Photo: David Tanner Photography


“ ’Ah, music,’ he said, wiping his eyes. ‘A magic beyond all we do here!’ ”
– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Dear Good People,

Personally, one of my favorite moments from last week’s Hoot came in the moments after I sang the Alvvays tune, “Marry Me, Archie” for the very first time. I’d had my eyes closed tight so as to concentrate on the words, chords, and melody, and I got through it pretty well. For me, when I’ve just learned or written a song, that kind of concentration is supremely necessary: to shut out the rest of the world so as to hear and deliver the tune.

You never really know what to expect upon first opening your eyes and rejoining the human race. You’ve just sung from the bottom of your guts, truly gone to another place, and the first thing you could see is some dude ten feet away laughing about a bar joke. Weird gig, sometimes. This time, my head was tilted towards the stage and the first thing I saw upon reemerging from the depths was the warm smiles, generous eyes, and applause of my fellow songwriters, Terry Walsh, Brianna Lane, Venus de Mars, and John Louis.

It was an amazing feeling of oneness; I’m telling you, all four wore the exact same expression of love, surprise, wonder, and solidarity via the sweet tune and all the songs and gigs we’ve all gone through together and separately/symbiotically and in that moment it briefly occurred to me that absolutely everyone in the world should get to feel like that at least once in their lifetime.

Luckily, the Hoot provides many opportunities for such moments – hopefully for listeners, as well. It was so good last week, with beer and bon amis and bonfires (and Natalie Lovejoy on tambourine!) and the proceedings ramping up with more energy as the night went on (thanks for the photos, David Tanner, Tony Nelson, and Jeff Miletich), due in no small part to the songs and singer/songwriters and the growing chops of Guitjo Jeff Robertson, bongoman Dantastic, melodica master Pete Christensen, and bass/mandolin man Chris Lunceford, who kept the Hoot moving and rocking, sometimes sloppily/wonderfully so.

“Best Hoot ever,” I heard from several Hoot vets afterwards, and I’d have to agree, as I have every time I’ve heard the “Best Hoot ever” assessment over the last nine years. Best Hoot ever… until the next one.

And what a next one: Thursday we return to Harriet Brewing (6:30-9:00/9:30, 3036 S. Minnehaha Ave.) with Jeremy Messersmith, Doug Collins, Katy Vernon, Ananda Bates, and Jillian Rae. It’ll be raining outside, but inside we’ll be cozy and warm and singing and playing together like a bunch of little kids. See ya there…


P.S. Much love and apologies to Refrigerager, who ripped it up after the Hoot last week. Due to a scheduling miscommunication, the band thought they were supposed to be on at 8. Until we hear differently, the Hoot goes 6:30-9:00 or 9:30 every Thursday, and the band follows. Onward…

Jim Walsh | | @SaintFabio


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