Hoot Review from Harriet Brewing, July 30, 2015
by Becca Marx
The Hoot is like a family, swelling in size as the years go by. Any given hoot, there’ll probably be more musicians offstage than on, visiting with old friends and new. Players become the audience, and audience members often find their way onstage. There’s a real nice full-circle feeling about the Hoot, and cheers to Jim Walsh for creating that energy. An energy that is similar to a family reunion, but only with people that you want to see, and hear from.
Last Thursday, the summer heat was just right with a hint of a breeze. Jim Walsh spoke about the iconic sounds of summer, and with that broke into “Dog Day Cicadas,” a tribute to the defining noise of August in Minnesota.
Terry Eason, had released his new album “Terminal Leave” one week before, and those fortunate to be in the audience at the Hoot heard “Shadow Game,” a Minnesota-sounding song. Reminiscent of Paul Westerberg vocally and lyrically (“Hiding in shadows as everyone knows won’t make the sun go away”), Eason will play the Driftwood in September.
Former intern at Red House Records and member of the folk duo In Theory, Iris Kolodji is an undiscovered gem. Jim Walsh and the audience were very enamored with Kolodji’s original song “Come Down,” which will be on SoundCloud within the week. The sophisticated song displayed her impressive vocal range, one that can sail from a clear crisp soprano to a nice melodic version of Sheryl Crow.
Speaking of audience members finding their way onstage, Justin Law is one such artist. Law has a nice tone, one that can be likened to Brian Aubert (Silversun Pickups), and though he played an acoustic guitar, you can hear his inner rocker. “Last Case For Cyanide” creatively found the universal story in swallowing the poison, and staying in it vs. getting out. Law’s The River High bandmate Rena Rasmussen (the two are joint lead vocalists) joined him onstage, and their voices were not two, but one. Watch for an album soon from The River High.
There are moments that exist on a different plane, and the Hoot players covering The Replacement’s “Here Comes a Regular” was certainly one such moment for me. It was in fact, my swan song.
The journey to document the Mad Ripple Hoot, which started in late April, was coming to its end. During the song, I felt the gravity of that decision like a lead weight. My sincere thanks goes out to each and every one of you who said hi, smiled, and encouraged me in so many ways. Hoot players, you overwhelmed me with your talents. Hoot audience, I feel you, my tribe, and although I find myself being led away from the Hoot, this is good night, not goodbye.
Becca Marx is a St. Paul-based freelance writer and critic and staff reporter for Rift Magazine.