Mark Nicklawske, For the News Tribune
It's been eight years since The Avett Brothers brought their amped up Carolina country roots rock to Lake Superior, playing under the canvas at Big Top Chautauqua in Wisconsin. Saturday night the pair got a little closer to the water and turned an aging Duluth hockey barn filled with 5,500 people into a 21st century tent revival. That it all worked is no surprise. Seth and Scott Avett have spent 20 years climbing the musical mountain the old fashioned way with relentless touring, sharp songwriting and a stage show that wonderfully weaves heartbreak and high energy.
Shawn Callahan had quit his mechanical engineering job in the Twin Cities and just returned from a backpacking trip in South America when he visited his sister on the Iron Range and heard about an abandoned Slovenian farmstead near Biwabik. The 13-acre site had been part of a long-lost mining town now overrun by the northern Minnesota wilderness. It was 2002, and the place was for sale.
Maybe a sharp radio executive should start programming a Duluth station that features both hip-hop and country music. It’s never been done before, but it just might sell.
Tim "Rocket" Folsted loved to ride motorcycles for a long time and always enjoyed sharing the experience with others, but he felt more could be done with two wheels and a leather jacket. Then he learned about the Twin Ports chapter of the faith-based Seed of Abraham Motorcycle Club. While attending Hillside Community Church in downtown Duluth, Folsted met "the biggest cheerleader this club ever had" and saw how the born-again community used motorcycle fellowship to reach people in need.
The Aerial Lift Bridge was covered in fog and temperatures dropped nearly 20 degrees an hour before showtime but that didn't stop '90s hitmakers Sugar Ray from rocking through songs about sunshine, beaches and summertime parties Friday night. A crowd of about 500 marathon fans, most dressed in sweatshirts and jeans, cheered like they were preparing for a volleyball match in Malibu the next day instead of a 26-mile run along a frigid lake.
Classic rocker Pat Benatar was the second artist and first woman to have a video aired on the wildly popular 1980s cable network MTV, but she never performed for its “Unplugged” live concert series. So now the powerhouse singer is staging her own version of Unplugged in concert halls around the country.
Outlaw country poet and political pundit Steve Earle received a standing ovation just 10 songs into his sold-out performance at the NorShor Theatre in Duluth on
Movies, books and television shows tend to highlight two kinds of military stories: The heroic private saves a platoon in a midnight firefight or the wounded soldier returns home a broken soul. But there is much more to life in uniform. Just ask anyone who has served.
In the year 2073, the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival has taken over the universe with thousands of bands playing every night almost year round. And the Homegrown Chicken will be a candidate for the Minnesota state bird.
Two songs into their Friday night Homegrown set, The Latelys keyboard player C.J. Hanson stopped the show. "I have an announcement to make," he told the 200 or so people jammed into the Rex Bar at Fitger's. "There's music like this in the Twin Ports all year. We're out here all the time." He's right, of course, great music can be heard every weekend in Duluth and Superior. But while some music fans rock and/or roll all year, a large amount of others jam their music adventures into just one night of Homegrown.