Summer Music Isn’t Over Yet: 8.26 – 9.2

August 26, 2015
Though dusk is coming earlier these days, music is always available

Though dusk is coming earlier these days, music is always available

Well, the State Fair begins tomorrow, which means that Labor Day, the unofficial end of Summer, isn’t far behind. There is much music at the Fair, and I’ll post a separate, simple listing tomorrow, but there is also plenty of great music to enjoy outside of the fair. Here are a few examples. Have a great week. Music lifts your spirit.


Wednesday, August 26

Joe Strachan @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Strachan graduated from the U o MN a couple of years ago and has become a pianist-about-town, playing with The Adam Meckler Orchestra, Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, Jake Baldwin’s Quintet, Charanga Tropical, and in other groups. Always inventive. Though the film quality on this video isn’t great, the sound comes through quite nicely.

Wednesday, Thursday, August 26, 27

Ben Sidran @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Sidran manages to live in Madison and keep up an international touring schedule and regular release of CDs. Tonight and Thursday he’s celebrating the release of Blue Camus. It’s a two family celebration with Ben on keys and vocals, son Leo on drums, Ricky Peterson on organ, and Billy Peterson on bass. The show is titled Jazz + Philosophy, which isn’t unusual for Sidran, who often interjects hipster rapping into his show, whether it’s about Dylan, the first caveman discovering a beat,  or how commercial radio uses music to deliver potential customers to advertisers. Here’s something from the new album.

Thursday, August 27

Melody Mendis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The Detroit native has been singing jazz, R&B, pop, and more around town in a variety of cover bands like High and Mighty, and Boogie Wonderland. She recently released her second album, Love & Madness, full of twisted arrangements and dramatic, dark covers.

Bryan Nichols Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7 :30 – 9:30pm ($10) Given that saxophonist Michael Lewis is now living on the west coast, tonight’s performance is a rare opportunity to see this particular combination of players addressing the original music of pianist Nichols. With Brandon Wozniak, sax; James Buckley, bass; and JT Bates on drums.

Javi Santiago & Lucia Sarmiento @ Bedlam Theater, Saint Paul. 10pm ($5) Here’s a double bill of young talent. The Javi Santiago Trio includes Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Lucia Sarmieto Quintet includes Sarmiento, still a student at McNally Smith on sax; Trevor Wiest, guitar; Will Kjeer, about to set off for CalArts on piano; Ry Dill, bass; and Blake Huebel, drums. Here’s an example of Lucia’s playing.

Friday, August 28

Javi Santiago & Proper-T Present: Murkury @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Javi Santiago and his long time running mate, drummer Miguel Hurtado, team up with vocalist/pianist Taylor Johnson, aka Proper T to create Murkury  a group that performs improvisational music mining jazz and blues, while bringing pop and electronic innovations to the fore as well.

Charmin Michelle & Sam Miltich @ Third Place Gallery, 3730 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($15 Suggested Donation) Songstress Michelle and guitarist Miltich address the Ella Fitzgerald/Joe Pass connection in this tribute to both of them.

Patty & The Buttons @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8:30pm – 11:30pm ($10) Some button accordion-driven swing from a group most often found at the Aster on Sunday mornings. The way the Vieux is set up, you’ll only have to shuffle a couple of tables aside to create a bit of a dance floor.

No Room for Squares @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm – 11pm (Tip Jar) A group of veteran players get together to enjoy themselves playing originals and jazz standards. Jon Pemberton, trumpet; Jimmie Wallace, sax; Mikkel Romstad, keys; Adam Tucker, bass; and Bill Steiger, drums.

Saturday, August 29

Saturday Night Jazz @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. At 7pm, the U of M Combo opens, featuring current and former students: Ryan Christianson, Joe Strachan, Matt McIntyre, and Andres Crovetti, followed at 8:30pm by The Dean Sorenson Sextet CD Release party: Dean on trombone; Steve Kennym, flumpet; Dave Milne, sax; Chris Lomheim, piano; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Hey, drums.

Maurice Jacox Trio @ Crooner’s Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) I would normally list Jacox under Blues and Roots, but the versatile singer’s appearance tonight at Crooners is more likely to be filled with Nat Cole and jazz-inspired acoustic Motown than full-blown R&B. Even in a trio format, Jacox’s balladry is likely to coax a few couples onto the dance floor.

Sunday, August 30

Tootie Heath Trio, w/Ethan Iverson & Ben Street @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($22) Talk about an entertainment deal. The 79 year old Heath has been an active participant in the nation’s jazz scene since the 50s. The younger brother of Jimmy on sax and Percy on bass, Heath continues to be a force in jazz. His first recording was with John Coltrane in 1957, and his subsequent work encompassed most all of jazz royalty, such as The Modern Jazz Quartet, JJ Johnson, The Jazztet, Bobby Timmons,  Thelonious Monk, and dozens of other artists. Now he’s teamed up with pianist Ethan Iverson, of the Bad Plus, and bassist Ben Street, who spent the 90s exploring free jazz, for three albums, the latest of which is Philadelphia, named for Heath’s home town. Here is the trio at theChicago Jazz Festival.

Monday, August 31

Terrence Blanchard E Collective @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25) Trumpeter Blanchard has appeared a leader or co-leader on over 30 albums, including soundtracks for Spike Lee and his moving, post-Katrina masterpiece A Tale of God’s Will. He and his band are now receiving much praise from the likes of both Downbeat and Jazz Times for Breathless, his latest album. It’s an electrified fusion of R&B and fusion-influenced jazz. It’s has slow jams, deep grooves, a hip-hop/jazz fusion of Les McCann’s “Compared to What,” and a reworking of Hank Williams’ “I Aint Got Nothing But Time.”

James Buckley Trio + One @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Bassist James Buckley and his long-standing trio including Bryan Nichols, keys; and JT Bates, drums, are given the chance to provide new takes on their repertoire with the addition of Jacob Hanson on guitar. Hanson has long been a fixture in many bands around town, providing licks that are twangy, reverb-laden, and imaginative.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 26

John Till on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – Tip Jar) Whether he’s playing bottleneck slide, banjo, or acoustic guitar, Till  elivers country blues from the Great Plains to the Delta, with side trips to Appalachia and Chicago. Listen in and head to the 331 afterwards.

Gabby Z @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Gabby Z is a sixteen year old singer/songwriter who is about to release her debut album. Her soulful singing reveals influences of Joss Stone, Sara Bareilles, and Amos Lee.

Mother Banjo @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul 8pm ($5) Get yourself some bluegrassy gospel and poetic lyrics as Ellen Stanley, aka Mother Banjo  brings her full band to the underground confines of the Vieux Carre.

Thursday, August 27

Flamin’ Ohs & The War Poets @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) The Ohs had a strong following back in the day, and can still deliver their smart pop/punk/new wave sounds with vengeance. Openers The War Poets are a protest band for this generation, writing about homelessness, poverty, and other social issues of the day. Music will be followed by a screening of Dispatched, a comedy action thriller presented by the Twin Cities Film Festival. Here are the Ohs doing a cover of the Rolling Stones.

Joe Ely and Alejandro Escovedo @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Here’s a double bill of Texas singer/songwriters with a punch to their music. Alejandro Escovedo left Texas for California in the 70s and played guitar with the Nuns and the punk-meets-country Rank & File. After returning to Texas, Escovedo began a steady but slow rise to prominence, working with producers like Chris Stamey and John Cale, and collaborating with Chuck Prophet. Nowadays, Escovedo says he just wants to write “cool pop rock songs.” Ely is a rockin’ troubadour, who has traveled the country singing  about his travels in honky tonks, hook joints, and concert halls. Bruce Springsteen, Raul Malo, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore (with whom he worked in the Flatlanders) have all contributed vocals to his albums.  Here’ Ely at work.

Friday, August 28

Willie Walker and the We R Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Willie’s latest CD, If Nothing Ever Changes, was produced by bluesman/slyman Rick Estrin, of the Night Cats, and it’s terrific. Walker is still a soul master, able to evoke emotion with the slightest change in his gravely voice. He’s brought a good crowd to the Fridley lounge in the past and tonight should be no different. Here he is on a recent tour of South America.

Hipshaker 13th Anniversary @ The Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Get out the talcum powder and your best dancing shoes. And get there early to claim a spot to rest and have a drink every once in a while. Brian, Greg, and George will be pulling out the best of their rare 45s tonight.

Saturday, August 29

Jimmi & the Band of Souls @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($8) Jimmi & the Band of Souls use mandolins and banjos, as well as the usual guitars, slide guitars, and rhythm section found in a blues band. As a result, they have a unique sound which is strengthened by their winning blend of blues, R&B, and roots music.  Here they are with a classic Memphis Minnie tune.

Sunday, August 30

RAMM Band @ Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter, Stillwater. 3 – 6pm (No Cover) Guitarist Paul Mayasich  together with ace time-keepers John Iden, bass; and Hye Pockets, drums, deliver such blues-based favorites, including Motown, funk, R&B, and even some Rock n’ Roll and Americana. You get to hang out and avail yourself of the Hunter’s favorites, like goulash, all manner of sausages, spatzle, burgers, and more. Since this is an outdoor gig, all bets are off if the weather doesn’t permit.

Charlie Parr & Dave Moore @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This great two-fer is part of the Eclectic Electric series, and features two of Red House Records’ premiere artists in an intimate setting. Parr  of course, is the Duluth bluesman who has captured the imagination of both young and old with his Duluth-meets-the Delta acoustic blues. Moore is the somewhat reclusive singer/songwriter from Iowa City who used to play with Greg Brown and has become a stellar writer and performer in his own right. You might want to get advance tickets for this one, since the Cabaret is a bit small. Here’s Moore at work.

Tuesday, September 1

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Father Hennepin Bluff Park, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) The sad sounds of Doug Otto’s expressive voice backed by the rootsy/acoustic sounds of the Getaways will undoubtedly feel just right in an outdoor setting.

Halley DeVestern Band @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:00pm (No Cover) This five-piece from New York City delivers some rock/funk/blues with verve. Leader/vocalst DeVestern has a big voice, well supported by band members who’ve been members of Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Zen Tricksters, and the bands of Roger Waters and Shawn Mullins. Refriogerager opens at 9pmn, followed by DeVestern and company at 10:30pm.

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. Dancers might want to check out the calendar for U Wanna Dance.

The Musical Vortex. 1.9 – 1.14

January 9, 2014

UnknownMy ISP had some problems yesterday, hence the late posting. Anyway, let’s not talk about the weather. Let’s look at the vortex of music that’s inhabiting our twin towns this week. From Gamelan music to big bands, there’s something for many, if not everyone. Have a good week. Remember, music lifts the spirit.


Unknown-1Wednesday, Thursday, January 8,9

Bobby Caldwell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($36 – $42), 9pm ($30 – $36) Caldwell is an R&B/Jazz crooner/songwriter will be right at home on the Dakota’s stage. He’s written songs for Chicago, Boz Scaggs, and Al Jarreau, among others.  His own big hit, “What You Won’t Do for Love,” has been sampled by hundreds, and covered by artists such as Roberta Flack and Michael Bolton.

Friday, January 10

Arne Fogel @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) The Italian restaurant with a cozy lounge is just right for this crooner.  He’ll be accompanied by Rick Carlson on piano and Keith Boyles on bass.

Saturday, January 11

Chris Lomheim & James Buckley @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 9:00pm (No Cover) Chris on piano and James on upright bass will provide a soundtrack for your dining at the Icehouse. Just be sure to ask for a table close to the stage, as it can get noisy from diners enjoying themselves.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10, under 12 – Free) Trumpeter/bandleader Adam Meckler brings his 18 piece band a3023302558_2to the cozy confines of Studio Z. This is a modern big band – think Maria Schneider, rather than Ellington or Basie, but that doesn’t mean it can’t swing. This is a band full of cats, performing exciting music. There is a free workshop at 6pm, during which Meckler will talk about the evolution of writing for a big band.

Sunday, January 12

Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra featuring Charmin Michelle @ The Cinema Ballroom, 1560 Saint Clair, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($12) This is a regular gig for this big band, and its most often attended by folks who want to fox trot, cha cha, two step, and lindy. Bring your own dancing shoes and get there by 6:15 to take in a free dance class beforehand.

Monday, January 13

Zack Lozier @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Zack’s trumpet playing has graced a number of bands, from Davina & the Vagabonds and the Jack Brass Band to Salsabrosa, Havana Hi-Fi, Chris Bates Red5, and the Doc Severinsen Big Band. It’s always a pleasure to see him out front. Don’t know if he’ll be playing with one of his trios or with the Jazz Central house band, but either way it’s sure to be fun.

David Grisman & the Folk Jazz Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, ($40, $45), 9pm ($30, $35) Grisman is a mandolinist/composer/producer who first came to prominence in Greenwich Village in the 60s. Since then he’s won five Grammys for his recordings, and has collaborated and played with folks ranging from Jerry Garcia to Bonnie Raitt, Earl Scruggs, and  Stephane Grappelli. He’ll be joined by guitarist Jim Hurst and bassist Samson Grisman to explore the common roots of folk and jazz. Here they are doing their thing.

Tuesday, January 14

Chris Olson Project @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Chris is an imaginative and sensitive guitarist who recently finished up a gig at the Park Square Theater playing the music of Ira Gershwin, including a lovely duet with Ari Hoptman as Ira. The Chris Olson Project at the Black Dog is a monthly gig and features a special guest or two each month. Show up to find out.

Cedar Avenue Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) The CABB is over 25 years old and still going strong, thanks to its talented members and great arrangements.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, January 8

Zoe Keating @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) Here’s an interesting example of how the DIY ethic in recording has spread. Keating is a cellist who works with a foot-controlled laptop to create layered, haunting compositions. She has been successful enough to sell 60,000 albums without the help of a record company. Keating has also worked with artists ranging from Dan Hicks and Thomas Dolby to Tears for Fears and DJ Shadow, in addition to providing music to film, tv, and dance projects. Opening is David Gerald Sutton, who plays five-string electric violin. He also uses technology, most notably foot pedals, to create layered soundscapes.  Here’s a video of Keating.

Thursday, January 9

International Novelty Gamelan @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul 5pm – 7pm (Free) Part of the Cocktails with Culture series held by the Schubert Club, this event is being called New Music for Tuned Percussion. If you’ve never heard the soft sounds of a gamelan, here’s your chance. Drinks are available for purchase.

Friday, January 10

Dee Miller Band w/Jimi Prime Time Smith @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm. The early evening time is just right for folks of a certain age who want to get down, but need their sleep. Dee and the boys will provide the bluesy dance tunes. Jimi will spice them up. It’s up to you to dance.

Saturday, January 11

Nikki Matteson & Rich Rue @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Nikki’s clarion vocals and Rich’s hot guitar licks are just the thing to warm up your evening.

Big George Jackson @ Holihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake.8pm (No Cover) With a booming voice that will rattle a rain barrel, Big George’s blues will shake your bones.

Flamin’ Ohs @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The Oh’s were part of the flowering of Twin Town punk & new wave back in the late seventies and early eighties. The Strib called their music “East Coast street anthems coupled with midwestern optimism and enthusiasm.” Their video of I Remember Romance received heavy airplay on the new music channel – MTV. In ’97, after an absence of ten years, they returned to performing, but don’t play out very much, so this is a good chance to catch them. Here they are doing a David Bowie/Brian Eno song.

Savanna & the Saviors @  Bryant Lake  Bowl, Minneapolis. 10pm ($5) Savanna and the guys are an R&B-ish, jazz-ish soulful quartet, wherein Savanna sings grooving originals that aren’t afraid to rock out.  Al Church opens.

Sunday, January 12

Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ Whiskey Junction, Minneapolis. 2pm – 6pm  The annual fundraiser to send twin cities artists to the International Blues Competition in Memphis. Today’s event features Annie Mack, Tampa Spatz, Papa John Kolstad, Hurricane Harold, Crankshaft, Kit Kildahl, Steve Vonerharr, Curtis Marlatt, and the IBC All-Star Band.

Tiempo Libre @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) This Grammy-nominated septet will have the Dakota audience dancing in the aisles, if not in their seats, as they set the stage on fire with Cuban rhythms, including the “Timba,” an irresistible mix of Latin Jazz and Cuban Son.  They’ve appeared at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, The Tonight Show and other high profile venues and festivals.

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

The Height of Summer. Music: 7.24 – 7.30

July 24, 2013
Mears Park will be home to the Lowertown Roots Festival on Saturday

Mears Park will be home to the Lowertown Roots Festival on Saturday

Well, this Saturday is shaping up to be one of the best of the summer, with an abundance of music offerings. We’ve a Roots Festival in Saint Paul, the Dakota Street Fest in Minneapolis, and dozens of other performances in jazz, blues, and roots, only a few of which I’ve listed. It’s what we wait for throughout the winter, and then we end up with making difficult choices, or mapping out a day of travel between events. We are lucky to have such a cornucopia of talent in our midst.


Wednesday, July 24

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Now into his ninth decade of performing, Karr plays the saxophone with beauty and grace, even when playing a bracing bebop number.

Thursday, July 25

Jeremy Walker Benefit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) Ted NashDavid BerkmanAnthony Cox, & guests from the MN Opera come together to help raise funds for pianist/composer Jeremy Walker (Nownet!, Boot Camp, Small City Trio), who has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease after years of suffering. Nash and Berkman will be playing with Boot Camp, and Cox will be playing with his own band, Happy Spirits.

Unknown-1Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra w/Charmin Michelle @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 7:15pm – 10pm. (Free) The Ordway Summer Dance series continues, with lessons on ballroom dancing followed by big band sounds, and thrush Charmin Michelle.

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) If you’re looking for more great music after the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra, or maybe want a cool dark spot to listen, mosey over to the AQ, where Pete Whitman gathers nine terrific musicians to play energetic jazz.

Friday, Saturday, July 26, 27

Babatunde Lea Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Quite the lineup, one that could easily headline a high-profile NY club. Besides Lea (traps and conga), who in his forty years of experience has worked with folks ranging from Pharoah Sanders to Van Morrison, he’ll have Anthony Cox, bass; Richard Johnson, piano; and Solomon Parham, trumpet.

Saturday, July 27

Dorothy Doring @ Admiral D’s Waterfront Tavern, White Bear Lake. 7pm (No Cover) Doring is a personable, versatile, and charming vocalist who knows her way around jazz and blues. Her recent recording of tunes by Ellington & Strayhorn received much critical praise. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by Lincoln Berry on organ, and Donald Thomas on drums. Live music on the deck overlooking the lake. Sounds like an ideal summer evening.

The drum master at work

The drum master at work

Eric Kamau Gravatt Drum Clinic and The Cockeyed Band @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7:30 clinic ($15) 7;30 concert ($15,  $20 for clinic & concert)  Famed drummer Gravatt will give a clinic on drum patterns, and some of the history of drumming. Afterwards, he’ll join Gregg Inhofer and the Cock-eyed band for a performance. There will also be music from The Electric String Quartet, an ambient pop group, and poetry from Neil Hilborn, plus free food and non-alcoholic drinks. Beer and wine will be available for sale as well.

Sunday, Monday, July 28, 29

Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Ruffins is a terrific trumpet player who perfectly encapsulates much of what is loved about New Orleans music. Aside from his technical bona fides, he projects soulfulness, joyfulness, and playfulness in his performances, mixing the traditional with new, and keeping the spirit of Louis Armstrong alive. Plus, he actually cooks Barbeque when performing in N’Awlins. With the end of the series Treme, he’s returned to touring.

Tuesday, July 30

UnknownDick & Jane’s Brass Band @ Zeke’s Unchained Animal, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. Lake & 35th Ave. This new neighborhood bar and restaurant is starting to feature music a few nights a week and is looking to make Tuesdays a New Orleans night, starting with Dick & Jane’s Brass Band. With the bar’s selection of craft beer, and its homemade, unique takes on burgers and other bar food, this could be a very fun evening.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul 9pm ($10) Trumpeter Meckler has been on a tear lately, writing and arranging modern compositions for his 18 piece band. After spending almost a year doing shows at Jazz Central, they are moving to the bigger space of the AQ where they are starting a last Tuesday residency. I’ll have Adam on my show (90.3 & 106.78FM) this Saturday, the 27th, to talk about the orchestra and preview a couple of their tunes.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Thursday, July 25

Rockin’ Pinecones @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?) The Pinecones have been dispensing New Orleans R&B, along with Cajun and Zydeco tunes for quite a while now, and have no trouble getting both veteran and neophyte dancers up and dancing on one of the best dance floors in the cities.

Rick Estrin & the Nitecats @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Estrin and the Nightcats play fun-filled blues. Estrin has developed a slightly cheesy, always humorous persona as a skirt chasin, blues lovin’ smart ass. It’s hard to find blues that’s this humorous. Check out this video to see what I mean.

Friday, July 26

Chicago Afrobeat Project feat. Tony Allen, and Blackmarket Brass @ The Cedar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Tony Allen was the drummer for Fela for fifteen years. Tonight he’ll be joining the Chicago Afrobeat Project for another evening of pulsing, mesmerizing music. The Twin Cities own Blackmarket Brass open. Here they are.

Dreamland Faces @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip jar) Dreamland Faces create new old music, utilizing a bassoon, accordion, piano, and saw. They’ll be joined by the Skeleton Crew of Scott Fultz, sax; Sean O’Hea, marimba; and Julie Sweet, piano. Julie is also the pianist for Dreamland Faces.

Saturday, July 27

Lowertown Roots Festival @ Mears Park, The Black Dog, and the Hat Trick, Saint Paul. 2pm – 10pm. (Free) Lowertown is taken over by various kinds of roots music, from folk to Nordic, to Zydeco. Music starts at 2:30 at Mears Park, and will feature Paul Dahlin, Nordic Angst, the bluegrass of the  High 48s, the Violin Roots Ensemble of Randy Sabien, and zydeco master CJ Chenier. Over at the Hat Trick there’s a different artist every hour, starting at 2pm, and the Black Dog will feature music starting at 8pm.

Dakota Street Fest @ 10th & Nicollet, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm. After a hiatus last year, the Dakota Street Fest returns with twenty bands on four stages, showcasing musicians across a number of genres. Artists range from Sophia Shorai and Debbie Duncan to Sonny Knight & the Lakers, Kelley Hunt, The Tex Pistols, Irv Williams, Paul Metsa with Willie Walker and Willie West, Patty Peterson, and the Dakota Combo.

Lotsa food choices, music & beer will be at the 1st Food Truck Rally

Lotsa food choices, music & beer will be at the 1st Food Truck Rally

Great Food Truck Rally @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm (Free) Twelve food trucks, including AZ Canteen, A La Plancha, and Bloomy’s Roast Beef, will gather at the Tap Room, where five different groups will be playing during the day. Bands include Vinyl Lounge at Noon; Big Blue Station Wagon (Zack Lozier’s electric trio) at 2pm; Concentual at 4pm; Maurice Jacox Group at 6pm; and The Butanes at 8pm.

The Flamin’ Ohs @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) In the late 70s, they were called Flamingo, and though they were a rock band, and not a punk band, they caused quite a stir in the Twin Cities music scene. After changing their name to the Flamin’ Oh’s, they recorded a couple of well-recieved albums and toured nationally. Attrition, families, and life eventually wore them down and by the late 80s, they had gone their separate ways. Now, since a 1997 reunion, they are playing once again, if sporadically, bringing their heart felt rock n’ roll to grown up Gen Xers, and a new audience of millenials. Here’s a video that got played on MTV back when it actually played music videos.

Monday, July 29

Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($15) Lee’s is the Honky-Tonk/Rockabilly epicenter of the Twin Cities. What better place to see Dale Watson, a member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame, and his traditional/maverick style of country music. His most recent album, El Rancho Azul, for Red House Records, charted on Billboard, and earned him a June appearance on David Letterman. Here’s a video from that appearance.

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

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