Michael Franti & Spearhead (2011)
Michael Franti & Spearhead was the headline act with their positive music and “Stay Human” message. “Stay Human means to hold onto one’s humanity, spirit and open-heartedness in a complex, fast-paced and sometimes crazy world,” says Franti. Among the recent, mainstream radio hits for these national recording artists at the time was “Say Hey (I Love You).” Their newest album release was titled “The Sound of Sunshine.” Michael Franti has crossed all sorts of musical and physical boundaries in order to make music for everybody. Always upbeat, everyone will be moving their body to the tune of this group. michaelfranti.com
Trampled By Turtles (2012)
From Dave Simonett: “When we started Trampled by Turtles, all we wanted to do was play music with acoustic instruments as a break from our rock bands. We learned old fiddle songs, traditional folk songs, bluegrass songs, and what few original songs we had, followed those formulas. As it happened however, the first year of existence of this band was also the last year of existence for our other bands.
This brought to us a challenge: to try and make our own music with an instrumental lineup we were all unfamiliar with. In this respect I believe we had a slow start, stumbling into our own at first by writing original music that resembled, in lyric and form, the older music we were discovering at the time. At that point, early 2003, I had only been writing lyrics for a couple of years, Erik had only been playing the mandolin for a matter of months, and we had barely left the band’s home of Duluth, MN. We were, however, having the time of our lives. So much so, in fact, that we decided that this was now going to be more than a casual side project, this was going to be our attempt to carve out a sound of our own using the same instruments people have used for centuries in order to express their lives in their times.”
Almost ten years later, that “sound of their own” has been heard all over North America, on the David Letterman Show, Mountain Stage, World Cafe and at the biggest festivals in the U.S. And it will continue to be heard at some of the biggest shows and festivals almost every weekend throughout the rest of this year. Only July 8, though, this hard-working group that is so dedicated to their hometown returns to help it rebuild after the devastating flood. And we can’t wait to welcome them back to Bayfront!
The Jayhawks (2012)
During their heyday in the first half of the 1990s, The Jayhawks perfected a captivating sound that seamlessly blended the elegant folk-rock of the Byrds, the adventurousness of Buffalo Springfield, the hippiebilly soulfulness of the Flying Burrito Brothers and the soaring harmonies of the Beach Boys. So it’s richly ironic that their reappearance coincides with a dramatic resurgence of the musical approach they played such a central role in perpetuating—but this time around, The Jayhawks themselves are revered as icons by the young bands carrying on those same traditions., and it’s their own legacy that they’re advancing.
On Mockingbird Time, the Minneapolis-based band’s eighth album, and the first since 2003’sRainy Day Music, they’re once again pushing the envelope in songs and performances of rarefied dynamism and grace, forming boldly intriguing stylistic and thematic combinations while retaining their unmistakable sound. This is classic Jayhawks, the ultimate lineup of this great American band in full flight.
PLUS: A short performance by Brown Eye, Blue Eye of the Music Resource Center-Duluth!
Cloud Cult (2011 & 2013)
Cloud Cult is a Minnesota favorite that also focuses its musical messages on the bigger picture of life and how we’re all connected. As the New York Times put it, you’ll see them literally fill the stage, “singing kaleidoscopic invocations of the life force.” Very engaging and interpretive, this group usually incorporates art into its live performance as well – a complete show on its own that is not to be missed. cloudcult.com
The Kingston Trio (2013)
Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award winners, The Kingston Trio is one of the few groups today that has survived the many changes in the world of music. Decades ago, the Kingston Trio was the number one vocal group in the world, a musical and cultural phenomenon whose record sales and concert draws were matched only by The Beatles.They have remained consistent in their sound, which probably explains their resurgence in popularity over the last few years. The Kingston Trio now consists of George Grove, Bill Zorn and Rick Dougherty.
Mason Jennings (2013)
As one grows into adulthood, remaining steadfastly single-minded about one’s pursuits gets increasingly difficult. The musician becomes a band mate navigating the creative energies of those around them. He becomes a boyfriend, a husband, a businessman. She becomes a lover, a mother, a practitioner of her art. Life becomes multifarious, and the pressure to not let the disparate threads of a chaotic life unravel can cause strain on any relationship. With his new album Minnesota, Mason Jennings crafts a collage of love trying to survive the transition into being a grown-up in a complex world.
The Hunts (2013)
The Hunts are an indie-folk band from Chesapeake, Virginia that blew the audience away in 2013. These seven brothers and sisters have a passion for creating compelling music and so, have collaborated one another’s gifts of writing, composing and musicianship to endeavor that. Stringed instruments, surrounded by enchanting harmonies and thrilling rhythms harken to an organic yet transcending sound.
Caroline Smith & The Goodnight Sleeps (2012)
Since her arrival in Minneapolis during the fall of 2006 as an 18-year-old, singer/songwriter, Caroline Smith has become a celebrated part of the Midwest artist community.
In 2007, Smith befriended drummer Arlen Peiffer (Cloud Cult), bassist Jesse Schuster, and pianist David Earl and the boys joined forces to support Caroline’s folk tunes as the Good Night Sleeps.
In August of 2008, Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps released their debut full length,Backyard Tent Set, recorded at the Devil’s Workshop in Minneapolis with Chad Weis (Mason Jennings, Ben Kweller). The prominent sound is of gentle folk instrumentation- acoustic guitar, banjo, piano, glockenspiel while Caroline’s singing floats above in innocent and playful imagery and catchy pop hooks.
The Honeydogs (2012)
After 16 years together, this band has weathered successes and missteps, raised children, seen loves come and go, and throughout, thrived as an ensemble even when it seemed that no one was noticing. Yet with their maturity and experience, frontman Adam Levy never lets the band assert conceit. Instead of answers, their new album What Comes After asks questions, ponders the little things, and carries the listener along with gently lingering melodies and poetics. Sometimes it is the simplest of things that stay with you—and this collection of songs will surely cling to your heart.
Charlie Parr (2012)
Parr seems to be comfortable only when playing his guitar or sitting quietly staring into space. This all started 37 years ago when Charlie’s Dad traded a perfectly good Johnson 9.9 outboard motor for a guitar in an effort to engage the boy in some constructive activity. Taken with his Dad’s record collection, Charlie set out to teach himself how to play and as a life-long learner continues in this vein. Songs trickle out here and there, influenced by everything from the weather to poverty and loneliness and the sounds of Bukka White and Spider John Koerner.
Chris Berry (2013)
Grammy award winner Chris Berry is an eclectic singer and songwriter, multi-instrumentalist virtuoso, and high-energy performer and teacher. From his humble beginning during Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe, he has blasted his powerful Afro-infused sound around the World for over twenty years; rocking audiences from NYC’s Irving Plaza to sold out stadiums in South Africa and Sydney Australia’s famous Opera House. He has released over a dozen albums; scored the soundtrack for three films; and has been collaborating and performing with some of the World’s best performers like Eminem, Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, Senegalese Afro-Pop sensation Yousoou N’dour, Cuban Legends Los Munequitos de Mantanzas, Jazz artist Paul Winter, Jamaican rhythm and production duo Sly (Dunbar) and Robbie (Shakespeare), Fugee’s producer Handel Tucker, and many more.
The Fractals! (2012)
With the addition of The Fractals and their brand of rock-a-billy-surf-hot-rod music, we believe the festival includes three of the top guitar slingers in the area (Jimi Cooper & Barry Pirkola of the Fractals, plus Charlie Parr). Super D on bass and Marvin on drums round out this foursome that will surely lay down some rubber on the main stage. Known to be very animated and sometimes wear classic wrestling-style superhero masks as they shred frets, this set will be all for fun. Grab a Lake Superior Brew and a good cup holder because you won’t be able to stand still.
Saint Anyway (2013)
Saint Anyway is an original trio from the Northland. For any band so reverential to the antique sounds of early 20th Century Americana, the rare strain of energy that propels Saint Anyway is refreshingly uncommon. They’ve had a natural progression towards speedier (even reckless) playing styles, yet choose to foreground laser-beam vocal harmonies and lyrics over traditional bluegrass bravado. They’ll make you move.
Sara Thomsen & Michael Laughing Fox Charette (2012)
“Thomsen’s soulful voice, poetic lyrics and unforgettable melodies cut through to the heart and the soul of human experience,” proclaims the Minnesota Women’s Press. With a voice rich as the best mid-west soil, Sara’s songs carry you inward and outward—in, to the particulars of your own life, and out into the shared humanity of us all. Her performance style is easygoing and full of humor and depth, capturing the audience’s engagement. Sara’s music gently enfolds and unfolds the listener. In collaboration with Michael, they call this set “Bridging Cultures.”
My name is Michael “Scooter” Charette. My spirit name is Bapa Waagash (Laughing Fox). I come from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwa. In 2007, I completed my first CD, Tales of Laughing Fox, a collection of musical imagery featuring my flute playing, poetry, drumming and singing as well as some of my artwork and drawings. The CD was recorded on Mooningwanekaaning (Madeline Island) in Lake Superior, former home of the Ojibwa people.
I am a flute player. I teach workshops on how to make Native American flutes. I am also an artist. I make woodburnings, driftwood sculptures, dream-catchers, and beadwork.
Jason Wussow & Friends (2013)
Jason Wussow & Friends don’t fit any specific genre, and this festival isn’t fond of labels, so that makes them perfect. Let’s call it Swing-ska-lounge music. Jason Wussow fits our community theme in so many other ways as well. As the owner of Beaner’s Central Concert Coffeehouse, Jason has created a hub for music in West Duluth and so much more for the broader community.
Moors & McCumber (2012, James Moors also in 2011)
James Moors and Kort McCumber met at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in 2005. Sitting around a campfire swapping songs, James and Kort each heard something in the music of the other that just fit. The two have been performing and writing together since.
James Moors is heralded by Steve Morse, longtime Boston Globe writer, as “Sharing some of the
same melodic gifts of Neil Finn, enhanced by a warm-hearted spirit that makes you want to
hear more.” Born and raised in Minneapolis and making the Twin Ports his family’s home, Moors lists the songwriting of Shawn Colvin and Martin Sexton as responsible for his current path.
A talented multi-instrumentalist, McCumber plays everything from guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica and piano in his brand of Americana that’s one part rock and blues, two parts country-bluegrass and all parts McCumber. But it is his songwriting abilities that have made him a Colorado favorite, and garnered him national and international recognition. McCumber has been humbled and inspired by the achievements, which only adds to his passion for touring and sharing his music with every town he visits. — from Marquee Magazine in Boulder, CO written by Joseph Kovack.
batteryboy (2012 & 2013)
batteryboy, the alter-ego of Minneapolis indie-folk musician Cobey Rouse, started with a flurry of songwriting in Ocober 2011 that he just couldn’t keep to himself. After performing in bands since his teenage years in Omaha, NE, and in college in Minnesota, batteryboy is Rouse’s first foray into performing as a solo artist. His personal, raw approach to songwriting is a result of using each song as a new form of therapy…including playing his own percussion along with his guitar and vocals. batteryboy’s debut album, north, is an emotional collection of songs inspired by northern Minnesota winters. Available on iTunes and Amazon.com.
Bunny Clogs (2012)
Bunny Clogs is Shel Silverstein-meets-Prince surreal dance fun. The debut record, “More! More! More!” is not your run-of-the-mill strummy, folky kids’ record. Part comedy record with weird characters, part dance party with all of the attendent drum loops and house and hip-hop accoutrements, and part subtle message of peace, love and positive gastronomy, Adam Levy’s Bunny Clogs is music for kids of ALL ages.
Amazing Jeffo (2012)
Amazing Jeffo, a blind magician, captures the imagination of all ages. His engaging blend of magic, music and comedy entertains, educates and inspires. Through his performances, Amazing Jeffo helps his audience become aware that everyone has a place in the world, and that our talents, abilities and unique perspectives can be offered to others.
Magic Mama (2012)
Magic Mama is a nationally touring Eco-Edu-tainer who performs Organic Hip Hop and World Beats. Through her music, Magic Mama delivers an empowering and hope-filled message of love and respect for all and inspires creative thinking and Earth-friendly actions. Performances are lively and interactive; audience participation is invited throughout each set.
Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles (2012)
Take a pinch of mountain gypsy, a dash of psych-folk and a combine it with an ocean of split-open-and-melt lyricism, intricately delivered by one of the most unique voices in music, and you have Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles. Since bursting onto the Twin Cities music scene in 2008, the fiery five-piece have blossomed into one of the most celebrated and cherished young talents to emerge from Minnesota in recent history.
Lucy Michelle and The Velvet Lapelles’ incredibly polished, yet wholly organic, sound can be directly attributed to an interweaving familial-like chemistry that has created an airtight bond among the five players. The band formed in 2007 as a result of casual jam sessions that were led by Lucy with friends Geoff Freeman (drums), Ashley Boman (accordion, bells) and Jesse Schuster (bass), at Lucy and Geoff’s University of Minnesota college flop house in NE Minneapolis. Loosely arranged social gatherings, where music was played, eventually turned into full-blown band practices and writing sessions with the additions of Eamonn Mclain (cello) and Chris Graham (guitar).
Trapper Schoepp & the Shades (2012)
Trapper Schoepp & The Shades is a Wisconsin rock ‘n’ roll band comprising brothers Trapper and Tanner Schoepp, Graham Hunt, David Boigenzahn, and Jon Phillip. The Shades fuse roots with pop, and are surefooted and ready to rock. Fronted by 21-year-old Trapper Schoepp, the Milwaukee-based quartet has just released their third full-length album “Run, Engine, Run” on Good Land Records. We thank the following: the Wizard of Waukesha, Christian Frederick, Frederick Miller, Frederick Pabst and Frederick Avenue.
“Roots rock, like a fine wine, is often better with age, when its performed by weathered men and women who’ve lived the hard life and possess the musical poetry to put stories to song. Local roots rocker Trapper Schoepp, at 21, doesn’t have that benefit, but what he and The Shades do possess is some of the most infectious exuberance and stickiest songwriting skills I heard on a Milwaukee album this year.” -The Journal Sentinel
Solomon Witherspoon 1017 (2012)
At the tender age of 9 years old Solomon was singing in his father Rev Sylvester Witherspoon’s church with his family, the Witherspoon choir. Growing up with a huge family of five boys and five girls, life has always been fast pace. After the death of Solomon’s brother Sam, his sister Liz and his Father Rev Witherspoon, Solomon lives by the words of his Father,(ONCE A TASK HAS ONCE BEGUN NEVER LEAVE IT UNTIL ITS DONE BE IT LABOR GREAT OR SMALL DO IT WELL OR NOT AT ALL). As a rising star Solomon began singing background vocals for Kip Blackshire. Solomon also had the privilege of sharing the stage with two musical icons, Prince and Larry Graham and he’s also inspired by Marvin Sapp, Kirk Franklin, Luther Vandross, Usher and Jamie Foxx. Solomon’s vision will never change. Aim for the stars and shoot for the moon – don’t die trying, live trying. Currently Solomon’s living his dream, rocking crowds with his new band TEN17.
Sarah Krueger (2011 & 2012)
There’s something about the human voice that can transcend. Whether it’s transcending into our most primal emotions or back through our past memories, the power in a musical voice can captivate the impenetrable. Pair that with unadorned and relatable lyrics, and you have a foundation that will pull you in. Sarah Krueger, an emerging artist from Duluth, first featured her signature voice with a minimalist americana and pop folk sound in her first effort, Running. The six songs are laced with influences from the cold hillside city in which she lives, as well as a tasteful delve into the most fundamental themes that encompass us all.
Her newest full length album, Dancing With Phantoms, focuses on combining an honest folk-rock presence with gospel and roots undertones to create a batch of songs with more breadth and depth than her previously released songs. It promises a well rounded taste of Sarah’s straightforward and earnest songwriting.
Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank (2012)
The Alexy brothers grew up in the New Jersey shore town of Somers Point – the town where Bob Dylan hired The Band before Ian and Teague were born. A simple twist of fate brought them to Dylan’s hometown of Duluth, Minnesota where they started the band as a duo in 2005 with a revolving cast of musicians helping them celebrate their original songs alongside inspired renditions of Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt and most importantly Woody Guthrie. Most bands lack a strong singer/songwriter with originality or true grit. Hobo Nephews is the rare group that can boast having two songwriters of style and substance.
Snöbarn is an electrified folk band from right here in the Twin Ports. Their eclectic writing styles make their music refreshingly varied. Their aim is to write songs that are catchy but not campy, thought-provoking but not despairing: the sound is a product of honest, everyday experience in the Northland. Snöbarn’s music includes rich vocal harmonies, layered rhythms, and intricate instrumentation that may just put you in a trance. A good trance.
Mary Bue (2012)
Mary Bue is a pop-rock singer-songwriter who plays piano and guitar. Since 1998, Mary has been writing songs and performing them around the country (38 states and counting).
Now 30 years old, Bue’s songs reflect her life experiences of moving from coast to coast. Sometimes her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Yoga training come in to play in her songwriting.
Rich with imagery and symbolism, the songs may (if you sit with them long enough) creep into your psyche and “emotionally sucker-punch you.” This is art to make you think and get your mind firing. In essence, Mary Bue is an artful songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a fearless outlook, a kind heart and a wordsmith spirit.
Matt Ray & Those Damn Horses (2012)
Matt Ray and Those Damn Horses is a “string band” that specializes in high-energy, modernized versions of old songs taken from Americana and Roots music along with a healthy dose of original music.
Most recently, Ray and the Horses released an ambitious double album (half originals/half old standards), and are looking forward to continue taking those songs on the road this summer. Matt Ray and Those Damn Horses is a high-energy renegade American roots band specializing in foot-stompin, forget-what-troubles-ya music. With energy to blow your face off, and enough soul to well your eyes, the band is best taken live with friends and strangers. Based in Minnesota’s Iron Range, the group has established a passionate and equally as rowdy fan-base throughout the Northland and continues to travel further to spread their unique mix of blues, old-time, and Americana roots music.
The Boomchucks (2012)
The Boomchucks play the music of train beats and heartaches. Brad Nelson drums for the Black-eyed Snakes and played in the Devil’s Flying Machine with Charlie Parr. Jamie Ness has had a well-known solo career as well as success in bands such as A.T.F. and Taconite. In 2008 they came together and released a record in 2009. Currently they are wrapping up a record of Bob Dylan covers as the Freewheelers, to be released in May during the Duluth Dylan Fest. (from 2012 Homegrown guide)
Devaa Haley Mitchell is a spiritual guide, speaker, and musician, offering devotional music and Soulful Women programs to support the feminine awakening of our planet. She also founded and hosts the Inspiring Women Summit, a virtual gathering with over 56K participants from more than 160 countries (www.inspiringwomensummit.com).
Adam Sippola (2013)
Adam played his “Water Song” to start the water ceremony and kick off the 2013 festival. He’s one of the more interesting and captivating local performers with a didgiradoo, looping techniques and a great voice.
Dr. Masaru Emoto (2013): An internationally renowned researcher who has gained worldwide acclaim by showing how water is deeply connected to our individual and collective consciousness. By photographing water molecules during various experiments he was able to capture images that demonstrate that our thoughts and words have a direct effect on water crystal formation, impacting our lives and the world around us. His message is simple, profound, and far-reaching. His photographs can be seen in Messages from Water Vols. I, II, and III (over one million sold internationally in twenty languages) and in The Hidden Messages in Water (over 500,000 copies in print in eleven languages), The True Power of Water, The Secret Life of Water and the film What the Bleep Do We Know.
Gwendolyn Hallsmith (2013), founder of Global Community Initiatives, and Director of Planning & Community Development for Montpelier, Vermont, talked about the Earth Charter and Sustainable Cities with members of the Twin Ports community in an interactive presentation.
Pete Feigal (2011): An international speaker on mental health who provides a gripping insight into the stigma surrounding mental illness. Spending a lot of time speaking in Israel, Palestine and Central America, Pete has also become one of the most requested speakers on mental illness in our own country. We’ll look to him for hope, through humor and heartbreak, in eliminating discrimination toward the mentally ill and other members of our community. petefeigal.com
Xavier Bell (2011): A motivational speaker and the Community Engagement Program Manager at Community Action Duluth. He has fifteen years of experience working with diverse communities to strengthen and develop social assets through positions held in community and faith-based organizations across the country. A leader with a strong message, Bell offers a very forthright analysis of human issues in our community to help spur the positive changes needed. communityactionduluth.org
Sarah Shourd (2011): One of three Americans that were detained in Iranian prison for allegedly crossing the Iran border. She addressed the crowd at the 2011 Bridge Festival to raise awareness around the Free The Hikers campaign to free Shane Bauer (not the festival organizer, but same name) and Josh Fattal. All three hikers are now back in America and Sarah and Shane are now married.
Adam Levy (2012): The frontman with The Honeydogs. In January of 2012, Daniel — his 21-year-old son — completed suicide after a hard-fought battle with mental illness. Because he believes too many families dealing with suicide and mental illness are afraid to speak their minds, it’s not hard to get Levy to talk about his son. We can all learn from his insight and hopefully create compassion and understanding that ultimately reduces the stigma of mental illness.
Lyle Wildes (2013): Brain Coach on acquiring “An Attitude of Love” through building a relationship with your brain. If you have never heard Lyle talk about your brain, you need to get your brain in front of Lyle soon.
Erin DeWitt (2013): A co-creator of the 2012 & 2013 festivals, she talked about “Love Superior” and the keys to thriving.
Stephen Dinan (2013): Founder of the Shift Network (shiftnetwork.com).
Cara Lindberg (2013): With Sustainable Twin Ports, titled “From Belief into Action” – how they support folks in taking meaningful steps toward sustainability.