A 30-year tradition: Lorkovic at Oak Center
OAK CENTER — Two of the most popular artists of recent decades at the Oak Center General Store headline Folk Forum concerts in March at the venerable venue.
Lorkovic, the keyboard wizard who is equally at home with barrelhouse piano and Zydeco accordion, actually has three decades of Oak Center shows under his belt.
"As the 30-year anniversary of my performing at Folk Forum approaches, I stand humbled by the incredible people I have been lucky enough to perform form," Lorkovic said. "I have never missed a year. Many years I have been lucky enough to perform three times."
Lorkovic was based in Iowa City, Iowa, when he first started coming to Oak Center. That first concert was as an accompanist for singer/songwriter Greg Brown. Since then he has appeared as a soloist, accompanist and part of an ensemble with the likes of Dave "Snaker" Ray, Magraw, Andy White, Joel Rafael, Kristina Olsen, Joe Price, Willie Murphy, Barbara Jean and Bo Ramsey, among others.
In addition to his touring and performing everywhere from Alaska to Italy, Lorkovic is now also playing music on cruise ships along the coast of his native Croatia. He always finds his way back to Oak Center, though.
By his own count, Lorkovic has performed at least 50 times at Oak Center. "I hope to someday hit the century mark," he said. "I am over halfway there."
• For his concert March 16, Dean Magraw is paired with Joe Schwen. McGraw’s first album, "Broken Silence," came out in 1994, and he has been playing Oak Center since then.
Long one of the sought-after guitarists for recordings and live shows in the Twin Cities, Magraw is known for his musical talent and his dry sense of humor. His latest album is "Fire on the Nile."
• Oak Center newcomer Joyann Parker , a Minneapolis-based blues singer, performs at 8 p.m. March 23. Parker represented Minnesota at the 2015 International Blues Competition in Memphis, and was a 2018 Blues Blast Magazine Award nominee. Her latest album is "Hard to Love."
• March at Oak Center winds up with the Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins at 8 p.m. March 30. This blues/rock/country/bluegrass outfit from Minneapolis combines guitars, mandolin, fiddles, upright bass, banjo and four-part harmony.
The band’s repertoire includes covers of traditional string band tunes and new original music.
Tickets for each show at Oak Center are $15, with discounts available for low-income patrons; 507-753-2080 and oakcentergeneralstore.com.