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The first and perhaps only Bill Mike show of 2009 will be tomorrow night at Tiff’s in St Paul. The evening will be hosted by a cool band called Charn as they release their debut recording, These Sins Of Mine.  My friend Phil Hicks, who plays bass in the Jeremy Sanoski Band, is the bassist for Charn.  They rule.  Also in the evening’s lineup is the reincarnation of the Minneapolis indie-pop band Cowboy Curtis, now called Wishbook.

It’ll be a great night of music.  Make it happen.

PS. Morrissey plays bass in both Bill Mike and Wishbook, and he’s in town from NYC this week because of the release of his debut record as a bandleader/composer, The Morning World.  He was featured on the first hour of 89.3’s The Local Show last week, which you can listen to here.

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It’s all about interviews these days, it seems.

My dear friend Tim over at the Food For The Beloved blog did a cool/funny/interesting interview with another dear friend of mine, Chris Morrissey (Bill Mike Band). Everyone who reads this will laugh, but the musicians will get the most out of it.  Here’s a great excerpt…

Lately I’ve been working a lot on time.  Meaning, I’ll set a metronome and think of it as the 2 and 4 of a measure like it’s the drummer’s high hat and i’ll just walk (meaning the classic quarter note jazz baseline).  I’ll either do this free of form, or to a 12 bar blues.  I try to make the metronome disappear.  You actually stop hearing it… and the conscious impulse is shake yourself out of the state you’re in and FIND THAT METRONOME, but that’s what I’m trying to teach myself.  Total trust of my internal metronome.  This is where groove comes from.  People playing independent of eachother, each with their own confident sense of time and the happenstance relationship between those entities is what makes things feel good.  One of my favorite bassists Reid Anderson (The Bad Plus) says that it’s about throwing away the idea that you need to “hook up” with the other players to create groove.  I think this “hooking up” creates a very one-dimensional groove.  That’s why if you listen to African or Indian music there can be very complicated rhythm but it’s still so GROOVING!  The D’Angelo record “Voodoo” is a good example even though it wasn’t organically recorded.  There are things in seemingly different universes from eachother but it works and mind bogglingly well I might add.  I’ve learned from my own development and watching some of my more advanced students mature harmonically before they do rhythmically that rhythm is really where you separate the men from boys…

Read the whole thing here.

Some of my friends were on Letterman this past week.  On Monday, my good buddy and Bill Mike bassist Chris Morrissey played with a suddenly very country-leaning Ben Kweller.  Check out Paul Shaffer sitting in with them and rushing his solo super bad at 1:31… and the D’Angelo quote in Chris’ bass line at 2:25…

… and then Andrew Bird was the musical guest on Tuesday’s show.  Everyone in his band (Mike Lewis, Martin Dosh, Jeremy Ylvisaker) is from Minneapolis…

Relentlessly creative, The Bad Plus will drop their new studio album on Feb 3rd, which features Twin Cities vocalist Wendy Lewis.  Some of the tracks are posted on their myspace, in which you will hear my former teacher Dave King tearing holes in the minds of jazz drummers everywhere.

My good buddy Chris Morrissey, bassist for the Bill Mike Band, no longer lives in Minneapolis.  On an unrelated note, Chris will soon release his debut recording as a band leader, in which you will again hear my former teacher’s mind-tearing tendencies.

I’m playing at Bunker’s this Saturday night with my friend Ryan Paul, and we recently got a nice write-up from Ruby Vox on the isroxxor blog.

My daughter Betty got a shout-out on my buddy Bryan’s blog.

The pick for the third installment of Album of the Week is Haley Bonar’s new record, Big Star. Haley is a friend of mine from the music scene in Minneapolis, and the rest of the band members on this recording are also Minneapolis musicians: Dave King on drums (my former teacher), Bill Mike on guitars (from the Bill Mike Band), and Chris Morrissey on bass/vocals (also from the Bill Mike Band). BUT, Big Star isn’t the new Album of the Week just because the musicians are my friends. It is a truly incredible record.

The music follows a standard folk formula, with the typical focus on song writing and melody, but includes sonic landscaping reminiscent of Death Cab meets Fiona Apple. The record was tracked at Pachyderm Studios and mixed by the world-renowned Tchad Blake, which keeps the quality from sounding sub-par or “indie” (even though the entire production was managed on just a small percentage of a major label budget). The “indie” spirit and creativity is still present, however. And then, sitting comfortably on top of all of this, is Haley’s voice, which is one of the most unique-yet-soothing female vocal that I have ever heard.

The readers of this blog that are familiar with Dave King and the rest of his discography will be blown away by the way King is able to retain his personality on the drum set while still serving the music of a folk record. His feel is of course incredible, but the real magic of King’s playing on Big Star is the approach and treatment that he gives to each tune. At no point does he infringe on the style of the music, and yet almost every track contains unique and forward-thinking ideas for folk drumming.

Everyone should at the very least go visit Haley’s Myspace page and listen to a couple of the tracks, and you can also find info there on her tour dates and other happenings.

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