The Cedar Presents
SPIDER JOHN'S 1000th MOON CELEBRATION
Monday June 17th, 2019 / Doors: 7:00 PM / Show: 7:30 PM
$15 Advance / $18 Day of Show
This is a standing show with an open floor. General Admission tickets are available online, by phone, Electric Fetus, and The Cedar during shows.
Come celebrate Spider John Koerner's musical legacy on the evening of the 1000th full moon of his lifetime. This vaudeville-esque evening of entertainment will include short musical sets, tango dancers, a yo-yo trickster, and other acts. Calling back to Spider John's fabled "Space Tavern" shows from his early days performing at The Cedar, cosmic oddities will be displayed around The Cedar’s hall. And, if the stars are aligned, there may be a short post-retirement performance by Spider John Koerner himself.
The night will be MC’d by Mark Johnson, and will feature musical performances by Dan Newton / Daddy Squeeze Trio, Nirmala Rajasekar, Jack Klatt, Charlie Parr, Adam Kiesling, Mumblin' Drew, Dakota Dave Hull, Javier Matos, David Huckfelt, and more!
SPIDER JOHN KOERNER was born August 31, 1938, in Rochester, N.Y. At the age of 15, he was one of the youngest to ever get a student glider pilot license. He enrolled in 1956 at the University of Minnesota as an engineering student, but in early 1958, he became a student of the burgeoning folk scene. With a borrowed guitar and a Burl Ives song book, he began a journey which helped shape the course of American country blues and folk music.
For 50 years, John Koerner has explored the ranges of traditional American song, as a solo artist and with a variety of partners. All of his 1960's recordings are reissued on CD: Blues, Rags and Hollers; Lots More Blues Rags and Hollers; and The Return of Koerner, Ray & Glover, (cornerstones of the blues revivalist era, recorded with Dave Ray and Tony Glover), and Running, Jumping, Standing Still, (a blend of jug band, psychedelic R&B and folk-blues, with (Willie Murphy). Two 1970s albums recorded on Dave Ray's Sweet Jane label, Music Is Just A Bunch Of Notes and Some American Folk Songs Like They Used To are now collector's items. His 1986 recording Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Been and the 1992 raised by humans, both with Boston's "Mr. Bones" John Burrill, and others, reflect Koerner's deep appreciation of the traditional song. StarGeezer, recorded in New Orleans, adds the Louisiana sounds of Reggie Houston, Amasa Miller and Johnny Vidacovich with 'Chip' Taylor Smith (NKTTIB & rbh) and Willie Murphy (Producer) (R,J,SS). In a moving rendition, Koerner also covers Hoagy Carmichael's Stardust on StarGeezer. Koerner reunited with Ray and Glover in 1996 for One Foot in The Groove, the legendary trio's first recording together in 30 years. John Koerner is featured in Part 1(of 4) in the PBS Educational Series RIVER OF SONG which premiered Jan.6, 1999. This production includes a seven part series on Public Radio International; a companion book by St. Martin's Press, a 2 CD set from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and a home video series from Acorn Media. In the fall of 1999, he recorded two tracks with the jug band sound of the Liquor Pigs, with Tim Bradach (FYTAD), and one track in 2000 with Norwegian artist Ole Ask. In a salute to the traditional roots of Bob Dylan, John Koerner and Dave Ray contributed the track Delia to the Redhouse tribute recording A Nod to Bob released in April 2001 for Dylan's 60th birthday.
Dan Newton, Accordioniste, brings the charm and elegance of the French "Musette" to life. Sweet, understated, and sophisticated, Dan's music takes the listener to a sidewalk café in Paris, where men in straw boaters pass by on bicycles, while others sip strong coffee from tiny cups and puff on unfiltered cigarettes. This is the same kind of music one hears in black-and-white films shown only in independent art theaters, films with subtitles and haunting soundtracks.
This is the music of romance, passion, and dreams. This is the "valse musette", the tango and paso-doble, the music for strolling down the Champs-Elysee, or boating on the Seine. This is Dan Newton -Accordioniste.
Nirmala Rajasekar is a world renowned Carnatic virtuoso recognized as one of the best Saraswathi veena players of today in the South Indian Classical music genre - a consummate artist who has carved a special place amidst audiences across the globe. She has been performing on her beloved ‘veena’ for 38 years now. She has created and performed in many path breaking collaborations in the company of many phenomenal and well known world musicians across genres. She has been described in the media as a “Carnatic Ambassador.” Nirmala is known for her unique presentations that carry her distinct voice and style. She is the recipient of many awards including a Bush Artistic Fellowship, a McKnight Performer Fellowship, a Rotary Excellence Award, Women of Excellence award, and more.
Hear the cold winds of Minnesota blow, and feel the waters of the Mississippi River bleed, as Mumblin’ Drew snakes between both the traditional and the contemporary sounds of American folk music. Whether it’s old time, country blues, or modern folk sounds with minor chords and a midwest moan, he puts his heart in to his process, utilizing banjo, resonator guitar, and harmonica. From the simple to the sophisticated, Mumblin’ has spent years playing on street corners around the country, which has instilled a genuine approach in his performance.
Having released several recordings over the past decade with various projects, from string band, to punk-infused folk with eastern European colorings, and even hip hop, Mumblin’ Drew pushes full steam ahead with something uniquely his own. He’s absorbed the earnest stylings of many Minnesotan musicians, from the elders who have come before him, to obscure acoustic punk bands at basement performances in his younger years. Holding down an ongoing weekly residency in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis at the storied Palmer’s Bar, he’s trying to keep the legacy of the once thriving folk scene of the neighborhood alive and breathing in to the next generation. Like any enduring folk musician, his music has taken him to festivals, bars, boats, and rivers, from coast to coast, but he always calls Minnesota home.
Jack Klatt is a songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist based in Minneapolis. His unique sound rides the fine line between blues and country music. He has proven to be a tried and true purveyor of American music traditions. He's won recognition from the MN state arts board, recorded alongside "Spider" John Koerner, and made it onto Daytrotter's list of best songs in 2014. His 2016 release "Shadows in the Sunset" has been praised as "an eminently satisfying, slow rolling, Country/Blues" and made it onto Saving Country Music's list of 2016 essential albums.
An easily confused and very shy individual, Charlie Parr has been traveling around singing his songs ever since leaving Austin Minnesota in the 1980's in search of Spider John Koerner, whom he found about 100 miles north at the Viking Bar one Sunday night. The experience changed his life, made him more or less unemployable, and brings us to now: 13 recordings, 250 shows a year or more, 200,000 miles on a well broke in Kia, and a nasty fear of heights. Resonator fueled folk songs from Duluth Minnesota.
Javier and the blues became buddies in 1978 when he discovered his father's record collection. He has been playing blues professionally since 1992.
In 1999 he signed to Storyville Records and released Comin Home internationally under the surname Jake Matson. Later that year, Javier met Bill Bateman (Blasters, Red Devils, Cramps) and moved to Los Angeles.
While living in Los Angeles Javier and Bill teamed up with John Bazz, also of The Blasters, and reformed The Blue Shadows who reopened the famous King King in Hollywood, California. They were voted best blues band by the L.A City Rock news and featured on the cover of Billboard Magazine as major contributors to blues music in the Los Angeles area.
After meeting Chopper Franklin (Cramps, Heathen Apostles) they formed the Doghouse Lords which was featured in the film, Cry Now and placed several songs on television shows like Friday Night Lights and Breaking Bad.
Javier & the Innocent Sons are a powerful early Chicago Blues Band from Minneapolis. Javier & the Wayback are a prewar trio that perform primarily acoustically in the early country blues tradition.
In the fall of 2017, David Huckfelt left behind the familiar—the comfort of his home in Minneapolis; the camaraderie of his critically acclaimed band, The Pines; the luxuries of heat, hot water, and electricity—and relocated to Isle Royale, America’s most remote and least visited national park in mighty Lake Superior. Six hours by boat off the Michigan coast, Isle Royale is the largest island in the world’s largest freshwater lake, an isolated stretch of wilderness seemingly forgotten by the 20th century (to say nothing of the 21st). There, as an Artist In Residence selected by the National Park Service, Huckfelt spent ten hours a day for two straight weeks writing in solitude, channeling the mysterious and lonesome island’s spirits into his stunning debut solo album, Stranger Angels, slated to release Feb 22nd, 2019.
“The island is surrounded by 300 smaller islands, decrepit lighthouses and abandoned mines, lined with shipwrecks, ghosts, and the stories of the northern Ojibway, fisherman, and early settlers,” Huckfelt reflects. “I brought a mountain of notebooks and poetry and history books with me”, says Huckfelt, “and for the first time in nearly a decade, I found the solitude, depth, range, danger, beauty, and inspiration to go all kinds of places in my writing that I hadn't had the space to visit before. With a sense of place so strong, it was less like an anchor and more like a launching pad to free up and access all kinds of places from throughout my life. It’s easy to travel anywhere in your mind in that kind of solitude, your whole experience rises up from the deep.”
Indeed, the music is both transportive and reflective, focused inwards even as it draws on an abundance of outside influence. Hypnotic banjo and gentle acoustic guitar meet trippy public domain samples and shimmering soundscapes underneath Huckfelt’s stark, raw vocals as he wrestles with questions of fate and faith, responsibility and independence, connection and loss. A thread of deep ecology runs through these songs, but not the cute bumper sticker kind, the gritty, “what-comes-next-if-we-don’t-change-our-ways” kind. “Isle Royale used to have fifty wolves in five packs…” Huckfelt says, “now there’s only one left. Cycles are cycles but it’s the height of pride to think we (humans) aren’t the major player.” The title track “Stranger Angels” brings this point home strongest, with the narrator longing for a place “where (he) won’t make the greedy richer”, and the fierce grip of climate change manifests in lyrics like “Wild mustangs starve in the hills outside Las Vegas… and the West is burning like a lake of fire.”
But above and beyond conservation, Stranger Angels is a record about “thin places”, those spiritually charged places where heaven and earth seem to meet and the veil between the world we see and the mystical world beyond becomes transparent. On the rollicking blues-carnival track “As Below, So Above” Huckfelt pays a touching tribute to his late grandmother who helped raise him in Iowa, not by writing about her, but to her, as a defiant elegy against death. A former theology student who once wrote and preached sermons in Cook County Jail in Chicago, Huckfelt has gone through the fire of the niceties and dogma of “heaven” and “god” and come out the other end with a worldview fiercely present, concrete and expansive. “Stranger Angels as a title, to me, has a thousand references to what’s left after life and death and experience and loss and love burns off all the easy answers…” says Huckfelt. “The idea of god or spirit being hidden under the opposite of what we think we know, of ancestors and spirits visiting us, screaming in our ears all day long, but we miss it because it’s different, stranger than we expected… And the kindness we give and receive from strangers, the least, last and lost among us. Our cities are overflowing with strange angels, it’s such a mistake when we think we know which or who can offer us something, and which can’t. Every spirit has something to give. Then, when I saw the night camera footage of the moose and wolves on Isle Royale, dancing in the moonlight and gracing the forest with their presence, I thought “stranger angels” indeed.”