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bankesters

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MURPHYSBORO — Local bluegrass standouts The Bankesters will, for the first time, celebrate the release of the group’s new album with a celebration in Southern Illinois.

The Bankesters are more than a band; they’re a family. The husband and wife duo of Phil and Dorene began playing music with their four daughters in 2004. Since then, they have released four CDs, including the newest, “Looking Forward.”

“The local bluegrass community has been a nurturing bunch of people for a long time as we’ve all progressed,” Phil Bankester said.

In the early days, the band would rarely play locally, traveling to places from New Mexico to North Carolina and Mississippi to Minnesota. Recently, the band has been an official showcase artist for the International Bluegrass Music Association and the International Folk Alliance.

The Bankesters’ latest album received international radio airplay and was rated No. 14 on the engine145.com list of top bluegrass albums of 2011.

“Looking Forward” was released through Blue Circle Records, which produced the group’s last album. A CD release party and live concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at the historic Liberty Theater. Tickets are $10 at the door.

— Adam Testa

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