“Stay at Home” Musicians Open New Doors

Stay at Home Musicians, Photo by Smouse

On March 27th, Governor Tim Walz enacted the “Stay at Home” order, which shut down our music venues and record stores.

In the month since that order, music has transformed dramatically. Bands have been split apart, tours cancelled, new albums delayed, and festivals snuffed out. Our creative spaces have had their doors closed. Tickets to a show are now rare artifacts to a undetermined future.

Although so many doors have been shut, they haven’t taken away our stages, as music has adapted with technology.

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell

As veteran musician Adam Levy shared, the frustrations of cancelling shows, delaying projects, and trying to find a fresh optimism with live streaming has been challenging. Desperation breeds ingenuity and Minnesota artists are finding new mediums to perform.

Adam Levy (The Honeydogs, Turn Turn Turn), Photo by Smouse

We took an inside peek into homes across Minnesota on what life is like without “going out” to share your music. Through windows and wire screens, we captured musicians that are navigating a new landscape of technology. Now playing without a band or live audience, music is a reminder of normalcy. People are connecting more than ever to hold onto the past, yet they also have hope for the future of what we’re presently missing most.

Below are some windows into how some local musicians are doing in these trying times.

Stay at Home Musicians

Michael Gay has been busy with DIY house projects and writing music, while Kyle Shelstad has been wearing his mom’s homemade wool socks almost everyday. 

Michael Gay (Almighty American), Photo by Smouse
Kyle Shelstad (Barbaro), Photo by Smouse

Laura Lou has been hosting “Twins on Tuesdays” with her band mate and best friend Becky Shaheen. Phil Borreson has stayed busy packing up vinyl records to deliver them around the Twin Cities, keeping SolSta Records entire inventory updated and ready for buyers online.

Laura Lou Duschane (The Twins of Franklin), photo by Smouse
Phil Borreson (SolSta Records), Photo by Smouse

With an overseas trip canceled, Symone Wilski has found more time to write songs and experiment on her laptop. Michael Ferrier hasn’t seen his band in almost a month, but going solo is still difficult to fathom. 

Symone Wilski (SYM1), Photo by Smouse
Michael Ferrier (Fathom Lane), Photo by Smouse

Jason Wells is keeping busy by learning a full classical piece on his upright bass. Max Gordon and his brother have been sharing their songs via rooftop shows for his neighbors.

Jason Wells (Barbaro), Photo by Smouse
Max Gordon (Funk N Spuds), Photo by Smouse

One clever entrepreneur, Joe Scarpellino, has been hosting online streaming festivals and finding creative ways to engage huge audiences. Tori Johnson has kept up her salt side hustle, delivering all over the cities. 

Joe Scarpellino (IronStar), Photo by Smouse
Tori Johnson (Uncle T), Photo by Smouse

Krissandra Anfinson misses her band dearly and had to cancel a tour. Now she has plenty of lawn decorations. Grace McCrady has been doing songwriting workshops online with her UkuLadies bandmate every week.

Krissandra Anfinson (The Von Tramps), Photo by Smouse
Grace McCrady (The UkuLadies), Photo by Smouse

Eli Gardiner is navigating how to release a new full length album in today’s environment. Doc stays busy with KFAI, Fresh Air Community Radio on 90.3 FM, along with songwriting on multiple projects. 

Eli Gardiner (solo), Photo by Smouse
Doc (theyself), Photo by Smouse

Being quarantined can be extra productive when you live with your bandmate. Christian Rasmussen and Trevor DeVine decided to stay together during the order to keep writing. Brooke Elizabeth finds solace in her home studio by the window. 

Christian Rasmussen and Trevor DeVine (The Immaculate Beings), Photo by Smouse
Brooke Elizabeth (solo), Photo by Smouse

Jake Bruce stays sharp in his basement studio, playing drums and making music. Pets are a reoccurring theme of comfort for artists as well. Haley Kaye Myers blows bubbles that keeps one of her cats busy. Ghosty has been on neighborhood watch from their top floor apartment. 

Jake Bruce (ilie), Photo by Smouse
Haley Kaye Myers (Lilth), Photo by Smouse
Ghosty (Druzy Rose), Photo by Smouse

The Hook and Ladder have been patiently planning what path they’ll need to steer through as restrictions are lifted. Their outside patio area should see plenty of music this coming summer.

Katie Mozena (The Hook and Ladder), Photo by Smouse

Although not an artist, Maren Longfellow typically spent almost every evening promotion bands, selling merch, and supporting her friends. Currently she’s ramping up sales for the new Actual Wolf album, Hometown Hero, which she watched get made at Pachyderm Studios. She’s also a huge fan of the new Timbre Ghost album, Soothsayer. Please check out both projects and support your local music.

Maren Longfellow (Promoter), Photo by Smouse

Around the State Submissions

We had artists from all across the state send in photos as well, giving us a glimpse into their homes. Two-time Midwest Country Music Association Awards nominee Joe Flip plays from his patio. Chad Johnson has been doing construction as an essential worker.

Photo by Joe Flip (solo) from Cottage Grove, MN
Chad Johnson (solo), Photo by Kari Freund in Northfield, MN

Matt McGee stays practiced with metal music down in Farmington. Erica Hanson enjoys her porch with wine and music, staying patient to when she can play again. Captured in the moment, Jamison Murphy has been live streaming 2-3 times a week to keep sharp.

Photo by Matt McGee (Agony Reigns) from Farmington, MN
Erica Hanson (solo), Photo by Mark Hanson from Rogers, MN
Jamison Murphy (solo), Photo by Michael Bruce from Edina, MN

Inventing a New Normal

Alexander Graham Bell invented a device that made us all feel closer while being in different spaces. That same ingenuity is taking place in 2020, keeping us more connected and attune to our communities.

Our new normal is still being formed, but there is one main element that will never go away. Music is that constant variable that always finds a way to adapt, speak volumes, and bring comfort in troubling and uncertain times.

Throughout the week Music in Minnesota will dive deeper into each of these artists above on our Instagram page. Please follow to support their endeavors and discover new music.




Written by Smouse

Having spent 13 years recording and producing Minnesota artists, along with running a small record label, Smouse is a passionate advocate of musicians and artists in Minnesota.


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