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Jul 17, 2012

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The Purity of the Song

The Purity of the Song

Like an explorer with a spotlight and a mission, acclaimed Twin Cities songwriter Adam Levy started digging into his musical treasure trove upon getting the invitation to play a songwriters-in-the-round style Americana Showcase in Rochester. “I like doing these kinds of things, figuring out what represents your body of work and connects with people,” Levy said. “I’ve been beating through years of songs.”

The obvious starting point for his search was the pop songs he crafted for 10 acclaimed releases by The Honeydogs. Then there’s the whimsical children’s rock songs he writes for the Bunny Clogs. Levy’s latest project, which he describes as a “sort of chamber music, folk thing” with cello, oboe and harmonium is what finally set the direction of his search though.

“I’m on kind of a songwriting jag right now,” Levy said.

In addition to the new project, The Honeydogs is also working on new material, and this concert could prove the perfect place to debut those songs. “It’s fun to give them their legs,” Levy said.

Once a song has legs, though, there’s no telling where a show like this, which gives songwriters the freedom to explore and explain their music, may go.

“There’s no plan. That’s the beauty of it,” said Brandon Sampson of the local band Six Mile Grove that hosts the Americana Showcase. “It’s a real impromptu type of show.”

The idea is to bring five different performers who all that they have in common is that they all value songwriting and have written great songs and let the audience in on that, Sampson said.

Joining Levy and Sampson will be three critically acclaimed Twin Cities musicians. They are: singer-songwriter Darren Jackson from the rock band Kid Dakota and the pop band the Hopefuls; Jeremy Messersmith, who is known for combining sad lyrics and happy melodies in richly orchestrated story songs; and Molly Maher, whose guitar playing has been described as rural and soulful.

“All five of us will be on stage at the same time, taking turns, playing one song each,” Sampson said.

As the night goes on, the stories told and songs played may inspire some of the songwriters to play a similar song or chime in on each other’s songs. Even so, it’s far from playing those songs with a band.

“What’s fun is that you can play those same songs in a completely different light,” Sampson said. “One that shows the purity of the song.”

Christina Killion Valdez – Post Bulletin, Rochester, MN

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