Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Road Trip Music: Minnnesota

Lakes and big sky, prairie and open hearted cities, family ties from Norway to Germany to the Deep South to Asia to Ireland: those are just parts of the landscape in Minnesota. As the Great American Road Trip traverses Minnesota, the soundtrack includes the work of three very fine and very different songwriters.

Bob Dylan grew up in Minnesota, in Hibbing, and went on to change the face of contemporary songwriting, more than once. One of the ways he did that was to write songs including personal issues and ideas and experiences that resonated both with folk tradition and current times. A song of that of that sort which draws immediately from Minnesota is Girl from the North Country, which Dylan first recorded on his album Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in the 1960s. It has been covered many times. My favourite version is by Altan, which they’ve recorded on Another Sky.

Jon Vezner’s songs have been recorded by just about every top country artist there is. Sometimes his work is funny such as with the Lorrie Morgan hit Five Minutes, sometimes reflective, as in Where’ve You Been, recorded by Kathy Mattea, It is always insightful, whatever lyrical path he’s following. He has a relaxed and engaging delivery as a singer, too. A good place to explore the work of this Minnesota native is on his album Vezner & Songs.

Like Vezner, Sally Barris made her way from the north country to Nashville, where she’s written for and with top artists including Kathy Mattea, Irene Kelley, and Martina McBride. On her recent album Restless Soul she melds clear eyed Minnesota vision with her experiences traveling in Ireland. It’s a good place to meet her music, or to learn more about it.

you may also wish to see
Music Road: Music Road trip in West Virginia
Music Road: celebrating the USA: born on the fourth of July
Gather: Voices:Jon Vezner

This is part of The Great American Road Trip, in which I’m partnering up with A Traveler’s Library to add musical ideas to the book and film suggestions for journeys through the regions of the United States which you’ll find there. Stop by and see the Library's interview with a Minnesota mystery writer.
For more about the road trip (and a look at some great road songs) see Great American Road Trip: Music begins

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a music lover, its really fun doing road trip music. Thanks to all composers and singers for sharing a beautiful music to us.:)

2:51 PM  

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