Resident and Visiting Artists, Music Ideas for April 11 – 17

April 11, 2012

A couple of note-worthy world music dates, some fun roots music, and a plethora of jazz, including over a dozen jazz events this Saturday. (See the Bebopified Calendar, link below, for more.) We supposedly have the best music scene outside of New York, LA, and Nashville, though I’d question whether Nashville has as much jazz as the Twin Cities.

Speaking of jazz, here’s a heads up. The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education is having a Jazz Brunch fundraiser Sunday, April 22, with guest presenter Grace Kelly, a young saxophonist who recently graduated from Berklee. Tickets are available online. Full disclosure – I’m on the board.

The above photo reminds me that life on the road isn’t easy. Whether our resident musicians are hanging at home for a while, or visiting musicians are in our town, I hope you will get out and enjoy some live music this week.


Thursday, April 12

Zack Lozier & the Southside Aces; Louis Armstrong Tribute @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($5) The Southside Aces play traditional, danceable jazz. Tonight they have trumpeter-about-town Zack Lozier (Jack Brass Band, A Love Electric) to help pay tribute to the music of Louis Armstrong. A night of great music and lotsa fun.

Connie Evingson @ the Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm (No cover) I’m stopping at the Lex with some regularity these days to hear the top-notch musicians that are playing Thursdays and Saturdays. The Williamsburg room is covered in wood, and there’s a great bar where they pay close attention to making classic cocktails. On top of that, you’ve got Connie Evingson tonight. She’s a great interpreter of the American Songbook, and can swing the the Beatles like nobody can.

Friday, April 13

Bryan Nichols & Dean Magraw @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) Part of the always interesting Friday night series at the Dog. Nichols on keyboard, and Magraw on guitar should make for exciting interplay.

Friday, Saturday, April 13, 14

Bill Carrothers Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12). Carrothers is a sensitive piano player with a unique style. He’s a native-born Twin Citizen currently residing in Michigan’s upper penisula, and has played such prestigious venues as the Village Gate, The Knitting Factory, New Morning (Paris) and the Newport Jazz Festival. He’s played with such luminaries as Joe Beck, Curtis Fuller, Lee Konitz, and Dewey Redman. Last heard here playing with Anthony Cox and Jay Epstein.

Saturday, April 14

The Music of Kari Musil @ Sundline Music Hall, Hamline University, Saint Paul. 2pm – 4pm ($10/$5 for students and seniors). Composer/saxophonist Musil received a grant to compose a concert and CD of original jazz. This is the result, which features the Nova Jazz Orchestra, Leslee McKee on vocals, J. Otis Powell, poet, and Sue Leigh on sax.

Parker Paisley CD Release @ Jazz Central, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Donation) Park Evans, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Adam Wozniak, bass; Pete Hennig, drums. The new CD is called “Satori for a Hungry Ghost.” Evans’ clean guitar lines adopt well to jazz, latin, reggae, and other world musics, all of which might make an appearance tonight.

Saturday, Sunday, April 14, 15

Sinatra…Nice and Easy @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm Saturday, 3pm Sunday. ($25) A tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, with the Rick Carlson Trio and Jaxon Richards on vocals.

Sunday, April 15

Pippi Ardennia w/Solomon Parham @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm. ($25/door, $20 Advance) This edition of the PipJazz monthly series features Parham on trumpet, as well a student guest Alex Grothe, a young trumpeter with a future. Using a first rate backing band, Ardennia is an enjoyable, warm singer. Today’s collaborations should be fun.

Tuesday, April 17

Rhonda Laurie and Maryann Sullivan @ The Nicollet Coffeehouse, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm. (Tip Jar) The curators of the weekly jazz series at this fine little coffeehouse take to the stage to sing swinging standards.

Framework @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($5) Chris Olson, guitar, Chris Bates, bass, and Jay Epstein, drums. Solid trio. Solid music.

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, Thursday, April 11, 12

Suzanne Vega @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $30) Anyone who was around in the 80s knows “Luka” and “Tom’s Diner,” Vega’s hits which helped to spark a neo-folk revival at the time. I was never a big fan, but was delighted when Vega last played the Dakota in 2009. She was charming, which always helps, but it was her well crafted, insightful songs, most of which were new, which showed why she garnered such a big audience back in the day. This time around, she’s traveling with one other musician, so expect a stripped-down version of her songs.

Thursday April 12

Hipshaker @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (no cover) Late night dancing to rare soul and funk 45s.

Friday, April 13

The Dollys @ The Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) A female vocal trio that sings Americana and the music of Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, as well as other female country artists. Great voices, superb harmonies. Hear a couple of tunes on their MySpace page.

Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Big Sandy has been playing roots music for over two decades now. I suppose you could call it classic Rock n’ Roll, though it encompasses Western Swing, Rockabilly, and a bit of country. Heck, he’s even been known to thrown in some vocal group harmony stuff. This will bring out swing dancers, and anyone else who wants to cut a rug, to use a term that’s hep, not hip. Elmer and the Thunderjetts open.

Worldwide Discotheque & “Long Live Boogaloo” Record Release @ Clubhouse Jaeger, Minneapolis. 10pm. (No Cover) The Secret Stash folks are releasing a vinyl LP of rare Latin Soul and so are teaming up with WW Discotheque for an evening of funky vinyl worldbeats, with an emphasis on Boogaloo from the NY scene of the 60s. I’ll be joining Deejays, Steely Dan of Kinda Cloudy Radio and Brian Engel of Hipshaker to spin vinyl.

Saturday, April 14

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm. ($35/$30 Advance) Seun is the son of Fela, Afrobeat pioneer, and tonight he’s bringing his father’s old 16 piece band to Minneapolis. Seun builds on his father’s legacy with pulsating, urgent music, filled with brass, percussion, and improvisation. His latest release, “From Africa with Fury,” was produced by Brian Eno is funky as all get-out, and is as intense and relentless as his father’s work, but with Seun’s own voice. It’s a standing-only show, but I expect there will be lots of free-form dancing and boogieing going on.

Brass Band Throwdown & CD Release @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8, $10 w/CD) Jazz, Roots, World music. It’s all here. Mama Digdown’s Brass Band is celebrating a live CD release and they’ve got the Brass Messengers to open for them. Talk about fun!

Monday, April 16

Vieux Farka Toure & Idan Raichel Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Two different cultures, two different music traditions. Toure is a master guitarist from Mali, following in the footsteps of his bluesman father, yet also transcending that heritage. He’s collaborated with Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, and John Scofield. Raichel is an Israeli pianist who went triple platinum with his initial release, blending African, Latin American, and other world sounds. Promises to be a sublime evening.

Tuesday, April 17

Jeff Ray & the Stakes @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm. (No Cover) W/Nick Salisbury, bass; Mikkel Beckman, washboard & percussion; and Hurricane Harold, harp. Jeff Ray is a helluva guitar player, with his own take on blues and folk/rock sounds. The Stakes raise ’em and then some. (argh) Really, The Stakes are all well-known blues players around town.

Peter Lang @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. (No Cover) If you want some righteous fingerpickin’ with your dinner, this is the place to be, since Lang is a master the style known as American Primitivism (Leo Kottke, John Fahey). Just be sure to say you want to be near the music when you make a reservation. Of course, you can just sit at the bar and enjoy one of the Cafe’s signature cocktails.

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.

Friday Night’s All Right for Dancing…2.29 – 3.6

February 29, 2012

Elton John sang “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” but he didn’t mention Friday night and he didn’t mention dancing. This week Friday offers a number of musical choices, whether you want to dance or listen to jazz. Of course, the other nights of the week offer some great music as well.


Wednesday, Feb 29

Modern Time @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Vinnie Rose, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums; are Modern Time. Cafe Maude is a neighborhood bistro at 54th & Penn that serves imaginative cocktails and very good food. On music nights, they feature a Prix Fixe menu for $20. Reservations recommended. Mention that you want to hear the music.

Anton, Gravatt, & Little @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Jim Anton, bass; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; and Doug Little, reeds. A  good beer selection and amazing musicians.

Maude Hixson and Rick Carlson at The Lex. Photo by Andrea Canter

Thursday, March 1, Saturday, March 3

Maude Hixson @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm. (No Cover) With a warm voice, wonderful enunciation, and great pitch, Hixson is perfect for the venerable Lexington’s Williamburg Room. A dining spot that’s old school clubby, what with its paneled walls and such. She has just released a CD single of Cottontail, a romp through Jon Hendrick’s vocalese lyrics to the Ellington standard.

Thursday, Friday, March 1,2

Vijay Iyer Mini-Festival @ The Walker Art Center. 8pm ($25/night or $22/night for both nights). The Jazz Hounds will be out as the Walker presents this Mini-Festival. Iyer is the young pianist that’s attracting much deserved attention (i.e., recent cover of Jazz Times). He will be performing solo as well as in small group contexts with a number of different guest musicians.

Friday, March 2

Nathan Hanson & Brian Roessler LP Release @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm. (tip jar) Regulars know the power and talent of the bassist (Roessler) and saxophone player (Hanson), both of whom have a deep well of imagination when it comes to improvisation. They are celebrating the release of a new LP. That’s right LP. Vinyl’s coming back.

Friday, Saturday, March 2,3

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($10) A rare weekend outing for this outstanding quartet. That drummer Hey and his cohorts, Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Phil Aaron, piano; live in the Twin Cities rather than the New York area is no reflection of their talent. Each has been recognized for their playing with numerous “national” artists, both here and on the road. Together they play tunes by Coltrane, Mingus, Coleman and others whose compositions demand the very best musicianship. And they deliver.

Saturday, March 3

Vicky Mountain & James Allen @ First Course Bistro (56th & Chicago), Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. Vicky’s vocals mesh so very well with Allen’s guitar playing, whether they’re performing standards, a Fats Waller tune, or something by the Clovers. The result is music that will have you putting down your fork in order to listen. It’s a small place with good food, so you may want to call for a reservation. 612-825-6900.

Sunday, March 4

Nathan Hanson’s Saxophone Choir @ Roseville Area High School, 1240 County Rd B2 West, Roseville. 7pm ($10) Fantastic Merlins’ Brian Roessler (bass) and Pete Hennig (drums) will support an eight-piece horn section, which will include Hanson, George Cartwright, Pat Moriarty, Donald Washington, Daryl Narum, Joe Smith, Scott Fultz and Brandon Wozniak. Hanson is doing the arrangements for songs composed by Jacques Thollot, Milton Nascimento, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Josef Zawinul and Nathan Hanson.

Monday, March 5

The Jack Brass Band and Beasly’s Big Band on Saint Paul Live!, KBEM, 88.5FM. The Beasly Band was recorded on November 1, and includes two songs sung by the late Christine Rosholt (see my remembrance). Jack Brass are their usual fun-loving selves at the Hat Trick Lounge. They hold down Tuesday nights at the Driftwood Char Bar.,

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, Feb 29

RAMM on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 – Tip jar) RAMM is Paul Mayasich, guitar; John Iden, bass; and Donald “Hy” Pockets, drums. Paul is a monster guitar slinger, especially on slide. Together the three create jumpin’ music that draws from a variety of sources, notably the blues. Find out for yourself by tuning in to KFAI (90.3 and 106.7FM) during the 5 o’clock hour.

Thursday, March 1

Womenfolk Live @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) Ellen Stanley, host of KFAI’s Womenfolk show on Tuesday afternoons, has been curating monthly roots shows at the Amsterdam. Tonight she’s presenting acts that are fronted by, including Black Audience, Reina del Cid, Mother Banjo (Stanley’s alter ego), and more. Tune in to KFAI between 2 and 4pm to hear Jayanthi Kyle of Black Audience performing live.

Friday, March 2

Julie Johnson & Rena Kraut w/special guests The No-Accounts @ Hotel 340, 4th & Cedar, Saint Paul. 5pm (Free) Johnson on flute, and Kraut on clarinet will interpret Minnesota folk songs with the help of Johnson’s group, The No-Accounts. The two will also play an original compositions. The community council for Saint Paul’s downtown will be holding its First Friday Community Happy Hour at the same time.

Crankshaft & The Gear Daddies and Lamont Cranston @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm ($?) Crankshaft is a new generation blues guitarist, whose sound is as raw, wild, and ready to unleash your primal instincts. Lamont Cranston has been shaking dance floors with jump blues and more for what, 35 years or so.

Randy Weeks @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 10pm (tip jar) Weeks is the Texas Troubador who comes town a few times a year and packs the 331 with his rockin’ alt-country. Check out this video to get a sense of his sound.

Socaholix @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) If you don’t want to rock to blues or alt-country, but still want to dance, check out the Caribbean sounds of this group, made up of former members of Shangoya. If this music doesn’t get you moving, I’d check to see if you have a pulse.

Afro Funk Vinyl LP Re-Release Party @ Club Jager, Minneapolis. 10pm – 2am. (Free)  And just in case you want to stay up late dancing, the fine folks at Secret Stash Records are once again releasing a long-lost gem and having a party to celebrate. This time ’round it’s Afro Funk, a group of mostly West African expatriates living in London in the 70s, when a vibrant African music scene was causing all kinds of excitement. Tonight there will be Deejays a plenty spinning African dance grooves.

Saturday, March 3

Big George Jackson @ Hollihans, White Bear Lake. 6pm (No cover). It’s a small place, but it gets rockin. I haven’t noticed Jackson playing out too much lately, so here’s a chance to hear that great booming voice of his, and down a few adult beverages at the same time.

Dave Alvin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20)  Since forming The Blasters oh, so many years ago, Alvin hasn’t been afraid to explore all sorts of byways in the world of roots music. He creates “loud folk music” and sings about folks like Big Joe Turner and Johnny Ace. Here he is singing a song about 4th of July.

For a complete list of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

Mickey Murray – Soul Journeyman

February 4, 2012

Mickey Murray on stage at the Cedar Cultural Center. Photo by Ben Clark

In some ways, the story is familiar. A promising artist is signed to a major label, but the label is sold, or the signing agent leaves the label, or another act’s hit overshadows the new act, leaving the act without a champion or the support of the label. The promising act gets sidelined, goes back home, and either retires, or continues as a journeyman artist.

Mickey Murray’s story has some of that narrative, but it is also unique. Murray had already had a million-selling hit, Shout Bamalama, a song written and originally recorded by Otis Redding in his pre-Stax years. Murray was then signed to King Records, which was looking for an artist to bolster their lineup since James Brown was about to leave.

It was 1968. Soul music had captured the hearts and feet of American teenagers, and quite a few adults. Murray’s dynamic performance of Shout Bamalama resulted in him opening for Aretha Franklin, performing at the Apollo, and touring with Wilson Pickett, The Staple Singers, and others. It also made him a contender for keeping King Records on the charts. He signed with them in 1969 and recorded the album, People Are Together.

The title song was to be the first single, released in 1970. When the song was taken around to taste-making black disc jockeys around the country, they wouldn’t play it. The lyrics, “Take a pinch of white man, wrap him up in black man,” were too provocative for the time. Deejays were afraid of being fired by the white owners of their stations.

King Records was sold shortly thereafter. The new owners lost interest. Too bad. The album is a solid performance of funky music, occasionally lightened by the smile in Murray’s voice. Murray’s rasping voice and the album’s solid arrangements simply epitomize Southern Soul.

With no backing from the label, Murray accepted his fate. He returned to his hometown (North Augusta) and continued to perform. The album eventually achieved legendary status among soul music fans, going for hundreds of dollars on Ebay.

Then the crate-digging owners of the Minneapolis indie record company Secret Stash got involved. Their specialty is limited-edition vinyl releases of forgotten gems, many from other countries, and a few funk ‘n soul numbers from the United States.

In January they re-issued the album in vinyl, their specialty, and brought Murray, who is now 73, out of retirement to perform at the Cedar Cultural Center. Backed by a six-piece band, which included Secret Stash owners Eric Foss on drums, and Cory Wong on guitar, Murray performed with passion, vigor, and excitement. Murray would often take some unexpected turns as he got into each song, repeating words or phrases, to create tension and release, and calling for solos from the band. It was classic soul. His enthusiasm and energy was contagious, to the delight of the audience, many of whom weren’t born when he recorded.

Mickey Murray backstage with a fan - DeeJay Father Time . Photo by Ben Clark

Afterwards, he regaled fans and friends with stories of being on the road. I had a chance to talk with him in the Cedar’s green room. Still excited over the performance and his reception, Murray’s words tumbled out and around as he humbly talked about his background and his involvement with Secret Stash.

LE:  When did you first realize that music was going to be an important part of your life?

MM:  Music has been in my life ever since I can remember. Me and my brother Clarence started out in grammar school singing gospel music. Then we started singing around Augusta, and North Augusta. Then every summer when we’d get out of school, when I was in high school, our manager would go down to Brunswick, Georgia, and set up a house for the summer for us. And we’d work out in the different rural areas like Saint Palmas Island, Jacobs Island, Jacksonville, Florida, Saint Augustine, Florida. Come out through Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina. Every summer.

LE:  How old were you when you were doing that?

MM:  I was in high school, so I’d say I was fifteen, yeah.

LE:  When did you switch from singing gospel music to more secular music?

MM:  In 19…  59. Mr. Raymond Dean, the band teacher at Jefferson High School took an interest in me. He had a band that was practicing…  School was out for the summer, and he would take a band down there two or three times a week, and practice them. And he liked me and he’d come by and pick me up, and take me down there and practice me up. Since I’d been singing gospel, I didn’t know nothin’ about these type songs. I didn’t know how to set the tempo, I didn’t know how to do this, do that. He explained everything. And then one day, he told me, he said he had a man (ed note: Sam Gantt) interested in me, and he told me he wanted me to come down to school at night and go through my little routine, and I saw this man in the corner. And when I got through doin’ my thing, he begged for me to come over, and when I went over, he didn’t even introduce himself to me. He said, “You wanna sing with a band?” and I said, “Yeah.” From there I went with the Zippers band.

LE:  The Zippers?

MM:  Yeah. They’re the band that played behind me on Shout Bamalama.

LE:  When you went with the Zippers, did you tour with them for a while?

MM:  Oh! I went with the Zippers in ‘59, and by ‘60, ‘61, they had us on Broadway. We was on Broadway, for.. Really I don’t know because I was so young, time didn’t matter. I didn’t keep close check on it. I know that we was up there for a while at the Times Square Hotel.

LE:  You were playing at that hotel?

MM:  Yeah, and then from there, me and my band, during the football season, we’d play at after-parties at Georgia Tech, Emery, all down through Alabama, Tuskegee, all the time. And then we’d play all the military bases at least once a month. Then we’d play at Fort Gordon. When we was in town we’d play that every Wednesday night.

LE:  And were you actually from Augusta?

MM:  I’m from North Augusta. See, North Augusta and Augusta are back to back. Augusta’s in Georgia, and North Augusta is in South Carolina. James Brown would call it Georgialina.

LE:  How did the opportunity to record come about?

MM:  Oh, from Miss Carter. I think her name was Mary Carter (Ed note: it was Blanche Carter). She wrote a record before I come along… a big hit, Devil or Angel. I’m not sure of the group, I think it was the Moonglows.

LE:  I believe it was the Clovers.

MM:  The Clovers. Yeah, yeah. My manager took me to her house to audition and she liked me. She told my manager Sam that she wanted to take us to Macon Georgia, and introduce us to Bobby Smith. Bobby Smith is the one that I believe produced Otis Redding in the beginning, a long time ago. She took me up there to introduce me to Bobby Smith, and ah, I did an audition for him, because she had a song that she wanted me to do. When we got to the audition, Bobby Smith told my manager and told her that he didn’t have nothin’ for me at this time. But he would be getting back in touch with Miss Carter later on.

Later on, I don’t know how long it was, I don’t know a week, month, a year, cause I was young, and not keepin’ up with time. Anyway, one day my manager called me and said, “Bobby wants me to bring you to Jacksonville, Florida – you and the Zippers, and he wants you to cut a record.” I got down there and he had Shout Bamalama. I told him I didn’t like Shout Bamalama, and I wasn’t gonna record it. (laughs) We got to talkin’ back and forth and I said, “Well my drummer, that’s his song. Let him sing it. That’s what he sings every night.” Smith said, “I don’t want him to sing it, I want you to sing it.” So, I wouldn’t agree with him, and he told my manager, “Talk to him, talk to him, talk to him.” Sam took me out, and we walked up and down the sidewalk, and everything, and I come to an agreement to do it. And I said, “Well I don’t even know the song,” and they went and wrote the lyrics on a blackboard. I ended up reading them off the blackboard.

LE:  So you had a big hit. You traveled around, opened for a bunch of folks, and then King Records wanted you. What label was Shout Bamalama on?

MM:  SS International – Shelby Singleton’s label.

LE:  After you did the record for King, and couldn’t get it played, what did you do?

MM:  Forgot about it. I didn’t really hold no grudge, or hard feeling toward King, the recording company, cause I would have done the same thing if I couldn’t sell the product and couldn’t get nobody to take it or present the product. There wasn’t nothin’ for them to do but back away from it.

LE:  Did you continue to perform?

MM:  Oh, hell yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

LE:  Did you try to get any other record contracts?

MM:  Well, I cut a couple of things, you’all got it up here too. I did a thing with a friend of mine John Peterson. We produced the thing together, in Nashville Tennessee. Then in ’88, me and Tony Cook, a drummer for James Brown, did Teenapopper, for London. I did Marvelous for London. I got a couple of other things… Ahhh, I did Full Speed Ahead for London. I got a couple of other things.. Sometimes I forget.  Another song is It’s Too Hot in Here. That was by James Brown’s bongo player. I did it with Tony and we did pretty good with it.

LE:  You said earlier that you hadn’t been performing for a while.

MM:  I got into the church. That’s a good thing. And I started singing in the choir. I sing at weddings, birthday parties, family reunions. I do that every now and then, but I don’t put on a show. At a birthday party I might go up there and sing a couple of songs, you know. Sing a song here and later on sing another song. But that’s about it. I ain’t been out there like I did tonight back to my old thing.

LE:  What did you think when Secret Stash contacted you?

MM:  I told them no, I wasn’t interested. I told them I was retired, enjoying myself. I love working in my yard. I love working in my little garden. I love going to church, and I love fussin’ with my wife (laughs). I told them I’m really satisfied. I just wanna keep my wife happy and I came home, and I’m used to her and enjoying her and wasn’t interested. But he (Eric Foss) kept on calling, and then he started sounding convincing. At first I said I got tired of messing with a bunch of crooks (laughs), but then he convinced me that he was straight. Then Will (Gilbert) started calling and started talking with me, and it become like a family thing and we became real close. They started calling every day and I looked forward to them calling and enjoying it. I told my wife, “I don’t know why but I really do enjoy them. They seem like they’re some straight people, and I ain’t seen none. They’re the first straight ones I’d seen.”

On stage with Eric Foss & Cory Wong of Secret Stash Records. Photo by Ben Clark

LE:  It certainly seemed like you enjoyed yourself on stage tonight.

MM:  I really did, but I always enjoy performing. My thing is, when I perform, I put it in me, I feel it. When I sing it and I feel it, I know somebody else got to be feelin it. I put in all the energy and if I don’t feel it, I don’t expect for you to feel it. When I’m on stage, singing, and dancing, and doin’ my thing, and see people smilin’ and clappin’ their hands and pattin’ their feet…. Oh man, that’s my reward. I’m happy as I can be

LE:  Thank you very much for your time.

MM:  Thank you.

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