City Pages Picked 2 Click presents LUKE REDFIELD
Luke Redfield is a poet-songwriter in the tradition of Leonard Cohen, Townes Van Zandt, and Bob Dylan -- with whom he shares his Duluth, MN birthplace. "The Mesabi Iron Range has a way of carving songs into the hearts of its troubadours," says Redfield, referring to Northern Minnesota's mineral-rich soil overlooking the world's largest freshwater lake, Superior. Strange as it sounds, there may be an elemental muse swirling amidst the sea shanties and folk ballads that have come to define the music of the upper Midwest. Tales of ghosts, shipwrecks, and unexplained miracles are passed down from generation to generation, expanding a lore that is rivaled by few other cultures. Redfield, a wandering minstrel in the first degree, carries these stories as totems in his pocket -- totems that guide him on his musical journey from one town to the next.
In the past several years, Redfield has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe, taking time to settle briefly in inspiring new surroundings. (He has lived in Minnesota, Alaska, California, Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and North Carolina, and has spent a good deal of time abroad.) "I have to be constantly moving," he says. "It's in my blood. My mom is of Bohemian descent and my father is a full-blooded Norske -- between the gypsies and the vikings, I was cursed from birth to be a nomad." Redfield's restlessness -- and a peculiar contentment to be so -- is what fuels his creativity and comes across as infectious wanderlust on most of his songs. Redfield's 2010 full-band debut, Ephemeral Eon, is a testament to his vagabond lifestyle. Recorded by close friends, Tom Herbers (The Jayhawks) and the late, great Micheal 'Eyedea' Larsen, the 13 semi-autobiographical tracks wander the cities and countrysides of a fearless pioneer's journey, sounding as if voiced from the perspective of a modern-day Odysseus seeking his Ithica in the form of a perfect melody, lyric, or muse. Backed by guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker (Andrew Bird), drummer JT Bates (John Gorka), and vocalist Haley Bonar, Eon has been heralded by the Minneapolis Star Tribune as "What you might expect and hope for from a young, hip acoustic folkie from the Midwest." Taking his sound to atmospheric new heights, evolving from purist to vanguard, Redfield is currently putting the final touches on his sophomore LP, to be released later this spring. Joining him in this evolution are friends old and new, including members of Peter Wolf Crier, Alpha Consumer, Dark Dark Dark, Gayngs, and Sound Team. Artwork, title, track listing, and the first single will be released via lukeredfield.com at the beginning of March, followed by a performance at SXSW in Austin, TX.
Seeing the Minneapolis duo Red Pens is like witnessing a demonstration. A demonstration in raw sonic bliss. Howard Hamilton III is a string bending master and knows how to make feedback work to his advantage. His confident vocal stylings coupled with drummer Laura Bennett's all or nothing kit pounding are about as uniquely refreshing as it gets these days.
Kristoff Krane’s distinctive blend of message-driven lyrics, delivered over organic composition and carefully sampled beats, demands attention. A natural born teacher and poet, Krane’s lyrics connect our similarities rather than pointing out our differences, “… an artist finding resolve through expression”. Whether rapping over a beat, singing over a piano, or creating a song, live, through a loop-pedal with his audience, Krane has branded his performance as an experience bound to resonate with something deeper than our ego desires.