Posts Tagged: seed savers benefit concert

Get some music in your life this Driftless summer!

Them Coulee Boys will play at Hop Harvest Fest at Sweet 16 Farm and at Boats and Bluegrass in Winona!

Summertime in the Midwest means a lot of things, but special outdoor music events hit the top of our list each year! There are lots of great shows happening all season, but we picked out a handful that we’d definitely suggest adding to your calendar.


The Driftless Music Festival, July 13, Viroqua, Wisconsin – FREE! Join in this fantastic community festival as Eckhart Park becomes home to The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, Honky-Tonk Jump, Orquestra MAS, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, and the Brotherhood Singers. Music starts at 1pm and goes until evening, with snacks, food, and beverages on the grounds. This is a free, very family friendly event! www.driftlessmusicfestival.com


Seed Saver’s Benefit Concert, August 3, rural Decorah – Seed Savers Exchange is bringing back the ever-popular Benefit Concert this summer, featuring Dave Simonett of Trampled by Turtles, Lissie, Dave Huckfelt of The Pines, Pieta Brown, Michael Rosetto, and special guest Mr. Greg Brown. Gates open at 5 pm, show at 7 pm, and camping is available on-site. This is guaranteed to be one of the most amazing nights of the summer – see you there! www.seedsavers.org


Gray Area – August 9, rural Iowa City – Don’t miss your chance to hang out at the Flat Black Studio farm with William Elliott Whitmore, Appleseed Cast, American Cream, Catfish Keith, and more. Camping available and encouraged. www.flatblackstudios.com/grey-area


People Fest – August 8-10, Driftless Music Gardens near Yuba, Wisconsin – Join Todd Snider, Blackfoot Gypsies, People Brothers Band, Natty Nation, Pine Travelers, and many more at this special little corner of the world. Camping, community, and summer revelry at it’s finest. www.driftlessmusicgardens.com/people-fest


Hop Harvest Music Fest – August 24, Sweet 16 Farm near Houston, Minnesota – Head to this sweet (pun intended) farm for a family-friendly party! Check out Them Coulee Boys, The Lowest Pair, Driftless Sisters, My Grandma’s Cardigan, and Jaybone Bell. There will be vendors, craft beer, kids activities, and wood fired pizza too. Find more info and buy tickets at sweet16farm.com.


Boats &…… Bluegrass! Winona, September 26-29 – Ok, so technically Boats & Bluegrass isn’t until September, but we can’t help but plug this amazing local roots festival alongside the Mississippi river in Winona. 2019 is a Who’s Who of Midwest roots music, including Charlie Parr, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Shook Twins, Pert Near Sandstone, Dead Horses, Them Coulee Boys, Lowest Pair, Barbaro, Stanton West – all MC’d by regional poet and new-time roustabout, Pete Engen. Camping, music, boats & canoes, food, and tasty beverages on site. What are you waiting for? Get your tickets and make plans to be there! www.boatsandbluegrass.com

Q&A with Mason Jennings

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Introduction and interview by Benji Nichols
Originally published in the Summer 2016 Inspire(d)

We’re proud to say we’ve been big fans of Seed Savers Exchange and Heritage Farm for a long time. And for many a moon, Iowa troubadour Greg Brown (of whom we are also big fans) has graced a beautiful summer evening to help raise funds for the ever-growing cause of saving and sharing heritage seeds and plants.

When Brown announced that 2015 would be his final year for the Seed Savers benefit concert, there was, happily, another extremely talented artist waiting, literally, in the wings.

Well-known Midwest musician Mason Jennings was at the benefit last year, and the magic of that moon-lit evening in rural Decorah swept him away. With just a little peer pressure from Greg Brown and friends, Jennings counted himself “in” to perform the 2016 benefit show – when that show was cancelled due to wide spread flooding in 2016, a re-do was penciled in the books for July 2017!

Jennings – a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist – is a Hawaii native who now calls Minneapolis home. He has sold hundreds of thousands of records to much acclaim – the album “Blood Of Man,” which Jennings recorded on garage band (playing all the instruments himself), received a 4-star review in Rolling Stone. His thirteenth album “Wild Dark Metal” was released just this past spring – of the album, Jennings has said, “It deals with loss, love, suffering, longing, and mystery. I hope it finds the listener who is looking for it. I hope it brings deep medicine. I hope you play it loud.”

For close to 20 years, Jennings has toured the world, bringing audience members his unique style of musical medicine. This summer, joined by friends and fellow Iowa-rooted musicians The Pines, and combined with the incredible setting of Seed Savers, folks are in for some real magic.

Inspire(d) was lucky enough to have a few moments to collect some fun thoughts from Mason Jennings as he anticipates the upcoming benefit concert.

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I: You’ve been anchored out of Minneapolis going on two decades now, with real roots in the 400 Bar (RIP) and the entire Minneapolis scene. What first got you to Minneapolis and has kept you coming back to the Midwest?

MJ: My dad lived there for a few years and I visited and felt at home. I love the size of the Cities. The way the community supports artists and the close proximity of nature. The seasons work for me creatively too. Equidistant to both coasts for touring… great place to raise a family… the list goes on. I love Minnesota. I love Iowa too.

I: From our understanding you attended the Greg Brown benefit show last year at Seed Savers and were inspired. Can you tell us about your experience?

MJ: I love Greg’s music and the concert setting was amazing. Seed Savers seems like an amazing place and it was inspiring to see folks coming together to support it. Both Greg and Iris Dement took me aside that night and told me they thought I should play it next year. And I listened and agreed.

I: The Pines will be opening the Seed Saver’s Benefit show in August, and Benson Ramsey (of The Pines, and Iowa music legend Bo Ramsey’s son) also contributed photos to your new album “Wild Dark Metal” – when did you all connect?

MJ: I met Benson about six years ago at a friend’s wedding. We immediately hit it off and have been hanging out ever since. I think he is an amazing person and his songwriting is very moving to me. The Pines are easily one of my favorite bands. They’ll be joining me onstage at Seed Savers too, which will be fun.

I: Do you keep a garden at home at all?

MJ: I don’t keep a garden yet but I love gardens. I’m hoping that being (at Seed Savers) will inspire me to someday start one.

I: Ok. Rapid fire! First thing that comes to mind:

Midwest: Prince
Summer food: Corn
Family: Forever
Currently listening to: 89.3 The Current
Seed Savers Exchange: Hope

Don’t miss this evening of incredible music in an even more incredible setting! Here are the details:

Who: Mason Jennings and The Pines, with Pieta Brown
Where: Seed Savers Heritage Farm
When: Saturday, July 8, 2017. Doors 5 pm. Concert 7 pm.
How: Buy tickets online at www.seedsavers.org/benefit-concert