Buckle up, music-lovers -- Brent and Sheena are back.
Brent Wyatt and Sheena Tisland, the eponymous duo, have both spent the brunt of the pandemic working with their middle and high school students. However, you may have caught them at Red Wing’s Concerts in the Park over the summer, or on the patio of Rochester restaurant Zen Fusion.
After the Red Wing concert over the summer, a young woman tearfully approached Wyatt and said “how much music meant to her and how much she had missed live performances,” he said.
“I tried to play it cool, but I teared up too,” Wyatt said. “...people desperately are craving the community and collective joy that music provides.”
Brent and Sheena will perform at Barrel House, LLC Saturday night. Here’s a little more about their pandemic year...
Have you had any takeaways from the past year in terms of musicianship or putting on shows under decidedly weird circumstances?
Sheena Tisland: We've tried to be cautious and thoughtful in terms of taking gigs. We've really wanted to support the bars and restaurants during this time that have supported us over the past couple years, so getting to play for their patrons on their decks and patios was a great option. We played a few weddings and outdoor events/parties as well, which was a fun, safe way to shake off the restlessness. I think a takeaway for me would be the reminder of the healing that can come by way of fun and togetherness through music.
What was behind your name change from Everyday People feat. Brent and Sheena to just “Brent and Sheena?”
Tisland: During the unrest sparked by the social injustices of early 2020, an out-of-state band of a similar name heard about us and asked us if we could drop the "Everyday People" part of our name; we complied. We originally snagged it from Sly and the Family Stone, so whenever we play that song, we wink at each other and smile knowingly ... we're still unofficially known by the full name.
Brent Wyatt: It was a unique situation. A venue where we were scheduled to perform had also booked another musician on a different night who had been outspoken on Facebook. While we had nothing to do with that situation, a group attempted to contact us requesting that we withdraw (from) playing at that venue. Instead, they inadvertently contacted a band from another part of the country with a similar name.
Tisland: What's cool is it ended up leading to our working with that venue to host three fundraisers we called "Help the Healing." We raised donations for Red Wing United Way, Red Wing Youth Outreach, and our high school and alternative school food shelves. It was great and worth the name-change situation in the end.
What do you hope listeners take away from this in-person concert?
Wyatt: It will be our first chance to get out and perform since late November. We miss interacting with people through music, and we hope to draw much-needed attention to our local businesses who have been struggling during this time.
Tisland: We don't have any other shows upcoming at the moment but hope that that will change as venues reopen and even more as spring comes. Barrel House is one of the first places that gave us a chance to play when we were starting out, so any chance we get to support them, we try to take it. I hope any who feel safe to come out and listen (and dance... observing middle-school-dance distance rules, of course) will enjoy some peace, love, and music.
Note: Brent and Sheena are scheduled to play Meet Me Under the Bridge in Wabasha, MN on Friday, June 25.
If You Go
What: Barrel House Presents: Brent and Sheena
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16
Where: Barrel House LLC, 223 Main St., Red Wing