Artists set to play at parkWhen Arts on Superior, a Two Harbors arts advocacy group, put out the word that it needed artists for Friday night concerts in Two Harbors, they were overwhelmed by the response.
By: Sonja Peterson, Lake County News Chronicle
When Arts on Superior, a Two Harbors arts advocacy group, put out the word that it needed artists for Friday night concerts in Two Harbors, they were overwhelmed by the response.
“We had to turn a lot of people away. Within two days we had more than enough people,” said Linda Melcher, Arts on Superior president. “There were so many amazing musicians that it was hard to choose.”
The group’s Fridays in the Park Performance Series will feature a different regional artist every Friday at 7 p.m. at the bandshell in Thomas Owens Park. The series will starts tonight and runs until Sept. 24.
The first concert will feature James Moors, a Superior folk singer whose album “Hush” reached the Top 40 of the Americana Roots and Folk chart. He’s also been a finalist for the Big Top Chautauqua Songwriter of the Year and the Highway 61 Songwriter of the Year awards. He’s toured the United States as well as France, Germany and Switzerland.
Longtime Boston Globe critic Steve Morse wrote of Moors: “James Moors resonates immediately. He writes deeply sincere, often peacefully therapeutic music with a wisdom far beyond the norm. A special artist.
“It’s no wonder he loves Neil Finn, because he shares some of the same melodic gifts, enhanced by a warm-hearted spirit that makes you want to hear more.’’
Moors was first drawn to music in his early 20s. Though he went to college for child development, his career plans changed to music. “It chose me,” he said.
“I remember when I learned to sing and play at the same time, which is a big deal for guitar players. That was when I realized I could write songs,” Moors said. Songwriting became one of his favorite parts of the music process. Moors calls his style of music “narrative folk-rock” because his songs often tell personal stories, though the themes are universal.
One of his favorite songs is called “Going Round.” “It’s about the cycle of life — I don’t know if you’ve had this yet — but when you go down this path and you feel like you’ve gone a long ways in life, and then you turn a corner and realize you’re kind of back where you started.” The song will be included on his new album to be released this fall.
“I’m a stay-at-home dad during the day and gigging musician at night,” Moors said. He has two daughters, age 3 and 6. “They keep me very busy,” he said happily, talking over the sounds of the wind and children at play during a phone interview.
He performs around the region from May until October, taking care of the kids while his wife works as a gardener, and goes on tour in the winter. This fall he’ll be busy putting out his new CD and then heading off to tour Europe and the east and west coasts of the U.S.
Dream for Two Harbors
Arts on Superior, formerly the Lake Superior Comprehensive Arts Planning Program, was started with a grant from the Perpich Center for the Arts. In the past it’s sponsored several residencies at Lake County schools, bringing in artists and storytellers to work with students. They’ve also arranged programming at the Sunrise on Superior senior living facility.
One of its dreams is to establish an arts center, perhaps in downtown Two Harbors. President Linda Melcher envisions spaces for performances, galleries and studios, perhaps neighbored by bookstores and coffee shops. It could attract both locals and tourists, she said, and provide a place for artists to come together and display their work.
“There are so many artists in the Two Harbors area, people who want to teach classes, people who want to take classes,” Melcher said.
Arts on Superior received a $4,000 grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council for the concert series, which was approved by the city of Two Harbors. The ARAC is funded in part by money from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that approved by Minnesotan voters in November 2003.
“We’ve got this beautiful bandshell that’s pretty much only used one night a week,” Melcher said. The City Band performs there on Thursday evenings in the summer. By having the series on Fridays, they also hope to “get tourists to stop in Two Harbors, to eat dinner in Two Harbors, to spend some money in Two Harbors,” Melcher said. With this aim, they’re also promoting the concerts in the Twin Cities area.
Fridays in the Park
Schedule through Labor Day
All concerts begin at 7 p.m. at the bandshell in Thomas Owens Park. If it rains, concerts will be at United Church of Two Harbors.
Tonight – James Moors – folk singer/songwriter
July 30 – TJ Trio – a jazz take on pop, rock and blues
Aug. 6 – Michael Monroe – acoustic folk and reggae
Aug. 13 – De Elliot Bros. – folk, rags and blues jug band
Aug. 27 – TNA – Tom Broadbent, Al Anderson and Nancy MacGibbon play an eclectic mix of original music
Sept. 3 – Bingham and Thorne – acoustic fingerstyle guitar blues
TBA Performers for Sept. 10, 17 and 24 will be announced later.