MBOTMA August Festival Songwriters Showcase

Saturday  1-3 pm in the Showcase Tent

Hosted by Tom Peschges

Eight Talented MBOTMA Member songwriters in a round-robin format, sharing their original songs and the stories behind them.   

Meet The Songwriters:


Kim Curtis-Monson 

Kim Curtis-Monson performs with the MBOTMA band the Fish Heads. While playing bluegrass and classic rock, she blends her penned tunes in the mix. She has had a few friends record her songs and recently had a song picked up by Dale Ann Bradley, longtime bluegrass songstress. Kim spends her free time gardening and fishing in Lake Superior. 


Mike Birkland

Mike Birkeland is a husband, father, and part-time singer-songwriter from northern Minnesota who works for a living to not only support his family – but also his unsustainable music habit. Mike has been writing songs for nearly 30 years – though most of his early songs sat on the shelf for many years until he started recording originals with his family band, Sarah Mae & the Birkeland Boys. The kids are now grown and gone, but Mike’s still writing and recently completed his first solo project. His music draws on familiar themes and imagery from his Minnesota roots – he writes about homesteaders who cleared timber and turned the soil; small towns, and main street rural Americans who built a nation through hard work, perseverance, and determination. He also writes about the importance of family, overcoming hardship, the relevance of faith, and reasons for hope in a troubled world.  You can find his music, either solo or with the family band on digital platforms like  Spotify or YouTube.

John Whitehead

John Whitehead is a filmmaker and musician based in Saint Paul. He grew up singing with his family. Through college and beyond he messed around with guitar, playing mostly alone in front of the television.  In 1998, he happened upon the legendary Old-Time jam at Prairie Star coffeehouse.  Finding a musical a home in that scene and in the larger bluegrass community,  he started jamming regularly with others and playing in bands. That led in turn to writing songs. In 2012 he recorded “My Father’s Hat,” an album of originals. https://johnwhitehead.bandcamp.com/ In his day job, John produces documentaries for PBS and other outlets.  He says his film work dovetails nicely with writing songs. “Both pursuits are concerned with storytelling,  keeping the audience’s attention, taking them somewhere interesting that they may have not intended to go.”


Brin Petersen 

I was always fascinated by music, and from as early as I can remember I tried to write my own. I even had the audacity to present my childhood cello teacher with a couple simplistic duets I composed. Later I got more serious about it while playing guitar in various rock groups. The (very loud) band I was in during the 90s played strictly originals, and it was during that period that I gained a better understanding of how to write for the musicians I was working with, and started writing songs that didn’t make me cringe to listen to later. I greatly enjoyed throwing a new song to the band and hearing it evolve into something which was often very different from what I had heard in my head.  Taking up the mandolin and moving into bluegrass and related acoustic music has forced me to focus more on the fundamental elements of the songs, while still reveling in the way a good band continues the creative process after I consider a song “finished”.

Evonne “Boom” Bilotta-Burke

Evonne “Boom” Bilotta-Burke is a homegrown Minnesotan, raised on the sounds of polka and classic country, thanks to KLTF am radio that her mother played every morning before school. Her first songwriting experiences started in high school and picked back up again 10 years ago when she was gifted her first guitar. She’s proud to share her music and be part of growing the music community in the Twin Cities.

Brent Fuqua

Brent Fuqua - Is an award winning songwriter with several albums to his credit. A guitarist for most of his life, 10 years ago changed his main instrument to mandolin, and since has played in several local bluegrass bands and backed up several songwriters both in the studio and on stage. His 2010 "Songwriter" album was recently featured on the Back Catalog Listening Party. 

Tom Furrer

Part time musician, singer and songwriter.  Guitar, lead and harmony vocals in the band FlattGrass Revival.  Tom has been writing songs since he was 18 (10 years ago – right!).  Longtime member and sponsor of MBOTMA.  Producer of two CD’s.  One gospel and one a children’s CD.  Really enjoys writing songs and playing music when his daytime business does not get in the way.

Tom Peschges

Tom Peschges is a singer/songwriter from Red Wing Minnesota. I perform solo and in the Double Down Daredevils, a bluegrass/americana Band I formed with Nathan Fjeld in 2015. As a songwriter I would describe myself as a storyteller, hopefully in the tradition of some of my songwriting influences such as Guy Clark, Verlon Thompson, Shawn Camp, John Denver, Jerry Salley and Carl Jackson. I tend to incorporate humor into my songs and while any given song may be made up entirely from whole cloth, each one should communicate some kind of fundamental truth or message to the listener. That is what I strive for in my songs. Not long ago, someone came up to me after a show and said that I was “authentic”  That is the highest compliment to which I aspire.

Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association
P.O. Box 16408, Minneapolis, MN 55416



Subscribe to our Newsletter

Our Mission: To preserve and promote bluegrass and old-time stringband music in and around the state of Minnesota.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software