, Kevin, bought a banjo, the two began playing bluegrass together. Eventually, Brian followed Kevin to Minnesota, to join the bluegrass band "Stoney Lonesome," which Kevin founded. "I sold my truck and motorcycle, moving with only a suitcase, guitar and clock radio under my arm," Brian recalled. Stoney Lonesome would go on to be regulars on the live radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion," racking up several music awards along the way.

After Stoney Lonesome, Brian performed and recorded with both "Cafe Accordion" and as part of the Minnesota Ethnic Dance Theater's orchestra, known for playing folk music from around the world. He also was part of a jazz duo with harmonica player Clint Hoover. "He and I did a tour to Sweden, teaming up with some Swedish jazz players to play at the jazz festival in Umea, Sweden," Brian said. Over the years Brian has performed at a variety of venues across the United States (including Lincoln Center in New York) and in 15 foreign countries.

Sheralyn grew up in the farming town of DeMotte, Ind., studying both organ and guitar at an early age. She performed with her brother, Bret, in a rock band while still in junior high, but was drawn to the mandolin after traveling to Ireland on two occasions. When dreams of working in Ireland did not transpire, Sheralyn moved to Minnesota and studied mandolin at the Homestead Pickin' Parlor in Richfield. Along the way, she became a fan of a bluegrass band Brian was a part of, eventually meeting Brian and marrying him. Prior to teaming up with her husband, Sheralyn worked as a musician in Yellowstone National Park, performing solo at one of the lodges there. In addition to being a musician, Sheralyn is a trained artist, known for her illustrations and oil paintings. Several of her paintings depict the Irish musicians that inspired her during her travels to that country.

For more information about Brian and Sheralyn Barnes, visit their website at www.brianbarnesmusic.com. To view Sheralyn's artwork, visit www.sheralynbarnes.com.

For more information, check out the Arts Council's website at www.staplesmotleyarts.org

Tickets are $12 adult/$6 student in advance, $15/adult/$7 student at the door. Tickets can be purchased on the Art Council's website or at the Staples World, 224 4th St. NE in Staples. For more information call (218) 894-1112.