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Posts about Minnesota musicians

Twin Cities blues/folk legend Dave Ray's three-disc rarities set coming Oct. 28

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: August 21, 2014 - 6:17 PM
Dave Ray, right, with Spider John Koerner and Tony Glover at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Yep, that Newport Folk Festival.

Dave Ray, right, with Spider John Koerner and Tony Glover at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Yep, that Newport Folk Festival.

 

Like a lot of musicians with cultish fame and lengthy careers, Dave Ray’s recordings are spread out over a wide swath of record labels, including quite a few that – like the Minneapolis acoustic blues hero himself -- are no longer around. At last, though, one of Ray's oldest cohorts and the Twin Cities' longest-running label have taken on the hard task of sorting through Ray’s unreleased material and compiling it into one thorough and deservedly bulky anthology.

Dave Ray, right, with Spider John Koerner and Tony Glover at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Yep, that Newport Folk Festival.

Red House Records announced today it will release the three-disc set “Legacy: Rare and Unreleased Recordings from an American Blues Master (1962 - 2002),” due to arrive Oct. 28. “Long in the making,” are the first words of the press release for the collection, which was “painstakingly” compiled by Ray’s longtime collaborator Tony Glover.

The collection includes some leftovers from Ray’s most famous group, Koerner, Ray & Glover – you know, the one that influenced everyone from Bob Dylan and John Legend to Bonnie Raitt and Beck – as well as tracks as a duo with Glover and various solo work.

Here’s the breakdown of what’s on each disc, per Red House:

  • Disc One: Originals and classic blues covers by Lead Belly, Skip James and Brownie McGhee, to name just a few. Most of the recordings are Ray solo performances with a few Ray and Glover tracks, including an electrified, dark version of the Skip James’ number “Devil Got My Woman.”  
  • Disc Two: A Ray and Glover collection covering Ray’s work from 1988 through 1994, which included four album releases, including four songs from the out of print "Ashes in My Whiskey" album they did for UK label Rough Trade in 2000.
  • Disc Three: Four tracks from "One Foot in the Groove" sessions, a Koerner, Ray & Glover live album recorded live at Minneapolis’ Bryant-Lake Bowl for Tim Kerr’s Portland-based underground label Tim/ Kerr.  There are tracks from a DIY album, "A Hollow Body Experience," by Ray’s combo 6L6, that was available only at gigs, as well as one of the last recordings by KR&G, Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key to the Highway” recorded live at the Toledo Art Museum in 2001. The CD includes two tracks recorded live at Ray’s last hometown performance in November, 2002 just weeks before he died. 

The anthology will include a 32-page booklet with photos and liner notes. Here’s a taste of what Glover had to say for the collection: “To me he was a brother from another family – the family of sound. He brought a vitality to the blues that the scholars who’d been on the scene couldn’t muster.”

Ray died on Thanksgiving Day in 2002. Click here for the story we ran at the time on Koerner, Ray & Glover’s legacy, which was in the works at the time of his passing.

Red House is helping organize a release party at the Minnesota History Center on Nov. 9 with performers yet to be announced (details here).

Sunday's Replacements poster party leads off more songs for Slim Dunlap

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: August 21, 2014 - 1:51 PM
One of the 20 posters hot off the presses for Sunday's Replacements poster show, this one crafted by Aesthetic Apparatus. / Photo by Monica Edwards Larson

One of the 20 posters hot off the presses for Sunday's Replacements poster show, this one crafted by Aesthetic Apparatus. / Photo by Monica Edwards Larson

With fervor building over the remade Replacements’ one and only hometown show Sept. 13 at Midway Stadium, many local scenesters are making sure the band’s former guitarist Bob “Slim” Dunlap doesn’t get lost amid the hubbub with a series of tributes/fundraisers.

Dunlap’s mounting medical bills from a severe stroke were what first spawned the Replacements rebirth last year in the form of the “Songs for Slim” EP. The beloved singer/songwriter/guitarist and former First Ave janitor is still bed-ridden and receiving care at his home in south Minneapolis, where he just marked his 63rd birthday last week.

 

First up is “Kinda Like Some Artists: The Replacements Poster Show,” a charity art sale and musical tribute happening Sunday in downtown St. Paul at the Hamilton Ink Spot space and the nearby Amsterdam Bar & Hall. Twenty locally rooted graphic artists have designed posters to commemorate the Midway Stadium show, including the Aesthetic Apparatus crew, Kii Arens, Tom Hazelmyer and Sam Anderson. The sale starts at 4 p.m. at Hamilton Ink, 375 Wabasha St. N. The music at the Amsterdam – mostly Replacements tunes and Dunlap’s solo material -- will kick off at 7 p.m. and run all night with performers including Curtiss A, Crossing Guards, St. Dominic’s Trio, Sons of Gloria, Doug Collins & the Receptionists, Pocket Genius and more.

On the eve of the Midway Stadium gig, Sept. 12, the Parkway Theater will host another multi-faceted show, “We Can’t Hardly Wait: A Slim Dunlap Benefit,” featuring an edited-down screening of the fan documentary “Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements” and another live tribute. Performers have not been named yet, but co-organizer Jon Clifford of Hi-Fi Hair & Records’ also promised “a slew of our local heroes”

The Cabooze also just announced "Lovesick Blues: A Birthday Tribute to Hank Williams," led by Curtiss A and doubling as a Dunlap fundraiser later in September, on the 26th. Curtiss has been earning raves for his Hank tribute sets over the past year or two, and Dunlap frequently covered the late Alabama music icon's tunes during his shows, too. Dunlap got his start playing with A’s team. Tickets for the show go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. for $10.

And there's still plenty of great merchandise to be hand in the "Songs for Slim" bin, too.

MOTHERLAND BENEFIT FRIDAY AT ICEHOUSE: Not related to Dunlap’s cause other than it’s also meant to offset medical bills and lend moral support, the Icehouse is hosting another worthy charity gig Friday dubbed “Motherland: A Benefit for Bobbie and Jeannie.” Hard-grooving electronic dance-pop favorites Apollo Cobra – whose song “Motherland” provided the name -- will play their first show in a couple months as headliners, with Verskotzi and Astrobeard for openers (10 p.m., $10 minimum donation, tickets on sale here). The subjects of the show, Bobbie Anderson and Jeannie Piekos are moms of some of the event’s organizers, each of whom were diagnosed with cancer around the same time. The concert will also feature a silent auction with items donated from around the music community and elsewhere.

See Jeremy Messersmith bubble over on Letterman

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: August 21, 2014 - 11:04 AM

Jeremy Messersmith's selfie on Instagram from the Letterman set.Go big or go home. That must’ve been Jeremy Messersmith’s thinking as he headed to the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan yesterday to make his network TV debut on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

In addition to his regular, four-piece backing band, the Minneapolis pop craftsman brought the Laurel Strings Quartet and his non-touring guitarist Brian Tighe with him all the way to New York for the show – the same large ensemble he employed at Rock the Garden in June. He admitted via Twitter afterward that his entourage was too bulky to fit in the “Late Show’s” puny dressing rooms. “Lots of hanging in the hallway,” he said. Long before the performance aired, Messersmith posted a selfie on Instagram during the band's ungodly early 4 a.m. rehearsal on the Letterman set (reposted to the right).

Not only was the band big, but so was the song. He picked one of the grander, more challenging tunes from his “Heart Murmurs” album, “Bubblin’.” I’d say it paid off, but judge for yourself in the clip below.

Touring hard since February, Messersmith will scale back to his smallest incarnation for the next few weeks playing a string of the "supper club" solo shows he has long favored. He and the band do have one big gig in the area coming up soon: a pairing with Mason Jennings at the Vetter Stone Amphitheater in Mankato on Sept. 5.

Minnesota teens tour with Gil Shaham

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: August 5, 2014 - 4:28 PM

Four young Minnesota musicians just wrapped a thrilling couple of weeks touring with the National Youth Orchestra, featuring soloist Gil Shaham. Left to right in a photo shot following a concert at Chicago's Millennium Park: Emma Richman, Anna Humphrey, Shaham, Arjun Ganguly and Liam Smith.

Turns out star violinist Gil Shaham isn't just a phenomenal musician. He's also a real mensch, according to four Minnesota teens who just finished performing eight concerts coast to coast with him. Violinist Emma Richman of Minneapolis, violinist Anna Humphrey of Rogers, violist Arjun Ganguly of St, Cloud and percussionist Liam Smith of Minneapolis were among 120 teens chosen to play with the prestigious National Youth Orchestra, a Carnegie Hall-funded program in its second year that auditions youth all over the country and pays for everything but transportation to New York at the outset and back home at tour's end.

Shaham was "the nicest guy, such a joy to work with," Richman said.

"You never know if you're going to get a diva, but he had this amazing way of making eye contact and smiling at everyone in the orchestra while he was playing," said Ganguly, in his second summer with the NYO. "He seemed like he was enjoying every minute of it."

The orchestra’s program included the premiere of "Radial Play," a special Carnegie commission by composer Samuel Adams, Leonard Bernstein’s "Symphonic Dances" from "West Side Story;" Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto with Shaham; and Ravel’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s "Pictures at an Exhibition." The final concert was performed Monday at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Sims of Doomtree drops first track from "Field Notes"

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: August 5, 2014 - 10:59 AM
Sims at Doomtree's Blowout VII. / Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

Sims at Doomtree's Blowout VII. / Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

And the hits just keep coming from the Doomtree clan. More than three years since the release of his last album, “Bad Time Zoo,” the crew’s best-haired rapper Sims will drop his latest effort, “Field Notes,” on Sept. 2. He debuted the first track today, “Uh Huh,” which fans will receive as a download for pre-ordering the album.

A rapid-tongued, tumultuous rabble-rouser, “Uh Huh” finds the often topical Twin Cities native railing against finger-wagging conservative Christian groups. Among the lyrics: “Honest to God, none of them are honest to God / They insist that it’s this, or that’s it.”

“Uh Huh” is one of six new tracks featured on “Field Notes,” alongside the previously (but not formally) released Astronautalis collaboration, “This Is the Place.” Distinctively not advertised as an EP – let’s call it a “mini-album” – the seven-track collection will drop in the middle of Sims’ tour with Australian hip-hop trio the Hilltop Hoods. Before that, he’s playing First Avenue once again with Astronautalis on Aug. 23.

"Field Notes" features tracks produced by resident Doomtree beatmakers Paper Tiger and Cecil Otter as well as newcomer ICETEP and a duo known as Plain Ole Arson (Plain Ole Bill + Ryan Olson).

“Field Notes” is the latest in a string of releases coming from the Doomtree crew in the second half of the year. Look for new Mike Mictlan and P.O.S. efforts by the end of the year. The mega-book “Doomtree: Every Single Day” also just arrived. It sounds like the new all-crew album will be out early next year, which we got a taste of last week.

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