Originally appeared on the Ball State Daily News website
Five musicians, six instruments and a whole trove of original and traditional songs will be on display at Pruis Hall when Run Boy Run takes the stage.
Run Boy Run is an American bluegrass band that plays a combination of traditional bluegrass music and original work.
Performing at 7:30 today in Pruis Hall, the group will perform with an upbeat fiddle, an acapella three-part harmony, a sing-along and much more.
The band consists of: brother and sister Matt Rolland (fiddle, guitar) and Grace Rolland (cello, vocals), as well as sisters Bekah Sandoval Rolland (vocals, fiddle, guitar) and Hen Sandoval (vocals, mandolin, octave mandolin) and Jesse Allen (bass).
Starting in 2009 with no specific agenda other than to seek an outlet to play together, the group began playing on a front porch and at open mic nights throughout Tucson.
After they won their first competition at the Pickin’ in the Pines Festival band competition in Flagstaff, the band began to enter more competitions. In 2012, they won the Telluride Bluegrass band competition. As a result, they began to make the band more of a priority.
“We grew up in the old-time and bluegrass community in Arizona, so it was natural for us to draw from that music when we started playing together,” Rolland said. “It’s part of our collective musical language.”
Run Boy Run said they were inspired by the band Nickel Creek, an American country music group that uses interlocking classical and jazz sounds to create a unique contemporary sound. The band said they hope to do something similar to what Nickel Creek did.
Since officially becoming a full-time band in 2013, they have released three records and played in more than 40 states across the country.
While staying true to a traditional sound, the group still puts their own modern twist on it and tells a story with their original music.
Most of the songs they write are about their experiences together and being on the road.
The group finds that their material remains fresh as they travel and perform for different audiences. Audience reactions have also encouraged them to deepen the story they are telling the audience.
“For me, performing is all about the exchange between the audience and performers, and with my bandmates as well. It’s a conversation that the audience is a part of,” Rolland said. “When you have an audience that is really listening and engaging with you between songs, it means the world.”
With a season of touring ahead of them, the band will continue to perform on the road. They hope they leave their audiences with an appreciation for traditional music.