Minneapolis and St. Paul are great cities to go see a show. They boast some of the greatest venues in the state and attract concertgoers and musicians from all over the world. But we can’t forget about our neighboring suburbs that contribute to the music scene in the Twin Cities maybe more than you know.
Singer-songwriter Marcus Lere is the proof of just that. Being part of what he says is a trend, solo artist Lere is proud to be supporting not only his music, but others who are taking this route to “go solo.” Playing to the east metro and parts of western Wisconsin, Lere continues to use his talent to play for not only us city folk, but to all who will listen.
Emily: So Marcus, explain to me who you are and what you do.
Marcus: For starters, I’m Marcus Lere, a 26 year-old singer-songwriter from Cottage Grove, Minnesota. I currently reside in Hastings, and I make a living playing solo and duo shows, mostly in the east metro and western Wisconsin. The music I write ranges from bluesy pop to the roots of hard rock and alternative.
Emily: How did you get your start here in Minneapolis?
Marcus: There were sporadic attempts to throw my hat in the ring early on, but I got my real start in the Twin Cities music scene when I joined a band called Watera in August of 2006 as a singer. We moved on from that in January of 2008, but the experience and contacts gained helped to set a tone for the years to come. It’s been quite a trip since!
Emily: And, why is what you are doing in the Twin Cities music scene important?
Marcus: The shows I’ve been playing lately have been at places you normally wouldn’t expect to see live music. I got my start as a solo artist at small bars, like Joe and Stan’s Bar in St. Paul, American Motorsports Bar and Grill in Cottage Grove, and Guv’s Place in Houlton, Wisconsin, where there’s hardly enough room to stand with a guitar strapped around my shoulders. But it’s really pretty amazing how a crowd like that responds to a one- or two-man acoustic show. And the bars love it, because it’s an affordable way for them to bring in live music for their patrons. Because of the struggling economy, a lot of bars that were bringing in the big live bands are now unable to pay four plus piece bands to play all night. Since then, the solo and duo shows have been gaining popularity in smaller bars and sometimes even the larger bars. I’m proud to be a part of this new trend, and hope our efforts will be able to bring a new light to this music community.
Emily: What is your favorite thing about working in the Twin Cities music scene?
Marcus: My favorite part of working in this scene is definitely the appreciation from the patrons and fans after a good show! It’s ultimately what drives me to perform and to improve.
Emily: Five-second shameless plug … GO!
Marcus: I’m at The Dog House Bar and Grill, off White Bear Avenue and 694 in Maplewood, every Sunday night from 10 p.m. until bar close. 2-4-1’s and live acoustic music all night so come down and party with me!
Emily Buss is a music journalist from Minneapolis and author of On the Rechord blog. On the Rechord is a music site dedicated to the local music scene in the Twin Cities. Emily writes concert and album reviews, band and artist profiles, and provides information about local shows. A college graduate with a degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis on Journalism, Emily has been professionally writing for newspapers and online outlets for six years. You can find Emily at www.ontherechord.com , on Facebook at On the Rechord and on Twitter @TheEmilyB.