Summer in the Music

Header image by Brian Moen on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons nc-nd 2.0

Today’s guest post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale.

Last week Husband and I had an uncharacteristically active week in the “going out for music” scene. I am usually a slug on summer evenings and weekends; but it seems the planets, the offerings, and ”logistic serendipity” lined up to make this possible.


Last Saturday of July we took the Light Rail Green Line over to the Second Annual (FREE) Lowertown Blues Festival, held in Mears Park, a lovely square in downtown St. Paul near the river.

Although we are in no way blues aficionados, we enjoyed the two bands we heard, “Lisa Wenger & Her Mean Mean Men”, and “Jimmi and the Band of Souls”; also on the schedule were Elvin Bishop and Walter Trout. It was one of the Ten Perfect Days, and the people watching was fabulous – from lots of us old folks to barely-walking toddlers.


Thursday evening found us at the Gingko Coffee House, also in St. Paul for an intimate, warm (the A/C started functioning again around 7:30), and rousing concert by Claudia Schmidt and Sally Rogers.   (Did you know they have now collaborated on three CDs? Or that Claudia now lives on Nicollet Island in Mpls?) What a joy! With two guitars and two dulcimers each, they played old favorites (Spoon River, Lovely Agnes, and the Berrymans’ A Chat with Your Mother) and new material. Claudia’s poem about humidity had us rolling. Baboons were well represented: PJ (who brought her 94 year-old-friend Eleanor), Linda, Lisa, and BiR & Michael.

On Friday we ventured out to Lake Harriet Bandshell in S. Mpls for The New Primitives, one of the best Reggae bands around, who play music “composed of ska, rock, Afro-Cuban, Caribbean and Mexican music, a soulful long simmering stew…”.   So much fun to dance to when we all get in their groove, and we always run into old friends there.

What kind of music will get you out of the house for a live concert or festival?

105 thoughts on “Summer in the Music”

  1. Morning all. BiR, sounds like you and M had a great week, music-wise. I will also admit to being an evening slug; by 5 p.m., most of my daily energy has been expended, so it’s pretty hard to get me out of the house.

    Cantus, Chanticleer, Rosewood Ensemble and Dom Wooten (tenor) have all gotten me out of the house in the past six months or so!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hoping we can get to Irish Faire sometime this weekend. Usually some good Celtic music as a backdrop to the rugby 🙂

    We also have gone to concerts at Hamline for the Lyra Baroque Orchestra if we are given free tickets (friends can’t always use their season tickets) and the Rose Ensemble practices at our church so we get to hear them every so often.

    We seldom actually “get out” for good music, but we are very lucky to have lots of great opportunites fall into our laps.

    Another reason I love the Twin Cities.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. (Responding to mig): I wish I could express how lucky you are to live in the Twin Cities at this time. I am haunted by memories of how easy it was to get around to experience great music, theater and food. I didn’t know enough to understand what a precious gift that is. I know now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lest you forget, Steve, I have lived in several major metro areas, so I have a pretty goid appreciation of my good fortune. Every other place I went to because of a job, I came here by choice.

        We eat out at a few familiar, cheap places, but cooking here is pretty great. The public libraries have a diverse collection of cookbooks, and I am not sure I have run across an ingredient yet that isn’t pretty easy to find (maybe it’s different if you buy meat).

        One of my tasks this week is to restock my pantry with trips to the various shops I know of around town.

        Now if I can just defog the head enough to make lists….

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Rise and How Could I Miss Claudia Schmidt and Sally Rogers Baboons?

    So here is a question for the ‘boons–how do you find out about all these concerts. Claudia and Sally were a pivotal part of my young adult musical experience. I knew Claudia lived back in town, but I did not know about this concert. Argh! They would have lured me out of the house, even in a state of Baboon Torpor or Evening Slug Syndrome (ESS). This is where I so miss TLGMS because the show did this monitoring for me. Now I must work at it.

    Off to the gym.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. (Responding to Jacque): Yes, ESS is a problem. Add old age and arthritis, and the challenge of getting out is all the greater. I fear Krista’s Rock Bend two summers ago was my swan song as a concert-goer.


  4. I went to kinky boots last night and before the show they hat a TV screen with ads for upcoming stuff in town
    Colin hay at the cedar
    Lyle Lovett at the state Jackson brown somewhere
    the chsnnel2 kitchen show
    I realized I was their target audience exactly every thing they offered I was interested in
    I don’t get out much but I live vicariously while I think about it
    while at the show last night a deal popped up reminding me tim sparks and Phil heyeood were at the aster
    I saw that Claudia and Sally were coming to ginkgo and called my sister to let her know but didn’t get them on my calendar. that’s the other problem I want to and I would but I miss it out of sheer neglagence
    it’s never boring inside this old echo chamber
    a little foggy but never boring

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Season tickets of some stripe (even partial season) ensures I am out of the house for opera and orchestra (love the Inside the Classics concerts with MN Orchestra) – otherwise I, too, fall into ESS as Jacque dubbed it. My friend Lojo plays sort of a funky folk style I enjoy, so I try to get out to see her from time to time – having a friend in the band (or as the band) is a strong motivator to get me back in the car and out somewhere.

    I do have tickets to see Ringo Starr this fall, though – I don’t often go to “big” concerts anymore, but his will be still moderate in size as he is playing either the State or the Orpheum (State, I think). I couldn’t quite stomach the prices to see Sir Paul when he came to Target Field, but Ringo, well…I like him better anyway. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Blues first and foremost. But I’ll take just about anything playing at the Rumba Cafe just north of THE Ohio State University. They host an eclectic mix of musical talent. The venue is packed when 80 attend. If the Vespers make it to your town, look them up.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Babooners, I suspect this blog is becoming like the LGMS when Dale and Jim Ed had the uncanny ability to play the music, say the words that were needed in one’s life that very day. (Playing John Hartford’s Tall Buildings as I drove to my interview with MPR in one of Duluth’s “tall” buildings (I hear Mindy saying, Duluth doesn’t have tall buildings! the morning they played it on my first day of work)).
    But I digress. Yesterday, a friend from Leadville CO came to visit me. It was the first time I had seen her since 1974. I mentioned the first time I remember meeting her we were in a reader’s theatre production of “Spoon River” and she sang the Michael Smith song and that was as well the first time I ever heard it. After she left, i realized I needed to hear Claudia’s Spoon River again. Being too lazy to look for the cd, I bought a version for my iPad and listened last evening.

    Then this morning I read in BiR’s blog her mention of Claudia, Spoon River and a recent concert. Which reminded me that one of the very best concerts I ever attended ever was in the loft of a barn east of Barnum with Claudia.

    The women who own the barn and farm used to host various musicians for evening concerts. The intimacy, the atmosphere, the ambience all made for wonderful concerts and could get me there no matter what. (My other favorite concert there was Sam Miltich’s Clearwater Hot Club.) Alas, they no longer host concerts so now I don’t get out much anymore for evening concerts (yes, ESS and car-avoidance syndrome CAS).

    Liked by 2 people

  8. But in the past, I could be roused to go to the Cities to see Bill Staines, Bok, Trickett and Muir, the McGarrigle Sisters, Cambridge to see John Hartford shortly before he died. I’ve loved the MPR concerts up here with Pat Donohue and Jerilyn Steele. I’ve done a share of big name concerts: Judy Collins at Red Rocks near Denver when rained off and on and they would move the expensive equipment on and off the stage; Ray Charles also at Red Rocks who kept walking on and off stage but finally gave up early; two or three Gordon Lightfoot concerts. All things considered, I think the big name concerts I attended have been disappointing or unsatisfactory… so I don’t know who I would be willing to clean-up and go see now. It would have to be something like a small venue and intimate setting and (for sure) Claudia Schmidt.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. i saw the moody blues in minneapolis and the cool recording instrument they sed as their backbone was messed up a bit. they came out and messed wioth it for an hour before the show to see if they cold get it right then just went ahead. not memorable in the way they had hoped.


  9. I was going to say I rarely got out to hear live music, but that is entirely wrong. Here are some:
    * Several hundred Leo Kottke performances at the Scholar. Sitting a dozen feet from Leo one night as he performed with a railroad lantern (there was a power outage).
    * A young, pretty Judy Collins at the United Nations concert hall. She swigged a beer between songs.
    * Claudia and Sally at the Chautauqua tent in Bayfield.
    * Irish power group Altan at the Cedar Cultural Center just before Frankie lost his life to cancer.
    * Garnet Rogers at Gingko. One of the most beautiful men I ever saw.
    * John Hartford at the Chautauqua tent. He walked into the audience and played while roaming the aisles (a little drunk).
    * The extremely sexy, sassy Roches at the Guthrie.
    * Prudence Johnson and Ruth McKenzie in 10 November.
    * Lazy Bill Lucas at the Scholar.
    * Some Irish group called Pennywhistle at Halftime Wreck. My erstwife got buzzed on beer and invited them to sleep at our house. They agreed, then thought better of it.
    * Peter Oustroshko and Dean McGraw on Harriet Island. Peter explained that Dean experimented with weird voices and sound effects in their motel room (it’s like rooming with the devil from the Exorcist!).
    * Koerner, Ray and Glover at the Scholar.
    Good memories. Really good memories.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I saw Prudence and Ruth in a Gales of November concert in Duluth, Claudia was with them. And Peter O. and Dan Ch…sp? and Eric the author on stage. It was lovely and way under attended at the DECC, but that’s another story. I’ve seen Prudence and Dan perform in her home town church in Moose Lake. Memories keep popping up, indeed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Prudence Johnson with or without Dan Chouinard. Have seen Bonnie Raitt twice at the State Fair and once at Hinckley. First “big” arena concert was Elton John – took my younger sister there for her 18th birthday – old St. Paul Civic Center on Halloween.


  10. I don’t need to tell Twin Cities baboons that we live in a musical Mecca. Time and money are the main constraints, but fortunately there are lots of free offerings as well. Mears Park, the Como Park Pavilion, the Minnesota Historical Society, all offer free music all summer long.

    Friday night husband and I went to Hear Jerry Jeff Walker at the MN Zoo. A picture perfect summer evening – complete with a blue moon – in that wonderful amphitheater. The audience of enthusiastic JJW fans of all ages was having a great time and I think it fair to say, that JJW and his band were having a grand time too. We sat next to a couple of sisters who had driven up from Iowa City to attend. Next week it’s Keb’ Mo”.

    Here’s a PSA: Joan Armatrading will be performing at the Hopkins Center of the Arts on October 10. You don’t get many opportunities to hear her anymore.

    Mig, are you aware of the Underground Music Cafe (1579 N. Hamline). They have a Celtic showcase once a month.

    Lastly, house concerts are some of the most fun and intimate performances you can attend. Claudia Schmidt, Ray Bonneville, Dakota Dale Hull, Phil Heywood, Peter Mulvey, Melissa Greener, Pete Morton and Cosy Sheridan are just a few of the musicians I’ve heard at local house concerts, and usually for $20 or less, and that includes snacky foods as well as wine and beer. You just can’t beat it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just thought of others that I’ve heard at house concerts over the years: Rambling Jack Elliot, Spider John Koerner, Rosalie Sorrels, Michael Johnson, Paddy Keenan, Prudence Johnson, Adam Granger and Patsy O’Brien. Oftentimes other local musicians will be in attendance at these concerts.

      One now defunct organization that I miss is the New Folk Society. They arranged some wonderful folk concerts in the Twin Cities.

      Mary DuShane was at the Claudia Schmidt/Sally Rogers concert at the Ginkgo on Thursday night.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Networking and mailing lists, mainly. Over the years I must have arranged at least twenty-five concerts in and around the Twin Cities, the largest of which had 85 people in attendance. Don’t have the energy to do that anymore, but I sure like to attend them. My small way of supporting live music.


  11. No life music. Church is sometimes too much.
    Went to Moondogs game last night with kids and grandkids. Got many comments about how much my 2 year old grandson loves me. I would tel, them we had only just met. I did not explain he loves all old men with beards, calls them all pop pop.
    His day care hone includes the original pop pop, an older African American, whom he adores. So when he sees old Black men he points and shouts pop pop which sometimes draws a scowl, so they explain, which usually makes him a new old man friend.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Good morning. I expected to get out to hear live music very frequently after moving to the twin cities. While we haven’t manager to get out as often as I thought we would, we have heard some remarkable musicians. At the Walker we heard an amazing jazz performance by some of the founding members of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. At Hosmer Library we listened to the world class Indian musician, Nermala. Also at Hosmer we heard Dean McGraw, one of my favorite musician, play with the Orange Mighty Trio which includes my son-in-law, Zack Kline on fiddle.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Morning–

    We have tickets for The Who 10/15. Although I have very mixed feelings about that. (Man, those guys are old! I doubt Roger will jog in place for a whole song anymore or toss the mic so much. Not to mention Pete and his jumping and windmilling) But still, it IS Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend.

    We have tickets to Colin Hay at the Pantages (tim) on Sunday 11/1.

    I had ‘Z Puppets Rosenschnoz’ at the college Saturday. They were fun and all the people involved were very nice and great to work with.

    I have seen a lot of concerts. And worked a bunch when I was a stagehand.
    Queen was my first. The Who, Styx, Springsteen, Billy Joel, Hall and Oates (Hey, don’t judge me: there was this girl…) Mark Knopfler a couple times, Moody Blues, Chicago, Van Halen, Genesis.
    A theater I worked with in Rochester used to do a folk concert series back in the ’80s. Claudia Schmidt, Box Car Willie, Trova (Their publicist, Linda Twiss, spent the night at our house and we’re still friends. (-: ) , Christine Lavin, Many others that I can’t remember.

    I did see Junior Brown here in Rochester a long time ago. Took my kids. They both slept through him. I enjoyed parts of it.
    Kelly and I saw John Prine here a few years ago. When the show started he looked like death warmed over. But as the show went on, he perked up and did a GREAT show.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It was fun.
        Long ago and far away it seems.

        My claims to fame:
        I stood next to a guy who’s back John Denver touched. Haha–
        I pushed Kenny Rogers to the stage in a box.

        When Peter Paul and Mary walked from the Dressing room to the stage, all the stagehands were ordered to the far end of a hallway so as not to be so close. Hmmmm.

        Weird Al Yankovic walked through during load in.

        Ran a spotlight for The Moody Blues; I was the solo spotlight on the guitar for the guitar solo on their song ‘Question’.

        Saw a lot of Sesame street characters backstage without their heads. Still gives me bad dreams.

        Ran a spot for Roy Clark- he gave a good concert!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. My brush with musical fame was spending two weeks on a tour of Ireland with John Densmore, the drummer for the Doors. When we were walking the path to Blarney Castle, a couple young guys started following him, whispering to themselves. Finally they got up the nerve to approach him. He was surprised they recognized him because he was in his forties with short hair and no beard.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. I have a list not unlike yours from my earlier concert going years: The Who (maybe 1983 or so?), Moody Blues, Styx, Prince, Gordon Lightfoot, Billy Joel, Grateful Dead, David Bowie, um…oh yeah, and my very first pop concert: Captain and Tennille (I was 12 – I didn’t now any better).

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Oh, and Bob Dylan (the notorious Metrodome concert – acoustics were horrid). Then we can get into groups like The Bobs, The Nylons, Free Hot Lunch (of “Trees in Love” fame)…

        Liked by 2 people

        1. …and Neil Young (we were in the second to top row – the second hand smoke was likely not entirely legal). Then there was Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie at the State Fair – awesome concert, living history really.

          Liked by 3 people

      2. Anna,
        I think we’ve talked about this; we were at the same Who concert and yeah, that Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty concert at the Dome was terrible and I couldn’t make heads or tails of any of the songs.
        But when I saw Pink Floyd there a few years later it was much MUCH better.
        All these discussions have sparked such good memories for me.
        Saw Andreas Vollenweider, saw Mannheim Steamroller.
        Saw Maynard Ferguson a couple times.

        You all know Russ Ringsak, truck drive for PHC?
        You know he writes great stories too, right?

        Well, a few years ago he talked about the bar band he was in and the boxes in his basement of CD’s they made, ‘Mary and the Mudcats’.
        Blues, some R&B, some covers. Pretty good bar band music.
        So I mailed him a check and got 2 CD’s.
        A few months later I got the check back and 2 more CD’s. Huh.
        Emailed Russ, told him he’d made a mistake.
        Well he says, maybe he did and maybe he didn’t. But I should just keep everything.
        Had to laugh.
        Thanks Russ.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. OT…I’m off to Colorado tomorrow morning…hope to check in on occasion, but will have iPad with no cell coverage. Back on the 11th. Going to Leadville to watch a friend run with a burro in the Boom Days Triple Crown Burro Race. Spend a couple of nostalgia nights in a cabin at foot of Mt Elbert where I lived in the late 60s. Down memory lane. again. Must be my age.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Like PJ I was at the zoo recently. It was one of the Ten Perfect Days, so an outdoor show was just the thing. If you ever get a chance to see the Mavericks, don’t pass it up. They are fun to watch – especially the keyboard player, Jerry Dale McFadden, who dances through the whole show – and Raul Malo throws in some interesting covers, for example, Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.

    Here’s a sample….sorry about the ad…

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Well, I drove to Grand Forks to hear an opera! It was delightful and daughter’s best friend was wonderful as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus. You folks in the Cities are so lucky to have all the opportunities for great music.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My point in mentioning the accessibility of culture in Mpls/St Paul was not to suggest mig needed reminding of that fact. It is more that as I reflect on the Twin Cities, I become more and more sure it is one of the Goldilocks of metro areas. Not too big or too small. Not too urban or rural. Everything just right.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. The people who sat next to me at the opera founds out I was from Dickinson and asked, after reading the programme, if best friend was “from that rodeo family” out there. I was happy to say yes. Her grandfather rode saddle broncs at Madison Square Garden.

      Liked by 4 people

  17. One odd touch to the production was the addition, at the end of the opera, of the character of Prince Orlofsky, a mezzo soprano in a trouser role, singing “Is that all there is” a la Peggy Lee, as large photos of the Kaiser and the Kaiserin and Nicholas and Alexandra faded out and the cast divested themselves of jewels and feathers, as though to signal the end of the glamour and silliness of the fin de siecle and the spectre of the First World War.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. I’ve only seen two concerts in my life: Simon and Garfunkel and Jesus Christ Superstar. I love the latter so much that I took my daughter to it several Decembers in a row. Probably I love them because they’re the only songs I know every word to sing along.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, that reminds me…I also saw Simon and Garfunkel when they were making the college rounds in the mid-60s…also Jefferson Airplane. Sweet.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Sort of a concert, sort of a Fringe show (it WAS a Fringe show): I saw a fantastic show the other night. It has the odd name of Fruit Flies Like a Banana (the title has nothing to do with the show). It is 3 classically trained musicians (flute, bass trombone and vibraphone(?)/percussion). They perform a huge number of individual pieces (almost all familiar classical) with jokes, choreography and cleverness. Example: while playing a selection from Nutcracker Suite (playing beautifully, mind you), they did ballet. Including the vibraphone player! While playing a selection from Charlie Brown’s Christmas, they “skated” around on wheeled office chairs (and the wheeled vibraphone). So good. That night’s performance was sold out so get there early (or buy advance tix online) if you decide to go. Look at fringe for further performances.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Congratulations on your retirement, Lisa. Hope you stop by every now and again now that you’re foot loose and fancy free. Good to see you at the Ginkgo.


  20. fun day of memories
    joe cocker miles davis stones country joe steppinwolf john denver jestaylor pp& m s&g prine judy collins
    leon russel leon redbone john hartford chick corea rampal segovia montoya parkinin klaus lindberg santana zappa rochie havens turtles woody harrelson
    sting bonnie raitt blood sweat and tears count duke mingus brubeck winter bros arlo roaches fayhe dan hicks randy newman norah jones taj bb ella mary black tommy makem iggy pop canned heat bo diddly victor borge mose allison herbie hancock
    wow i sure enjoy remembering bir thanks

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Reading that list, tim, reminds me of all the wonderful performers I’ve been privileged to hear live.

      Early on there were some of the greats in jazz and gospel. Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Stan Getz, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie. That list goes on and on.

      I still count among my top musical memories hearing Aaron Copland conducting his own music at Orchestra Hall for two consecutive 4th of July celebrations. Fanfare for the Common Man, yes! No amount of fireworks will ever top that.

      Another, sitting in pouring rain, listening to Townes Van Zandt closing out a Red House sponsored folk festival. Only the diehards were left to enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I need to put in a word for Summerfest, the Minnesota Orchestra and Andrew Litton. I was only able to attend one concert, but it was all I hoped for and more. Litton has done a great job programming, and I hope the musicians are being well paid for working pretty much all of July. Plus they decorated their plaza with beautiful blue and white umbrellas…


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