Mostly Minnesota Music on WMCN – Numbers and we prerecorded the show

I love doing the radio show. I have been able to meet new people and this week I learned to do something new – we prerecorded the show because I am actually in Winnipeg. For the interested minority, I used Audacity and I just needed to toggle between MIME (when speaking) and Windows WASAPI (when playing music from Spotify) to get it to work.

I prefer to do the show in the studio, it’s just more fun than my dining room table but it’s always awesome to learn something new!

(You can also find the playlist for the show on Spotify.) Or see the playlist spelled out: Continue reading

Mostly Minnesota Music on WMCN – Color Show & Guest star JOUR – Oct 13, 2018

Heather and I had out first guest and in-studio performance on Saturday. We were delighted to welcome JOUR. (I had just attended and reviewed her CD release on Thursday.) JOUR was great. She played two songs, we interviewed her and we played out with a song (Black Hole) from her latest CD.

For some reason I just knew that JOUR (formerly known as Jourdan Meyers) would be a great first guest. She is very kind and thoughtful. And I mean as in she thinks about things, she studies things, she’s purposeful and that came through in the interview.

Our other big hurdle – we were the only ones in the studio for a while. We didn’t break anything! And actually it was nice to take a breath and study everything a bit with no one watching. Like the first time you drive alone after getting your license.

Here’s the playlist on Spotify.  And our playlist (below). I think we had time to p lay everything but we maybe didn’t stick to the order. Thanks to the people we know and the one we don’t who put out such awesome Minnesota Music

Gear Daddies Color of Her Eyes
Jonny Lang Red Light
Prince Little Red Corvette
Soul Asylum Black gold
Hope Country Lost & Blue
The Jayhawks Red’s Song
The Bad Man Black and White Tv
Farewell Milwaukee Your Eyes Are So Green
Chastity Brown Banjo Blues
Charlie Parr Over the Red Cedar
Golden Smog Red Headed Stepchild
The Last Revel Screaming Blues
Al Church Turquoise Sun
Paul Westerberg Black Eyed Susan
The Pines Lonesome Tremolo Blues
Solid Gold Neon Rose
J.S. Ondara Revolution Blues
Koo Koo Kanga Roo Awesome Rainbows
Mikkel Beckman & Mike Munson Blackbird
POLIÇA baby blue
Gospel Machine Them Young Girl Blues
Katy vernon Lily 14 crayon colors
The Cactus Blossoms Powder Blue
Greycoats John Glenn Blues
Erik Koskinen Red Dress Girl
Judy Garland over the rainbow
Hüsker Dü green eyes
Davina and The Vagabonds Red shoes
Red Daughters Black Ice
JOUR Black Hole

And including one of our PSAs – because it’s important! –

ACT NOW: Not registered to vote? Do it before Oct 16 OR wait until Election day. Save time on Nov 6th and register NOW! Text P2P to RTVOTE (788-683). It’s that simple! OR go online https://mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/VoterRegistration/VoterRegistrationMain.aspx … #PowerToThePolls #Getoutthevote

JOUR – new name, new look, new CD all released at the Cedar Cultural Center

It is fun to watch the metamorphosis of an artist, especially a young artist like JOUR (formerly known as Jourdan Meyers) with such a strong voice. I remember saying years ago that Jourdan had the voice of the sweetest torch singer in town. That’s not what I would say now. Her presence, her voice they feel more full force than sweet. Today she owns herself, owns her voice and is unafraid to use both to their fullest capacity.

Black Hole is a song that exemplifies the dichotomy of JOUR’s new sound. There’s a hint of Americana in the world of Electronica. JOUR’s voice is so powerful it propels a narration but on the side is a very interesting guitar meander. It’s like watching a play that features two conversations at once. Done poorly, it’s confusing. Done right, as JOUR has done it, it’s layered and interesting.

There are several songs like Black Hole that support multiple tunes or storylines that work in part because of the strong vocals that are generous enough to allow the other musicians to take the stage. It’s complex but again JOUR’s crystalline voice controls the chaos so much that it doesn’t feel like confusion it just feels like multiple simultaneous stories coming together.

My favorite song was Revolution; maybe because I appreciate anyone who highlights current events, especially in a time that is so divisive. And it does it with such finesse. Great art comes of troubled times. And the message isn’t overt but it’s purposeful.

Also worth noting, JOUR’s music brings the men on the dance floor. I love to see that support!

Mostly Minnesota Music on WMCN – Places Show – Oct 6, 2018

Heather Baker and I are like old hands on the radio now after our second show today – Mostly Minnesota Music on WMCN at Macalester College. Or maybe we still need to iron out some kinks. You can take a listen and let me know:

The theme this week was places – the theme for next week is colors. Post a comment if you have a request for a Minnesota band singing about colors!

You can also listen to the playlist on Spotify, it’s longer than the show itself because we over prepare.

Our notable moment of the show was the dedication of the first song to Red Daughters. We were waiting for them to play at the 331 Club last night. Sadly the keyboardist, Aaron “Hix” Lee was mugged and shot on the way to the show. I don’t know him well at all but I do remember cutting a rug with him at the Turf Club one night. Gotta love a guy who grabs you to dance and then walks on! (There is a GoFundMe set up for him.)

Here’s a probably pretty close to true playlist: Continue reading

Bye Bye Banshee sings out Deathfolks Magic

Bye Bye Banshee is a new project by Minneapolis songwriter Jezebel Jones. It’s a modern ballad of our final trip through death’s door with nod to ancient themes and characters that have preceded us. It explores death with curiosity and embraces the eventuality with coquettish spirit.

Jones’ ethereal presence sets the stage. The full band around her brings the celebratory feel of a New Orleans funeral march. Her sultry tone in If I Die in my Dreams has a swampy torch singer feel that makes the invitation to her dream equally sexy and scary. You can’t say no.

If the album is a voyage, Pschyopomps is sound of the footsteps into the abyss or dusty trail. There’s room for the instruments to take on their own winds in different directions that pull in different directions.

Skull Rattles reminds me of the Bare Bone’s Halloween show in St Paul. Similar to Deathfolk Magic it is the story of death and life and life after death – but at a community level. Skull Rattles has the unraveling feel of dénouement – of finale but freedom. The narration between songs alludes to previously being under the spell of religion but moving to an understanding that life is a dream – punctuated in the performance with a rendition or rift on Robert Frost’s Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Mostly Minnesota Music on WMCN – First Show

Today Heather Baker and I started our radio show – Mostly Minnesota Music on WMCN at Macalester College. As the name implies, we plan to play music from Minnesota. Each week we will have a theme and play songs related to that theme. We think that will open us up to playing a wide range of genres. Today the theme was first, new or one – a nod to this being our firs show. (You can see the playlist or hear the music on Spotify.)

WMCN doesn’t archive the shows but I can archive them. Hopefully I will be able to get this week’s show next week. And if I am able, I will post it here. In fact, the plan is to post all of the shows here.

As we drove to the studio, we wondered what in the heck we were doing. We were nervous about the mechanics of being DJs and the on air banter and everything. We had our playlist prepared but there’s a three-step process to shift from music to talking. I’m sure I’ll get smoother with that. I’m sure we’ll get smoother at all of it!

But it was super fun and I think you should do something that scares you every now and again. And I had to get Heather back for talking me into the Triathlon!

Next week the them is places – have a request or recommendation – let me know!

Women holding strong at Kari Arnett’s CD release at the Cedar Cultural Center

I am a sucker for a strong voice belting out a twangy-angry anthem, especially on women’s rights. So hearing Kari Arnett sing Only a Woman at the Cedar on Thursday was a highlight. She wrote the song in reaction to how some men talk to women in the music industry – and get away with it. It’s unfortunately both a timely and timeless theme. I loved the music as well – especially toward the end of the song, there was a melee of tunes and sounds coming from each corner of the stage, filled with seven musicians. It was like listening to an interesting conversation – disassociated but complimentary and compelling.

Arnett’s music is country but there’s a range of country in it. She opened with Dark Water, reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac – in the best way. It has the same slow beat of The Chain. (Funny enough, the only cover Arnett played was another Fleetwood Mac song.) You can hear the influence of the band and the era when there was a cross over between country and rock, especially the rock ballad. Then The Americana Life has a very Western feel. Starting with sounds of languor from the steel pedal, the horse’s gallop in the drums, the plaintive violin and then the voice. The big, bold voice that carries the song from a hot summer day to some musical victory. There’s a sense of accomplishment just listening. Tired of This Town has a completely different sound; remorse and reverence turns to church choral with the harmony of vocals. It’s a twist to have a lovelorn song have such a sweet sound.

It will be fun to watch Arnett’s move forward. The new CD, When the Dust Settles is a terrific start. Unfortunately we’ll be watching it from a distance as she is soon moving to Nashville. Before she left she gave a gracious nod to the Minnesota Music Coalition for helping her get connected when she first moved to the Cities a few years ago.

Bonus of the night was having three women take center stage. Mary Bue started off the night. She played a new song, All the Things Broken. The power of the keyboard, her honest lyrics of heartbreak and the seemingly easy comfort of her voice can bring tears every time. Next was Becky Kapell with Paul Bergen, playing country music like I’ve heard on road trips with my dad my whole life. She can hit and hold a high note and bend it into any shape she wants.

Taking back the power through punk – Genital Panic CD release at 7th Street

The silver lining of the current state of affairs in American politics is the wave of women raising their voices (to use the vernacular of the Women’s Mach) to effect change. We just don’t all sound as good as Tina Schlieske and Genital Panic doing it.

Genital Panic is taking punk back to politics in the spirit of Dead Kennedy’s using sardonic and simple observation to point out the obvious – something’s broken. Locker Room Talk isn’t just Locker Room Talk – if it takes hard core passion and a bubble gum chorus to make the point, so be it.

The sound is fun. Watching with a friend we warred about whether it was like X, the Go-Go’s, the Bangles or Patti Smith. Schlieske’s voice is strong and powerful, awesome yell when you need it and not afraid to go high when it’s appropriate. The band was also awesome. Some members were drafted in late when originally scheduled guests couldn’t be there but they nailed it with the cow bell on Donnie Talks to Russia along with the keyboard suspense rift, the tight bass on Menopause or the dark string interlude on Action Pants.

As much as I loved the music, what I really loved was the message. Schlieske told the story behind the new project. She had seen the work of Valerie Export, a feminist artist who, in 1968, wore crotchless pants into an art house cinema. She walked around with her genitals exposed at face-level to make a statement about the historical portrayal of women in cinema. (Action Pants: Genital Panic is the name of a poster series created to commemorate that famous viewing.)

For better or for worse, it’s time for women to take back our power by raising our voices, by reclaiming terms, by calling out what’s happening around us – through the #MeToo movement or a song such as Pussygrabber.  It’s happening with more women running for office, with more people voting (even in midterm primaries!) and daily protests. And it’s great to see a local hometown music hero joining the soundtrack for change with a bold change in her sound. It’s time for us to be heard!

Also every punk show should start out with a song about menopause.

Doug Collins & the Receptionists CD release – retro and fun

It can be concerning when the lead singer hits the stage with a vintage, brown polyester suit on. It sets a high bar. You better have the chops to back it up – and I am pleased to report that Doug Collins looked awesome in the brown suit and had the chops. There’s something retro, yet timeless in his music. It dates back to the early days when country and rock really did blur. I enjoyed seeing Doug Collins & the Receptionists at the Turf Club for the release of Good, Sad News.

My favorite song of the night was Conversation with my Heart. It opens his CD. It’s one of those super happy, snappy sounding songs with words that don’t necessarily match. It’s maybe just a little bit of what we need given the world today. A vacation from the gloom, without forgetting. It was great to have Katy Vernon take to the stage to sing it with him at the Turf Club. It just does a heart good to see so much joy in playing.

Halfway Through is another toe tapper. It has a more Americana sound but still upbeat. Ironically I had spent my day driving home from Winnipeg with my dad, listening to Willie’s Roadhouse the whole way. Hearing Collins sing Halfway Through fit the soundtrack of my day. But even after 8 hours (long time at the border) it’s music I enjoy, especially when it’s done well.

A bonus was Collin’s cover of Babba O’Reilly. I’m a sucker for The Who at the best and worst of times. It’s was a different rendition and I liked it.

Another super bonus was catching Katy Vernon before Doug Collins. Another musician with happier beat and sound than lyrics but it’s really hard not to enjoy a thoughtful ukulele!

You can see how Collins looks and sounds in his brown suit on his new record. We appears to be sporting it on the cover.

John David and the Jerks album release at Seventh Street Entry – I Love You Means I’m Lucky!

It’s going to be a strange comparison, but John David reminds me of JJ Grey. There’s a swampy sound to this Northern band. But also they both share a joy on stage that is infectious.

It was fun to see John David & the Jerks play with the Collapsing Stars and Monica LaPLante at the Seventh Street Entry. David started by playing a dozen (or so) old songs and followed up with a rendition of the latest album in its entirety. The crowd clearly loved it. It’s always smart to go from the known to the new.

I found the newer material to be more reflective, especially with Swedish Dreams. It’s a pretty song. It’s mellow but melancholy is a positive way. But then there’s still danceability and toe tapping to be found in a song such as Friend Like You. David’s voice has a slight Dylanesque lilt. The band is awesome and really go full tilt.