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FARGO — Every August for the past 24 years, Dan Bredell has been singing the blues, and that’s a good thing. Bredell, who started Mother’s Music 50 years ago, still organizes the Fargo Blues Festival . This weekend, he should be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the musical gathering — but instead, he’s singing a worried man’s blues.
MOORHEAD — Politicians are sometimes compared to rock stars with their die-hard followers and rallies that resemble a concert atmosphere. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., recently grabbed the spotlight when she co-authored the Save Our Stages bill with John Cornyn, R-Texas. The effort would offer government assistance to small, independent concert venues, promoters and others in the live music industry who have been essentially shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. The move is drawing rounds of applause from those working in the Fargo-Moorhead concert scene.
FARGO — In my 18 years at The Forum in Fargo, I’ve received my share of angry letters from readers. Sometimes I didn’t like their favorite washed-up band as much as they did, or I didn’t appreciate their child’s play as much as their family did. Fair enough. I haven’t got used to little Chauncey’s pitchy singing, and you apparently have grown numb to it. Sometimes readers threatened to share their displeasure with my editor and I gave them his direct number. Some threatened to share their grievances with my publisher. Be my guest.
FARGO — The Fourth of July is a fun holiday, traditionally celebrated with backyard barbecues, days on the beach, reunions with family and friends and, of course, fireworks. This year, between the heat, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and just the state of current events, we don’t blame you if you want to lay low. This Independence Day may be the perfect time to Netflix and chill out.
FARGO — Remember about 15 years ago, when Sufjan Stevens followed up his 2003 album “Michigan” with “Illinois” and said he would make an album for each of the 50 states? Remember? If you don’t wax nostalgic (pun intended) for pulling a vinyl record out of its sleeve for the first time, or don’t think “new concert T-shirt” should be a scented candle, you probably don’t know and don’t care. Hold on there, you hipster-hater who has never sported ironic facial hair. Stevens is a truly great songwriter who really goes down a rabbit hole when he gets on topic.
FARGO — From a young age, Holly Foster Wells was being groomed to take over her grandmother’s estate. That’s no small task when your grandmother was Peggy Lee , one of the most influential singers of the 20th century. “She didn’t want to be forgotten,” Foster Wells says from her home in the Los Angeles area.
FARGO — Thomas McCurdy had heard the stories about how cooking contest shows used “TV magic” to help chefs pull together extravagant meals despite various obstacles and in a short amount of time. “I don’t watch any cooking-related shows,” says the pastry chef. “But I’ve always wanted to be on them.” The Devils Lake, N.D., native got his wish last month when he not only competed on Food Network's new “Chopped Sweets,” but won the episode.
FARGO — John Prine’s death on April 7 deeply shook many in the music world. For fans that were old enough, the singer-songwriter was in steady rotation from his self-titled debut album in 1971, an album that produced gems like “Paradise,” “Sam Stone” and “Hello in There.” For newer fans, he was an influence on some of today’s best singer-songwriters, like Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires and Dan Auerbach, all of whom contributed to Prine’s last CD, 2018’s Grammy-nominated “Tree of Forgiveness.”
FARGO — The coronavirus outbreak has put the clamp down on a lot of live entertainment, making it harder to check out new music. Prairie Public has a solution. The network’s new season of “Prairie Musicians” kicks off Thursday night, May 7. “It’s an amazing opportunity for musicians to show what they’ve been doing,” says the series' producer, Barb Gravel. The series, now in its 12th year, features artists from North Dakota and Minnesota, and occasionally from Manitoba.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Tom Brosseau grew up fascinated by his grandfather’s record collection. Amid all of the titles by groups and solo artists, one genre really stood out — recorded radio shows. The Grand Forks native refers to the Bob Dylan lyrics from “Ballad of a Thin Man” to describe the appeal: “Something is happening here but you don’t know what it is.” “It was the variety,” Brosseau says now. “It was so dynamic. It seemed to be the kind of programming that could capture the attention of a 10-year-old boy.”