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Tonight: A river of blues and acoustic lapping the area

Paul Geremia is an acoustic bluesman and that's that.
Courtesy of Paul Geremia
Paul Geremia is an acoustic bluesman and that’s that.

The music of Paul Geremia flows up from the South, home of the blues, through Geremia’s own home in Rhode Island and out through St. Paul, home to the renowned folk and roots label Red House Records.

Geremia is best known for his finger-picked blues on acoustic six- and 12-string guitars, but he also sits down at pianos, blows a pretty mean harmonica and sings out his soulful covers of azure classics as well as his own songs.

Geremia plays at 7:30 tonight (June 26) at St. Paul’s Ginkgo Coffeehouse, 721 Snelling Ave. Admission is $12.

Watch Geremia play “Statesboro Blues,” a Blind Willie McTell number, after giving the audience a soft-spoken introduction to the song replete with information about the great Georgia bluesman.

Geremia covered the song on his 1999 album for Red House, “Devil’s Music.”

In the YouTube clip, Geremia’s a bit dismissive of the Allman Brothers’ version of “Statesboro,” perhaps because the southern rock icons were plugged in — something Geremia has long refused to do. (You can hear the brothers from Macon, Ga., go at the song here.)

Geremia is an acoustic bluesman and that’s that. It’s how the country blues greats and folk heroes he reveres — McTell, Woody Guthrie, Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Boy Fuller, and so on — plied their artistry and it’s good enough for him, too.

All you need is Lovell

If you’ve got a hankering for something acoustic but less bluesy and more bluegrassy and contemporary, you might take a detour to the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis where The Lovell Sisters take the stage Thursday night.

Like the Allmans and Blind Willie, these three sisters hail from Georgia. Jessica, 21, plays fiddle and takes a majority of the turns at lead vocals, with siblings Megan, 18, contributing guitar and vocals, and Rebecca, 16, adding mandolin and vocals (she also writes much of the band’s original material).

The Lovell Sisters first garnered national attention in 2005, when they won the National Teen Talent Competition by St. Paul's very own "A Prairie Home Companion."
lovellsistersband.com
The Lovell Sisters first garnered national attention in 2005, when they won the National Teen Talent Competition by St. Paul’s very own “A Prairie Home Companion.”

The three have been out playing and touring as a group for four years, but have been playing together for more than a decade already.

The trio is developing a reputation for their tight, pretty harmonies and cool, contemporary framing of bluegrass and country music. But take a look and listen here and you’ll find that they’re willing and able to fuse a high lonesome sound to a sassy, almost dirty thrust of blues. 

The group first garnered national attention in 2005, when they won the National Teen Talent Competition by St. Paul’s very own “A Prairie Home Companion.” The victory landed them a gig on Garrison Keillor’s program.

That same year, they released their debut album, “When Forever Rolls Around.” You can hear highlights here.

Upcoming pick

The acoustic sounds keep rolling when Minneapolis singer-songwriter Ellis returns home for a show at 9:30 tonight (June 26) Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St.

She’ll be playing selections from her sixth album, “Break the Spell,” released earlier this year, as well as older (and probably even newer) material.

When I talked to her back in 2004 about the rigors of life on the road, she spoke enthusiastically about the joys of returning home and doing …”nothing. I don’t do anything. I don’t drive, I don’t go anywhere,” she said with a laugh. “Maybe I go for a walk.”

As her hometown fans know so well, her sense of humor and infectious laughter are big and important parts of her performances.

Admission is $15.

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