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High Up On the Moon Mountain 

Bend's best band returns with a new album

I've lived in Bend since the last century, and there are very few things that have stayed consistent for me since those early years: the After Mountain Special at Pizza Mondo; The Wrap of Khan at Parrilla; and the brilliance of The Moon Mountain Ramblers. One of the first shows I saw as a newly minted 21-year-old was a Ramblers concert, and to this day, I don't think I've ever danced so hard in my life.

Since the Moon Mountain Ramblers have been here so long, it's easy to take them for granted and to forget how each member is an absolute virtuosic instrumentalist. The Ramblers aren't just a bluegrass band or even just another local band. They are all world-class talents and Bend, once again drowning in riches, is lucky to have them.

The new record, "A Little After Midnight," is the band's first since 2010's "Live From the Tower" double album, but that doesn't mean The Ramblers haven't been busy. You'd be hard pressed to find a local who hasn't seen the Ramblers at least once, even though they don't oversaturate themselves with local shows.

"We've always decided to keep things fresh," says mandolinist, guitarist and vocalist Joe Schulte. "Ever since the beginning, we've tried to stick with that theme. I think mostly for fun and spontaneity and to never get caught in any sort of theme. All five of us are so different and each of us add something different to the group, so we try to show that."

There's a reason why they have remained one of Bend's most popular local bands for over a decade. Even if you've seen the Ramblers play a dozen times, it's impossible to see the same show twice. "We're constantly writing new music," says Schulte. "Our sets are always different. We can play six hours without repeating a song. We also try to keep our music culturally diverse with lots of different instruments and styles with Irish, rock, jazz and bluegrass. We try to always change it up and learn more and more. We're constantly learning and constantly practicing."

A Little After Midnight CD Release Celebrations

Saturday, Dec. 3, 8pm

The Belfry

302 Main St., Sisters

$8 adv., $10 door

Saturday, Jan. 28, 8pm

Old Stone Performing Arts Center

157 NW Franklin Ave., Bend

$8 adv., $10 door

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