John Bushey of KUMD welcomed everyone and thanked Zimmy's for having started this event years ago. He then turned the program over to our hosts Pat and Karen. Pat is a singer songwriter himself and Karen, originally from California, hails from the Iron Range. The judges this year would be Karen Sunderman of the Playlist, musician Jim Hall, Chris Harwood, a TV guy who is also a musician, and Christa Lawler, who covers the arts and entertainment scene for the DNT.
Daniel Botkin, the artist from Illinois, took the first slot on the slate. Botkin introduced his song by stating that he has six daughters and this was written for them, with accompanying picture cards that he drew. Someone assisted him and held the cards in the manner of Dylan's famous Subterranean Homesick Blues video. "The Ballad of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Priest" was a clever take-off on Dylan's song of similar name, and it made for a memorable opening number last night.
Troy Atkin, wearing a Minnestoa Twins ball cap, took the stage with a guitar and a trombone. He used the brass instrument for the introductory licks of Rain Day Women, and brought smiles with his two songs. John Adler and Iris Kolodji followed and it became apparent that there was a lot of talent in the room.
This fellow was followed by a singer who said his optometrist is Bob Dylan's cousin. He lives in a town on Highway 61, and the connections were vividly being laid out. A fellow named Terry had a conversational style of singing. Kim Naglin and Joel Wyblode of Hibbing shared how it was fun to play music on the same stage that Dylan played on half a century ago. They did a song from Time Out Of Mind, and the evening was just so perfect for its mix of Dylan and the inventiveness being displayed.
A number of performers clearly have fans here. Dan Lang and Joe Hauge play for a band called Minnesota Buick. Gene LaFond and Amy Grillo have been strengthening their fan base, having moved this past year to the North Shore. Brian Stelmaszewski, better known as the right hand member of the team "Lefty & Stel", was another of the many familiar faces -- and voices -- here.
When all was said and done Eli Hebl, that young man from Two Harbors, was voted the winner. Dan Lang garnered second place and Iris Kolodji third. Congratulations all around and thank you to everyone who came and shared.
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Tonight it the Armory Benefit Concert featuring music from the Baement Tapes. You can purchase tickets here, or pay a little extra at the door. It promises to be another great evening of music, all for a good cause. To learn more about the basement tapes, check out my blog post Story of the Great White Wonder -- the Original Basement Tapes Bootleg. There's always more to discover.
Tomorrow we'll do a Sunday morning coming down kind of thing at Zeitgeist Cafe downtown, and exchange farewells with friends old and new. Thank you to everyone who has been so faithful in making this another great week.
Meantime, life goes on all around you... Embrace it.