One year later, it's about time Jeremy Messersmith got around to celebrating the 10th anniversary of maybe his best-loved album.
The Minneapolis pop craftsman announced an expanded vinyl reissue of 2010's "The Reluctant Graveyard" over the weekend. A vinyl edition of the album — long out of print — is now on sale via Bandcamp and will be celebrated with a pair of concerts in late October at the Cedar Cultural Center.
This was all supposed to happen in May of last year timed to the record's actual 10th anniversary, but of course the pandemic put it all on hold.
"Okay, okay, 11th anniversary," Messersmith cheekily noted with an asterisk under the Bandcamp page for the reissue.
In the interim, Messersmith and his bandmate and producer Andy Thompson were able to dig up two tracks from the original "Graveyard" sessions to add to the reissue. One of them, "Valentine's Day at 35th and Bryant" (posted below), has been played live over the years but never formally issued. The other was a B-side.
Named the best album of 2010 in the Star Tribune's year-end music critics poll over Dessa's "A Badly Broken Code," Communist Daughter's "Soundtrack to the End" and Gayngs' "Relayted" — what a year in Minnesota music! — "The Reluctant Graveyard" was inspired by an actual graveyard: the historic Pioneers & Soldiers Cemetery in south Minneapolis, which Messersmith lived near at the time and frequently wandered. He even played a fundraiser concert there after the record's release.
One of the songs, "Toussaint Gray, First in Life and Death," was inspired by a tombstone there for an 8-year-old boy believed to be the first Black person born in Minneapolis. Other tracks, including the Current hits "Dillinger Eyes," "Violet!" and "A Boy, a Girl and a Graveyard," are filled with scenes of death and funerals. Oh fer fun.
Messersmith has been issuing self-recorded singles each month over the past year and a half under the moniker Mixtape for the Milky Way, and in the spirit of that name he also recently announced a cassette collection of those songs along with a limited vinyl edition. He and his band are finally due to perform again May 21 in the Hook & Ladder's Under the Canopy series — a gig that sold out right away so it will also now be livestreamed.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658