Arts and Culture

New Minnesota music round-up: Jazz from Tina Schlieske, plus Lone Rock Bride and Verdin Brothers

Tina Schlieske at The Current.
Tina Schlieske at the Current studios.
Mary Mathis | MPR

‘The Good Life,’ Tina Schlieske

Shifting Paradigm Records
Released: Feb. 23, 2024

record cover that reads the good life
"The Good Life," Tina Schlieske.
Courtesy image

Minnesota music fixture Tina Schlieske (also of Tina & the B-Sides and various side-projects) offers a collection that is purely jazz: a selection of eight standards given a lush musical treatment.

Schlieske is a genuinely fine, confident jazz singer. Her voice alternates between smoky and growly, especially on the title track, originally a French song by Sacha Distel but popularized in America by Tony Bennett.

Here it is given a languid, gorgeous torch song treatment, against brushed drums by Pete Hennig and tinkling, lyrical piano from Bryan Nichols.

Other songs include “Don’t Explain,” in which Schlieske demonstrates an occasional Billy Holiday-style legato, and the more uptempo “Them There Eyes,” which finds Schlieske channeling the energy of a Vegas lounge singer.

‘Lone Rock Bride,’ Lone Rock Bride

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Abe Anderson in Cannon Falls
Released: Jan. 31, 2024

record cover that reads lone rock bride
"Lone Rock Bride,” Lone Rock Bride.
Courtesy image

Fronted by singer-songwriter Emma Fisher, Lone Rock Bride offers a wall of alt-country sound, with Fisher’s gentle, aching voice sometimes sounding draped in twangy Americana guitar licks and soaring pedal steel.

It’s an impressive debut. Fisher has a talent for memorable melodies and well-crafted lyrics, as in the title song: “Packed up all my things in an old quilt, tied with strings,” she sings.

The song is about marriage, which Fisher presents as equal parts anticipatory and melancholy. The arrangements are sometimes thrilling, with wailing fiddles and Spaghetti western guitars.

‘Arcana,’ Verdin Brothers

Gnostic Recordings for PAN
Released: March 1, 2024

An album of folk instrumentals by brothers Andrew, Mark and Peter Verdin. These are moody pieces, as suggested by their evocative titles. “Hojas Santas” is a gentle guitar piece that seems to constantly roll in on itself, backed by intermittent bird calls and sounds of running water, as though the track was recorded in situ at the base of a waterfall.

“Crows in the Corn” likewise has birds, but they are the titular corvids, squawking behind a Celtic number that features a galloping guitar, boinging jaw harp and a marching drums.

record cover that reads arcana
"Arcana," Verdin Brothers.
Courtesy image

The impressively titled “Bring Me The Bones of Nipper Barraud (To Cast a Dark Spell)” has darkly strummed guitars and droning guitars, sounding like the theme song to a forgotten — and notably bleak — acid western.

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment's Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.
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