Minnesota Music Reviews: Dave Simonett

May 6, 2021

The lonely Turtle: Dave Simonett makes a record on his own 

By Mark Nicklawske

As the great pandemic bludgeoned the live entertainment industry it caused many musical heartbreakers - take Dave Simonett for example: The Trampled by Turtles frontman released his first album under his own name - the gorgeous Red Tail, - on March 12 of last year. Shortly afterwards, stage lights went dark forcing the songwriter to cancel a tour and lose the valuable promotion associated with it.

Band performing under a tent
Christine Dean for KUMD

As day three of this virtual Duluth Homegrown Music Festival dawned, the Homegrown Scavenger Hunt was heating up just in time for "May the 4th," which spawned a slew of Star Wars-themed entries to fulfill item 28, "Who started the whole theme night thing anyway? Tuesday." Follow along with all the fun on the Facebook event page.

Man wearing a face mask standing in front of a wall of CDs and holding a guitar
Christine Dean for KUMD

  This Mississippi native lived in San Francisco for many years before finding his way to the Twin Ports, where he's quickly become a fixture on local stages. He's a part of Actual Wolf's touring band and frequently collaborates with other local and regional musicians. He joined us for a Homegrown session on May 6, 2021. He performed the same night at Earthrider Brewery's Starfire Unofficial Birthday Bash.

Coverage of the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival on KUMD is made possible by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Man playing guitar and singing and woman singing in a radio studio seen through a glass window
Christine Dean for KUMD

Sibling duo Eric and Rachel Cyr are at the core of Cyr and the Cosmonauts. Their latest album, Songs to Sing Before We're Dead, is due out on May 14th. We got a sneak peek when they joined us for a Homegrown session on May 7, 2021.
Cyr and the Cosmonauts

Gavin St. Clair

This Duluth singer/songwriter released a new EP, Goodbye, in October 2020. We'll find out more about his music and how he's weathered this past pandemic year when he joins us for a session on Wednesday, May 5 at 2pm. He'll perform on Thursday, May 6 at Earthrider Brewery's festival grounds for their Starfire Unofficial Birthday Bash (in conjunction with Homegrown week).

Coverage of the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival on KUMD is made possible by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


The Monday of the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival traditionally features the Ancillary Arts: poetry, photography, and video.

Music was the main event, however, at the first event of the evening, another set of live-streamed performances from 2104. Grains of Stars opened the evening, with Kristy Marie and Charlie Parr seated barefoot on the floor, creating droning soundscapes on harmonium and steel guitar for a small in-person audience and the internet.

There’s something comforting about the fact that, although this year’s Duluth Homegrown Music Festival is virtual, the traditional schedule remains intact. For kickoff Sunday, that means a Children’s Music Showcase in the morning. This year’s hour-long video showcase is a well-curated mix of music and activities, with Brian Barber’s Draw-Along Fun Time teaching kids how to draw a chicken and Bootsy Collins (because, why not?). Local kid favorite Dan the Monkey Man debuted a new song, “I Got a Good Dog” with plenty of pup footage.

A picture of a perso in a chicken suit standing in a crowd
Laramie Carlson Photography

Happy Homegrown 2021!

Today kicks off the 23rd annual Duluth Homegrown Music Festival. After having to cancel last year's festival due to COVID-19, the Homegrown committee took the intervening year to plan for a virtual festival, while welcoming unofficial live events as vaccines and warm weather are making them a more comfortable option for some.

Seated woman in a radio studio playing guitar and singing into a microphone
Malachy Koons for KUMD

Laura Sellner started Superior Siren as a solo project, in time, adding three bandmates but still occasionally performing solo. The singer/songwriter has announced a new solo EP due out on May 7, 2021. She joined us in the studio for a Homegrown session on May 4, 2021. Her band performed a livestreamed show from Sacred Heart Music Center on the first night of Homegrown as part of the Minnesota Music Coalition's 2021 Music Summit.

Superior Siren

Woman wearing face mask standing in front of a wall of CDs
Malachy Koons for KUMD

This year's Duluth Homegrown Music Festival guide documents how this musician went from being an ensemble player in the six-piece band NorShore Summit to a solo artist at the beginning of last year. Abukhodair played multiple shows throughout 2020's outdoor music season, and is currently preparing to release her first solo album. We'll find out more when she joins Malachy for a Homegrown session on Monday, May 2 at 2pm. She'll perform at Earthrider Brewery's Starfire Unofficial Birthday Bash on Saturday, May 8.

Man playing guitar and singing in a radio studio
Malachy Koons for KUMD

This Americana singer/songwriter was known more for his work as a local environmental educator and activist before he decided to take his singing and guitar playing off the couch and on stage. He's releasing his debut album, Smoky Gold, on May 14; it features contributions from members of The Infamous Stringdusters, Kind Country, Feeding Leroy, and others. He joined us for a session in honor of Duluth's Homegrown Music Festival on May 3 , 2021.

Wendy Ruhkne Interview on The Local

Apr 29, 2021
Wendy Ruhkne
Wendy Ruhkne

Wendy Ruhnke is a Duluth music superfan who missed attending shows during the pandemic and took it upon herself to making her backyard a Duluth music mecca, hosting shows featuring Twin Ports heavy hitters like Rich Mattson, Al Sparwhawk, Charlie Parr, and many more for small gatherings. She joined Marvin Themix on The Local on April 28, 2021.

Man seated holding a guitar with arms crossed over the top of it
Tony Petersen

Cloquet native Tony Petersen was on the road with The Social Animals when the pandemic hit in 2020 and their tour came to an abrupt end. Since then, he's kept busy making music at home in the Twin Cities; not only did he release new music with his previous band Saint Anyway and an album with his uncle Kurt Petersen under the name Love + Effort, but he also put out a solo album under the name Ditchbird. He shared songs from that last project when he joined us for a virtual session that aired April 30, 2021.

Mark Lindquist Interview on The Local

Apr 22, 2021
Mark Lindquist album cover
Mark Lindquist

This week on The Local Malachy spoke with Mark Lindquist. The former Duluth rocker is now running the Central Lakes College Audio Club who recently released a compilation album, A Secret Garden, to benefit students struggling during the covid pandemic. We found out how the club helps students learn valuable music skills and how many of our favorite Duluth musicians ended up on the compilation.