The Back Issues - 1997 News


Two new releases from Barking Dog Records!

Singer/songwriter Brenda Weiler finished recording "trickle down" in record time for a Christmas release. Brenda, a Fargo native who has also lived and performed in the Minneapolis area, has opened for acclaimed national and regional artists including Greg Brown, Lucy Kaplansky and Richie Havens (who exclaimed to her backstage, "So you're the little girl with the big voice!"). Imagine the musical intersection of Ani DiFranco, Sarah McLachlan and Tracy Chapman -- a voice rich with expression and effortless range, articulate songwriting and superb guitar chops. Brenda attracted a packed house to her album release party December 21 at the Rourke Art Museum in Moorhead, MN. (right). Outfitted with a compact new Yamaha/JBL sound system, Brenda is now planning her spring touring schedule of coffeeshops, colleges and clubs. Stay current with Brenda's performance dates on the gig page.


Jay Walters and the rest of us are overjoyed to have his new release, "The Nest Has Fallen" -- delayed by production problems for two months -- in our hot little hands. A studio tour-de-force, the album is a rich mix of intense, compelling lyrics, finely crafted songs and impassioned performance in the tradition of the Beatles, Elvis Costello, Pink Floyd, U2 and Lyle Lovett.

Jay, Brenda, and fellow Barking Dog Records singer/songwriter Lisa Briggs performed together in Fargo on the weekend between Christmas & New Years on an Acoustic Showcase -- an afternoon show at Zandbroz Variety and an evening show at 1st Avenue Cabaret. Check out the What's New Back Issues for pictures.

Jay's band (l to r: Daren Storey, percussion; Jay Walters, lead vocals, guitar and keyboards; Rebecca Walters, backing vocals, keyboard and sax; and Tom Adams, bass) performed a terrific set of Jay's originals and (natch) a Bee Gees cover.


BDR Acoustic Showcases December 27-28

It's an acoustic reunion in the Red River Valley this holiday season as Lisa Briggs (left) comes up from Nashville, Jay Walters and his percussionist Daren Storey motor up from Minneapolis to join Barking Dog Records' newest artist, Brenda Weiler, in an informal 3-set afternoon performance at Zandbroz Variety in Fargo at 2:00 on Saturday, December 27 and Acoustic Night at Fargo's First Avenue Cabaret at 9:30 on Sunday, December 28. Don't miss this chance to hear three of the Midwest's finest songwriters - it's the perfect treat for that span of vacation time between Christmas and New Years Eve. And speaking of New Years Eve, don't forget to skank in the new year with 3 Minute Hero at Playmakers in Fargo!


Mike and Linda Coates perform in December

Art galleries and coffeehouses throughout the Red River Valley will host guitar/vocal duo Mike and Linda Coates (right) in a mini-tour of December holiday concerts. Performance venues include the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks ND, the Plains Art Museum in Fargo ND, the Rourke Art Museum in Moorhead MN, the Jamestown Art Center in Jamestown ND, and Emily's Harvest coffeehouse in Park Rapids MN and The Liquid Bean coffeehouse in Devils Lake ND. Flutist Debora Harris is a special guest on several dates - she'll perform cuts off her classical flute-guitar CD "Reverie" and also join Mike and Linda in special acoustic Christmas arrangements. Be sure to check the gig page for details on these dates and more.



Raptor Studios/Barking Dog Records take on flood relief fundraiser project

Winter is here and it will still be a long time before things are back to normal in many parts of the flood-ravaged Red River Valley. Garrison, ND music teacher Pat Koenig wrote a lovely song, "Hometown Christmas," and envisioned a recording of it which would be used to raise money throughout North Dakota for flood relief and also for support of her town's local arts council. Mrs. Koenig was steered to Raptor Studios by the recommendation of friends and colleagues, and we were pleased to take on the project and add our efforts to the cause.

"Hometown Christmas," a warm and touching song which will surely soothe the hearts of those people still working to put their own towns back together, is now released as a cassette single and features the donated talents of Barking Dog Records artists Mike & Linda Coates and Debora Harris. Here regional commercial studio veteran and Kindred, ND music teacher Sheila Childs (right) lays down the lead vocal track for "Hometown Christmas." Thanks to Precision Powerhouse duplicating, Litho Express Printing in Minneapolis and MAG Media Productions for their generous donations to this effort!


Raptor Studios announces addition


The contractors have cleared out, leaving a lovely new Isolation/Vocal Room in their wake! This spacious 9' x 7' isolation booth duplicates the acoustic properties of our Main Studio, accomodating simultaneous tracking of vocalists or instrumentalists with musicians in the main room. Windows provide sightlines to the main room and the control room.

Be sure to visit the Raptor Studio pages for new pictures, more studio information and lots of updates!




Deb Harris Album Release at District 31 Victoria's

An appreciative audience savored luscious desserts and enjoyed an evening of music and art at the "Music After Dinner - Art After Dark" album release event Friday, September 26 at the beautiful brick District 31 schoolhouse--restored and transformed into Victoria's fine dining restaurant--in Wolverton, Minnesota. Mike and Linda Coates performed a classical guitar-vocal set followed by several pieces by special guest Debora Harris (above) in celebration of the release of "Reverie," the new classical guitar-flute release on Barking Dog Records. The event began with an art opening by our favorite photographer, Jaime Penuel. Linda and Jamie (right) found a moment to chat during the opening. Jaime's work is featured on the covers of several Barking Dog Records releases: Lisa Briggs' "coffee and gifts," Mike and Linda Coates' "An Early Spring" and "Fall in Love" as well as "Reverie," our new classical guitar-flute release by Debora Harris and Mike Coates.


3 Minute Hero meets "The Littlest Hero" on Halloween

3 Minute Hero guitarist/vocalist Jay Kalk and frontman/trombonist Jeff Nelson met one of their youngest admirers Halloween night...Keith Coates, 4-year-old son of Barking Dog Records owners Mike and Linda Coates learns the poses from the experts.

Here you see Jay Kalk preparing the headpieces for the band's Halloween costumes -- those of you who couldn't make it to Fargo's Old Broadway last Friday night missed seeing 3 Minute Hero as an 8-piece DEVO, complete with black turtlenecks and smashing red hats. Is there no length to which these lads will not go for the sake of their art? Sadly, no. Go to 3 Minute Hero's news page for more pictures...



Sarah Morrau draws full house to album release

Vocalist Sarah Morrau, performing with her recording group, packed the house at the elegant TreeTop Lounge in Moorhead, Minnesota on Thursday, October 16. The occasion was the release of Storm Warning, a lovely collection of jazz standards, pop favorites and folk classics. There were people filling all the tables and standing three deep at the bar when Sarah took the stage to perform a set of songs from the album. Accompanying her were (l to r) Rob Hanneman on keyboard (and occasional bass guitar), Perry Ochsner on bass, Josh Harty on acoustic and electric guitars and Tom Christianson on percussion. Sarah finished recording at Raptor Studios in September and her album is already receiving enthusiastic comments and sales in its first weeks of local release. Check out Sarah's new web page and gig dates!


Barking Dog Records signs Jay Walters

Minneapolis songwriter Jay Walters is the newest addition to the Barking Dog Records roster with his upcoming release "The Nest Has Fallen." In the midst of mixing at Raptor Studios, Jay found time to perform with his drummer/percussionist Daren Storey at Fargo's First Avenue Cabaret. Jay's upcoming album is a rich mix of intense, compelling lyrics, finely crafted songs and impassioned performance in the tradition of the Beatles, Elvis Costello, Pink Floyd, U2 and Lyle Lovett. Listen for the 3 Minute Hero horn section on "coldcoolwarmhot" and a cameo voice-over by 3MH frontman Jeff Nelson.

Check out Jay's web page and watch for the band's performances throughout the Minneapolis-Fargo region.

Mike & Linda Coates perform at Plains Art Museum opening

The largest art institution from Minneapolis to the West Coast held its grand opening Saturday, October 4, and Barking Dog Records artists Mike and Linda Coates were honored to be one of many performing groups on hand for the celebration. Check Mike and Linda's performance dates on the Gig Page for updates about appearances throughout the region in November and December.



3 Minute Hero named region's Best Band

According to readers of the High Plains Reader, the largest alternative weekly in North Dakota with a circulation throughout the Red River Valley from the Canadian border (including Grand Forks, Fargo-Moorhead and Wahpeton) to the South Dakota border, 3 Minute Hero is the best band in the region! The High Plains Reader ran a Reader's Best Bets poll over the past several weeks asking readers for their favorites - from night spots and restaurants to sports teams and artists - and our favorite ska band came in NUMBER ONE! No surprise to us, of course, but we're pleased as can be just the same. Check the Gig Page and experience them for yourself!


New Sound System for Barking Dog Records band 3 Minute Hero

After months of renting various and sundry sound systems, it was time for our heroes to have a sound system of their own - all the better to entertain and exhaust you with, of course. So the fine folks at Barking Dog Records went shopping with the band and we all came up with one mighty fine and beefy spankin' new system. The gearheads among you may want to check out the equipment list and drool over the sexy pictures - the rest of you can check out their gig calendar and hear it for yourselves at a hot spot near you. (Be advised that some clubs provide house systems).


3 Minute Hero kicks off fall tour

"I've never seen a Monday night crowd this big or with so many dancers!" "This band is fantastic!" The Fine Line in Minneapolis was the scene on Monday, August 25, as 3 Minute Hero took the stage and had the full main-floor crowd on their feet skankin' up a storm (left). Minneapolis pals in the crowd included (from left to right) Jay Walters (now recording in Raptor Studios since September 1), Joel Kruse of Soul Doubt, Julie Secrease of Live Entertainment, Mark Brodin of Nero's House Band, and Larry Chapin, manager of Medium and Barking Dog Records promotions associate in the Twin Cities.

Check out their gig calendar for upcoming dates including opening dates for Fishbone on September 7 in Fargo and for Let's Go Bowling on September 21 in Iowa City.



Barking Dog Records signs Debora Harris, announces new release

Watch for the release of Reverie by flutist Debora Harris (our newest Barking Dog Records artist) and Mike Coates, classical guitar. This is an exquisite collection of music ranging from shimmering French Impressionistic pieces to colorful folk music of Appalachia and the American Southwest to the exotic Argentinian tango. Debora Harris, principal flute of the Fargo- Moorhead Symphony and a featured soloist on this season's Subscription Series, will be performing with Mike and Linda Coates in a special album release concert at the elegant Victoria's Restaurant in Wolverton, Minnesota on Friday, September 26. (The happy but exhausted artists, right, approve the final mixes.) Check the calendar below for Deb's upcoming performances.



3 Minute Hero to Headline NACA Showcase

October will find Barking Dog Records Midwestern ska sensation 3 Minute Hero hitting the road to headline the National Association of Campus Attractions conference showcase in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Bands and performing artists from all over the country compete for slots on these showcase performances at which college events programmers from Minnesota, Iowa, Manitoba, North and South Dakota pick acts for the coming year. Of the 400 bands who applied to perform at this conference, only 15 were chosen, and 3 Minute Hero was the first band chosen for a slot! Way to go guys!

In related Hero news, dates are firming up for their fall Midwestern tour - check their calendar daily for updates. Look for 3 Minute Hero to pull up to a club near you in their spiffy new bus - they won it as first place winners in a Battle of the Bands at Old Broadway in Fargo. The bus was awarded to 3 Minute Hero and custom painted to their specifications. Contest sponsors Old Broadway, Rolling Rock Beer, and Q98 FM now have the privilege of displaying their logos on the hippest bus in the Upper Midwest.

3 Minute Hero's debut CD "bingo" has just sold out its first pressing and we've made more - get your shiny new CD while it's fresh!


Soul Doubt Unplugged

Soul Doubt, a Minneapolis band who recorded their debut CD "I Will Not Be Silent" at Raptor Studios last winter, performed an "unplugged" in-store performance Saturday afternoon, July 19 at Zandbroz Variety in Fargo before their headline gig that evening at Fargo's First Avenue Cabaret. Their CD is available at Twin Cities and Fargo record stores, by mail through the order form on this site, and by secure credit card ordering through IndiSonic (where you'll also find streaming audio clips).

Left to right: Chris German (lead vocalist, primary songwriter, bass), Russ Haynes (keyboard & vocals), Joel Kruse (seated - guitar, vocals, songwriter) and Dan Marshall (drums, percussion).


Jim Langemo Headlines 4th of July Show

Moorhead (MN) State University celebrated its 25th anniversary of offering its popular, down-home style 4th of July Family Celebration and invited Jim Langemo to perform twice as featured performer - at the afternoon festivities on the campus mall (left) and in front of thousands of people in the stands to see the evening fireworks display (right). Joining Jim onstage were bandmates Kent McConachie on bass, Kyle Bonderson on drums and guest backup singer (and tambourine virtuosa) Linda Coates.

Jim recently returned from his second consecutive year of performing at the famed Chicago Blues Festival. He is currently taking a couple months off from performing and will return to Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) coffeehouse and club stages this fall.


Barking Dog Records Artists Lisa Briggs and Jim Langemo Nab 5 of 10 IndiSonic "Top Ten" spots!

Check out IndiSonic, a cool online independent music site based in Minneapolis...Barking Dog Records has contracted with them to feature all our artists on their site. Link on over for streaming audio (Shockwave and RealAudio 3.0), secure credit card ordering, chat forums and their Top Ten List - congrats Lisa and Jim! Note - these pages are updated daily, so check back often.

Also check out Raptor Studio artists Soul Doubt and Aldo's pages on IndiSonic.


Mike & Linda Coates Open Concert Series

Barking Dog Records classical guitar/vocal duo Mike and Linda Coates were invited to be the first performers in a new series, "Summer Music at the Museum," at the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks. Conceived as a free, informal series of musical performances to bring much-needed diversion and enjoyment to flood-stricken Grand Forks residents, the series will also include appearances by ensembles from the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony and other regional artists. Mike and Linda's performance Tuesday, June 17 at the North Dakota Museum of Art was enthusiastically and warmly received by the audience. (Speaking of art museums, you can also catch a special performance by Mike and Linda at the Grand Opening of the new Plains Art Museum in Fargo on October 4.)


3 Minute Hero films video

Link on over to the Hero News Page to check out behind-the-scenes pictures of the filming session of 3 Minute Hero's new promotional video which will be finished at the end of July. A limited number will be available for sale at performances and through the order form.



Linda Coates attends national Indie convention

Five days in exotic New Orleans at the beautiful and historic Roosevelt/Fairmont Hotel adjacent to the French Quarter - all in the name of work, work, work. Recording artist and Barking Dog Records co-owner Linda Coates spent May 21-25 at the NAIRD (National Association of Independent Record Distributors and Manufacturers) Convention. This organization (which just changed its name to AFIM - Association for Independent Music) sponsors the largest gathering of independent record labels, recording artists, distributors, and manufacturers in the country - the group that gives out the annual Indie Awards.

Linda notes, "It was a fabulous convention. From the very informative Crash Course Panels for first-time attendees and new indie labels to the keynote speech by Ani DiFranco - one of the most successful independent artists in the music field - the presentations were top notch. One of the most inspiring moments was an impassioned speech by Chris Morris, Billboard Magazine senior writer and author of the weekly column, 'State of Independents.' It was very clear throughout the week that independent music of all genres - from folk to punk, new age to ska, children's music to the blues - is a vital and inspired element of America's music industry. Occupying nearly 25% of the entire market, indie music is a force to be reckoned with!"

Pictured above is Linda Coates, left, attending the Indie Awards Banquet with her pals Michael Jordan and Drew Barrymore (just kidding...they are fellow indie label notables Delvin Wilson of 1022 Records and Heather Tait of Artificial Records/Hit Media.)

Of course, you'd expect great live performances at a music conference held in New Orleans, and no one was disappointed. In addition to hot nightly showcases around town and in the French Quarter featuring acts from leading indie labels Tommy Boy (hip-hop and rap), Alligator (blues) and Epitaph (punk and alternative) we were also treated to music by Creole masters at the Indie Awards banquet. Famed composer and producer Allen Toussaint (left) showed his mastery at the grand piano with a smokin' backup band.


Cajun artists Eddy Raven and Jo-El Sonnier (right) got the place jumping with bayou rock standards including the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic "On the Bayou."



New Reviews of Lisa Briggs' "coffee & gifts"

Singer-songwriter Lisa Briggs, Barking Dog Records' first signed artist, has gotten some wonderful press lately. Check out this review of coffee & gifts from reviewer David M. Meyers of the Davis (California) Enterprise:

"In a world gone retro, someone finally remembered to bring back good music. While digging through the goodies contained in this disc, I found major 7th chords, chromatic descension and resolved suspensions everywhere. For those who haven't taken music theory, that means this is real pretty stuff. Carly Simon and Carole King must be very proud.
You actually can judge this disc by its cover. Hailing from Minnesota, Briggs delivers an hour of middle-Americana, and it was no surprise to learn of her recent performance with radio star Garrison Keillor. For those homesick for the Midwest--a bit oxymoronic to me--this disc certainly reflects a wholesomeness often associated with hot chocolate, warm fires, antiques and cardigans.
Even if country kitchen isn't your style, you'll still find much to appreciate in Briggs' rich young voice. Although at times I began to hear sprinkles of Nashville, Briggs never succumbs, and this CD is far too good to land in the twang-heap.
Along with the lush ballads and jazz-flavored swing, "Postcards from Spain" and "Waiting for Jane" sound so much like soulful Broadway show tunes, I had to look outside to make sure everyone around me wasn't breaking out into song (not that I'd mind--as long as I knew my part).
Anyone who cites Billy Joel as a musical influence scores immediate Brownie points, but bribery attempts aside, this one is pure and sweet."

--Thursday, May 1, 1997--David M. Meyers, The Davis Enterprise (Davis, California)



...and this one from Sam Bergman of WOBC in Oberlin, Ohio:

"Thanks for the CDs! I'm listening to Lisa's right now, and I love it! She has a wonderfully pure voice, and her songwriting has that wonderful midwestern intimacy... Such a nice change from what I've taken to calling the "Boston whiny" school of songwriting - you know, so full of angst you just want to tell them, "Cut it out, or I'll give you something to cry about..." Both CDs [Lisa's and Jim Langemo's "Welcome to Sadieville"] will be receiving airplay on WOBC's folk programs."

--Tuesday, May 13, 1997--Sam Bergman, WOBC Radio (Oberlin, Ohio)



Jim Langemo Turns On Sadieville City Council

Barking Dog Records artist Jim Langemo thought that stumbling across the small town of Sadieville, Kentucky, which shared the name with his daughter, Sadie, was such a marvelous coincidence that he decided it would make a perfect title for his debut CD, "Welcome to Sadieville." After he got back home to Minneapolis from his business trip in which he discovered this charming town, Jim contacted the City of Sadieville. He told them of his album plans and asked if they had any pictures or town history they would like to share. Those of you who have Jim's album may be interested to know that many of the pictures on the inside fold-out "bulletin board" are historic Sadieville pictures as is the train depot image on the disc itself.

Recently, we received this letter from Sadieville:

"The City of Sadieville would like to express our gratitude to you for sending the two Compact Discs of Jim Langemo's "Welcome to Sadieville." The songs were really great and we have all enjoyed listening to them. The City has some ideas to help spread the fame of this Compact Disc and Mr. Langemo, those ideas will be discussed at our next Board of Commissioners meeting. We wish you and Mr. Langemo much success with this project.


Mayor Dianna F. Vest,
the entire Sadieville Board of Commissioners
and Christie Grindstaff, City Clerk/Treasurer"


How cool! The City has ordered two boxes of CDs to sell and has invited Jim to perform at their community festival in September. Catch Jim live at the Chicago Blues Festival June 5 and 6!


Raptor Showcase a Success...

The Raptor Studios Showcase at Fargo's First Avenue Club on April 17 and 18, featuring some of the artists who recorded at Raptor Studios during the 1996-97 season, was a fun success despite the ominous rising floodwaters of the Red River.
The Thursday night line-up featured Lisa Briggs opening the show with an acoustic set. She sounds better than ever and has written some great new songs since moving to Nashville. Lisa reports that she cleared the first round of (rather brutal) auditions and will be an occasional performer at Nashville's famed Bluebird Cafe - way to go, Lisa!

Jim Langemo brought his new band up with him from Minneapolis - welcome Kyle and James. Mike and Linda Coates also sat in both nights contributing keyboards and backing vocals - conga guest Caleb Mott joined in Friday night. Check out Jim's calendar below for Twin Cities coffeehouse and club dates where you can see him do that tricky guitar-harmonica thing you see here...

The funky boys in Silicon Monkey got the joint jumping with their high-energy originals and covers from Sly & the Family Stone to the Chili Peppers during Thursday night's show. Here they are backstage gathering their thoughts before taking the stage. Check out their new website just posted this week - bookmark it and check back often as we add more info!

Soul Doubt brought their intense power-pop all the way from Minneapolis/St. Paul for Friday's show. Here, songwriter/bassist/lead vocalist Chris German pours out her soul for the enthusiastic crowd. Link on over to their website for more info on this excellent four-piece band (formerly a power trio before keyboardist Russ Haynes joined guitarist Joel Kruse and drummer Dan Marshall to round out the band).

Headlining both nights was the manic fun machine 3 Minute Hero. The dance floor was full of flailing limbs from the first tune to the end of the night as the ska-boys whipped up their froth of blazing horns, tight vocals, and infectious rhythm all thrown to the crowd by the evangelistic rock-n-roll fervor of trombonist/lead vocalist/master of ceremonies Jeff Nelson (left). Check out their new web pages on this site for more -- keep up with Hero as they plan their fall tour of the Midwest and beyond. Here Luke, Steve and Jason crash on the pool table after their set (right).
Our thanks to the fine folks at the High Plains Reader who helped sponsor the Music Biz pre-party and who helped promote the event. Best of luck to you folks after losing some of your staff's homes and business offices to the Grand Forks Flood/Fire disaster...
Pictured l to r: Mike Vangsness, manager of First Avenue/Luigi's; Jon Strand, publisher of the High Plains Reader, Raoul Gomez, HPR design editor; Barb Baldwin, HPR designer; and Jon Flatland, HPR advertising manager.

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