MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Mat Kearney grew up in Eugene, Ore., but he told thousands of music lovers at the Cities 97 Basilica Block Party that Minnesota has a special place in his heart.

“It’s undeniable how brilliant you are,” he said in an interview. “Minneapolis has always been a very special place for me.”

Why? Perhaps because some of Kearney’s first radio play came from Twin Cities stations.

Kearney was also incredibly moved when he played at the 12 Pines spring concert, an annual event for St. John’s and St. Benedict students. He wrote a song about the experience. In the song, naturally enough, the girl is a Bennie and the guy is a Johnnie.

“I just started telling the story that in my head that made sense,” he said. “These two people leaving, finding themselves, falling in love…I started writing, and I got home the next day; and I was like, I should record this.”

Since that show, Kearney has gotten thank you letters from students and alumni.

He played at the block party on Friday night. It’s the eighteenth year of the music-fundraiser for the Basilica of St. Mary. More than 25,000 people attend it every summer.


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