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(l-r) John Louis, Venus De Mars, Brianna Lane, Terry Walsh, and Jim Walsh.(l-r) John Louis, Venus De Mars, Brianna Lane, Terry Walsh, and Jim Walsh.

BECCA MARX: Hoot Report from Harriet Brewing, May 7, 2015

Love was definitely in bloom at the first Hoot of May. If it was pouring outside it was cozy and inviting inside last night at The Mad Ripple Hootenanny! The crowd was in good spirits fueled by the great brew of Harriet, the tasty grub of Vin’s Food truck, and there was even a fuel drum-fire to cozy up to.

The night started out with a beautiful collaboration between Jim Walsh and Brianna Lane performing “Homebodies (Don’t Be Careful With Your Love)” and it was a GO from there. Jim did the lovely song “All These weeks” and a rousing cover of “Marry Me, Archie” by The Alvvays.

It was a real party atmosphere with the celebration of Jerry Walsh’s (father of Terry and Hoot founder Jim) 87th Birthday! Whatever he is taking, I want some – the man does not look a day over 72. I was also honored to be a Birthday girl and thank you for ALL of the complimentary drinks-yikes! When Jim Walsh sang, “That Hootenanny Almost Killed Me,” I had a premonition that I would be hearing its lyrics in my head in the morning. (Random Minnesota music fact: the “MN Queen of Soul,” Wanda Davis, who has recorded at the acclaimed studio Secret Stash Records, also shares this birth date.)

Terry Walsh. Terry Walsh, who has slept with Jim, as brothers have to…  ever heard of the book, “I Slept With Joey Ramone?” Yep, written by Joey’s brother and quite a good read. Anyways…  Terry, the very capable front-man of St. Dominic’s Trio and The Belfast Cowboys, displayed his guitar chops and wide range of musical influences last night. His cover of Van Morrison’s “These are the Days” (as requested by fellow birthday girl Jill Hiner) was much beloved by the audience, inspiring dancing and the grabbing of tambourines to join in. The Waterboys were playing at First Ave’s Mainroom and Terry honored them, performing their song “Fisherman’s Blues” to close out the night. Off of The Belfast Cowboys latest record The Upside to the Downslide he brought rock and roll soul to the Hoot with “Looking for the Northern Lights.” When I hear Terry sing I think of the folk rock activist movement of the 1960’s or a similarity to Ike Reilly’s modern day statement music. Never more so than when he sings “Hard Working and Poor.” Every Tuesday St. Dominic’s Trio plays at the infamous Nye’s Polonaise Room. Catch them at the iconic bar before it closes forever this summer.

Brianna Lane. Powerhouse of a folk Americana singer songwriter with banjo and guitar chops! A huge part of the Minneapolis music community she sang “Minneapolis” in tribute. The song “Real Love” from her first solo record The Navigators Club was particularly gorgeous and moving. I know when I have a physical reaction to a song that it is more than special. That one made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! The word “passionate” comes to mind about her. She comes alive with such force when she plays that you cannot take your eyes off of her. The audience and fellow performers went wild when she uttered the first lines of Lucinda Williams/Randy Week’s “Can’t Let Go.” The record which I have heard in its entirety will be a standout for 2015, lyrically and musically a triumph for Ms. Lane. Don’t miss the release show at The Icehouse, 5/19, with Chris Koza and Linnea Mohn of Rogue Valley.

John Louis. John Louis lent his good humor and Americana folk to the Hoot. He opened with the song “Carry Me Home” to a full and appreciative audience. New to the Hoot was John’s talented wife, Marty Tanquist, who joined him on a beautiful duet of the song “Real Good Heart.” A cover of Slim Dunlap’s “Nowhere’s Near” had me feeling emotional, as I am sure it did for others as well. “Out of Kingfield” was the last song that he played and again he had the audience’s absolute attention. John has been working on his first album for the last several months with producer Mark Stockert and Brianna Lane is co-producing. The two would seem to be perfect collaborators as their folk style is quite complimentary of one another. Marty Tanquist also contributes to the album. The record is currently in the mixing stage and look for a late summer release. I wonder if the tentative title “Greenway” refers to John’s love of biking? He just completed the 30 Days of Biking challenge-BRAVO!

Venus de Mars. Full disclosure: I did PR when she opened for Against Me! last summer in support of their amazing record Transgender Dysphoria Blues. I tell you that she is a real ARTIST-proved in court against the IRS. She had such passion that when she sang a cover of Towne Van Zandt’s “Love Hurts” you felt every word go right through you like a knife. She had spent the day bringing in decades of archival material to MUMA (Minnesota Underground Music Archive)-the brainchild of Tim Carroll and Liseli Polivka. Documentation of what MN music has been and continues to be-the BEST! Five of the songs performed (“Was it Me?,” “Love Hurts,” “Damage and Razorblades,” “White Horses” and David Bowie’s “5 Years”) are all on her latest solo/acoustic record Flesh and Wire. Not a record to miss, her cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is particularly touching as well as my favorite of all time “Take My Shoulder” which features Laura Jane Grace from Against Me! She will do a full set tonight (5/8) at the Terminal Bar in NE Minneapolis.

There is no place better than Minneapolis in the springtime. There is no better music than in Minneapolis. Enjoy them both at the next Mad Ripple Hootenanny at Harriet Brewing 5/14 featuring the stellar lineup of: Jim Walsh, Katy Vernon, Jillian Rae, Ananda Bates, Doug Collins & Jeremy Messersmith!!!

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

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