$10 advance / $12 at the door
Barbara Jean + Mike Lewis
Barbara Jean grew up immersed in a world of music and sound, honing her early gift for the violin, and a musical legacy passed from grandmother to mother to daughter, into a sharp eye for songwriting and a skilled hand as a multi-instrumentalist. Calling the rugged grandeur of Lake Superior's North Shore home for the last several years, she has developed her craft through constant live performance and has struck out on her own to take her debut record, "The Great Escape" to fans all across the Midwest. Classically trained on the viola at the University of Minnesota, and self-taught at the banjo, her voice and songs transcend tradition with a mix of Americana, Appalachia, and an insightful vulnerability in lyric and delivery. After winning the songwriting competition in 2011 at Big Top Chautauqua and making honorable mention in the 2012 Telluride Troubadour Contest, Barbara Jean earned a slot on the prestigious Mountain Stage radio show, and has shared bills with such notable acts as Trampled By Turtles, The Pines, Low, Jonathan Edwards, Meg Hutchinson and more. Performing solo, as a duo, or in larger ensembles, she brings a grace and comfort to the stage at once disarming and captivating, gaining her a burgeoning audience and high praise from her peers. Poised for the release of her first record, the sky is the limit for this stellar songstress as she takes her songs and her sounds to wider and wider audiences.
Michael Lewis is regarded throughout the Twin Cities and well beyond as one of the most creative sax players in modern music, lending his blowing and bowing skills to a number of highly regarded ensembles.
Growing up in Minneapolis, Michael first picked up trumpet (his dad's instrument) and then settled on saxophone at age ten. He attended South High, where he added bass to his arsenal of saxophones. But even before high school, retired band director Denny Malmberg recalls that "It was very apparent in eighth grade that Michael had what I call ‘the gift’ of music-making. I do remember he had a difficult time deciding whether he wanted to pursue baseball or play in the jazz band." Lewis began a nearly two-decade collaboration with Erik Fratzke and Dave King as Happy Apple back in 1996, just a year or two after forming Fat Kid Wednesdays with Adam Linz and JT Bates.
Lewis has been increasingly visible in New York, performing at the Stone with Happy Apple as well as with Fat Kids; and he appeared on David Letterman in connection with his 2009 tour with Andrew Bird, on which he played electric bass. He continues to lead a double life in music, playing bass with Bird, Dosh, Alpha Consumer and Red Start, and locally on saxophones with Bryan Nichols' quintet as well as with Bon Iver, Gayngs, Happy Apple, Fat Kids and recently, with Arcade Fire.
Noted Richard Brody in The New Yorker, “Lewis’s dry, metallic tone on alto and tenor and the free melodic logic of his improvisations recalls the playing of Ornette Coleman…as well as the fragmentation of mid-sixties Sonny Rollins, the quizzical assertions of the great altoist John Tchicai, and even the visionary gospel rhapsodies of Albert Ayler… Lewis’s solos, digging from melody to wail, moving from a breathy, atonal whisper to a deep, swinging groove, have a vulnerable, confessional air.” [Andrea Canter]