Book launch The Current Presents: The Rise of the Minneapolis Sound

Sponsored by 89.3 The Current

Rise of the Minneapolis Sound

The Fitzgerald Theater
10 E Exchange St.
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 290-1200


Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 12:00 PM, MPR Member presale
Thursday, September 21, 2017, 9:00 AM, Public on sale

$50.00, VIP

On October 28th, join The Current’s own Andrea Swensson as she celebrates the release of her debut book, Got to Be Something Here: The Rise of the Minneapolis Sound (Read Andrea Swensson's announcement here). The show will work through the years starting in 1958 with an all-star lineup of guests. Join Andrea and the house band Nooky Jones as they welcome Wee Willie Walker, Wanda Davis, The Valdons, The Original Family Band, and Andre Cymone, with local stars in 2017, PaviElle and Cameron Kinghorn.


About the Book: The story, from start to superstardom, of the musicians who shaped the Minneapolis Sound Beginning in the year of Prince’s birth, 1958, with the recording of Minnesota’s first R&B record by a North Minneapolis band called the Big Ms, Got to Be Something Here traces the rise of that distinctive sound through two generations of political upheaval, rebellion, and artistic passion. (Courtesy of University of Minnesota Press) Purchase info:

About the Author: Andrea Swensson is an author, radio host, and music journalist. She hosts a weekly program about the Minnesota music scene, The Local Show, at Minnesota Public Radio’s 89.3 The Current and contributes to the Local Current Blog. Prior to joining MPR, she was the music editor at City Pages, where she founded the AAN AltWeekly Award-winning Gimme Noise music blog.

Andre Cymone: was a founding member of the North Minneapolis funk-rock group Grand Central and the bassist in Prince’s first touring band, and has gone on to enjoy decades of success as a solo artist and studio producer. His latest album, 1969, was released in April 2017.

The original Family Band was formed in the back room of The Way community center on Plymouth Avenue in Near North, Minneapolis, in the early 1970s, and were highly influential to a new generation of budding musicians from the neighborhood like Prince (who repurposed the band’s name for his own group in 1985), Andre Cymone, Morris Day, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis. Its members have not shared a stage together in Minnesota since the 1970s.

The Valdons, who have also performed as The Philadelphia Story and AKA, are one of the longest-running vocal R&B groups in the state of Minnesota. They released their first 45, “All Day Long,” back in 1971, and just put out their latest single “Thirsty” as AKA in 2015.

Wanda Davis is known as our “Minnesota Queen of Soul.” She rose to popularity in the late 1960s as a member of Maurice McKinnies’ popular band, the Blazers, and broke out as a solo artist with a hit cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Save Me.”

Wee Willie Walker has been singing his heart out for over 50 years. From recording for the Goldwax label in the ‘60s to performing in more recent groups like the Butanes and his We “R” band, Willie has left his mark on the Twin Cities funk, soul, and blues scene, and continues to inspire countless listeners to this day.

Cameron Kinghorn is no stranger to the Fitzgerald Theater stage, having performed as part of the Secret Stash Soul Revue show with Sonny Knight and with his own band, Nooky Jones. He has quickly established himself as one of the most promising young soul artists of his generation.

PaviElle French is a critically acclaimed and celebrated vocalist who proudly hails from the historic African-American Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul. She has made a name for herself as a genre-blurring artist who combines elements of R&B, jazz, hip-hop, spoken word, and soul music.

Nooky Jones is an emerging and red-hot soul band from Minneapolis who just released their debut album, Nooky Jones.

This event is made possible in part by the State of Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.