Cool Shows Next Week 5/7 – 5/13


Looking to see interesting music next week? Here are some shows that are happening and are worth checking out.

Wednesday 5/9

Fairview at The Garage – TICKETS

Fairview will be opening for Aywecanfly.

Founded in 2011, tThey are one of the first two bands signed to Plain White T’s frontman Tom Higgenson’s record label, Humans Were Here. The band will be releasing their new single later this month from their debut, self-titled EP (out in May). They were first discovered by Tom Higgenson in 2009 when the band members were still in high school in Chicago, Tom’s hometown. They introduced themselves and Tom stumbled upon their music online and fell in love with their sound. Soon after, Tom started writing music with them and ultimately became the first signing on the label.


Dan Israel at The Cedar – TICKETS

Photo Credit: Steve Cohen

Local artist Dan Israel’s You’re Free is a response to personal, political, and cultural crises by a singer-songwriter who happens to be in midlife. As such, it sidesteps midlife-crisis clichés while searching earnestly for change, liberation, and the perfect guitar break. By turns anxious and joyful, sometimes even a bit reckless, it’s a cry of the heart delivered from the cab of a new-used convertible, or a jeremiad shouted from a seventies muscle car rejiggered to run on french-fry grease.

The album, Israel’s fourteenth studio creation, was produced during a transitional period for the Twin Cities native. After twenty-one years on the job, Israel left his editorial position at the nonpartisan Revisor’s Office of the Minnesota State Legislature. This leap of faith has let Israel—for the first time in his adult life—concentrate chiefly on his music, and in addition to writing and recording, he’s been pursuing an active performing schedule, playing his own material as a solo act and bandleader, and putting together sets in tribute to some of his formative influences, including Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. He’s also using this time to find new ways to treat and cope with lifelong struggles with depression and anxiety, as well as severe gastrointestinal ailments that often manifest, in a vicious cycle, with depression and anxiety.


Thursday 5/10

Mt. Joy at the Entry – SOLD OUT

When inducting Mt. Joy into this year’s Slingshot class of “exceptional up-and-coming artists,” NPR Music claimed the band “goes well with summer festivals, psychedelic sunsets, and soundboard bootlegs.” As the hotly-tipped five-piece continues conquering through their 50+ date North American tour, they’ll inherently satisfy those three pairings, with sets at Shaky Knees, BottleRock Napa, Electric Forest, High Sierra, WXPN’s XPoNential Festival, and even more unannounced appearances all slated for this festival season.

They’re well-primed for the circuit, having played last year’s Bonnaroo, Newport Folk, and Lollapalooza on the heels of three singles. Now, armed with a brand new LP that’s been named “the soundtrack to every summer festival (ever)” (Substream), they’re promising a monumental return to the sun-kissed, singalong-ready fields.

PJ Morton at the Dakota Jazz Club – TICKETS

Photo Credit: Patrick Melon

PJ Morton is a GRAMMY, Stellar & Dove Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, & multi-instrumentalist & Maroon 5 keyboardist.

In addition to boasting collaborations with Adam Levine, Lil Wayne, & Busta Rhymes, his critically acclaimed 2013 offering, New Orleans, earned a 2014 GRAMMY® Award nomination in the category of “Best R&B Song” for “Only One” [feat. Stevie Wonder]. In addition to figuring prominently on Maroon 5’s multi platinum Overexposed and V, Morton has written and produced for everybody from BJ The Chicago Kid, Jermaine Dupri, and Jazmine Sullivan to Monica and India.Arie. Among many other accolades, he has published his literary debut Why Can’t I Sing About Love? in 2009, and become music director for Solange following the release of her critically acclaimed opus A Seat At The Table.

In April 2017, he released his 5th studio album & first offering for his own Morton Records, Gumbo from the funkified grooves of “Claustrophobic” [feat. Pell] to the unifying and undeniable message of “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” [feat. BJ The Chicago Kid & The Hamiltones]. In 2018, this album was Grammy nominated for Best R&B Album and his single, First Began was nominated for Best R&B Song.

Friday 5/11

Chris Smither at the Cedar Cultural Center – TICKETS

A songwriter, guitarist, bluesman, interpreter and performer for more than 50 years, CHRIS SMITHER has proven himself an American original. His new album Call Me Lucky  is the artist’s first studio recording of brand new originals in six years. At the core of Call Me Lucky are the ten songs, which offer commentary on the human condition that only Chris Smither can put pen to.

But, Smither shook things up. During the making of the record each musician at some point wore a different hat. The engineer played piano. The drummer played guitar. Chris took a Chuck Berry standard and turned it on its head and it came out in a minor key. They added in another surprise cover (you’ll just have to listen to find out what it is). And to top it off, yes, Chris went electric.

As most Smither aficionados know, he recognizes great songs by other writers and always includes a couple of songs by other musicians. His rendering of “Maybellene” is menacing.


Saturday 5/12

Damien Jurado at the Entry – TICKETS

Urban folk singer/songwriter Damien Jurado quietly built up one of the strongest catalogs on the indie scene, earning high critical praise yet somehow never quite getting his proper due.

Nick Drake had a definite impact on much of his work, but Jurado modeled his career on more idiosyncratic, unpredictable figures like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and Randy Newman—songwriters who followed their own muse wherever it took them, whether fans and critics enjoyed it or not. His independence was born at least in part from the influence of punk, and one of the results was a concern for emotional authenticity that led him to delve into other people’s lives instead of his own.

Many of Jurado’s best songs spun concise, literate tales of quiet, everyday despair, which often earned him comparisons to short story writer Raymond Carver. But his storytelling bent—not to mention his ambivalence toward confessional material—arose from a stronger grounding in traditional folk than spiritual compatriots like Elliott Smith or Cat Power. And with detours into pop, roots rock, full-fledged electric indie rock, psychedelia, and even found-sound experiments, Jurado ensured that his body of work was impossible to accurately pin down.

Alannah McCready at the Pourhouse   – EVENT INFO

Photo Credit Priscilla K Priebe

Atlanta-based country musician Alannah McCready was raised in Blaine, MN, near Minneapolis and she loved various genres of music from a young age.  She attended the University of Madison, WI on a full athletic scholarship for women’s hockey. Alannah won two National Division 1 Championships as a goalie for the Badgers and played in two NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey National Championships, as well as the WCHA (league) championship.  Her passion for music never left completely yet her involvement with the college and pro sports worlds did not allow a great deal of time to pursue other interests.

Upon graduating, McCready took a job doing PR for a sports management company in New York–and also, now free to do as she liked, began writing music again. Her uncle, a recording artist in Los Angeles, gave her a connection to a music producer in Nashville, who urged her to come visit and test out a few songs.  To her delight, she was told by professionals that yes, she should be pursuing a professional musical path. She packed up her bags and moved south, and has been honing her craft ever since. Her first album, Love Hangover (“it was basically all about one very long relationship–the ups and downs”) was released in 2015, and McCready decided to take a different approach to the next release.

Ricochet Heart is Alannah’s sophomore release which will be out officially on April 27 and all of its tracks are either written or co-written by her.   The first single and accompanying video for “Last Girl Standing” is a girl power meets whisky hour. There are many other stand out moments on the album, including the title track and the punchy first track “Enemies With Benefits.”  

The California Honeydrops at The Cedar Cultural Center – TICKETS

The California Honeydrops celebrate their 10th year together with the release of their 7th studio album and first ever double album, “Call It Home: Vol. 1 & 2” and continue to tour worldwide. Led by dynamic vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski, and drawing on diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second-line, the Honeydrops bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to their shows. They’ve taken the party all over the world, playing festivals of all kinds and touring widely across North America, Europe and Australia. In 2016 & 2017 the Honeydrops were honored to support Bonnie Raitt on her North America release tour—and in the past have been privileged to support the likes of B.B. King, Allen Toussaint, Buddy Guy, and Dr. John. Whether in those high-profile performances or in more intimate venues where the band itself can leave the stage and get down on the dance floor, the California Honeydrops’ shared vision and purpose remain: to make the audience dance and sing.

The Honeydrops have come a long way since guitarist and trumpeter Lech Wierzynkski and drummer Ben Malament started busking in an Oakland subway station, but the band has stayed true to that organic, street-level feel. Listening to Lech sing, it can be a surprise that he was born in Warsaw, Poland, and raised by Polish political refugees. He learned his vocal stylings from contraband American recordings of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Louis Armstrong, and later at Oberlin College and on the club circuit in Oakland, California. With the additions of Johnny Bones on tenor sax and clarinet, Lorenzo Loera on keyboards, and Beau Bradbury on bass, they’ve built a powerful full-band sound to support Wierzynski’s vocals. More like parties than traditional concerts, their shows feature extensive off-stage jamming and crowd interaction. “The whole point is to erase the boundaries between the crowd and us,” Wierzynski says. “We don’t make setlists. We want requests. We want crowd involvement, to make people become a part of the whole thing by dancing along, singing, picking the songs and generally coming out of their shells.”