April 26 to May 3, 2015

The Homegrown Music Festival is Duluth’s annual showcase of rawk and/or roll devil music. It began as a simple birthday party with a handful of bands and a bunch of beer. Now it’s a complete bureaucracy, run by a volunteer steering committee and a board of directors, featuring 200 musical acts, along with a few filmmakers and other artists.
Performers

Starling of Athens

Finally, the Twin Ports music scene has evolved enough to include a genre “devoted entirely to the atheistic point of view.” That’s how musician and artist Toby Thomas Churchill is describing his solo act for “atheists and other seekers of truth.” Always a clever wordsmith and creator of fantastical blends of instruments, Churchill is the...

Space Carpet

Rory Isakson and Jen West have been gathering songs the past year, enough to get some recording done at Beaner’s of their guitar-driven rock and pop. With drummer Tyler Dubla, guitar player Steve Isakson and bassist Mark Glen, the yearling five-piece landed on WDSE-TV’s The Playlist in early April after gigging all over the Twin Ports. The...

Sordes

This is the first public performance for the band led by behind-the-music legend Ben Butter. Formed in late 2012, Butter said he and bassist Adam McCauley, drummer Jules Miller and guitar player Mauro All are answering a Twin Ports call for “thrashy metallic punk.” Butter, who went solo last year as De Se and has...

Sonja and the Reckoning

Sonja Bjordal and Lee Martin keep refining their backup band as they continue to take listeners down the gravel roads of country, folk, rock and Americana. Once known as the Mud Puppies, then Next of Kin, Bjordal and Martin now harmonize with Martin’s band mates from the Underwriters — bassist Adam Staupe and drummer Walter...

Songs of Shipwreck

On July 19, the good ship Gallus wrecked at the Rex and three of the band’s survivors debuted Songs of Shipwreck the same night. Not enough analogy? Drummer Davy “Jones” Clark (nudge-nudge, wink-wink) will be playing his first Homegrown and taking the beat into folk, blues and even punk. Kent Paulsen and Sean Mahoney handle...

Steve Sola

This prodigal son of Duluth has been home for two years after a school stint, playing in De Se, Lion or Gazelle and Red Mountain. Now he’s a solo blues act with an acoustic guitar, six-string resonator and banjo while working drums and a hi-hat. He describes his stuff as “groove-driven blues and rickety, rattling...

The Social Disaster

Call it a dark supergroup with Jacob Swanson (Dad’s Acid, Planemo), Jake Larson (Manheat), Jesse Hoheisel (Portrait of Drowned Man) and Ryan Nelson (Bradical Boombox, the Farsights) teaming with gritty vocals from Rachel Phoenix to create what it calls “harrowing proto pop and garage soul.” Their groove is anchored in Larson’s distorted Moog bass tones...

The Slamming Doors

When Adam Herman sought a change of pace and new direction, he chose the Iron Range. After touring for several years with a Colorado rock band, he found himself in Eveleth in 2011, where he started collecting musicians and soon had a blues-rock, soul and jam-band thing going on. And they have immediate Duluth cred:...

Maddy Siiter

Homegrown Music Festival is 16 years old. Maddy Siiter is 15 years old. You do the math. The young singer/guitarist plays and writes well beyond the presumptions of a person not yet eligible to drive a car. Mechanically, her guitar work is spot-on, straight forward and engaging. Lyrically, she doesn’t dabble in self-pitying teenage nonsense....

Troy Rogers

Virginia native Troy Rogers’ work has two facets: designing and building robotic instruments, and then using them to create musical compositions. He and his band of music-making robots with names like CARI (Cylindrical Aerophone Robotic Instrument) have performed for local audiences at BradFest since 2010 and at Teatro Zuccone in 2012, but this will be...

Jillian Rae

The former violinist for Two Many Banjos and the Killer Hayseeds has branched out on her own in a big way. As a solo artist, Jillian Rae took her songwriting, performing, and vocal talents to mobilize her own folk/bluegrass supporting band made up of Eric Martin (guitar), Kevin Rowe (bass), Jim O’Neill (keys), and Mark...

Potluck Communists

Potluck Communists is a Duluth ska band consisting of guitar players Jake Vainio and Nick Carlson-Becklund, bassist Ian Erikson, drummer Robert McGrady and saxophonist Joe Birdseye. The young band has been working on material for a year and a half and has performed at the Amazing Grace Bakery & Café during the Music Resource Center’s...