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Dead Pigeons, Lowest Pair, Benny K, Vernon Dixon: This week’s Minnesota record releases

by KT Lindemann

April 01, 2014

The Dead Pigeons: Even if I Knew

Tuesday night fixtures at Harriet Brewing, West Bank folk rockers the Dead Pigeons specialize in a back-to-basics breed of Americana. The group is led by Drew Peterson, formerly of 40WattBulb, who has historically been a supporter of big-time Minnesota folk and bluegrass acts like Charlie Parr and Trampled by Turtles. In place of 40Watt’s salty, raucous swagger, though, the Dead Pigeons debut Even If I Knew is more romantic—and occasionally tragic—with an easy, melodic sound. This is thanks, in part, to violinist Gretta Hunstiger’s legato fiddle and vocal harmonies, which complement Peterson’s gravel voice. The Dead Pigeons will celebrate the release of Even if I Knew with a dual release show at Cedar Cultural Center on Friday, April 4, with the Lowest Pair.

The Lowest Pair: 36¢

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36¢, the debut record by banjo-centric duo the Lowest Pair, was recorded and mastered by Dave Simonett at Suburban Dad Studios, shortly after Kendl Winter (of Arkansas via Olympia, Washington) and Palmer T. Lee (a Minnesota native) formed the band. Both are experienced musicians who have combined forces for a polished yet quirky 11-song adventure through world-class banjo riffs, timeless folk song influences, and haunting vocals. The band just ended a short tour with Simonett's band Trampled By Turtles, and will now release 36c on vinyl at a dual release show at the Cedar Cultural Center, Friday, April 4, with the Dead Pigeons.

Benny K: Four Years

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A Wisconsinite making waves in the Twin Cities scene, Benny K rattles and rolls through biting, rootsy folk punk: think Conor Oberst meets Billy Bragg. On his latest three-song EP, Four Years, Benny K’s evocative, sarcastic, and politically charged lyrics are accompanied by Joe Peterson on organ and harmonica, making the album a delightful listen in addition to a call to action. “Folk just means that the songs are about people," says the artist, "and all of my tunes are about people.” Four Years deals with the struggles of Wisconsin “folks,” Governor Walker,  and the state’s recent political history. Benny K will release Four Years with a release show at Hymie’s Vintage Records on April 5, with Nate Houge. Benny K will then kick off a series of tours around Wisconsin, leading up to the November election.

Vernon Dixon: Corn Whiskey

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If it weren’t for the giveaway lines about frozen pizzas and contemporary bar culture, you might think Vernon Dixon, fronted by namesake co-leads Katie Vernon Thomasberg and Drew Dixon, came straight out of your classic country record collection. On their debut, Corn Whiskey, out on Friendly Dive records, the pair bust out of the gate with their honky-tonk pistols in the air, dishing out tight vocal harmonies a la Tammy Wynette and George Jones, and backed by twangy fiddle and steel. Corn Whiskey is available now on digital formats and on vinyl at record stores around the Twin Cities, and Vernon Dixon will celebrate the release with a performance at the Minneapolis Eagles Club 34 in Seward, with performances by Wasteband and the Piñata Hearts.

KT Lindemann is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Morris, pursuing studio art and Spanish. She is a native of the Twin Cities and is a wannabe musician, artist, and music writer.

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.