A showcase of local and regional music, live performances, in-depth interviews and the weekend music calendar–with host Will Moore.
A showcase of local and regional music, live performances, in-depth interviews and the weekend music calendar–with host Will Moore.
Pete Kavanaugh is a longtime musician of Cook County known for playing electric blues and fronting a number of local bands over the years. His latest band is called Zulu Link alongside bassist Jonathan Steckelberg and drummer Ted Czaplicki. Watch a performance by Pete and Jonathan and listen to their interview on The Scenic Route from November 17th below.
Bradley Charles is a retired educator, guitarist and songwriter from Salt Lake City, Utah who vacations in Cook County and has been steadily entering the local music scene. He returns to the Scenic Route with Will Moore to perform and talk about his music, including two brand new original songs. You can hear the whole interview and performance below.
Local musician and DJ Bryan Kelly, who performs under the name DJ Mouth, stopped by WTIP to perform a mix for The Scenic Route ahead of a post-Halloween costumed performance at Up Yonder. Kelly says this will kick off “Unity”, a monthly series of different DJs and dance nights at the local music venue. He also talks about his favorite styles of music to use in his sets and answers the question: what is the difference between techno and house music?
Listen to the whole interview and Kelly’s full mix below:
Buffalo Galaxy is a talented jam-oriented bluegrass group from Minneapolis whose sound is where “heavy hitting psychedelia meets old timin’ bluegrass”. The band is comprised of Johnny Kovarik on vocals/guitar, Pete Whiteman on bass, Zach Tauer on banjo, and Jake Rohde on mandolin. They performed live on WTIP during the 2023 Fall Membership Drive on The Scenic Route with Will Moore. See them perform 3 original songs here as part of the Live at WTIP series:
John Ellison is a West Virginia Music Hall of Fame inductee and has been making music since the early 1960s. In 1967 he wrote the song “Some Kind of Wonderful” with his band the Soul Brothers Six, which would go on to be recorded by Grand Funk Railroad and become an instant classic popular song, recorded by dozens of artists since then.
On the Scenic Route with Will Moore, he tells the incredible story of how the song came to be, how its popularity changed his life, and why he recently re-recorded the song himself for an upcoming album due out this fall.
John Ellison will be performing alongside the Carpenter Ants at Radio Waves Music Festival on Sunday, September 10th. Complete festival details are available here. Note that the online ticket option ends at midnight on Tuesday, September 5th!
Emmett Doyle is a Minneapolis-based folks songwriter who describes himself as “a working class rebel musician- a union carpenter, former river deckhand, raised on a farm in central Minnesota”. In conversation with Will Moore on the Scenic Route – he talks about growing up on that farm and how from a young age became deeply invested in progressive and labor union-focused folk songs. He performs songs from his new album Rust Belt Ballads which chronicle labor strikes both past and present, along with recent class and environmental struggles in both Minnesota and around the United States.
Mae Simpson wowed WTIP and Lutsen’s Papa Charlie’s with live performances this winter – now she is back with a brand new album entitled Chandelier & Bloom that features more of her soulful high energy brand of Americana-infused rock and roll. She talks with Will Moore about what makes this new record so special and all the things she and her band have been up to this summer.
The Swongos are a powerful surf rock trio hailing from the St. Croix Falls area of Wisconsin. Comprised of Thomas Mangelsen on Guitar, Lisa Mangelsen on bass, and Brian Liggett on on drums, they join Will Moore on the Scenic to talk about their music, silly choreography, skateboarding, Elvis, and more. And Brian brought snacks!
Bradley Charles is a retired educator and musician from Salt Lake City, Utah and a perennial visitor to the North Shore of Minnesota. He joins Will Moore and Annie Possis on the Scenic Route to perform live in the studio, talking about the music scene out West and performs new original songs as well as a cover of an up and coming Salt Lake artist.
Cherry Dirt is the duo of Staci and Ryan Cihlar from Richfield, MN that plays classic favorite songs on ukulele and vocals often with a fun original twist. The always banter-full duo returns to the North Shore for another gig and stop in to WTIP (with their dog Mary!) to talk about what they’ve been up to, including Ryan’s new gig as an airport accordionist.
Returning for its second year is the Twin Ports Music Festival held at Earth Rider Brewing in Superior Wisconsin. Festival Organizer Jon Miller, who plays guitar in the Wisconsin-based bluegrass band Feed the Dog, talks about this years lineup and what to expect, including new acts and headlining blues guitarist Ana Popovich coming all the way from her native Serbia to perform.
More information is at https://twinportsmusicfestival.com/
Eliza Blue is a Minnesota-born musician who has spent the last decade and a half living on the prairies of western South Dakota. Her latest EP is called The Grass Widow: Rough Drafts, and is a precursor to an upcoming “folk opera” due out next year. She speaks with Will Moore on the Scenic Route about the upcoming project as well as a myriad of her other creative endeavors including a PBS program, and how she finds new ways of connecting to the land and the people of the prairie.
Keith Secola is an acclaimed Anishinaabe musician and activist born in Cook, MN and now based out of Arizona. He’s the recipient of several Native American Music Awards and has a long career spanning over three decades and eight studio albums. He joins Will Moore on the Scenic Route, calling in from a songwriting session on Lake Vermillion ahead of his performance and the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino with Rich Mattson and the Northstars. He talks about his recent projects, collaborating with a new young indigenous artist, writing music for high school students, and more.
Twin Cities songwriter and guitarist John Kerns once again joins Will Moore on the Scenic Route to share some of his songs ahead of two gigs on the North Shore, July 28 at Bluefin Grille and July 29 at Cascade Lodge. He tells us about playing children’s shows vs grown-up shows, more about his Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band, and playing the North Shore during the pandemic, among other things.
Jerry Vandiver is an annual visitor to Cook County, the Boundary Waters, and WTIP. Hailing from Nashville, he’s a prolific songwriter of paddling songs, and fun and humorous tunes about camping, canoeing, backpacking and loving the outdoors. He joins Will Moore and Annie Possis on the Scenic Route to perform, share stories, and talk about songs from his latest album Peaceful Waters, which he made with his frequent collaborator Caitlin Evanson.
Prank Williams is the Twin Cities-based duo of Tony Petersen (Social Animals, Ditchbird) and Chris Hollister – a project that grew out of Irish band Broken Spoke, the two of them create lyrically focused and sonically expansive Americana. They join Will Moore on the Scenic Route amid car trouble on tour in southern Minnesota to talk about their EP “Palindrome”, which has released ahead of a full length album called “The Gospel According to Prank Williams” due out this fall. Tony and Chris go over every song on the new EP and the stories and inspirations behind them.
8 Months Winter is a trio from the Gunflint Trail that brings the loud guitars and sonic intensity of the grunge era of the 90s and alternative rock of the early 2000s. With Rick Austin on guitar, John Hanson on drums, and Nace Hageman on bass, they make their radio debut outrunning a thunderstorm on WTIP’s back porch.
8 Months Winter will be performing at Up Yonder on Saturday, July 22.
Acclaimed Grand Portage jazz guitarist Briand Morrison will release his latest album entitled “Old Feathers” this Friday – with an accompanying release party at the new Studio 21 in Grand Marais from 6-8pm. Briand joins Will Moore on Overtones to talk about the new direction of this album, recording all instruments himself, and what to expect from the release party.
With a dozen members spanning several generations and several high-level music degrees between them, the Duluth Transit Authority plays the hits from the band Chicago and other great bands of their era. Band member Paul Lemenager joins Will Moore on WTIP to talk about the history and various era of Chicago, and what makes their music stand the test of time.
Duluth Transit Authority will be playing a free 18+ show at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino on Saturday, July 8th. More information is at grandportage.com.
Back for its second year of bringing talented songwriters from across the region to the North Shore, the Lutsong Music Festival will return to Caribou Highlands and the North Shore Winery along Ski Hill Road in Lutsen, with nearly twice as many acts as last year. Festival co-organizer and Winery owner Chuck Corliss speaks with Will Moore about what to expect from this year’s festival.
You can find more information about Lutsong on the festival website, lutsongmusicfestival.com.
Alexander Craig says his new tour entitled “Country Funk Grease Punk” perfectly embodies his sound – a tough and energetic style of blues rock with songs holding messages of finding ways to getting over any obstacle that comes your way. This spring he’s been releasing a series of new singles, as well as a music video for the song “Motorcycle.” On the Scenic Route with Will Moore he plays one of his latest songs live, talks about the struggles of being a musician in an ever-evolving online landscape, and gives the crazy backstory to how his bombastic new music video came to be.
Willow Waters is a multi-instrumentalist from Minneapolis who leads the band the Earth Tones – a rotating cast of players that span brass, wind, and string instruments. Their rich and eclectic sound is found on every track of the new record “The Friction I Demand”. Waters joins Will Moore on the Scenic Route to talk about the album’s themes grief, loss, and experiencing transphobia. She says the record tells a story of moving through those heavy feelings in order to come back “with a sense of return and a sense of purpose”. You can listen to the whole interview below:
Jillian Rae is a Minneapolis musician who was born on the Iron Range, and is known for her work with the bands Corpse Reviver and the Okee Dokee Brothers, along with a solo career filled with original tunes. Initially a classical violinist turned multi-disciplined fiddler, she recently released a new single entitled “Barely Breathing”, her first new song since 2019. She talks with Will Moore about her musical background, overcoming writer’s block and the pandemic, and what makes this new song so important as she journeys forth with new music on the horizon.
Lojo Russo is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist from the Twin Cities now living in Davenport, IA. Living a lifelong passion of making music, she has travelled all over the upper Midwest (including Cook County) for decades sharing her music with as many folks as possible. With a passionate style that can’t be pinned down or pigeonholed, she has continued to focus on her career as a musician through the pandemic, a cancer diagnosis, and more. She joins Will Moore on the Scenic Route and shares four original songs.
The annual Homegrown Music Festival in Duluth has kicked off this week, lasting 8 days from April 30 – May 7. The event sprawls over dozens of venues and businesses all over the Twin Ports area with over 170 local musicians playing day and night. Breanne Tepler is a local Duluth musician and is on the festival’s steering committee – she joins Will Moore to talk about what to expect from the festival this year and previews a new song with her band The Front Porch Sinners ahead of their show Tuesday at the DECC.
More information can be found here at duluthhomegrown.org
Acclaimed Minneapolis songwriter Ann Reed returns to the Arrowhead Center for the Arts this Saturday, April 29th as part of the North Shore Music Association’s series of concerts. She spoke with Will Moore on the Scenic Route ahead of the performance, detailing her past in the Twin Cities folk scene and recent projects.
You can find out more about the show at northshoremusicassociation.com
Trapper Schoepp is a Milwaukee-based songwriter and longtime frequenter of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness who’s been coming up to Cook County for wilderness adventures for many years. His latest album entitled Siren Songs chronicles his love of waterways and the Great Lakes and even features a song entitled “Devil’s Kettle” about the famous local landmark. He chats with Will Moore about how he came to record the record in Tennessee cabin owned by Johnny Cash, finishing a long-lost song by Bob Dylan, and wild stories from travelling around the country. You can find out more about the album on his website.
Original airdate: 4/17/23
John Kerns is a musician and songwriter out of the Twin Cities whose musical background is as varied as it gets. From putting out children’s albums, to working a steady job as a rock-oriented music director at a church, to being part of a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band, after two decades he now is refocusing his career on gigging and playing out as much as possible. He joins Will Moore on the Scenic Route to talk about his journey and what lies ahead.
This feature originally aired 4/7/23 on WTIP.
MNSpin is a curated online music streaming service focused on recent releases by Minnesota artists. The service is made possible by the Friends of the Hennepin County Library and has been active since 2017, adding up to 100 albums by musicians across the state each year. Applications are currently open through April 17.
Jeff Radford at Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis joins Will Moore to tell us more and how artists can submit their work.
More information can be found on the MNSpin website.
OK Factor is a string duo of violinist Karla Colahan and cellist Olivia Diercks, who are celebrating ten years of making music together with their latest album “OKX”. They join Will Moore on the Scenic Route to talk about the new record and the meanings behind a number of the tracks on the album, which chronicle big milestones in their lives or have dedications to those close to them. They also talk about their educational program, Atlas, and working with students to bring music into schools.
Adam Aijala is the guitarist and one of the founding members of the acclaimed and nationally-touring bluegrass group Yonder Mountain String Band from Colorado. Ahead of the band’s first performance on the North Shore, he talks with Will Moore about getting into bluegrass music, how the genre has grown, thoughts on being nominated for a Grammy this year, and what to expect from the bands upcoming show at Lutsen Mountains.
Minneapolis songwriter David Huckfelt joins Will Moore on Sidetracks once again ahead of a performance at Papa Charlie’s songwriter series at Lutsen Mountains. David talks about his recent involvement at the Water is Life Southwest festival in Tuscon, AZ, an upcoming performance on Mountain Stage, and hopes for coming up North for his show.
Orkestar Bez Ime is a long-running band from the Twin Cities focusing on the many cultures and traditional music styles of the Balkan peninsula in Eastern Europe. From Ukrainian to Serbian to Romanian folk songs, as well as those of the Romani people, the group brings to life the music of a region rich with culture and history in energetic performances. Four members of the band, Natalie Nowytski (vocals) , Scott Keever (guitar), Katrina Mundinger (clarinet) and Colleen Bertch (violin), join Will Moore on the Scenic Route to talk about their music, including how scales and rhythms they play differ from music our ears may be used to.
Duluth’s Diona Johnson makes music under the name AfroGeode, and alongside her band The Gemstones, creates jazzy swirl of genres and memorable songs centered on her powerful voice and thought-provoking, empowering lyrics. She joins Will Moore on the Scenic Route to talk about her music and the band’s upcoming record ahead of a performance at Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth.
Dave Simonett is returning to Papa Charlie’s for the Wednesday night Songwriter Series on March 8th. Ahead of the show he joins Will Moore on the Scenic Route to chat about Trampled By Turtles’ lastest album Alpenglow, released in October, where they got to work with producer Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. Dave talks about hitting the road with the band again and what to expect from the quiet room show in Lutsen.
The Grand Marais Music Collaborative a local nonprofit promoting “the social and cultural welfare of the region by fostering a high quality musical experience for local and regional audiences”. Known for the annual Stars of the North festival along Lake Superior and organizing music lessons throughout the community. Founder and board chair Todd Miller joins Will Moore on the Scenic Route to talk about the upcoming year, plans for this years festival, and focuses on how students and teachers can get involved in the lesson program.
There’s more information at thegmmc.org.
Adam Kirsch is a Cook County resident and musician creating intricate instrumental tunes on 6 and 12 string guitars, banjo, and synthesizer. From furious blues picking to moody and hypnotic synth ambience, his music reflects the landscapes around him. He appears on Scenic Route playing songs off of his latest album “Laurentia”, released on the New Year.
Becky Schlegel is a Rochester-based songwriter who’s led a musical life since she was young, playing with her family band and immersing herself in classic country music. She’s put out records regularly for the last 20 years with a style that evokes both country and bluegrass music, and become and award-winning Minnesota artist. She joins Will Moore and Carl Solander on the Scenic Route ahead of her performance at the Grand Marais Ole Opry on February 25th.
Dog and Tony Show is the musical project of Tony Thomas, a multi-instrumentalist who has played around the Twin Cities music scene for decades in all sorts of musical genres. The second release under this name, Thomas talks about how the record evolved from two wildly different sounding EPs, how his upbringing and family in Southern Minnesota inspired songs, and shares some of his other creative endeavors.
Ditchbird is the moniker of Minneapolis-based guitarist Tony Petersen, who has just come out with the solo project’s second album entitled “Luck”. Petersen hails originally from the Duluth area and has played previously with The Social Animals, St. Anyway, Colleen Myhre, and now is part of a new duo called Prank Williams. He speaks with Will Moore about how the new album allows him to explore new levels of his own creativity, and why he chose to produce the record completely at home. He also performs 3 songs from the album.
Paul Metsa is a lifelong musician, writer, poet, and artist at heart from Virginia, MN known for his band Cats Under the Stars and playing with Minneapolis West Bank greats like Willie Murphy and Spider John Koerner. In his new book Alphabet Jazz, he details the memories of so many Twin Cities musical personalities who have passed on, as well as some of his own family members and dear pets, amidst poetry, song lyrics, and lost letters. With the book is a companion CD reflecting the songs in the book and his music over the years. He speaks with Will Moore on the Scenic Route and reads passages, even one written by a dog…
Dennis Warner hails from the small town of Clearwater, MN, just south of St. Cloud and has been singing for college students, elementary students, and audiences of all ages for over 30 years. He comes to Grand Marais for a North Shore Music Association show at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. He speaks with Carl Solander and Will Moore about his music as well as his song “Beads on a String” that has inspired a children’s book and international anti-bullying campaign.
Early Eyes is an energetic and uniquely creative pop group from the Twin Cities featuring five young musicians with a complex but ultimately delicious sound. The whole bands join Will Moore by phone amidst their band rehearsal to talk about their origins as a group, and their 2022 album “Look Alive” ahead of their first show in Cook County at Papa Charlie’s in Lutsen as part of their annual Ski Party music weekend.
Early Eyes is:
John O’Brien = guitar
Jake Berglove – keys/vocals
Joe Villano – guitars/vocals
Sam Mathys – drums
Megan Mahoney- bass
Gregg McVicar is the longtime host of Undercurrents Radio, a national music program for public stations that focuses on highlighting Native American artists amidst a vastly eclectic mix of music. WTIP listeners may know the program well as a cornerstone of the station’s programming on weekday afternoons and late nights. Will Moore speaks with McVicar about the shows beginnings, goals, and plans for the future, as the program will be phasing out of production in 2023.
Carl Hansen is a videographer based in Bozeman, Montana who grew up here in Cook County. His family has long owned Sawbill Canoe Outfitters and he graduated from Cook County High School. A part-time musician accomplished on drums and bass, he calls in to the Scenic Route with Will Moore to talk about how his job, along with a wild set of circumstances, led to he and his friend Chester Floyd playing their first gig together opening for bluegrass band Trampled By Turtles at a large venue in Atlanta. Carl’s story is a must-listen for fans of the famed Duluth-based band and local music lovers alike.
Sarah Morris is a Twin Cities based songwriter with a brand new holiday-themed album entitled “merry, little, light”. Timmy Haus is longtime musician in Cook County who is part of the Rock n’ Roll Xmas Spectacular, a series of live shows based out of St. Cloud. Both of them call into the Scenic Route with Will Moore to talk about what they’ve been up to.
Cal Hand is lifelong dobro player known for his time playing with Twin Cities folk legends in the West Bank scene of the 60s and 70s, including bands like The Sorry Muthas, as well as performing as part of the Prairie Home Companion Show. Carl Solander and Will Moore interview Hand about his decades of playing ahead of a special performance for the Grand Marais Music Association on the Scenic Route.
Photo courtesy of Jerry Mathiason, Cal Hand second from left.
Olav Luksengård Mjelva is a Norwegian musician specializing the hardanger fiddle – a traditional instrument that serves as the national instrument of Norway. His music featuring the instrument has appeared in recent major media releases like Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series, and the video game God of War: Ragnarok. He comes to Grand Marais as the field producer of the Norwegian boatbuilding documentary “Built With Love”, which debuted at North House Folk School. He speaks with Will Moore about his music and the uniqueness of his instrument on the Scenic Route.
Sonja Midtune is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter who grew up in Chanhassen, MN, following her dreams of being a performer to make them a reality out West. Her freshly released new EP is entitled “Golden Girl” and is a smooth and silky style of Americana-tinged indie pop. She chats with Will Moore about her time at St. Olaf University, finding her way in LA, and the ins and outs of producing music in the age of Spotify.
“Glensheen” is an award-winning 2015 musical based on the infamous Congdon murders at the Glensheen estate in Duluth, MN, with music and lyrics penned by Chan Poling, a Minneapolis musician famous for being the frontman of 1980s alternative band The Suburbs as well as, part of the jazz trio The New Standards.
Coming up this weekend, the musical takes a new form in a cabaret-style show featuring the songs from the show and much of the original cast. Poling chats with Will Moore about what to expect from the show, what will be new or different, and some background behind Glensheen’s rise to the stage.
On October 16th, three talented songwriters took to a makeshift stage inside the old school of Finland, MN for a memorable performance on a chilly autumn evening. Laurel Premo of Traverse City, MI, along with Creekbed Carter Hogan of Austin, TX, and McKain Lakey of Minneapolis, all performed original songs spanning folks, blues, and a new era of American old-time music. Scenic Route host Will Moore sat down with all three of them to learn about their latest musical projects and inspirations, including some exclusive live-recorded performances.
You can find the whole show as well as the individual conversations and songs below.
(L to R in photo, Laurel Premo, McKain Lakey, Creekbed Carter Hogan)
The Evening Stars are a funk and soul band playing rousing renditions of favorite songs spanning several decades, and have become one of the most exciting and high-energy bands on the North Shore. Will Moore joined them in their practice space ahead of a Halloween show in Grand Portage to hear the band rehearse and learn more about how they build their act. This piece features live recordings of them practicing, complete with noodling and bantering in between songs.
The Evening Stars are Todd Miller (guitar, vocals), Tina Hegg-Raway (vocals), Drew Heinonen (guitar), Jonathan Steckleberg (bass), Erik Hahn (brass), and Ted Czaplicki (drums).
More information about the band’s Halloween performance can be found at grandportage.com
One Week Live has been a two-decade long tradition at Wussow’s Concert Cafe in West Duluth. The event is weeklong concert series showcasing the best acts from the Duluth area and beyond, featuring a songwriting contest and culminating with the release of a live album of recordings from the various performers. Owner Jason Wussow talks with Will Moore about this year’s 20th anniversary event, changes to how the tunes will be distributed, and who’s playing this year.
More information about the week of shows can be found on the Wussow’s Cafe website.
Derek Smith is a musician who grew up in Grand Portage and now resides in Queenstown, New Zealand on the country’s southern island. During one of his few trips back to Cook County since moving eight years ago, he sits down with Will Moore to talk about getting his musical start in this community, beginning on guitar and drums, and how it lead to his career as a musician on the other side of the world. He also talks about the New Zealand music scene and recommends some of his favorite Kiwi artists.
Last weekend Cook County was treated to some Texas-style honky-tonk music by way of the Twin Cities, as well as some “lightspeed bluegrass” with special guests. Hear the conversations from the most recent Scenic Route with Will Moore featuring musicians Trevor McSpadden and Johnny Kovarik of Buffalo Galaxy.
The New Riverside Ramblers are a Cajun band from the Twin Cities that have been playing the Louisiana-based musical style at the opposite end of the Mississippi for more than 30 years. Fiddler and founding member Eric Mohring (pictured top center above) speaks with Will Moore about the band, as well as the history of Cajun music and its instruments ahead of a North Shore Music Association show here in Grand Marais.
Guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker and drummer JT Bates are two of the most high-caliber musicians in the Twin Cities music scene, both with over two decades of experience and countless credits on records over the years from both local and national artists. Ylvisaker has previously played with The Suburbs and collaborated with Andrew Bird, while Bates is currently performing with Bonny Light Horseman. The two came to Grand Marais as part of the Unplugged 2022 event at North House Folk School, and chat with Will Moore about their musical beginnings, interests, and inspirations.
Phil Cook is a Wisconsin-born multi-instrumentalist residing in Durham, North Carolina who’s been a frequent contributor to bands like Megafaun, Bon Iver, and Hiss Golden Messenger. Following a deep love of gospel and the roots of American musical styles, Cook plays bluesy and soulful tunes on both guitar and piano, including his most recent album of solo piano entitled All These Years from 2021. He joins Will Moore on The Scenic Route to talk about his musical upbringing in Chippewa Falls, WI, and how it sparked a deep love of Southern gospel that’s led to a record label, a successful career, and amazing musical relationships.
Phil Cook will be part of the annual Unplugged concert at North House Folk School this Thursday and Friday, Sept. 22-23.
The Federales are a rockin’ band with a country twist hailing from the Twin Cities with a new live EP recorded at Grand Marais’ own Gunflint Tavern. Will Moore talks to the band about the new EP, future recordings at the Tavern, playing gigs in 2022, and their favorite North Shore sights and sounds.
Ben Miller – guitar, vocals
Chris Holm – harmonica, vocals, guitar
Andy Schuster – bass
Mark Larson- drums
Also from this show: An interview with Matt Thompson of bluegrass band Monroe Crossing, also found below.
Scottie Baldwin is a longtime front of house sound engineer who’s worked with worldwide talents and some of the biggest names in the business. He’s also an avid WTIP listener and regular Boundary Waters visitor. He joins Will Moore on the Scenic Route once more to talk about his time working for Prince, from touring with the legendary artist to the ups and downs of their relationship, and how it paved the way for the rest of his career.
Space Monkey Mafia is an energetic ska band out of the Twin Cities who have been making annual pilgrimages to Grand Marais for a weekend of shows at the Gunflint Tavern for the better part of a decade. They join Will Moore on WTIP’s airwaves with a stripped down acoustic set on the station’s back porch for a pleasantly rocking outdoor live session ahead of their Saturday show at the Tavern.
Pictured L to R: Eric Stuber, Blake Foster, Joe Barron, Tim Kingstrom, Dante Levya, Sam Charlton
On the latest Scenic Route, Will Moore chats with brothers Owen and Jacob Mahon of New Salty Dog about their summer gigs with Boss Mama and the Jebberhooch, plans for WTIP’s Radio Waves festival, and the upcoming Squash Fest in Wisconsin. Also, hear an interview with Feed the Dog’s guitarist Jon Miller about the new Twin Ports music fest in Duluth and its strong bluegrass focused lineup.
Where can you find a musical act that combines accordion and ukelele with opera-trained vocal skills and yodeling? Look no further than Cherry Dirt, the duo of Staci and Ryan Cihlar who returned to the North Shore for a show at Cascade Lodge. They join Will Moore and Carl Solander on Scenic Route (along with their dog Mary) to talk about travels to Europe, current musical projects, and of course laugh and play music.
Now based in Anaheim, CA, One Less Guest returns to their home state of Minnesota for a string of shows this summer. Will Moore talks with guitarist Nick Muska and vocalist/fiddler Ren Cooper about the bands’ latest ventures and upcoming shows, as well as their new live album One Hot Night recoded the last time they came back north.
Ruby Blu (Liz Collin) is the lead singer and songwriter for the group Red Eye Ruby, a Twin Cities band known for an old-school jazzy vibe. Ruby joins Will Moore on the Scenic Route to talk about the new release Ruby EP, going over a shift in the band’s sound, themes and stories behind some of the songs, and some live solo performances amidst a menagerie of animals in her home.
Jerry Vandiver is a lifelong paddling enthusiast and songwriter based in Nashville, and frequently comes up to the Boundary Waters and also WTIP to share songs of canoeing and camping. This latest performance from Jerry has him playing tunes on a beautiful summer evening outside the studio, chatting with Will Moore about his time as a science teacher, writing songs for Sam Bush, and more.
Eleanor Dubinsky and Dario Acosta Teich are both talented musicians from Brooklyn who combine unique instruments with jazz music. In addition to singing in four languages, Eleanor adds the instrument of cello to varied jazz ensembles, while Dario does the same thing with the classical guitar styling from his native Argentina. They join Will Moore on Scenic Route ahead of a show at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts in Grand Marais.
More about the show and the Grand Marais Music Association can be found here.
The North Shore Community Swing Band has been bringing the best danceable jazz tunes from the 1930s and 40s since 1999. Director Kathy Bolstad joined Will Moore on Sidetracks to talk about the band’s new regular monthly gigs at North House folks school, more shows happening in the area into the fall, and the return of a familiar face to the band.
WTIP’s North Shore Vibes membership drive lasted July 8-14th 2022 and featured some fantastic live performances on the air. You can listen to those performances below.
Dessa is a Minneapolis based rapper, writer, and public speaker known for her solo career, work with the Twin Cities hip hop collective Doomtree, and a myriad of other projects including being part of the Hamilton Mixtape album. She returns to Papa Charlie’s for her annual gig in Lutsen with a new album released last winter, an interesting new podcast and lots more to tell in this interview on Sidetracks with Will Moore.
James Eugene Russell of the Twin Cities didn’t always play heart-wrenching alt-country songs. Rather, he started out playing and touring in punk bands and listening to hardcore music. After a decade of leaving the music scene and getting sober, he returns with an EP called As/Is featuring four moving songs in what he calls a “country midwestern” sound. He chats with Will Moore about getting back into music and the stories behind the songs, and even plays a few of them live. The extended interview includes a chat about vinyl records including the upcoming one for As/Is.
Scottie Baldwin is a front-of-house sound engineer from the Twin Cities whose career spans 30 years of working live concerts with massively popular artists like Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, and most notably, Prince. Mandric Tan is a Singaporean graduate of Berklee College of Music who worked with Scottie as a playback engineer on tours with artists like Wang Leehom and A-Mei. They talk with host Will Moore about their experiences working massive stadium shows in Asia, how technology is changing music, differences found in audiences and music between hemispheres, and coming north to the Boundary Waters.
You can find both the broadcast and extended versions of their conversation below.
John Mianowski was an accomplished bass guitar player who grew up in Grand Marais and was known throughout the community for his impressive musical skill, dedication, and excellent sound engineering abilities. He played in a great number of bands over the years, including most recently with Bughouse, The Wunderdogs, and 4-Shore. Sadly, John passed away from cancer in May at the age of 66. You can find out more about John on his Epilogg page found here.
Will Moore speaks with Al Oikari, Amy Jo Flack, Dan Wilson, Todd Miller, and Pete Kavanaugh all about their experiences performing with and knowing John from the early days to his return to the North Shore.
Jeff Ray is a blues guitarist from St. Paul playing steel guitar in the traditional slide style but also incorporating other flavors of world music to his own tunes. His new album with his band The Stakes is called “In the Fire” and features themes dealing with experiences during the tumultuous last two years in the Twin Cities and around the world. He talks with Will Moore about getting his musical start in Memphis, the albums interesting recording location, incorporating Indian raga styles to American music, and more.
Brittany Haas is a master fiddler known for her work with Crooked Still, Hawktail and other bands, while Joe K. Walsh is a mandolin expert who’s played with Joy Kills Sorrow and currently with Mr. Sun. They accompany bassist Brittany Karlson for a unique trio performance at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts in Grand Marais on Saturday, May 28th. Will Moore speaks with them on the Scenic Route about their music and what to expect from the concert.
Bob Dylan’s 81st Birthday is Tuesday, May 24th, and concluding the “Year of Dylan” is this year’s annual Duluth Dylan Fest in the Twin Ports area, celebrating the legendary songwriter in the city he was born in. Event volunteer organizers Zane Bail and Patrick Eliason join Will Moore on the Scenic Route to go over the week of events and concerts focused on Dylan going through May 29th. The full list of happenings and more information can be found at duluthdylanfest.com
John SonofMel is a songwriter, poet, writer, and radio personality from Hayward, WI who spends his winters diving into frozen lakes and spends as much time as he can performing his songs about Northern life and his fascinating if tumultuous life journey through life. He rejoins Will Moore on the Scenic Route for an extended conversation about finding solace in freezing waters, performing at Homegrown and through the pandemic, and future projects. He performs at Cascade Lodge Pub at 6pm on Thursday, May 19th.
Teague Alexy is a Duluth-based musician whose sound is often folky and country in style, but has roots in hip hop back from his youth in New Jersey. Spilled Milk is group consisting of Teague and his childhood best friends who’ve stayed connected over the years and now return with a single called “Friends”, hearkening back to their origins in the late 90s. Teague talks about the band and the Homegrown festival in Duluth on the Scenic Route.
You can hear “Friends” here on Bandcamp.
This interview initially aired May 6th, 2022.
Breanne Tepler is best known around the Duluth music scene as the frontwoman of Brianne Marie and the Front Porch Sinners, a band that plays what she has dubbed “Great Lakes country music”. She is also a part of the steering committee of the Homegrown festival, a weeklong in-city music fest that takes over a host of Duluth music venues. She talks about this year’s festival and plays songs alongside her husband Evan Tepler on the Scenic Route.
Little Disasters is a group of young musicians from the Twin Cities who are bringing the pop-punk fever that dominated the decade of the ’00s into the 2020s. Though only halfway through high school, the trio of Mick Lynch, AJ Hermann and Finn Perry have a high-energy and super polished sound with the help of Isaac Levy. Host Will Moore talks to Mick about their sound, their latest singles, balancing teen life with making music, and future aspirations.
Spinning Voices is the moniker of St. Louis Park based electronic music producer David Boeser, who for his latest album Ductworks decided to try something radically different than his past projects. The album is an exploration of both nostalgic memories and the harsh and constant noises from metal ducts, vents, furnaces, and other machines found within everyday homes. He joins Will Moore on the Scenic Route to talk about how the album came to be and process for creating the complex songs.
Longtime Boundary Waters adventurer and Nashville songwriter Jerry Vandiver has a new EP with fiddler Caitlin Evanson called Special Limited Edition – a set of five songs about paddling, camping, and the outdoors made specifically for the Canoecopia exhibition in Wisconsin. Jerry tells us about the new songs, the expo, and life in the Music City.
Lake County musicians Gene Lafond and Amy Grillo catch up with Will Moore on The Scenic Route with a performance from their vacation spot of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, featuring original songs and great travel stories.
Note: This performance originally aired on 2/25/22 on Scenic Route
James Moors and Kort McCumber have been a longtime musical duo hailing from the Twin Ports as well as the mountains of Colorado, making musical dreams work across the country and around the world as they travel with their fans. They return this week to Papa Charlie’s for the return of the Wednesday Night Songwriter Series and catch up with Will Moore on what they’ve been up to since their 2021 release Survival.
The Lynx class of 5th and 6th graders at Great Expectations School in Grand Marais recently helped create a music video for a rap song about the importance of recycling. Will Moore chats with the class’s paraprofessional Andre Robinson, who makes hip hop under the name Dre AKA Jamaican, teacher Chuck Viren and a number of Lynx students about how the video came to be. The video can be seen below.
After several years away due to the pandemic, Cloud Cult makes their triumphant return to Papa Charlie’s for their annual February show, playing two sold-out concerts at the venue that was the location of their last show before the world shut down in March of 2020. Lead singer Craig Minowa joins Will Moore from his woodland studio in Viroqua, WI to talk about the band’s upcoming album Metamorphosis, their upcoming tour, and delves into some some fact-checking of the band’s Wikipedia page.
Morningbird, the acoustic duo of Jill Burkes and Rob Wheeler from the Hibbing area, return to the Scenic Route with a fresh virtual performance. They talk with host Will Moore about what’s been keeping them busy this winter, collaborating with St. Cloud songwriter Charlie Roth, and more.
Eric Athey hails from Lancaster, PA, and has been producing music since the early 2000s. He says he comes out with a record “about once every 5 years” and when he does, he often collaborates with Twin Cites based artist Dave Boquist. Recently, the two of them recorded a song called “Grand Marais” ahead of Athey’s trip to the Boundary Waters. They chat with Will Moore on what made this song so unique, and why it’s a long time dream finally coming to fruition.
Liz Mathias is a guitarist hailing from the Ironwood, MI area who’s known for playing throughout Northern Wisconsin. She is currently working on her debut album of original music. She makes her WTIP debut on the Scenic Route talking with Will Moore about her inspirations and favorite tunes.https://soundcloud.com/wtip-community-radio/liz-mathias
Jaspar Lepak’s musical journey began in Minneapolis and has now returned there after stops in South Africa and Seattle. The singer-songwriter speaks with Will Moore about her return to Minnesota, her 2021 album Desert Ghosts, and two new singles called “One Brave Life” and “My Right to Choose” on the Scenic Route.