MP3 Father Hennepin - Crooked With Gin
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16 MP3 Songs in this album (52:09) !
Related styles: ROCK: Americana, COUNTRY: Country Rock
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He introduces me to sound engineer Eric Swanson, a grizzled industry vet with a white ponytail and plenty of mellow production advice for Starfire, who is polishing off vocals for what will be the debut album from Father Hennepin.
"I always feel like 'We Are the World' when I sing like this," Starfire says, clamping a pair of headphones around his dirty-blond bed-head and sidling up to the standing mic.
"A friend of mine worked that session," remarks Swanson, remembering an anecdote about Stevie Wonder showing Ray Charles the way to the urinal--the blind leading the blind. The tale has the scent of urban legend, though it's also the kind of yarn you want very much to be true.
Anyway, Starfire is ready to go. "What would Jesus do," he begins in a Martin Zellar-pitched quaver, "if he spent a day in my shoes?" I look at Starfire's shoes: suede tennies. How perfectly thirtysomething punk, I think. Like his "Technicolor DJ" title in place of the blunter birth name Scott Lunt. Or the modest cultural transformation he has tried--and tried and tried--in this perennially depressed industrial port.
Watching Starfire sing, I'm put to mind of an incongruous but memorable image that I return to whenever I think about Duluth's revitalized alternative culture, which lately is a lot: the sight of a lawn mower jutting out from beneath the curtain of a church confessional. I noticed this very thing upon my first visit to the century-old Sacred Heart Cathedral,a historic landmark that was saved from the wrecking ball by preservationists who turned the place into a secular music center. Just think how much good humor was required to relocate the garden tools to the booth of contrition. The mower struck me as a characteristically "Duluth" balance of defiance, self-deprecation, and practical good sense. (In the end, somebody probably just needed to find a place for the damn thing.)
This is also the composite attitude you find among counterculture types beneath the layers of army rags and wool. You can even hear a certain practical defiance in Starfire's song about what Jesus himself would do after a day of being Scott Lunt. Answer: "He'd probably just say, 'Shame on you.'"
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