Who's next from the land of 10,000 singers?

  • Article by: JIM WALSH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 18, 2012 - 1:38 PM

With Nicholas David vying to win "The Voice" this week, here's a wish list of other Minnesotans we'd love to hear on the big stage.

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Curtiss A is among the local performers we'd like to see on "The Voice."

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune file

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This state is crawling with great singers, and now that Nicholas David Mrozinski has gone from crooning in local dives to talent-show fame in a matter of weeks, it's time for the next Minnesota movement. Here are a few suggestions (25 to be exact) worthy of Carson Daly's rapture.

Actual Wolf, "Only the Lonely." Nee Eric Pollard, this northern Minnesota native describes himself as "just one man with a guitar, a lot on his mind and nothing to lose." With a honey-swathed voice as clear and wizened as that self-analysis might suggest, his moon-howling version of this loner manifesto is as otherworldly, lived-in and timeless as Roy Orbison's 1960 original.

Janey Winterbauer, "Call Me Maybe." Everybody from President Obama to Cookie Monster has taken a crack at this song, but none with as much cool thrush savvy as the secret weapon behind Minnesota Public Radio's "Wits."

Venus, David Bowie's "Five Years." The Twin Cities glam-rock queen's cathartic turn on this end-of-the-world anthem is neck-hair-raising good.

Holly Newsom, "Papa Was a Rodeo." Zoo Animal's frontwoman shines on the Magnetic Fields' celebration of damaged artistic and familial roots. You can hear it on the new CD "Absolutely Cuckoo: Minnesota Covers the 69 Love Songs."

Brianna Lane, "River." Lane knows something about love, loss and snow boots made for walking, and she owned every note of Joni Mitchell's wintry heartbreaker while performing it on KFAI Radio's "Womenfolk" a few weeks ago.

Arne Fogel, "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You." An understated, elegant, and Sinatra-esque reading of the classic big love tune from the host of KBEM Radio's "The Bing Shift."

Alison Rae, "I'll Follow You Into the Dark." There wouldn't be a dry eye on judges row during this mystical breakup song by Death Cab for Cutie, made even more delicately devastating by the Northfield-based songbird.

Chan Poling, Robyn's "Tell Your Boyfriend." A gloriously gruff vocal performance and should-be hit from the leader of the New Standards and Suburbs.

Maurice Jacox, "Georgia on My Mind." Minnesota's finest soul singer invokes the Deep South with deep feeling.

Curtiss A, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)." The Dean O' Scream regularly rips this at his annual John Lennon tribute, and it's about time the rest of the world got a load of his rock 'n' soul tonsils.

Davina Sowers, "Bring It on Home." The up-and-coming blues mama and leader of hard-touring Davina & the Vagabonds lights up the night every time she lends her ample pipes and open heart to this Sam Cooke yearner.

Ben Kyle, "Hallelujah." Leonard Cohen's song is oft covered, but rarely with as much obvious spiritual depth as summoned by the sweet-singing Romantica rocker.

Javier Trejo, "Folsom Prison Blues." The veteran bandleader (New Primitives, White Iron Band) and purveyor of "Mexican/Americana" roots music routinely turns this Johnny Cash classic into a 10-minute guitar-shredding, yodel-filled must-hear.

Connie Evingson, "The Girl From Ipanema." A spry, sexy take on the bossa nova standard from the veteran jazz singer's latest album, "Sweet Happy Life," it feels fresher with every play. Yum.

Adam Levy, Elton John's "Daniel." One of 2012's most memorable live-music moments took place at a Valentine's Day Elton tribute when the Honeydogs leader sang this farewell prayer a week after the death of his son, Daniel. Soul music for sure, and for all.

Jennifer Markey, Neil Young's "Harvest Moon." I've been guilty-pleasuring it with ABC's "Nashville," but it's all so much Hollywood soap opera eye candy when stacked up against singers like this country-rock chanteuse.

Dan Israel, "Forever Young." The world could use a lot more of the heart that Israel summons for this father-child hug every year at the Cabooze's annual "Last Waltz" re-enactment.

Ashleigh Still, "Amazing Grace." A torch singer of the first order, Still is able to freeze a room with most any love-lust song you can name, but her roots are church music, and with this slice of heaven she could bring a wretch like Cee Lo to his knees.

Willie Murphy, Howlin' Wolf's "Built for Comfort." America's most underrated growler delivers one of his signature howlers for the win.

Jeremy Messersmith, the Replacements' "Skyway." Actually, his fragile reading of this poem to all things Minneapolis might be too good for "The Voice." Never mind.

Leandra Peak, "Moon River." The feminine side of Minneapolis folk duo Neal and Leandra whispers this crooner classic with a hush and a smile, as if she's singing to the moon itself or her out-of-sight-but-not-out-of-mind huckleberry friend. Dear Christina Aguilera: This is the opposite of what you do.

Debbie Duncan, "Stella by Starlight." One jazz classic deserves another, and when they meet, it's as robust a mini-epic as they come.

Ben Glaros, "Ballad of El Goodo." Alex Chilton's antihero anthem is super-supple and quietly powerful in the hands of songwriter/guitarist Glaros, who fostered much healing when performing this at recent benefits for stroke-stricken Slim Dunlap.

Alicia Corbett, John Prine's "Angel From Montgomery." Rarely has the lyric "How the hell can a person go to work in the morning and come home in the evening and have nothing to say?" been rendered with more real-world experience than by Corbett, the popular Tea & Sympathy singer and Anchor Fish & Chips server.

Robert Robinson, "Many Rivers to Cross." The deeply religious Robinson sings like a man who knows his gift is to be shared, not hoarded. Were it to be shared more widely, all the better.

Jim Walsh is a Minneapolis-based journalist, writer and songwriter. He can be reached at www.jimwalshmpls.com

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  • FINALE OF 'THE VOICE'

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