Minnesota Music

Photo Provided by Jeff Jarvinen

In a year that saw the launch of Duluth's first all-female music festival, FeMNfest, we look back at a time when women weren't such a commonplace part of the music scene. Liz Minette talks with Ione Tomasetti of Iron Range band Renown and Duluth's Lorene Couture of bands Hostage and Legacy about their time in music, from their first-ever gigs to giving words of encouragement to a young Bob Dylan (then Bobby Zimmerman) after watching him get booed off the stage during a talent show to hearing their songs on the radio for the first time.

Man in a white shirt and blue jacket with long hair and glasses pointing to a poster on the door of KUMD.
Christine Dean for KUMD

Self described as "The Pied Piper of Wuss Rock," this Minneapolis singer/songwriter and Star Wars enthusiast's latest album is titled 11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs for Ukelele. The accompanying songbook, available for free from his website, gives his fans a chance to learn the songs for themselves and come to one of the many shows on his Minnesota microtour to sing and play along.  We found out more when he joined us in the studio on June 3, 2017 during Folk Migrations. He performed a KUMD-sponsored show on June 4, 2017 at Glensheen Mansion in Duluth.

We are partnering with First Avenue to bring you this exciting lineup of Minnesota musicians to Bayfront Festival Park on Saturday, July 8. Gates open at 4:30 pm with music starting at 5:00 pm. The show also includes exciting opening acts: Remo Drive and J.S. Ondara. This an all-ages show!

Ticket purchasing information can be found at first-avenue.com.

Fiddler Eric Christopher and banjo player Anthony Ihrig of this Minnesota bluegrass 5-piece joined us in the studio on March 31, 2017. We talked about the band's non-traditional approach to playing traditional bluegrass; for example, their new album, "Daddy was a Bankrobber," due out June 16th, takes its name from a Clash tune they cover.  The band was in town to play at their first Cabin Fever Festival, sponsored by the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-time Music Association.

This eclectic band features members of Minneapolis music collective Kriyative Emblems of a Blue Soul Renaissance. Trained in jazz and blues, members also experiment with hip-hop, soul, and Afrobeat. They joined us in the studio on December 16, 2016 for a preview of their show at Duluth's Red Herring Lounge the same night.

KUMD shared an concert on Thanksgiving with Native American musicians Sonny Johnson and Annie Humphrey in an evening of  Minnesota music and stories of shared traditions. The KUMD event Ojibwe Then & Now included a full day of events celebrating Ojibwe tradition and bringing it forward, from the youth of Remer schools performing at the traditional walleye feast  to this evening concert at Weber Music Hall. This event was supported by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and by Native Lives Matter.

This Minneapolis alt-country performer recently put out his second release, and EP with tight backing band the Red Daughters. He'll be returning to the Red Herring Lounge in Duluth for a show on November 19th; we got a preview when he joined us in the studio on October 24, 2016.


Parr hosted a night of American Primitive guitar at the Red Herring featuring guitarists Matt Sowell, a Philadelphia native now living in Minneapolis, and Michael Wohl from Seattle. We heard some great guitar talk and live tunes on September 20, 2016 when the trio joined us in the studio. 


Minneapolis Skyline
Adam Fleischhacker

In its third year, Trampled by Turtles’ Festival Palomino brought together a collection of beloved musicians this Saturday under the shadow of the Minneapolis Skyline. The Arcs with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Illinois’ multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird, British folk rocker Jake Bugg, and acclaimed groups Elephant Revival and Frightened Rabbit were among the top-billed artists. The festival featured a wide variety of Duluth influence as well, with Erik Berry Duo and Murder of Crows, both bands featuring members of the acclaimed Duluth legends, Low. Devil’s Flying Machine, featuring Charlie Parr, also contributed to this rich collection of bluegrass, folk, americana, and rock standouts.

Five men in t-shirts standing in front of a wall of CDs.
KUMD

This five-piece based in Northfield, Minnesota, joined us in the studio on July 1, 2016.

We found out how they all met as professors at Carlton and St. Olaf  Colleges and how the guy with the jazz drumming degree (Daniel Groll) became the singer/guitarist and the guy with the jazz saxophone degree (Mike Fuerstein) took over drums. Andy Flory on bass,  Jason Decker guitar Louis Epstein keyboards

Man in Hawaiian shirt playing guitar and singing into a microphone in the KUMD studio
KUMD

Sleeping Jesus is the alter ego of Winona, Minnesota musician Nick Elstad, self-described as a "soft-spoken hopeless romantic."

We talked with Elstad about recording his first EP of melodic indie-pop, released earlier this year, on his own at his parents' house and his plans for a new recording with his full band. Elstad also shared how an obsession with Bob Dylan's music led to his own pursuit of songwriting and performing. He and his band joined us in the studio on July 1, 2016, to perform songs from the EP as well as unreleased material.

Man singing into a microphone
John Behm

Twin Cities soul singer Sonny Knight's first album was named I'm Still Here;  Knight says it refers to "the fact that I'm still here to do what I do is like a blessing to me." We talked with Knight, a Vietnam veteran, about his long road to releasing his first album under his own name at the age of 65-his beginnings singing music in church in Mississippi (where he grew up before moving to St. Paul), the bands he performed with on and off along the way, and the show where the owners of Secret Stash records saw him for the first time.

This melodic indie-rock four-piece got its start in Duluth before relocating to Minneapolis. They recently put out the EP, Creatures, their third release.

We got to hear tunes from the new EP and chat with the band when they swung through the studios on June 10, 2016. Later that night they performed in Duluth as part of the Red Herring's 2nd Birthday Bash.

Man singing and playing guitar left handed
Quentin Stille for KUMD

This Minnesota singer/songwriter joined us on June 3, 2016 for his first-ever radio interview and performance.

We talked with Cook about re-discovering music after years as a hockey goalie left him too busy for it. He talked about being inspired to pick up a guitar again after hearing Haley Bonar's "Raggedy Man," and about working with Erik Koskinen, who produced and played on Cook's debut EP.

This eclectic Twin Cities performer is known for her work as backup vocalist for Dessa as well as her solo projects. Her latest release, Wolf Lords, is an electronic pop album done in collaboration with Brooklyn and Minneapolis producer Grant Cutler. We welcomed Aby to the studio on May 13, 2016 in advance of her show with local musicians Shaunna Heckman and Murder of Crows the same night at the Red Herring Lounge.


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