The Radio Stars are:
“Magic” Merrill Piepkorn: Harmonica extraordinaire and guitar and vocals
Gregg “Smokey” Temple: Acoustic and electric guitars, pedal steel guitar, Dobro and vocals
Roger “R.P.” Sell: Bass guitar and vocals (The artist formerly known as “Just the Bass Player”)
Loy Larson: Fiddle, mandolin and vocals
The Radio Stars began five years ago as the brainchild of my old friend and compatriot, Merrill Piepkorn. We had started performing together again occasionally, were both on the verge of becoming empty-nesters, and while packing up after a gig in St. Paul, I told him “we should find more excuses to play together. I can drive to Fargo if you get some gigs there.”
Merrill ran with it from there, and the next thing I knew we were at a horse ranch near Bowman, ND on a three day swing, continuing to another ranch outside Medora and finishing with a Veterans tribute at the Medora Community Center. We were launched.
We picked the name “The Radio Stars” based on Merrill’s Prairie Public Radio exposure and, more importantly, in support of Merrill’s vision of creating a traveling, North Dakota based radio variety show.
Since then, a lot has happened. Here are some highlights:
• In 2009, we released our first CD “Headin’ West” (did a lot of that!)
• Performed at the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering
• We performed at Norsk Hostfest for four consecutive years
• We appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”
• We did several summer tours.
• Merrill launched “Dakota Air – The Radio Show” now in its third season
• Backed Charlie Pride and shared the stage with The Oak Ridge Boys as part of a Dakota Air show at Norsk Hostfest
• In 2012, we released our second CD, “Headin’ Home”, a collection of Gospel favorites.
• We backed Paulette Carlson, formerly of Highway 101 (and a friend and band mate from years gone by) on “Dakota Air-The Radio Show” and at Norsk Hostfest.
Merrill, Roger Sell and I have been Radio Stars since the beginning. Alex Rydell joined as our fiddle player in 2009 and played on our first CD. Loy Larson replaced Alex on fiddle in 2010, (adding mandolin, too) in the only personnel change in the band.
So- “Stayin Put” after “Headin’ West” and “Headin’ Home”? It doesn’t mean you won’t see us anymore. It is about settling in to a solid groove with good, true friends and family. We are truly grateful to be able to do what we do and to continue to entertain and make great music for the folks who come to see us.
We thank you all for your love and support.
Gregg “Smokey” Temple