No, this is not a transparent attempt at "posting anything" to make it appear that this is still a legitimate blog but rather a semi annual post to keep a select group of people apprised of my musical shenanigans. Unbelievably, in the face of relentless "shameless self-promotion" resembling deranged carnival barking, I once again had an acquaintance and long-time social networking "friend" ask me, "So, are you in a band right now?" That question suggested a total communication failure on my behalf and, somewhat stunned, my reply was, "Yes...a band...ummm..." followed by a long pause. I eventually managed to muster a coherent response, but the whole episode made me wonder about exactly how effective different forms of social media actually are when it comes to promoting music on the local level. Of course I like to play to a packed room and make money, but my primary motivation in ALL my efforts is to make good, interesting music available to as many people as possible. Additionally, my part of Northern Minnesota currently has a vibrant and exciting local music scene going on, and I'd like to share it with as many people as I can reach. Anyway...back to the drawing board on the promotion end of things. Yikes. As far as my current musical endeavors are concerned, I'm currently involved with 3 bands:
The band I've played with the longest, Matt Ray and Those Damn Horses, started in my garage in the summer of 2008 when Matt, our friend Tim, and I started to get together to play music over a couple beers, and we played our first live show in the chalet at Giant's Ridge in January of 2008. It's a high energy acoustic string band that plays various selections from Americana and roots music, and despite 4 years together, we're still evolving and improving. My personal effort with that group has been the source of a thousand hours of "wood shedding" as I'm not naturally a very strong acoustic guitar player, but I like to think that I'm slowly rising to a point where I can almost hold my own against the other guitarists from the bands with whom Damn Horses occasionally share stages. Matt Ray and Those Damn Horses recently opened for the legendary White Iron Band at The Cabooze in Minneapolis in front of upwards of a thousand people (full video HERE), and we have a solid schedule featuring some fairly high profile shows and festivals for 2012. We're also honored to have been once again selected to take part in the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival. Our double CD is still available for download HERE.
My "other-worldly experimental" rock band Roxie Magistrate sprung from the joint songwriting efforts of my friends Selah and Derek in the summer of 2010. We played together for some time as a 3 piece before finally adding a more permanent rythem section. That band, despite a schedule that has been somewhat limited by my involvement in Damn Horses and Derek's tenure as drummer for The Tisdales, has also seen a fair amount of success including performances on WDSE's The Playlist broadcast from Duluth MN, a sweet spot at last year's Homegrown Festival, and an appearance at Bradfest in Two Harbors MN in August of 2011. We've been working with Rich Mattson at Sparta Sound to record our debut CD, and we hope to release that sometime this summer.
Finally, I recently signed on as the lead guitarist for Crazy Neighbors from Ely MN. Austin MN native Aaron Kaercher and his friends have been making great music together in the Ely area for several years while at the same time touring around the upper Midwest, and I jumped at the opportunity to fill this position. We have an exciting weekend coming up at The Gunflint Tavern in Grand Marais MN along with a number of other cool shows on the schedule, and our summer calendar is solidly booked with shows nearly every Tuesday and Thursday night in downtown Ely. If you find yourself in Ely on either of those evenings this summer, check us out at Northern Grounds on Tuesdays for "Tuesday Night Live" and on Thursdays at Rockwood. Good times are on the way...
Beyond all that, there were some murmurings from the guys in my old band Four Horse Johnson about getting together to record some new songs and possibly do a show or two, but the future of that remains uncertain. Also, I'm still in the long process of working my way up to a couple good sets of solo acoustic stuff, but I consistently seem to lack the time and energy to focus on my own songs. I'll go ahead an call that "no big loss" to the world of music and continue to chip away at it as time allows.
So, there you have it - fairly usless information that you didn't request. ;-) As always, I encourage EVERYBODY who reads this to both go out and take in a LIVE show at least once a week AND to promote music in your home by encouraging your children to learn an instrument...or two. I hope to see YOU at an upcoming show.