Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Music is Todd Clouser's First Language

by Doug MacRostie. 

Todd Clouser's "A Love Electric" is an instrumental album with a lot to say. For some people music is a first language; there is a channel to the soul where music flows out, expressing more feeling and emotion than words ever could. Todd felt that connection the first time he strummed a guitar when he was 11 years old and I am really excited to talk with him this week on Centerstage MN.

From Minneapols, and recently relocated to Baja, Mexico, Todd Clouser is a genre-defying guitarist bringing 70's rock and modern jazz into a new realm. Todd told me, "When I did discover jazz it was a similar feeling to when I discovered Bob Dylan or Tom Waits; music didn’t have to sound a certain way, and you didn’t have to write your lyrics a certain way. Like a Dylan tune could be 6 minutes long with 7 verses, it didn’t have to be in the 'verse-chorus' digestible pop formula. And that’s how I felt when I listened to Jazz – all these things that I’d been feeling and wanting to express earlier but the form of the music felt restricting – jazz opened the door to get that out." Todd wrote the music down in Baja, but came back to Minneapolis to record this fiery, high-flying album.

We'll also hear a feature about Cornbread Harris, an 83 year old blues musician still performing in Minneapolis. He performed on MN's first rock record 55 years ago, his son Jimmy Jam Harris has produced the likes of Prince and Michael and Janet Jackson. When you hear his voice, you can imagine an 83 year old blues musician who's dedicated his life to music, and thanks to our sister station KFAI for producing this piece, made possible by the MN Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

And the new CD "Dawn and Daylight" from jazz duo Charmin and Shapira has arrived, I've got the debut from Cook County's Most Wanted, and we'll ring in the new year with a song from Take Cover, a high energy pop-rock band out of Duluth.

Centerstage MN is Thursday evenings at 6, streaming live online at www.KAXE.org; or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji and can be heard again Sunday mornings at 6. All interviews are archived at www.KAXE.org. Centerstage MN is also heard on KSRQ in Thief River Falls Saturday nights at 11 & Wednesdays at Noon, and on WTIP in Grand Marais Thursday afternoons at 4. Often featured on MNartists.org.

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