BECCA MARX: Hoot Report from Harriet Brewing, May 21, 2015
Memorial Day is a time to reminisce about the old days, and hold dear the memories of loved ones. The Mad Ripple Hootenanny last night relived old times, but created new memories to cherish as well.
Host Jim Walsh reflected on the meaning of Memorial Day and opened the Hoot with an old song about loss and mortality, “A Question For Pat Dwyer At Grumpy’s In Northeast Minneapolis.” Later Jim talked about the tragic loss of mega music fan Ross “Roscoe” Shoemaker, the man who recorded The Replacements’ performance that went on to become the bootleg “The Shit Hits The Fans.” Appropriate on so many levels, Walsh played his touching song, “Sworn Member of the Slim Dunlap Fan Club,” in honor of hometown hero and former Replacements’ guitarist Bob “Slim” Dunlap.
As if that didn’t have the room welling up, Steve Diedrich of Buzzrique performed “A Few Favorites Lost,” a heartrending song that memorialized his recently passed sister. He and Jim conversed about a past Hoot at Dusty’s, the night that inspired Diedrich to write the Slim Town Singles song, “HEY!!! (a quiet hello).” What a treat it was to hear that upbeat and joyous song!
Banjo player, singer and “The Kitchen Pantry Scientist” Liz Heinecke led the room down an environmentally aware path, Pete Seeger-style. She humbly refers to herself as more of a folk singer than a songwriter, but last night she put both talents on display. Heinecke played “500 Years,” a frank warning she’d penned about how mining companies are trying to seduce Northern Minnesota into practices that they admit will leave the water polluted for 500 years.
Anna Marie Mitchell, the 17-year-old country phenom from Northfield performed several of her original songs; her self-proclaimed favorite,, “Run” was a standout with stunning guitar riffs and warm, exuberant vocals. Jim proclaimed her a “force of nature,” and I couldn’t agree more. Mitchell plans on recording this summer and traveling to Nashville.
Folk singer/songwriter Jonathan Delehanty is done with his break from music and writing again. As I listened to his intelligent lyrics while he hit the high notes, I was reminded of his amazing record “Golgotha.” In the spirit of honoring those in our lives, Delehanty performed the beautiful “Pine Creek,” a song written about his mother Diane.
So, just when you think that the evening is going in a certain direction, all hell breaks loose! In general, the Hoot is all about original songs, but the players have a vast knowledge of covers. That said, I was a bit surprised to hear not ONE, but TWO John Denver tunes (“Mathew” sang by Liz Heinecke and “Take Me Home, Country Roads” sang by Steve Diedrich). What’s more, the evening’s finale left me gobsmacked, and prompted Jim Walsh to declare the night “The Freebird of Hoots!”
This Memorial Day weekend, may you barbecue and relax with loved ones, all the while hearing the lyrics to Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” in your head (thanks for that finale Steve Diedrich!)…“Warm, touchin’ warm, reachin’ out, touchin’ me, touchin’ you”… However, if you’d rather a different tune be stuck in your head, join us at Harriet Brewing on Thursday, 5/28, for the next Mad Ripple Hootenanny.
Becca Marx is a St. Paul-based freelance writer and critic and staff reporter for Rift Magazine.