(Saturday) 7:30 pm – 11:59 pm
Dickie’s 2015 self-titled release was a moody testimonial of singer-songwriter Dick Prall. Prall took a succession of personal losses and nestled them inside a beautifully-layered soundtrack that found Dickie on the top of several “Best of” lists that year.
2019 finds Prall in a nostalgic headspace, partnering with talented drummer/multi-instrumentalist Billy Barton to produce a stripped-back mix of reflective and pulsating sing-alongs in the latest release, Minus Thieves. Though the common thread of Prall’s past work has showcased liberal production through lush string arrangements and gorgeously-stacked harmonies, Minus Thieves is a practice in restraint led by producers Pat Sansone (Wilco) and Joshua Shapera. The simplified effort was tracked at The Magic Barn, a rural studio located just outside the small town of Solon, Iowa. Its notoriety comes from housing the original recording equipment of New York’s now-defunct The Magic Shop. Artists such as David Bowie, Lou Reed, The Ramones, and Blondie have all made records at the famous facility. Sansone and Shapera reached back even further into the archives of recording history by applying a formula of straightforward guitars of all sonic sizes and fusing them seamlessly with Barton’s tight rhythms and Prall’s continuous knack for infectious melody. Whether a seasoned critic or a casual listener, you’ll find the minimal production of Minus Thieves impeccably highlights the Prall/Barton collaboration, welcoming you to happily ingest the most important parts of any pop-tinged record.
(Thursday) 6:30 pm – 11:59 pm
It’s been a rough year for Brian Johannesen. The same week he closed on his first house in Iowa City, IA, his mother-in-law went onto life support. Although she pulled through, her health steadily declined over the following months, leading to endless doctors appointments, hospital stays, rehab stints, and several months living with Brian and his wife. All the while Brian was trying to finish his second full-length solo release, “Holster Your Silver.” Last April, she passed away in that new home.
While some of the songs on “Holster Your Silver” were written before any of this happened, they took on new meaning as he watched a loved one wither. The album inherited a haunting tone, dealing with personal issues like anxiety, loss, and a struggle to come to terms with an increasingly unjust political climate. These themes manifested themselves in an honest, lyric-forward collection of songs that offer a glimpse into the mind of a songwriter coming to grips with the real world.
A Chicago native and longtime Iowan, Johannesen’s Americana sound has always been firmly rooted in the Midwest. Drawing inspiration from his heroes like John Prine, Guy Clark, and Bruce Springsteen, he writes about everyday life with sincerity and often a little bit of his tongue in his cheek. Johannesen’s songs also carry a twang he learned from four years spent in Nashville, where he formally studied Music Business and informally studied the songwriters and musicians who inhabit Music City. He returned to Iowa City in 2016 where he felt more at home and free to pursue music without the industry looming over his head.
Songwriting has always been Johannesen’s passion, but for the past 6 years the music industry has also been his day job. He has worked as a talent buyer for clubs and festivals across the country over the years, and this experience has helped him understand the real struggle of musicians and promoters alike. This struggle also presents itself in his music as he reconciles the new and old models of “making it” in the business.
With “Holster Your Silver,” Johannesen takes a step forward, leaning into a craft he has worked at for over a decade. The result is a songwriter finding his own voice that is powerful, delicate, artful and accessible all at the same time.
Through the years, Johannesen has had the honor of sharing the stage with Shovels & Rope, Justin Townes Earle, Joe Pug, Greg Brown, JD McPherson, William Elliott Whitmore, Langhorne Slim, Lydia Loveless, Cory Branan, Paul Thorn, and many more.
(Friday) 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
From their debut in March 2015, the NOLA Jazz Band has been in demand across the greater Midwest. They have also played numerous festivals across Iowa and the Midwest, and are highly sought after for larger private events in the Des Moines area. The band also continues to build their reputation regionally and across the U.S.
Led by Clarinet Player Jeff Kane, Band members have shared the stage with jazz greats and have been inducted into the Iowa Jazz and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame. They have also played at well-known Jazz clubs such as Spotted Cat in New Orleans and the Iridium and Smalls in New York City. Recent musical groups and artists the band has played with include:
Davina & the Vagabonds (Minneapolis)
Bria Skonberg – rising star jazz trumpet player and singer (New York City)
Marla Dixon and The Shotgun Jazz Band (New Orleans)
The Hot Club of San Francisco – One of the top International Gypsy and “Hot Jazz” groups
The bands two CD’s are available at live shows, online at iTunes and CD Baby, on their website, as well as streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and others.
(Friday) 8:00 pm
Music Starts: 8:30PM
Tickets: $15 GA Advance // $20 DoS // $20 Bundle w/ First Fridays with NOLA Jazz Band
“Life is never going to go exactly the way you think it will,” says Eric Tessmer, “but I’ve come to
appreciate that fact. Good things take time.”
Tessmer’s stellar new release, ‘EP II,’ is proof of that. Three years in the making, the collection
was recorded in Los Angeles with acclaimed producer Sean Beavan (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’
Roses), and it finds the incendiary Austin guitarist matching his technical flash with new heights
of lyrical craftsmanship and studio sophistication. The performances here represent Tessmer’s
most raw, powerful work to date, tackling sobriety, commitment, and redemption with both deep
insight and fearless vulnerability. It’s a remarkable step in an already remarkable career, one
that showcases a virtuosic instrumentalist boldly stretching his limits and embracing his artful
evolution as a singer and songwriter.
“I wanted to go deeper than I ever have before with this EP,” says Tessmer. “I still love ripping
things up on the guitar, but this time around, I wanted to save that more for the live show and
really focus on concision in the studio.”
A Wisconsin native, Tessmer developed his love affair with music through a kind of familial
osmosis. Both his grandmother and father played guitar, and Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Cream
were all staples around the house growing up. Inspired in part by watching reruns of Austin City
Limits on his local PBS station, Tessmer moved to Texas straight out of high school, and he
quickly garnered a formidable reputation there for his fierce fretwork and explosive live
performances. He cut his teeth playing residencies in clubs and bars, shared stages with
everyone from Gary Clark, Jr. to Tab Benoit, and released a series of live and studio albums
that earned widespread critical acclaim, with the Austin Chronicle dubbing him an “SRV-fast
firebrand” and the Austin American Statesman hailing him as a “working class guitar hero.”
‘EP II’ reflects the loose, energetic freedom that’s become Tessmer’s trademark, with searing
rocker “The Treatment” kicking things off with an infectious guitar riff that at once calls to mind
AC/DC and ZZ Top. It’s a love song, no doubt, but in typical Tessmer fashion it comes with a
dark edge, a hint of danger that flows just beneath the surface. The slow-burning “Good So
Bad” grapples with the rollercoaster of addiction and recovery, while the eerie “Early Early
Morning” mixes romance and film noir, and the swampy “Po’ Boy” is a funky instrumental
fireworks show. Though the collection prizes economy, Tessmer’s sprawling cover of friend and
collaborator Anders Osborne’s “Love Is Taking Its Toll” is a notable exception, clocking in at ten
minutes of blistering guitar work and smoldering vocals. Of all the standout moments on the EP,
though, it’s perhaps the soulful “Simple Solution,” an anthemic ode to music itself, that captures
Tessmer’s spirit best.
“I must have had ten different sets of lyrics for that song,” he remembers. “I felt this pressure to
be ‘profound,’ but then I realized that the most profound thing I could do was to stop taking
myself too seriously, crank the music up, and do what I love to do.”
It may have taken a while to get there, but the finished product is everything Tessmer hoped it
would be and more. Good things take time, after all, and a collection as strong as ‘EP II’ is
undoubtedly worth the wait.
“This guitar prodigy plays like a man possessed” – Boston Globe
“Tessmer is the real deal.” – The Austinist
“You can’t watch him play guitar solos. It’ll make you dizzy.” – Gary Clark Jr.
“The first time I saw Eric play, the top of my skull blew off.” – Nancy Wilson
(Saturday) 7:30 pm
$10 Adv // $15 DOS
Since the 1990s, The Soul Searchers have been one of the most in-demand live music groups in Iowa. The group, whose music is best described as boogie-woogie blues, typically performs more than 100 dates a year at music festivals, bars, wineries, breweries, company gatherings, wedding receptions, and graduation parties. The band’s members, Scott Eggleston (guitar and vocals), Neil Stoffregen (piano and organ), Erich Gaukel (electric and upright basses) and Mark Grimm (drums), are in-demand musicians in Iowa and have toured and performed onstage with Pieta Brown, Bo Ramsey, The Nadas, Sam Salomone, The Turner Center Jazz Orchestra, R.J. Mischo, Rockin’ Johnny, Aki Kumar, Jim Viner’s Incredible B3 Band, among many others.
(Saturday) 6:00 pm
MADE4MANKIND & SNAPCITY PRESENTS HUSTLE & MOTIVATE PART 1
“Starts in the Dark, Ends in the Light”
We’re putting together a one of a kind show to kick off the new year with a 20/20 vision of unity and prosperity to push our fellow local artists to reach a new level in their journey as innovators for the future.
Hosted by SnapCity
Doors open at 6:00 pm
Must be at your spot at 7:00p m prompt!
Age limit 18+
Drinks will be available for purchase (21+ only)
Food & Non-Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.
Show will include:
– 3 Dance Performers including the famous “Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corp”
– 5 Musicians + Surprise performer
– Made4Mankind Fashion Show (New Merch Debut!!)
Purchase your tickets now!
$15 at the door
DON’T BE LATE!!!
**After party @ Voodoo Lounge Des Moines 11-2am**
(Friday) 7:00 pm – 11:59 pm
With a rock-rooted sound that doesn’t shy away from radio-ready hooks, SUSTO keeps listeners engaged by refusing to occupy an easily defined space. Produced by Ian Fitchuck (Kacey Musgraves, Ruston Kelly) and featuring key input from Osborne’s longtime creative sounding board Wolfgang Zimmerman, Ever Since I Lost My Mind defiantly experiments with synth embellishments, Latin heart, guileless folk, and more. Osborne’s mellow vocals comfort without losing the ability to surprise — delicate croons, growls, and occasional screams take turns.
$15 Advance / $17 D.O.S.
(Saturday) 7:30 pm
Stripping the words, the music, and the players down to their raw parts, Twinsmith have created a work of confident determination. Melodies soar and rhythms sway, the beats pulse with a laid back but urgent immediacy, and the simplicity of it all stitches the songs together in its mysterious way.
Advance Tickets: $10
(Thursday) 6:30 pm
Buy TicketsReserve Tickets
Ducharme-Jones perform original Americana, Roots-Rock, hailing originally from Austin, Texas and now residing in the Des Moines Metroplex. Performing either as a duo or a five piece band (Scot Sutherland-bass, Jim Stevens-drums/percussion, Al Kabela-pedal steel), the project features the songwriting and performance of David and Annie Ducharme-Jones. Their songwriting is lyrical with strong harmonies, a hook to draw you in, along with solid, melodic, and sophisticated guitar. Performances include many of their own songs as well as their take on some of their favorite covers including, but not limited to Lucinda Williams, Gov’t Mule, Linda Ronstadt, Jimi Hendrix or Dolly Parton. Their love of different genre’s becomes evident in their eclectic style and performance. Their most recent compilation of thirteen songs, Ducharme-Jones/Vagabonds & Poets, was released July 2019.
(photo: Jim Stevens)
(Sunday) 6:30 pm
Advance Tickets: $15 // DOS: $20
Rolling Stone once named 15-year-old EmiSunshine among “10 new country artists you need to know.” There is no better way than to get to know this young singer/songwriter than “Family Wars.”
“Family Wars” is EmiSunshine and The Rain’s most personal project to date. With ten songs and one bonus track, the album addresses domestic violence, dysfunctional families, political corruption, mass murder, lost love, and freedom—those who have it, and those who seek it.
“The album is about working through different types of conflicts,” Emi says. “I’m just voicing my opinion about what I see going on in the world, but hopefully in a way that won’t offend. I’m looking at problems and trying to make something beautiful out of them.”
Emi has been attracting national attention since the age of nine, with appearances on “The Today Show,” NBC’s “Little Big Shots,” “Pickler & Ben,” the Grand Ole Opry and elsewhere. In 2018, she was featured in the Grammy-nominated Elvis Presley documentary film “The King,” alongside Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Ashton Kutcher, Alec Baldwin and other stars.
(Saturday) 7:30 pm – 11:59 pm
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has built its reputation the long, slow, hard way. After 12 years of playing as many as 300 shows each year, Rev. Peyton, the world’s foremost country blues finger-style picker, along with the biggest little band in the country has pieced together one of the most dedicated followings out there. This following is sure to eat up the band’s latest offering, Poor Until Payday, (the second on their own Family Owned Records label through hip Nashville indie Thirty Tigers) out October 5th, a country blues record that was made the right way — two feet on the ground and both hands getting dirty.
With all the power of a freight train, the Big Damn Band is known for its live shows. Rev. Peyton delivers guitar pyrotechnics the old fashioned way — ten fingers, a 6 string and an amp cranked at full tilt. In the country blues style, he plays the bass with his thumb, while picking the lead with his fingers at the same time. When he lifts the guitar behind his head to play there’s nothing but skill and 16 gauge nickel strings to make the sounds coming out of the speakers.
Advance Tickets: $15 // D.O.S.: $18
(Sunday) 6:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Hailed as ‘a talent to outrank Ryan Adams or Conor Oberst’ by Uncut and praised for his ‘spare and easy sounding guitar songs’ by NPR, Rouse first emerged in 1998 with his debut album, ‘Dressed Up Like Nebraska,’ which Billboard called a ‘dark horse gem.’ Over the next two decades, he’d go on to release a steady stream of critically lauded records that would solidify his status as one of the his generation’s most acclaimed songwriters, both in the US and Europe, where he’s lived on and off since 2004. Q called his breakout album, ‘1972,’ ‘the most intimate record of the year,’ while Rolling Stone dubbed his follow up, ‘Nashville,’ ‘a landmark album,’” and EW described 2013’s ‘The Happiness Waltz’ as ‘a big contender for Rouse’s best work.’ In 2014, Rouse won a Goya Award (the Spanish equivalent of an Oscar) for best song for “Do You Really Want To Be In Love,’ from the film ‘La Gran Familia Española.
Doors: 6:30PM // Show: 7:30PM
Advance: $25 // D.O.S.: $35
(Friday) 8:00 pm
$10 Advance // $15 DOS
“A skewed cabaret band of blues, jazz and rockabilly…a sensibility that feels equal parts James Dean and David Lynch” – Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“A revelatory blend of jazz and blues, stirred with punk brio. There are also dashes of classical and world music, and enough stops, starts and hairpin turns to suggest the giddiness of Raymond Scott’s cartoon music…How do they do it?” – Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune