BECCA MARX: Hoot Report from Harriet Brewing – June 11, 2015
Nakedness, for a singer songwriter to step away from their band, and into the solo spotlight can be an intimidating place, but more often at The Hoot, a place for growth. An invitation for an artist to explore the mist of uncertainty, to experience the feeling of a new song when it leaves their lips, and fills a room. I find it a privilege to witness that every week at The Hoot. Hoot host/artist Jim Walsh put it succinctly: “It’s about being present in the moment”, and with that he started the round with a brand new song called: “So Good”, recently written as he enjoyed the quiet of the outdoors, watching Hummingbirds, and smelling the roses, quite literally.
John Fenner, the man is such an entertainer, he opened his round with John Fenner does Bob Dylan, does Frank Sinatra, doing: “Why Try to Change Me Now?” I couldn’t take my eyes off of Fenner. In a miming, Joe Cocker way, he expressed what it’s like to listen to music at home, to sing along, body reacting intuitively, with no guise. It was heartwarming to see someone so openly feel the music. I encourage you to visit Palmer’s Bar on any given Sunday night around 11 P.M. to see Fenner perform with the incomparable Cadillac Kolstad.
Jenny Kapernick solo, without her sister Bethany Valentini was a rare occurrence. The two have been a duo for nearly a decade, and no offense to the lovely Valentini, but Kapernick has chops! Kapernick not only performed gorgeous tracks from several of their earlier works, such as: “Blues Time Singer” off of The Wild, but her rendition of Kathleen Edwards’s “Away” was stunning. You may recall that Edwards walked away from music to open a coffee shop last year in Canada. No worries though, as evidenced on their beautiful album “Bring Me Home” (2014), The Ericksons are as tight as ever.
Michael Ferrier sang a number of unrecorded songs, “Zero” was written in response to Ferrier’s young son’s fear of the number, an ode intended to reassure and calm. The subject ignited a discussion with Jim Walsh about parenting, and how Walsh has a dog named “Zero”. Maybe the two could meet and solve the fear? Parenting aside, Ferrier sang the other side of the coin on “Heavy”, a song that involves petting, but nothing to do with pets, or children. Ahem, if you are curious, check out Fathom lane’s upcoming third album that is being recorded at The Library Studio, to be released this fall.
A voice unchained as an adjective hardly does justice to the amazing God given instrument that singer songwriter Jourdan Myers possesses. With her voice alone, she enchanted the crowd, and fellow artists alike. According to Myers, her song: “Firelight” was: “Written out of thin air, about nothing”, a statement that prompted Michael Ferrier to reply: “Those are the songs that become something later on.” Myers played the last original tune of the night: “Wanderlust”, a song that displayed the bell like tones of her voice in a dramatic fashion, leaving The Hoot silent and spellbound. She is already writing songs for an album due out in 2016, so keep an eye out!
In the preview for this Hoot, I spoke to the fact that the artists are put out on a limb, wearing nothing, symbolically naked before us. There’s some truth to that, but they have one another, and The Hoot audience. Part of the magic for the artists, is that they’ve a forum to test their boundaries, and an audience that is truly listening, and supports that effort. The Hoot is where music enthusiasts and artists can meet in the celebration of a shared endeavor. You should come on any given Thursday this June, and experience it for yourself.
Becca Marx is a St. Paul-based freelance writer and critic and staff reporter for Rift Magazine.