Moon and the stars — Showcase lures top-tier musicians

Minneapolis singer-songwriter Mason Jennings.

Wabasha's Moonshine Showcase shoots for the stars and lands them.

Minneapolis singer-songwriter Mason Jennings is the first in a trifecta of great musicians playing at the Broadway Theater in the next three months, said Barry Hill, of Wabasha, who is booking the Moonshine Showcase.

The others include Jeremy Messersmith on June 16 and The Pines on July 21.

"It is our goal to have top-tier musicians play our 320 seat theater," Hill said. "I envision a time in the near future where the Broadway Theater is one of the premier venues in the state to see a show."

For his debut album in 1997, Jennings played all of the instruments himself into an analog four-track. The critically acclaimed album lead to nine more, including "Minnesota," which was on Entertainment Weekly's "The Must List" in September, saying, "Both the piano-and rock-driven cuts find him and his storytelling gifts at their best."


Here's what Jennings had to say about making music in Minnesota and the Moonshine Showcase:

Wabasha isn't a regular stop on your tour schedule — or most touring musicians' schedules — so why did you decide to do the concert?

I just really like that area. I haven't been down there in a long time, so I thought it would be fun to do a show there.

Since you played in Rochester two years ago, do you think this will be the start of regular appearances in southeast Minnesota?

I hope so. I really enjoy coming down there. I just feel really at home. The people are really kind and the way the country looks there is totally inspirational to me.

Minnesota has been a theme for you lately with your recent album, "Minnesota." What's the appeal of making music here?

I like the convergence of different things here ... I like how the great art scene goes right up against the kind of wilderness. It's sort of a nice contrast of things.

Same thing with the weather. There's such extremes, from the extreme colds to the hot, lush summers. For me in my art, I really like contrasts, so it seems like a good place to be.


Are there any big drawbacks to making music in Minnesota?

Not the actual creation of the music, but the industry part of it. The industry is mostly based in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville, so I'm always traveling to deal with the job part of it. But the creative part is awesome being here.

What are you working on now?

I have a lot of new songs, so we're just starting the preliminary stages of another record. I play one or two new songs in all my shows. I'm playing a solo show down there so it will be a fun night. I like to talk a lot and try stuff that I wouldn't normally be able to try with a band.

What To Read Next
Get Local