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BECCA MARX: May 14th Hoot Preview — The Mad Ripple Hootenanny this Thursday is going to be pure magic. Really, I don’t make this stuff up. Quite a line up: some expats, some international rock stars…I’d show up early if you want a spot…

The internationally known singer/songwriter Jeremy Messersmith is touring the U.S. doing a “Supper Club Tour.” Think: your space, audience potluck and Jeremy Messersmith with guitar in tow. Talk about connecting with your fans on a personal level! Minnesotans have known about this South Carolina native for a while but signing on the Glassnote Records label (home to Mumford & Sons and Chvrches) has only made his star bigger. Jeremy has made appearances on “Late Night With David Letterman,” the Bonnaroo Music Fest, Rock The Garden, South By Southwest, NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, MPR’S “Wits” and the illustrious Bluebird Café in Nashville. He has also toured Europe extensively. Voted one of 14 artists to watch in 2014 by Time Magazine, the listeners at 89.3 The Current voted his album Heart Murmurs the top album of that year. Heart Murmurs is an album that was inspired by The Magnetic Field’s 69 Love Songs. City Pages listed his cover of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” as 2015’s best.

Doug Collins came to MN by way of Iowa. An Americana style singer/songwriter, he is also the frontman for Doug Collins and the Receptionists, a catchy roots/pop band. He lists Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Springsteen and The Replacements among his influences. A proponent of open mic performances (and dubbed “The Pope of Open Mic Village” by Minnpost.com), Doug recently participated in Iowa Public Radio’s Java Blend radio show but if you weren’t listening you can see him at venues like Palmer’s Bar, The Contented Cow in Northfield and at the Black Forest Inn’s 50th anniversary celebration on May 16.

A performer since the age of seven, Jillian Rae is a fierce folk rock bluegrass vocalist/violinist and songwriter. She’s toured the United States and locally performed at venues such like the Dakota Jazz Club, Papa Charley’s, and the 7th Street Enry. She formerly played with the Killer Hayseeds and Two Many Banjos and at the moment she performs with The Teague Alexy Band, Corpse Reviver, Steve Kaul and the Brass Kings, The Brian Just Band, The Fiddle Heirs and The Blackberry Brandy Boys. In 2011 she paid it forward by opening her music school The Music Lab to which in 2013 The Movement Lab was added to provide dance and fitness classes. Her debut album Heartbeat was released to critical acclaim in late 2014, the same year that found her as a finalist in Vita.MN’s “Are You Local?” contest. She would love to be on the PBS series “The Lowertown Line” and I predict it will happen for this plucky woman from the Iron Range. Just back from a journey to Africa, it will be interesting to see where the trip has taken her. Rae will participate in 2015’s Art-A-Whirl weekend at the Casket Building on May 16.

Ananda Bates is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist including the guitar and hand drums. His music blurs the lines between blues, world, folk, rock, and contemporary urban soul. He has collaborated with Robert Zemlin of Poverty Hash and famed jazz phenom Tony Paul. He often performs at the Aster Café, Lees Liquor Lounge, Whiskey Junction, Icehouse, and Moto-I and he is a member of the band Acoustic Roots.

Native Londoner Katy Vernon sat in the audience at the Hoot feeling at a loss. She was on a decade long hiatus from music after the dissolution of The Camdens and Jim Walsh had called her out on what she had going musically. Despite not feeling ready, she got onstage and the hiatus was history. Her return to music was “fueled by the Hoot’s and Jim’s encouragement.” He also “taught her to take risks,” which she did when she picked up the ukulele. She is an acclaimed singer/songwriter and ukulele player. Often a solo performer she enjoys fronting The Katy Vernon band; recent notable shows include performing at The Cowles Center with The James Sewell Ballet, being the musical guest on Garrison Keillor’s “The Prairie Home Companion” and being featured on the WCCO-TV news feature “Women Who Rock.” Her annual benefit concert Uke Fest aids those with disabilities through ARC Greater Twin Cities, a cause near and dear to her heart as her brother Peter whom she wrote a touching song about was born with cerebral palsy. Her debut record Before I Forget dealt with her past and the loss of her parents. Its sequel is being recorded with famed producer Kevin Bowe and is slated for a September 2015 release. With the title Present Vernon is doing just that-celebrating the here now and letting go. Two singles (“Pearl” and “Lily”) have been released thus far. She will perform at the newly renovated Como Pavilion for “Music in the Parks” on May 19.

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

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