by Kari Hedlund
Supporting the arts has a long established history in Grand Rapids, and a lot of that has to do with The Reif Center and Northern Community Radio KAXE/KBXE. The two organizations have partnered for a monthly concert series bringing high quality Minnesota musicians to the stage in Grand Rapids. The CenterStage Minnesota Concert Series is in its third season, starting September 20th with Jeremy Messersmith. Make your trek to Grand Rapids the third Thursday of every month from September to May!
JEREMY MESSERSMITH (September)
A chameleon in the indie world, jeremy messersmith's latest album "Late Stage Capitalism" shares some big orchestral pop sounds, while his 2017 release, "11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs for Ukulele: A Micro Folk Record for the 21st Century and Beyond" was, well, just as the title suggests. He'll bring his band with to share the new songs, older catalogue, and maybe we'll get a ukulele tune or two.
BROTHERS BURN MOUNTAIN (October)
Actual brothers, Jesse and Ryan Dermody have made a name for themselves in northern Minnesota as drumming machines. The two trade places around the drum kits consistently throughout a show, moving onto all the surfaces in any room they play; whether it's bar tops, corrugated siding, cement floors, you name it. They'll be out with a new album, " Blue Spruce" in October which features lots of familiar names in Minnesota music: Colleen Myhre, Ryan Young (Trampled By Turtles), Matt Wasmund and Dave Adams (Big Wave Dave and the Ripples), and Lee Martin (Feeding Leroy, Trampled By Turtled, Dead Horses). It's an album with a varied vibe, as Jesse says, "from feathery-touch love ballads to violin concerto near-lullabies, to all-out sweat-it-out fiery rocking, to heart-breaking bitter euphoria out in the country, to wild brass on bluesy wings." Come see to understand.
JACK KLATT (November)
Starting his career in Minnesota by collaborating with one of the state's elusive legends, Spider John Koerner, Jack Klatt has a style all his own. Working with his band on a new album, they'll be ready to showcase their countrified retro rhythm and blues with a little early rock and roll thrown in.
BAD BAD HATS (December)
After making a splash in the music world with their debut album, "Psychic Reader," the indie rock trio are out with a new album, "Lightning Round," on Minneapolis label, Afternoon Records. Kerry Alexander's voice cuts through right to the heart of the matter, evoking vulnerability while giving a take-me-as-I-am attitude. The band is on tour throughout the country this year with Grand Rapids as a great stopping point.
JOHN MARK NELSON (January)
Prolific, young, and passionate about the art of music, John Mark Nelson has made quite a name for himself in the music community in Minnesota and beyond. The thoughtful folk musician is currently working on his 6th album (to be released next year), and will be joined by bandmates for the first show of 2019.
PERT NEAR SANDSTONE (February)
Founders of the Blue Ox Festival, this band is often showcased in festival forms; this is no festival, however, the intimate theater will expose top notch musicianship from the bluegrass band. Pert Near Sandstone has created a following across the country over the past 14 years and will be making their first appearance in Grand Rapids this February!
RED PLANET WITH SPECIAL GUEST SAM MILTICH (March)
The Red Planet trio and top jazz musicians in Minnesota: Dean Magraw, Chris Bates, and Jay Epstein, play original jazz as well as distinct interpretations of legends in the genre, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, even Jimi Hendrix, Epstein made his first appearance at the CenterStage Concerts playing with Sam Miltich during the first season, thus it made perfect sense to ask his frequent collaborator and Grand Rapids local to join them for the March show.
SUPERIOR SIREN (April)
Led by Laura Sellner, Superior Siren creates haunting, beautiful, and pure folk music from the shores of Lake Superior. Out with their debut self-titled album earlier this year, the band seems focused on making great music, while lifting each other up in the process. The intimate venue will make for a perfect setting to hear the quiet resounding power of these women.
COMMUNIST DAUGHTER (May)
Communist Daughter songs depict stories of frontman Johnny Soloman's struggles with mental illness, addiction, and life's questions. After releasing their excellent sophomore album in 2016, "The Cracks That Built the Wall," the band took a hiatus to take care of Soloman's mother in California. They're slowly dipping their toes back into the music scene and will be closing out the 2018-2019 series in May.
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