Obituary – Larry Englund

February 4, 2019

Well, it appears that I’ve died. Passed away, departed, checked out, left this earthly vale, kicked the bucket, left town… you get the idea. I went home, as it were on Saturday February 2nd, 2019, at the age of 73 after lengthy treatments for stomach cancer. I am survived by Liz, my loving wife of 23 years.

I was born and raised in the Bronx, the only son of Carl, a carpenter, and Edna, a housewife and excellent cook of comfort food. As a child, I was coddled by my three sisters. I have tried to live a life of kindness and understanding. Perhaps that is what led me to social work while in college.

Looking back, I realize that I’ve been an explorer of sorts, open to new experiences and adventures. My work life has been… varied. I stopped counting after 28 jobs, but can say I learned something from each job. Eventually, I got into tech writing and then marketing for hi-tech and medical companies. When I retired in 2007, I was working for Public Art Saint Paul.

Music & Me

My “Baby Book” (do they still have them?) tells of me loving my little turntable and golden records. My sister Lorraine turned me on to the music of Big Joe Turner and Fats Domino when I was about ten, and a few years later I became a teenage deejay, using one of those 45-only turntables for Friday Night dances at a church basement in the Bronx. I kept up my interest in music through college, and chose music for parties throughout my twenties and thirties. I started hosting shows on KFAI radio in 1981. Over 28 years I hosted three different shows and subbed for many others. I’ve been involved in producing a couple of outdoor festivals, as well as a show called Saint Paul Live! for KBEM and have served on the board of the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education.

As a music writer, I interviewed folks like James Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, Nick Lowe, Bo Diddley, Allen Toussant, and Esperanza Spaulding, as well as numerous Twin Cities musicians. I started my blog,, in 2010, and have written weekly on upcoming music events as well as featuring an occasional interview.

Adventures: High and Low

My adventures have included biking from Minneapolis to New Orleans; traveling with a band on tour in Peru, during which I spent a day at Machu Picchu and took part in a cleansing ceremony led by Incan shamans. I’ve visited pyramids in Mexico and Guatemala; hitchhiked cross-country a number of times; played tambourine and sang back-up in front of thousands of Luther Leaguers. Liz and I saw the “Wrapped Reichstag” in Berlin; visited the hamlet where my father lived in Finland; lived in the Netherlands for three years; visited Havana twice; built homes in Costa Rica; and, along with my wife Liz, were the only Americans on a bus traversing the Finland/Russia border.

Here are a few things I have learned, in no particular order:

  • When working road construction, never, ever leave your lunch bucket where it can get run over by a truck
  • When the computer asks, “Delete file?” Always take a moment, and a deep breath, before hitting the key
  • Even if it’s after midnight and you’re dead tired from working 14 hours, always take a shower after spending an evening cleaning a turkey processing plant
  • Having the Pope in town is no guarantee for success in selling Pope T-shirts
  • Always be open to exploration — even if it’s just trying some new food
  • The more you travel, the more you understand the traits that tie us together are stronger than the traits that separate us
  • Having a partner that can use humor to point out foibles and miscommunications helps keep a relationship on an even, happy keel

That’s it. It’s been a good life. I’m leaving behind a loving wife, Liz, whom I adore, two sisters, Janet and Rene, and a passel of nieces, nephews, cousins, and many, many good-hearted, loving friends. Thanks to everyone for their support during these last few years. See you on the other side, wherever that may be.

A memorial / celebration service featuring some of the area bands that I have been so fond of will be held in March at the Hook and Ladder in Minneapolis.

Please share if you knew Larry.

Temporarily suspending publication

January 16, 2019

Dear Friends;

I am temporarily suspending publication of this music blog. After being hospitalized twice for complications with some newly discovered cancer, I am completely spent. The good news is that I start a new treatment regimen tomorrow. However, I’ve no idea how side effects will affect me, or what ind of energy I will have for the next few weeks, and so I’ll just have to wait and see.  In the meantime, there’s always good music out there to Lift Your Spirit. Thanks for your support. 


January Thaw: 1.9 – 1.15

January 9, 2019

We’ve made it past the January thaw, and hopefully will still have a few more days that are conducive to getting out. My recovery from some health issues is taking longer than expected, so once again my descriptions are short, but will hopefully pique your interest. . Get out if you’ve the energy, because Music Lifts the Spirit!


Wednesday, Jan 9

Nancy Harms @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Minnesota native who is acclaimed throughout Europe. She’ll be playing Birdland in NYC this coming Monday..

Thursday, Jan10

Special EFX All Stars @ The Dakota, Mpls. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($40, $35) Chiele Minucci, gtr; Eric Marienthal, sax; Lao Tizer, keys; Jerry Brooks, bass; Joey Rosenblatt, drums; with special guest Regina Carter on Violin. Grooves, hooks, and head bopping will ensue.

Jiselle McCollum’s Jazz Cult @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Jazz standards and a few contemporary songs delivered with verve and a smile.

Friday, Jan 11

Rhythm’s Mama @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Babatunde Lea heads up this group, which explores the African roots of Cuban Music. Members are: Lea, drums and congas; Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Grayson Peterson, bass; Kevin Washington drums; and Taji Malik Hill, percussion.

Saturday, Jan 12

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm – Pete Snell Trio: Snell, saxes; Tom Lewis, bass; Nathan Norman, drums. 8:30 pm – Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband CD Release, with Nelson Deveraux, sax; Dave Graf, trombone; Chris Olson, guitar; Abbi Stafford, piano; Chris Bates, basss; and Kogan drums. 

Paula Lammers & Mary Louise Knutson @ Bethel Lutheran Church, 4120 17th Ave So, Mpls. (Free Will Offering. Songs of the season, some of which will have new arrangements by Ms Lammers.

Prudence Johnson & Dean Magraw @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6pm ($15) Prudence and Dean have a long history of performing together. This show spotlights the music of Tom Waits.

Monday, Jan 14

John Pizzarelli @ the Dakota, Mpls 7pm ($45, $35), 9pm $35, $25) Outstanding guitarist, fine crooner, enjoyable raconteur.

Charlie Lincoln @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Check out this talented young bass player before he returns to school at Berklee. With Patrick Adams, keys; Dean Magraw, guitar; Jay Epstein, drums.

Tuesday, Jan15

Ethan Iverson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Thoughtful, precise piano playing, with bouts of passion as needed.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Police and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, Jan 9

Tony Cuchetti & Joe Flip on Harold’s House Party (90.3 FM or and at The 331 Club, Mpls. 5m (90.3FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This duo is heading to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis later this month.

Thursday, Jan 10

Daddy Squeeze Newton @ Waldmann’s Brewery, 455 Smith Ave, Saint Paul. 7-9pm (Tip Jar) Accordion music for folks chowing down on German sausages and German style beers.

Friday, Jan 11

Mikkel’s Birthday Party w/Siama’s Afrobilly @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Percussionist Mikkel Becmen celebrates his birthday by playing with Siama Matuzungidi, reveling in Saima’s lilting, infectious music.

Saturday, Jan 12

Trailer Trash @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Mpls. 8pm ($7) The Twin Cities favorite Honky-Tonk band does their thing.

Boogie Wonderland @ Famous Dave’s, Mpls. 9pm ($8) Glam, glitter, and disco!.

Dakota Dave Hull w/Liz Draper CD Release @ Celtic Junction, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($15 Advance, $18 Door( Dakota Dave and Liz will be performing tunes from Dave’s new CD, “Another Cup,” Opening set by Adam Kiesling.

Sunday, Jan 13 

Midnight Choir Social Club @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul.11am – 2pm.($8 suggested cover) Originals inspired by funky gospel and rockin’ blues.

Road to Memphis Fundraiser@ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10?)  Your last chance to help raise funds for the Dee Miller Band’s trip. You’ll also hear The C-Notes, Joe Flip & Tony Cuchetti, Scottie Miller, and more.

Willie Walker @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 5pm ($10?) A late afternoon gig with a commodious dance floor, perfect for this original soul man.

Rosetta & Marie: A Tribute @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Jamecia Bennett and Rajane Katurah Brown received numerous accolades for their singing and acting in Marie and Rosettaat Park Square Theater. Tonight, they’re reprising the songs from that show.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Post NewYears: 1.2 – 1.8

January 2, 2019

We’ve made it past the holiday celebrations, to a week of relative quiet on the music scene as some venues are not featuring music until the weekend, if then. Frankly, health issues have kept me from doing much research, so this is a rather short, and descriptive-less newsletter. That said, there are a few noteworthy events taking place. Get out if you’ve the energy, because Music Lifts the Spirit!


Wednesday, Jan 2

Jon Weber’s History of the Piano @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm The music polymath is a font of knowledge and musical styles.

Thursday, Jan 3

Suzanne Paris @ Jazz Central Vocal Night, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID)

Friday, Jan 4

Dakota Combo Reunion and Tyler Wagner Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) The 2017-2018 Dakota Combo reunites after a semester at school, then the Tyler Wagner Quartet plays: Tyler Wagner, bass; Will Schmid, guitar; Peter Goggin, alto; Edmund Caitlin, drums.

Lucia Newell: Brazilian Getaway @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6pm ($12, $15)

Saturday, Jan 5

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm – Julian Manzara Quartet, 8:30pm – Illicit Sextet

Maud Hixson: 1940s Songbook @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6pm ($15)

Sunday, Jan 5

TC All Star Tribute to Roy Hargrove Encore @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20, $25)

Ginger Commodore Tribute to Nancy Wilson @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm

Monday, Jan 6

Jerry Bergonzi @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm , 9pm ($25, $30) Tenor sax giant with more than 60 recordings to his credit.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Jan 8, 9

Nancy Harms @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Minnesota native who is acclaimed throughout Europe. She’ll be playing Birdland in NYC next week.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Police and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, Jan 2

Rena Haus on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Listen in. Go.

Wednesday, Thursday, Jan 2, 3

Nick Lowe @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, 65, $75) British Pop/Pub Rock pioneer shows how to age gracefully as a musician.

Thursday, Jan 3

Swamp Poppas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. ($7) The music of Southern Louisiana.

Friday, Jan 4

Blue Book @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Relatively new band featuring Maurice Jacox and Steve Clarke

Sunday, Jan 6

A Celebration of Sarah Papenheim @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 4pm doors, 5pm music ($10) The blues community and then some comes together to celebrate the life of the much-loved young drummer who was senselessly killed in The Netherlands.

Monday, Jan 7

Bad Companions @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Rockabilly for Swing Dancers

Tuesday, Jan 8

Dakh Daughters @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Ukranian Cabaret/Folk

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Happy New Year! 12.26 – 1.1

December 26, 2018

Well, 2018 is coming to an end, and whether you can’t wait for it to be over, or simply look forward to a fresh start, there are all manner of celebrations taking place. I’m suggesting a few, including some lower-price events, but there’s bound to be a special event in most every restaurant and bar you can shake a stick at. You can also catch some holiday visitors who have put together shows while in town. We’re blessed to have so many cultural offerings in the metro area. Here’s wishing you a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year! Remember, Music Lifts Your Spirits!


Wednesday, Dec 26

Will Kjeer @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm (?) It’s always fun to see returning students, and how much they’ve learned and grown musically while in school. After spending a number of years attending different schools, pianist Will Kjeer is back for his last holiday vacation as an undergrad. He’ll be joined by Graydon Peterson, bass; and Ben Erlich, drums.

Wednesday – Friday, Dec 26 – 28

Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) The Bad Plus have been having a Christmas stand at the Dakota. Last year makes the last appearance of Ethan Iverson and now the piano chair is held by Orin Evans who has been an integral part of this new conjuration. Rolling Stone called their album “Never Stop II” the number one jazz album of 2018.

Thursday, Dec 27

Steven Hobert Quartet @ Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm ($5) With saxophonist Pete Whitman; bassist Yohannes Tona; and Greg Schutte, drums.  Lots of Steve’s original music as well as music by Stevie Wonder, Duke Ellington and Nina Simone.

Friday, Dec 28

58 Belvedere @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Guitar master Dean Granros is joined by James Buckley, bass; and Dave Power, drums.

Saturday, Dec 29

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set by the Jordan Anderson Group: Anderson, piano; Sam Worthington, bass; and Ben Erlich, drums. Featured artist at 8:30pm is SPACE: another band of rising musicians: Jack Courtwright, trombone; Will Schmid, guitar; Patrick Adkins, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass/cello; and Luke Peterson, drums.

Pat Mallinger Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12, $15) Chicago saxophonist Mallinger is one of Saint Paul’s favorite sons who we get to see whenever he’s in town for the holidays. He’ll have backing by Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. This show is close to selling out as of this writing.

Sunday, Dec 30

Bates, Lewis, & Johnson @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pmJT Bates drums; and Michael Lewis, sax; are 2/3rd of Fat Kid Wednesdays. With the addition of Gordy Johnson on bass, I suspect some standards may be in order, though Johnson, of an older generation, is versatile enough to go wherever the music takes the trio.

Hot Club of Chicago Avenue @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm ($15) Guitarist Sam Miltich, vocalist Charmin Michelle, and clarinetist Tony Baluff combine forces for an evening of swinging’ hot club music.

Hoaxer @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($10) An exciting band of young Turks, with: Charlie Lincoln, bass; Will Kjeer, piano; Peter Goggin, alto; and Edmund Caitlin, drums.

Monday, Dec 31

Connie Evingson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm, 7:30pm ($40, $85) with 3-course dinner) You can celebrate the arrival of a new year with the cool, yet expressive vocals of Ms Evingson  and still be home have time to go to another party or go home and let other have an exuberant evening.

Sophia Shorai @ The Lexington, Saint Paul.9pm (Tip jar) the Lex is taking reservations for dinner, but I don’t know how they’re handling folks who want to see Sophia, since the Williamsburg Room has couches, tea tables, and a bar (no reservations there). More to the point, Ms Shorai (pianist/vocalist), with her sparkling vocals and ability to convey emotion with a catch in her throat will be accompanied by James Buckley, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums.

New Year’s at the Black Dog, Saint Paul.  5pm – 11:59pm (Tip Jar) It’s a two part celebration beginning with their annual Early, Safe & Sane kid-friendly celebration starting at 5pm, and featuring Todd Harper, keys; Aaron Kerr, cello; Chris Hagedorn, sax; and Eric Courson, drums. Then afterwards, it’s a massive jazz concert to take you to the New Year, with Steve Kenny, trumpet; Dave Brattain, saxes; Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Pete James Johnson, drums, along with some special guests. Reservations recommended.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Police and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, Dec 26

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This annual post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s show is always fun, thanks to the camaraderie exhibited by the almost-acapella Eddies and their audiences.

Friday, Dec 28

Crankshaft’s Last Stand @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Crankshaft is retiring, so this will be your last chance to hear this punkified, no-holds barred, blues.  He’ll be joined by the Flood Brothers, and Mike Munson, with a special late set from Kent Burnside with special guests, including Harold Tremblay.

Friday, Saturday, Dec 28, 29

Nooky Jones’ 5th Annual Soulful Soiree @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($17 Advance, $20 Door) This very cool sextet blends, soul jazz, and hip-hop into a musical mélange that’s both spicy & soothing. Friday night guests are Mina Moore and DJ Lazerbeek, while Saturday’s guests are Proper-T, and DJ Rowsheen.

Saturday, Dec 29

Vibronauts @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Guitar-driven early rock n’ roll & rhythm & blues by a quintet packed into the little green booth.

Sunday, Dec 30

Rich Lewis Big Bad Band @ Whitey’s, 4th & East Hennepin, NE Mpls. 8pm (Tip Jar) Soulful rock n’ roll, as well as original versions of classic soul & Motown, performed by an expanded version of the band.

Monday, Dec 31

Belfast Cowboys @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($85, includes $50 food & drink credit) The large version of this Van Morrison tribute band.

Frogleg @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($22 Advance, $25 Door) Funk, Rock, & Reggae from Frogleg, with guests The People Brothers Band.

PHO @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 Advance, $20 day of show) If you’re looking for a fun-filled New Year’s PHO, along with Purple Funk Metropois& Radiochurchwill provide it for you.

Harrison Street @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Friendly, front porch blues with power.

JoyAnn Parker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 10:30pm ($40) Passion, power, and soul from singer/multi-instrumentalist Ms Parker and her bluesy band.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.


Solstice, Festivus, and Christmas: 12.19 – 12.25

December 19, 2018

The Winter Solstice, when we have the shortest amount of daylight is Friday, while Festivus, the made-up holiday from Seinfeld, is Sunday. Christmas, with its message of hope and good will to mankind, is Tuesday. So… there are gigs celebrating each this week, as well as gigs from area musicians who are home for the holidays. This gives you an opportunity to bring guests to some great gigs, or to take some time for yourself in this super-busy season. After all, Music Lifts Your Spirit!


Wednesday, Dec 19

Winter Solstice with The Laura Caviani Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm Caviani is a pianist whose compositions and arrangements are graceful and swinging. Tonight, in anticipation of Friday’s Solstice, she’ll undoubtedly be updating songs from her 1999 holiday CD, Angels We Haven’t Heard, and her 2007 release, Holly, Jolly and Jazzy, with Chris bates, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Thursday, Dec 20

Stone Arch Jazz Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm Traditional, New Orleans style jazz from a seven-piece, horn-heavy group – often danceable, always energizing.

Ylvisaker, Lewis, & Bates @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9:30pm ($5) Drummer JT Bates may have stopped booking the Jazz Implosion, but he continues to deliver a satisfying foundation, and occasional lead, formal manner of groups, including this one with versatile guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker, and bassist, saxophonist Michael Lewis.

Friday, Dec 21

Debbie Duncan & Andrew Walesch: It Must be Christmas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm The Twin Cities jazz maven and piano-playing crooner join up to celebrate the holiday.

John Raymond/Chris Thompson Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. ($10) Not only do the holidays mark the return of college students, but of area musicians who now live elsewhere. Case in point – trumpeter John Raymond, now a Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Indiana University. He’ll be joined by Chris Thomson, sax; Thomas Nordland, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Pete James Johnson, drums.

Saturday, Dec 22

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: Owen Finch Group. 8:30pm: John Raymond Feels Trio – Raymond, trumpet; Graydon Peterson, bass; Phil Hey, drums.

Anderson, Lincoln, & Epstein @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7-9pm (Tip Jar) Boom Island Brewing makes Belgian style beers, Pianist Jordan Anderson, bassist Charlie Lincoln, and drummer Jay Epstein create some fine music.

Sunday, Dec 23

Festivus & Other Twisted Holidays @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Pianist Larry McDonough and his quartet host a Festivus for the Rest of Us. Expect an Airing of Grievances, along with music for Festivus Miracle and Feats of Strength, as well as McDonough’s odd takes on holiday music. .

Monday, Dec 24

No jazz shows as far as I can tell, though you might want to check out Deano & the Dinosaurs at Merlin’s Rest (listed below), whose music often veers into jazz territory.

Tuesday – Friday, Dec 25 – 28

Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) The Bad Plus have been having a Christmas stand at the Dakota. Last year marked the last appearance of pianist Ethan Iverson. Orin Evans now holds the piano chair, andhas become an integral part of the band. Rolling Stone called their album “Never Stop II” the number one jazz album of 2018.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and some roots music.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, Dec 19

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Charlie Parr just may be the most authentic roots/blues musician four time. He grew up without a TV, but made up fort by listening to his dad’s collection of records by Charley Patton, Woody Guthrie, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and other artists who form the foundation of America’s music. His truly authentic sound, which evokes the music of itinerant musicians of the 1930s, strikes a major chord with today’s young audiences.

Thursday, Dec 20

Les Nubians @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35, $40), 9pm ($25, $30, $35) This Franco-African duo blends music from around the world with the rhythms and songs of Africa o create a performance that is both musically and visually stunning.

Friday, Dec 21

Blue Yodel No. 8 @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. (Tip Jar) John Whitehead, guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals; John Her, bass, vocals; and Ross Johnson, guitar, harmonica, & vocals: play an eclectic mix of bluegrass, country, blues, and swing, from artists ranging from Hank Williams and the Delmore Bros to Jimmy Reed and Bob Wills

Tracy Grammer @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Americana/folk artist Tracy Grammer has a pure voice, plays a deft guitar and violin, and excels at storytelling. She’s recorded and performed with Joan Baez and Mary Chapin Carpenter, and enjoyed 12 consecutive years as one of folk radio’s 50 top-played artists, both solo and in a duo with the late Dave Carter. Her eleventh CD, Low Tide, was released earlier this year, and is the first ever to feature her original songs. Opening act Dennis Warner may live in Minnesota but he’s a regular road warrior, performing in over 100 cities a year.

Saturday, Dec 22

Wee Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($10, $15) I don’t know if Walker, an original soul man, will be doing any seasonal songs, though I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Back Door Santa along with his usual mix of classic and modern soul.

10th Annual Yuletide Sweater Ball @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Whether you were un-ironically given a Christmas Sweater, or found an ugly one for events such as this, enjoy an evening of progressive bluegrass and old-times music courtesy of The Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins; Barbero; and the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League.

Sunday, Dec 23

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, Saint Paul. 4pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Paul Mayasich is in the hot seat, Michael Caravale on upright bass, along with Rena Haus, and Papa John Kolstad.

Dee Miller Band: Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ MN Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 2pm ($10?, Donation) Help the Dee Miller Band  et out of town and down to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge in January. To entice your attendance and donations, they’ll be joined by Armadillo Jump; Squishy Mud, & Mark Cameron

Monday, December 24

Jewbilee 2018 @ 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis. 7pm door, 7:30 music ($5 advance, $7 Door) There’s an old saying that for Jews, Christmas means Chinese takeout and a trip to the movies. Well, for 14 years now, Deejay Danny Sigelman has created another Christmas Eve tradition for Jews and non-Jews alike who are looking to attend something non-Christmasy – Jewbilee. This year’s edition features the bands Planet Pookey, Challo, The Rivkinz (Revolution drummer Bobby Z & sons), and Andy Cook, as well as Fancy Ray McClooney and other comedians. You don’t have to be a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel to enjoy this show. All are welcome

Monday, Tuesday, December 24, 25

Deano & The Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Not everyone wants (or gets) to spend a whole evening with relatives from near and afar. If you need a break, or simply don’t want to hear any more Christmas music, you’ve got these gigs to attend. Guitarist Deano Mikkelson does his annual show again this year, with two different sets of Dinosaurs. Christmas Eve it’s Joel Shapira, guitar; George Marich, drums; and James Buckley, bass. Christmas night Deano will be joined by Dean Harrington, guitar; Tom Lewis, bass; and Dehl Gallagher, drums. Harmonica master Clint Hoover is expected stop in one or both nights and join in the fun. Note: if you want to order adult beverages, be sure to bring an ID.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.


Holiday Party Time: 12.12 – 12.18

December 12, 2018

Lots of interesting shows from resident artists yhis week, including young musicians home from college for the holidays; an all-star tribute to the recently passed Roy Hargrove, some garage rock holiday celebrations, a bluegrass Christmas, and a dance celebration of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Something I don’t have listed is the musical Marie & Rosetta at Park SquareTheater through December 30. It’s about gospel/swing guitarist Rosetta Tharpe, the Rock n’Roll Hall of Famer who was an early adopter of electric guitar and an inspiration to the Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and most of the early British Blues scene. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in rock history and the guitar. Music Lifts Your Spirit!


Wednesday, Dec 12

Chris Bates Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Bassist Chris Bates‘ original compositions, as performed by: Bates; Bill Bergmann, guitar; Joe Mayo, sax; and Joey Van Phillips, drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, Dec 12, 13

Paris Chansons @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) While one might expect that this group would perform romantic French songs, they draw from a wider, international repertoire, some of which is quite fast. Julia Kantor, a sultry Ukranian songstress, together with her husband Jacob, from Russia, and Max Cohen, from Morocco, perform jazz standards and other classics in French, Russian, Italian, and other languages.

Thursday, Dec 13

Vocal Night Holiday Celebration @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Vocal night curator Sarah M. Greer, along with pianist Ted Godbout, hosts this informal holiday celebration that’s part open mic, part jam session, part caroling (by all), some circle singing, and general good tidings. With food by Vanessa.

Friday, Dec 14

Maud Hixson & Jason Richards: Let It Snow! @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6pm ($15) Holiday classics and a few song of Steve Lawrence & Edie Gormé, with Rick Carlson on piano.

Jackson Potter & Adam Asturp Double Guitar Quartet @ The Underground Music Cafe, 408 N. 3rd Street, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) The winter holidays bring college musicians back to town, as with this group appearing at the UMC’s Mpls location. Adam Astrup & Jackson Potter, guitars; Matt McIntyre, bass; and Simon Petrick drums.

Saturday, Dec 15

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm Constellation Band: Ross Nixon, sax; Kelly Blau, guitar; Sid Gasner, bass; Derrin Pinto, drums. At 8:30pm: CD Release for Steve Kenny “Quartets” featuring Steve Kenny Quartet: Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Te Olsen, bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums; and Kenny, Flumpet. Additionally, What Would Monk Do: Billy Peterson, bass; Peter Schimke, piano; Rodney Ruckus, drums, Kenny, Flumpet; with special Guest Brandon Wozniak.

Fat Kid Wednesdays w/ The Dakota Combo @ Barely Bros Records, 783 Raymond Ave, Saint Paul. 4pm – 7pm (Free) You’ll have to stand, but you can peruse the records for gifts to yourself or others. The Dakota Combo is a group of HS students chosen each year by open audition to study with Adam Linz, bassist for the Fat Kids. It will be tight, both in terms of available room and the music.

Sunday, Dec 16

Capri Big Band’s Jazzy Christmas Concert @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 3pm (Free) Holiday sounds from a big, 25-member, brassy, intergenerational band.

Rhythm’s Mama & Le Voyage @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 4pm ($20) Rhythm’s Mama, led by Babatunde Lea explores the African roots of Cuban Music.Members are: Lea, drums and congas; Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Grayson Peterson, bass; Kevin Washington drums; and Taji Malik Hill, percussion. Le Voyage is a Donald Washington project that creates music for the moment – adventurous and satisfying. Members are : Washington, reeds; with Steve Hirsh, drums; Matt Trice, sax; and Richard Studer, bass.

Monday, Dec 17

Jordan Anderson Trio/Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) It’s been a few years since pianist Anderson graduated from high school and The Dakota Combo. He’ll do two sets with two groups. Apparently one group isn’t enough to express his creativity.

JC Sanford Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) This is the last edition of Jazz Implosion. After 20 years of bursting great jazz with this series, JT Bates, perhaps the most versatile drummer in towns calling it quits. Given the success of the series, it’s hard to believe the Icehouse won’t continue to book jazz fro time to time. So, tonight farewell Bates hast the JC Sanford Quartet playin mostly originals from Sanford: Sanford, trombone; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Tuesday, Dec 18

All-Star TC Tribute to Roy Hargrove @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20, $25) Trumpeter Roy Hargrove recently left town. He was a fairly regular visitor to the Dakota so it makes sense that they’d have a show honoring him. Hargrove’s music encompassed many genres: Afro-Cuban Jazz; Hard Bop; R&B, Hip-Hop, and even Afrobeat. Many of the Twin cities finest artists, including trumpeters Omar Abdulkarim; Adam Meckler; and Solomon Parham, are gathering to celebrate Hargrove and his music. They’ll be joined by Justin Robinson, from the Roy Hargrove Quintet.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and some roots music.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, Dec 12

Matt Arthur & Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Americana and country rock to finish out “hump-day.”

Hula Peppers @ The Schooner, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Experience the charm, low-key humor, and the fine technique of the Peppers as they play music from 78s of the 20s and 30s.

Thursday, Dec 13

Monroe Crossing: A Bluegrass Christmas @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20) With 15 CDs to their name, including two Christmas missives, a passel of honors and awards, and a repertoire that includes traditional bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, classic country, and even a few songs completely outside the genre, Monroe Crossing delivers a Christmas show for bluegrass fans.

Deb Brown & Brian Ziemniak @ 925 Landing, Wayzata. 6-9pm (No Cover) Bluesman Deb Brown & keyboardist Brian Ziemnieak bring the blues yo Wayzata.

Friday, Dec 14

The Castaways @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) it’s a Garagey Lil’ Holiday Festival @, featuring the fabled Castaways of the big hit Liar Liar and the lesser known Goodbye Babe fame, as well as The Sex Rays, Fret Rattles, Black Widows and more, including Dr. Bob’s Puppet Show, free food from Gandhi Mahal, and beer tastings from Fulton Beer for early arrivals.

Kinda Kinky Holiday Concert & Food Raiser @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. ($??, 1/2 price w/non-perishable food item) I believe this may be the 7th year that the Kinks tribute band has put together a benefit to raise food – this year for The Food Group. As in the past, it will feature vocalists galore including: Curtiss A, Sabrina Crews, Carol Cunnington, Gini Dodds, Alma Engebretson,  Baby Grant Johnson, Cindy Lawson, Molly Maher, Carla Tollefsrud, members of Prairie Fire Lady Choir, and many, many more.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Dec 14, 15, 16

A Charlie Brown Christmas Played Live and Danced! @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6:30pm Friday; 1:30 & 4:30pm Saturday; 4:30pm Sunday ($16 Advance/$18 Door, 12 & Under – Free) The animated cartoons of Charles Schultz wouldn’t be half so successful without the playful jazz of Vince Guaraldi. This intriguing project by Rhythmically Speaking Artistic director Erin Liebhard takes the music of A Charlie Brown Christmas, as performed by jazz/surf quartet GST, and adds nine dancers to bring life to the soundtrack. This could be the start of a new Christmas tradition in the Twin Cities.

Saturday, Dec 15

KFAI’s MinneCulture Mixtape Show @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The little station that could has been broadcasting live concerts as part of its MinneCulture project for about ten years. Now, they’ve created a cassette mix-tape –  The Live from Minnesota Mixtape cassette tape represents all-star selections from these sets with acts like Chastity Brown, Charlie Parr, Kitten Forever, The Jayhawks, The Suburbs, Dalmar Yare, Heiruspecs and more. To celebrate the release, a number of acts are performing tonight, including Minneapolis Synth-pop band Pornonono, gospel-soul singer and local Black Lives Matter anthem author Jayanthi Kyle (formerly of Gospel Machine), MC-poet See More Perspective, and others

Sunday, Dec 16

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm – 7pm. ($5) It’s an afternoon Latin Dance Party, as saxophonist/flutist Doug Little leads the band through salsa, rumbas, son, and of course, charangos.

Tim Sparks & Phil Heywood @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Minnesota, and the Twin cities are known as a nexus of acoustic, finger style guitarists, in part because of these two players. Both have earned National Fingerpicking Championships in the past, and together play duets and solo pieces from Americana, jazz, folk, & blues repertoires.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

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