Mostly Minnesota Music on WMCN – theme Farming – guest stars Warren Thomas Fenzi & Joe Dunn from Frogleg

We were delighted to have two guest stars today at the studio: Warren Thomas Fenzi and Joe Dunn from Frogleg. The theme was farming – in celebration of the Minnesota Farming Union, which I attended earlier today:

The show opened with Warren Thomas Fenzi’s upcoming CD Viven. It was great to hear about how the music developed. It’s a three-part composition; the middle track (Teach Me How to Hate) was written on Election Day 2016. Somehow the final segment turns around into a peaceful, dreamy track – now if only life can imitate art. Warren has an EP release on December 4 at the Icehouse.

We also had Joe Dunn from Frogleg, a jam band with a soul backbone. I have seen and enjoyed Frogleg a few times and it was delightful to meet Joe. He told us about their latest video. And it was fun to hear about how the band has come along over the past few years. Frogleg is playing Nov 23 at the Varsity and Dec 31 at the Hook and Ladder.

We’ll take a break for Thanksgiving BUT back the following week with a theme of covers – Minnesota bands covering other music, other bands covering Minnesota music or the best of all Minnesota bands covering other Minnesota bands.

You can listen to show playlist on Spotify or check out the list below. As always, the playlists may or may not track what actually happened, sometimes we run out of time.

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Mostly Minnesota Music on WMCN – Time theme and guest star Doug Collins

We were delighted to have Doug Collins join us today for an in-studio performance. I was lucky enough to see Doug’s CD release in September at the Turf Club. I loved the music and the energy.

It was even better to have a personal performance at the WMCN studio. He opened with my favorite – Conversation with my Heart. I don’t want to jinx myself but if I were going to get stuck in an elevator, Doug and Heather would be on my shortlist of folks to be stuck with me. Such a fun conversation!

The theme today was Time – next week is farming because I’ll be heading to the show from the MN Farmer’s Union conference. Got a request? Please send it our way!

You can download our playlist on Spotify, which may or may not exactly reflect the music that made the final cut on the show. Or see the playlist typed out, which again mat or may not the exact show… Continue reading

Double CD release with Mother Banjo and Vicky Emerson at the Hook & Ladder – generosity and great sounds

There is something inherently uplifting about an all-female lineup, especially when it’s a double CD release show. And it’s not just because I’m a big believer in girl power, which I am, but it’s the generosity in the room. It is seeing talented women lift each other up, be genuinely over the moon for each other’s success and helping out in any way possible from harmonizing to selling t-shirts. It’s watching women take over a field that has been traditionally male leaning and making it their own, understanding that we all do better when we all do better.

That being said – generosity doesn’t necessarily make for a good show – so I was happy to hear that generosity aside, the show rocked.

Mother Banjo (Ellen Stanley) started out the night with a song from her last album – the Devil Hasn’t Won. It’s a gospel song with an up beat. A nice drum roll of sort to herald in Ellen’s first album in six years, Eyes on the Sky. She explained that the song is about the days we’re living or maybe her place in that world or maybe both. A sentiment many of us are feeling but few can express in song. Ellen’s voice is measured and calm, a nice complement to the plucking of the strings in the song. Sarah Morris joined her on stage and their voices meld so beautifully. The song also showcases Ben Cook Feltz on the keyboard.

Ellen also does a great version of Linda and Robin William’s Together All Alone. It almost makes you wish for winter weather to be cozied up with someone special and not worried about the weather. Then there’s the counter to Together All Alone, a song called Water that harkens back to Goodnight Irene. It’s a slow summery song and Ellen’s voice is sultry and warm.

There was a musical interlude with Haley E, Rydell. I think we’ll be hearing more from her. Tough spot to be playing between two CDs releases but she held her own. I had recently seen her play in a “go vote toilet tunes” video (No explanation would capture it; but you can find it online.) and was glad to see her play live.

Vicky Emerson opened with Good Enough. She has a gentle voice that commands and demands full attention and it’s so worth the effort. It’s not a soft voice – just a voice that going to call you to where it is. It suits the honesty of her lyrics, which are unapologetically female.

The Boat Song reminds me of the old country music I used to listen to with my dad. OK, I still listen to with my dad. It’s pared down and shows the sweetest side of Vicky’s voice. With a traditional feel for the music.

But my favorite song, maybe of the night, was a slow, torchy version of Don’t It Make my Brown Eyes Blue, originally from Crystal Gayle. Vicky told the same story about the song that I would about remembering that song as a kid. There’s something so evocative to a kid’s ear; the colors I’m sure. But then listening to it as an adult, you really ask, is that all there is? Well, Vicky has put the musical punch into the song that you thought was there as a kid and you want to be there as an adult. It touched me.

The grand finale was The Reckoning, which brought up all of the musicians to the stage. They sounded great together and brings us back to the appreciation and generosity in the room. It’s nice to leave a show feeling good about everyone.

Mostly Minnesota Music on WMCN – the Elections

We had a special guest on the show today – Aine! She gave a review of the new Queen movie. Our theme for the day was the election. And we interspersed our regular playlist with videos I worked on with Women’s March Minnesota of local musicians talking about why they vote.

You can download the playlist from Spotify or check out our notes below. The playlist and notes may not align perfectly with what actually happened.  Continue reading