Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio

Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
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Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (music + interview)
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| 00:23:06
  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (music + interview) 23:06
  • Black-Eyed Snakes - Walkin' Talkin' Blues (Live at The Current) 05:11
  • Black-Eyed Snakes - Alright Boys (Live at The Current) 02:45
  • Black-Eyed Snakes - Losing Water (Live at The Current) 04:38

How often do you see an 18-year-old Minnesotan band who have never done a session in The Current's studio? Black-Eyed Snakes, a bluesy Alan Sparhawk side project, fell into that category until just this week. But thanks to the Local Show's recent all-Duluth episode, co-hosted by Andrea Swensson and Duluth Local Show host Mike Novitzki, we finally got to check off that box.

Since forming in Duluth, Black-Eyed Snakes — Alan Sparhawk on vocals/guitar, Bryan Johnson on percussion, Bob Olson on guitar, and Brad Nelson on percussion — have released a couple of albums, attracted some weighty music press, and gone on tour. But since those events in the early '00s, the Snakes have been flying below the radar. Mike Novitzki describes their irregular, often secret or surprise gigs: "It seemed like [playing shows was] something you guys had to be in the mood for."

Now, they're planning to release a third project, which Sparhawk says they'll sell at shows and in the Duluth record store. They shared three new songs in the studio; "Walkin' Talkin' Blues" sounds toned and surprisingly danceable, with the odd tambourine hit juking its way into the mix. "Alright Boys" is a blizzard of angry guitar, distorted vocals, and dueling percussion. "Losing Water" gets languid in its moody sound blanket.

Use the audio player above to hear the music and learn how the band formed, what happens when seasons shift in Duluth, and how Sparhawk hears spirituality in music.

Songs performed

"Walkin' Talkin' Blues"
"Alright Boys"
"Losing Water"

All songs from an unreleased upcoming Black-Eyed Snakes project, which Sparhawk says they'll sell at shows and in Duluth record stores.

Hosted by Andrea Swensson and Mike Novitzki
Produced by Jesse Wiza
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Cecilia Johnson

Resources

Black-Eyed Snakes - Facebook page

Homegrown Music Festival - Black-Eyed Snakes play the fest on Friday, May 4 at 8:45 p.m. at the Red Herring.

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  • The Current's Guitar Collection: Low's Alan Sparhawk, Danelectro Convertible Alan Sparhawk of Low describes his Danelectro Convertible as 'weird,' but that's what he likes about it. 'Sometimes guitars speak back to you, and they give back to you, and that's just magic,' he says. Check out what Alan has to say about the guitar he's taking on tour for 'Ones and Sixes.'
  • Low perform in The Current studio Just days after the release of their 11th album, 'Ones and Sixes', Low stopped in to The Current's studio for a session hosted by Jade. Playing together since 1993, Low's Alan Sparhawk describes the band's secret to longevity. 'Luckily we've always been pretty naive,' he says. 'It's always felt like we're learning.' Check out the entire in-studio session.

11 Photos

  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
    Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
    Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
    Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
    Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
    Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
    Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
    Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
    Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
    Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
    Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio
    Black-Eyed Snakes perform in The Current's studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)

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