BECCA MARX: May 7th Hoot Preview — The adage that “April showers bring May flowers” is happening at the first Mad Ripple Hootenanny in May. A celebration of artistic rebirth, all of the featured artists at this week’s Hoot have either just released a new record or are working on one. There will also be a very special birthday celebration for Terry and Jim Walsh’s father, Jerry Walsh, who will turn 87!
Terry Walsh is a hero of the local Minnesota music scene, having collaborated with nearly everyone and played nearly everywhere. A contributor to the Slim Town Singles project with the song “Dallas Valentine,” Terry and the former Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap were bandmates together for a tour, opening for Son Volt. The Slim cause is close to Terry’s heart as the funds raised go toward the medical costs that have accumulated from the long term care of Slim since his stroke. Terry fronts St. Dominic’s Trio and The Belfast Cowboys. You can find St. Dominic’s Trio Tuesdays at Nye’s Polonaise Room until its doors close for good. The Belfast Cowboys, a Van Morrison tribute band, have just released their first album in seven years, The Upside of the Downslide.
Speaking of a real original, Venus de Mars can put on a show like no other-evident in her performances while touring with the band Against Me! or at Mary Lucia’s pet project Rock for Pussy. A fearless transgender artist, she is pure glam metal. After several albums with her band All The Pretty Horses she was encouraged by the Hoot’s own Jim Walsh to try acoustic versions of her songs, which she debuted the first year of the MRH in the basement of Java Jack’s. She tried it and was inspired. She worked with longtime collaborators Barb Morrison (Blondie producer) and Eric Swanson from Sacred Heart Studio in Duluth and put out an absolutely stunning and honest record Flesh and Wire. Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! guests on the haunting song “Take My Shoulder.”
Brianna Lane is an artist of many talents: birthing doula, yoga practitioner, singer/songwriter, teacher at Twin/Town Guitars, banjo player and avid biker on the 30 Days Of Biking challenge. Her song “Minneapolis” was featured in National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Contest to high acclaim, and she has participated in local singer/songwriter Katy Vernon’s annual Uke Fest benefit. Brianna plays a lot of venues and often, so keep your eye out for her around town. Of late she can add record producer to her name as she is currently working on John Louis’s record. The Americana folk musician has been working on an eight-year labor of love: her first solo record The Navigator’s Club will be out this May with the release show at The Icehouse on May 19.
John Louis is a singer/songwriter and stunt biker! On the 30 Days Of Biking challenge perhaps he will ride to The Hoot and treat us to a demo? Hard at work on his upcoming album with Brianna Lane, he contributed to the making of her video for the Tiny Desk Contest. John was a player at The Hoot For Slim at HIFI Hair and Records on Record Store Day-a special day made even more so with the rare appearance of Slim himself. John also recorded a song “One For Slim” for the “Slim Town Singles” benefit project.
Becca Marx is a St. Paul-based freelance writer and critic and staff reporter for Rift Magazine.