WXRT welcomes Peter Himmelman with Dave Sills
Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 7:30 PM CDT
(6:30 PM Doors)
SPACE, Evanston, IL
Peter Himmelman is a man of many talents and accomplishments who is known to those who have heard of him, but haven't heard him, as Bob Dylan's son-in-law. He has been playing in and with bands since sixth grade in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. (Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, Sen. Al Franken, and New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman are also SLP natives.) He has released a dozen rock albums since 1986—the first half dozen on major corporate record labels, others on smaller indies, others self-released—all of which have received love from critics and none of which have sold well. The only Billboard chart on which he has ever appeared is the Heatseekers chart, limited to artists who have never had an album in the top 200. But the quality of his work has never flagged, and lately he has released some of his finest work, including Imperfect World (2005) and The Mystery and the Hum (2010). There is also an intentional oddity called Flimsy (2011), a collection of spoken-word songs ranging from the absurd to the heartbreaking. His new album, The Boat That Carries Us, now available on his own Himmelsongs label, is about motion, or being in motion, by air ("33K Feet"), by car ("Green Mexican Dreams"), or in spirit ("Angels Die").
Himmelman still attracts some of the best musicians in the world to play with him. The rhythm section on the new album features Leland Sklar (who played with Carole King, James Taylor, and dozens of others) on bass, and Jim Keltner, the go-to drummer for John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr on their solo albums and tours, not to mention frequent percussionist for Dylan, Eric Clapton, Randy Newman, Steely Dan, and a hundred others. "I find I learn something new and valuable every time we talk," the 72-year-old Keltner said in an email. "Playing music with him is very much the same, with the added bonus of his strong and versatile guitar playing, very memorable melodies, and provocative lyrics for all kinds of subject matter. The challenge is to be better than his demo, which can take awhile."
Dave Sills writes songs about “love, death, and other health risks.” He sings and plays guitar (and a bit of bass, and fumbles along on a keyboard here and there). His fourth album is called SEA OF STRANGERS. His talented friends - Gerald Dowd (drums); Scott Stevenson (piano & organ); Tom Jancauskas (bass); Chris Walke, Dave Ramont, Dave Nelson, Tommi Zender (electric guitars); Kenny Kryger (cello); and Larry Rossi (brass) - all contribute their efforts “in the service of song.” The album was named among the "Best of Local Anesthetic 2010" by WXRT DJ Richard Milne - not too shabby!