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Skypiper to take Unvarnished Music Festival Stage on Saturday

WORTHINGTON -- Starting off as an acoustic duo that soon evolved into a trio, Skypiper now consists of five members with a broad variety of instruments and a style of music that doesn't quite fit into any specific genre.

"It's kind of hard to describe our sound," explained Gabriel Burkum, the upright bass player of the group, which will perform at 6 p.m. Saturday on the Unvarnished Music Festival stage at Sailboard Beach. "It's sort of pop mixed with rock and roll mixed with folk rock."

Gabriel and his twin brother Graham grew up in a musical family and went throughout high school dreaming of being musicians. Two years after graduation, those dreams started to become reality.

The acoustic trio consisted of the Burkum brothers and a high school friend.

"We started off with two acoustic guitars and an upright bass," Gabriel explained. "Soon we were adding drums, electric guitar, piano, accordion ... we just grew and grew."

With the addition of instruments came the addition of new members. Graham, the lead singer, also plays rhythm guitar. Kyle Christensen is the lead guitarist, while Ryan Menchaca plays the drums. Connor Giles is described as a "multi-instrumentalist," with his contribution ranging from piano to accordion to cello.

"We've actually gone through five drummers," said Gabriel. "A lot of them couldn't fully commit the time. We've had Ryan now for about eight months."

Skypiper's full length debut album, titled "Lay Low and Pretty," came out in 2008. Two years later they recorded a live acoustic EP consisting of seven songs, which would later be followed by their second album, "Skypiper." They've also toured all over the Midwest.

Now they will travel to Worthington to perform at the Unvarnished Music Festival and Windsurfing Regatta.

"CHARN is a band we often play with up in Minneapolis," Gabriel explained. "They called us up and asked if we wanted to take part in the festival, and we said yes. We've been to Worthington before; it's a nice place."

Gabriel and Graham used to have family in Worthington, and during New Year's Eve they would stay with them down by the lake.

"We've got some great memories of Worthington," Gabriel said.