July 15, 2015

BECCA MARX: July 16th Hoot Preview

A Mad Ripple Hootenanny first: Thursday night’s players are all brand new to me. They’re quite a musically distinguished group, so it reflects more on me, than on them. What an exciting prospect: all new sounds and all new faces. It’ll be fun, never a dull moment at the Hoot!

If you’re a fan of the band Swallows, then you’ll recognize the name Jeff Crandall. The dark roots band was formed in 2008, and in 2012, the City Page’s staff honored their album “Witching & Divining” by including it on their “Best Local Albums” list. Crandall was a member of the band Thinland and has performed and recorded with Mellow Drunk, Anahada Nada, Dissonant Creatures and Semiconductor Orchestra. The Swallows have just released a demo of “Ten Miles Down” for possible inclusion on their planned 2016 album. I hope that the Hoot will get the chance to experience it live.

Jim and Jeaneen (and Dan and Tim), at the Mad Ripple Hootenanny in the basement of Java Jack’s, 2006. Photo by Tony Nelson.
Jim and Jeaneen (and Dan and Tim), at the Mad Ripple Hootenanny in the basement of Java Jack’s, 2006. Photo by Tony Nelson.

Another Hoot family member is Jeaneen Gauthier, a singer/songwriter of dark melodies, a guitarist (since the age of 6), violinist and pianist. Gauthier is an accomplished artist as well, calligraphy in particular, and has a blog “Artist Lifestyle.” Her first band in the 1990’s was an all female garage band named: Deb-7. Right now you’ll find her in the Ronnie Buxtons as a vocalist, violinist and keys player. Their debut record “Getting Together” was released earlier this year, and they’ve been busy performing at venues such as the Triple Rock Social Club, The Amsterdam Bar and Hall and the Stone Arch Bridge Festival.

A quote by The Star Tribune’s Chris Reimenschneider has me looking forward to hearing the “Warren Zevon-like vocals” of singer/songwriter Brian Drake. A member of former bands Idiot Savant and the Hard Left, Drake now sings and plays guitar in the April Fools. The April Fools (Clay Williams, Ben Kaplan, Scott Hreha) just released their self-titled, 1970’s flavored debut album to great reviews. The band has recently played the Loring Event Center, the 331 Bar and participated in Record Store Day 2015 at Barely Brothers Records. Drake has performed solo as well as the grand opening of Barely Brothers Records and at HiFi Hair & Records. If you’re a fan of Warren Zevon, I recommend you drop by the Hoot!

The Frye (Ann Fee and Joe Tougas) and Jim, post-Hoot 2014. Photo by The Frye.
The Frye (Ann Fee and Joe Tougas) and Jim, post-Hoot 2014. Photo by The Frye.

This is quite unconventional: a real-life musical duo portraying a musical/romantic duo in a rock-operetta (“The Best of Hank and Rita”) written by one half of the real life (non romantic) duo. Vocalist and guitarist Joe Tougas, who wrote the rock barroom operetta and vocalist Ann Rosenquist Fee, are the acoustic duo The Frye. Hailing from Mankato, The Frye’s music is influenced by 1970’s AM radio, and they’ve performed at a Mankato Mad Ripple Hoot, Patrick’s on Third, the Wine Café, and Mankato’s Old Town Art Fair. In addition to being a playwright, Tougas has been an arts and entertainment journalist/editor for two decades. Fee is the Executive Director of the Arts Center of Saint Peter, and includes fashion tarot as one of her talents. Fee is also a member of Prima Vox, a trio that performs vocal music and literature of the 12th century mystic: Hildegard von Bingen (Saint Hildegard). The duo will bring “The Best of Hank and Rita” to the Bryant Lake Bowl on August 23. Buy your tickets now, but see The Frye before at this Thursday’s Hoot. PS: what I’ve read about the rock operetta looks amazing!

The forecast for good music looks good, so throw on some summer duds, and come down to the Hoot to thrown down with the players at Harriet Brewery this Thursday!

Becca Marx is a St. Paul-based freelance writer and critic and staff reporter for Rift Magazine.


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