ArtCentral Spearfish hosts a series of community discussions with local songwriters, every Monday, 6-7:30 p.m., Mar. through May. All discussions take place at the Good Day Cafe, located at 541 W. Jackson Blvd. in Spearfish. These events are free and open to the public.
Meet and learn from local musicians/songwriters
Local musicians and songwriters invite the public to have conversations about contemporary issues that influence their music. Songwriters will present several songs talking about the inspiration, meaning, and their hopes for what the songs may spark in their audience. Each session will have a host to moderate, ask questions of the songwriter, and engage the audience in discussion.
“We are hoping these will be spirited and respectful conversations that build understanding and thoughtful reflection about the role of music and songwriting in addressing community issues,” opportunities director, Sian Young. “Having the Spearfish Songbook series take place at the Good Day Cafe, one of Spearfish’s newest businesses, allows for a comfortable, intimate setting. This should help spark engaging conversations.”
Songwriters scheduled are reflective of our area and inclusive across music genres, cultural influences, demographic diversity, and artistic point of view. These free events are scheduled every Monday evening, from 6-7:30 p.m., starting Mar. 4 and concludes on May 27.
Mar. 4: Jami Lynn
Jami’s roots are in the old-time country, folk, and polka of the Northeastern South Dakota jamborees of her childhood, but a love for the great ladies of jazz developed right alongside her love of the banjo.
While studying classical voice at the University of South Dakota, Jami recorded two full-length albums and wrote her thesis, “Early American Folk Music of the Upper Midwest” which introduced her into the folklore world of cowboys, settlers, lumberjacks, and miners. The resulting recording, Sodbusters was featured in the Smithsonian’s Shared Harmonies Project. While solo jazz pieces by Billie Holiday, Fats Waller, and Gershwin always work their way into solo performances, sitting in with the Sioux Falls-based, Dakota Jazz Collective, and jazz/funk band, Polyphase, has eventually led Jami to a full-on collaboration with bassist Andrew Reinartz. Released in October of 2017, the resulting work showcases Jami Lynn’s vocally driven jazz originals and some of her favorite standards as re-imagined by Reinartz, pianist Jeff Paul, and percussionist Daniel Heier.
When not performing for public audiences, Lynn also brings folk music to elementary students and hospital systems through the SD State Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools program and Touring Artists program. She is currently based out of Spearfish, SD.
Mar. 11: Kate Baum-Fjelstad
Kate Fjelstad, a South Dakota grown singer, songwriter, and storyteller, uses her background in teaching & performance to offer residencies that combine language, poetry, music, & performance tailored to fit any age and nearly any subject.
Kate has spent the last two decades writing music, performing, teaching, and inspiring students and listeners of all ages. After obtaining her MA in Linguistics, Composition, and Rhetoric, Kate moved with her family to Alaska, where she taught in several locations a variety of subjects to a diverse population of students; diverse in age, ethnicity, and ability levels.
Kate also co-facilitates The Sounds of Healing, a women’s retreat that combines music, writing, yoga, and meditation to discover one’s true potential. Directing this retreat gives Kate the experience necessary to easily adapt her residency for adults and senior citizens, making it insightful for them. Kate leads participants through various writing exercises with relevant material and activities for each age and ability level, and she infuses her performances and stories periodically to help every participant explore language and its rhythms.
Mar. 18: JuQ
Wanbli Ceya, as an artist goes by juQ. He’s an Oglala Lakota singer/songwriter based on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Wanbli is a cultural advocate, working avidly and speaking on behalf of his experiences of Lakota way. As a Lakota man, Wanbli influences the youth and his community by pursuing the culture, language, sobriety, etc. through his music. Ceya hopes to expand his influence to all indigenous communities.
The music juQ makes is essentially contemporary pop with Lakota identity, language, and topics incorporated. He does Round Dance songs in the language as well.
Mar. 25: Scott Simpson
Scott Simpson is a songwriter, poet, educator, and indie music producer who lives in Spearfish Canyon. He’s been songwriting and recording songs since age six or seven, and since 2000, has produced and released more than 25 albums (most available on all digital outlets).
Scott was a high school and college English teacher and theater director for many years. He completed his Ph.D. in Creative Writing in 1997. After publishing for several years in various poetry publications (including a 2000 nomination for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry), Scott began to transition his writing focus from poetry to songwriting.
Simpson has been a Learning Specialist with Rapid City-based Technology & Innovation in Education for more than ten years. During that time, he co-developed—-and now co-directs—the WoLakota Project which provides resources and training for schools throughout South and North Dakota and elsewhere in the implementation of Native American Essential Understandings and Culturally Responsive Education. A key part of his work is facilitating Circles of Trust in which individuals come together in retreat to engage in respect-filled conversation and personal storytelling.
Scott has composed music for several educational documentary films, including “Tasunke Witko,” an award-winning documentary film about the life of Crazy Horse. He also composed and directed the music for the Black Hills themed musical, “Deadeye’s Wild West,” produced in Spearfish and Lead in the summers of 2013-14.
Scott performs occasionally in the Black Hills region, but his focus is primarily on songwriting, recording, and producing via his indie-studio, Dancin’ Moon, at his home in Spearfish Canyon. His work spans genres including folk, rock, blues, bluegrass, jazz, swing, country and even rap. His goals in songwriting and composing are the same as they were in his poetry—to explore, to expand, to work through challenging experiences and to mark a clear trail he can follow back home—or that others can follow and extend.
Scott loves connecting with his community here at home in the Black Hills and has also enjoyed building a digital community around the globe through platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and CD Baby. All of his work can be accessed at www.ScottSimpsonMusic.com.
April 1: Andy Young of Judd Hoos
Andy Young is a musician, born and raised in the Black Hills. Andy primarily writes from first-hand experiences, inspired by people, relationships, and his surroundings. His style is self-described as American. Each song is a melting pot of influences, with pop-themed melodies supported by the rhythm and harmony of the blues, folk, Motown, and rock.
He first picked up the guitar in middle school when his older brother Ryan began to play. The two of them took some lessons but were mostly self-taught, taking turns trying to one-up the other with Jimi Hendrix licks. Once he was competent enough to string three chords together, the songwriting soon followed. High school was filled with coffee shop open mics, talent shows, and a few club dates at the former Knights Cellar in Spearfish.
Just before graduating high school, Andy auditioned for the music program at Chadron State College where he received a scholarship to study Commercial Music Business. There, his knowledge of the music industry grew and passion for theory, composition, and arranging took hold.
In January 2010, the same year he graduated, he joined the Midwest band, Judd Hoos. The band tours a 10 state region, playing anywhere from 100-120 shows year. In 2017, they released the band’s third studio album, “Music In the Dark.” Andy was one of the primary writers. In January 2019, the band rented a cabin outside of Nemo, SD for six days, off the grid, to record their upcoming 5-track EP, “We Were Young” with Nashville producer J. Hall.
April 8: Anna Robins
A roaming, creative entity of the American Midwest, Anna Robins is a growing songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and filmmaker with a passion for building bridges through song and film. Her original musical style combines the honest conversations of contemporary music with the driving rhythms and touching melodies of her folk roots.
Highlights of her budding music and film career include producing the short documentary “Héčhetu Welo“, co-founding Singing Doe – Workshop & Showcase, cover and feature in Black Hills Women’s Magazine (March/April 2017), winning the Black Hills Music Festival Band Competition and Sioux Falls Folk Off in 2015.
April 15: Rod Garnett
Rodney Garnett, professor emeritus in the Department of Music at the University of Wyoming, and studied flute with Karen Yonovitz, Larry Jordan, Geoffrey Gilbert, and Thomas Nyfenger. He has worked extensively as a freelance musician in orchestras, jazz, and chamber music ensembles, folk music ensembles, and recording studios.
Garnett continues to be an active performer and teacher, utilizing many styles and forms of flutes that include early 19th century European instruments and Moldovan nai. He has performed extensively at the University and around the state of Wyoming, regionally with classical guitarist Alex Komodore, nationally with the Irish Folk Ensemble Colcannon, and as a soloist at the Boxwood Festival in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. His Laramie-based quartet “Lights Along the Shore” with clarinetist Blake McGee, pianist Lisa Rickard, and percussionist Steve Barnhart, performs original compositions and arrangements of folk and classical melodies from around the world, and released its second CD in 2015.
Garnett is a recipient of the 2003 Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award, the 2008 University of Wyoming Internationalization Award, and was the 2007 University of Wyoming Presidential Speaker. He completed the PhD in Anthropology in 2014 and is continuing to collaborate with colleagues around the world to learn more about human cultural creativity and the embodiment of aesthetic responses in daily life. His dissertation work focused on the highly relational aspects of aural musical learning in the Republic of Moldova. Garnett’s ethnographic study in Moldova was supported by the Seibold Professorship grant from the University of Wyoming, College of Arts and Sciences, and a research grant from the United States Fulbright Program.
April 22: Davidica Little Spotted Horse
With her poignant voice and blunt lyrics, her power chord filled riffs give her fans a positive way to channel their deepest emotions. Davidica’s original music is a reflection of her own life mantra, “Speak your truth.”
Her live performances have been described as “Electrifying”,-Rockwired Magazine. Her first single release, “Inside My Head” made it to #2 on the National Aboriginal Music Countdown Top 40. She already has airplay at various Native stations across the United States and in Canada. Davidica has been a featured artist on Native America Calling for her debut performance with the Women of The Four Winds Tour. A multi-talented dynamo, she is already a well-known photographer, whose photographs are on display in the Smithsonian at NMAI DC.
Davidica was featured in the nationally aired documentary “For The Generations” as well as several other short films. She is the co-creator of the Independence Through Music project on the Pine Ridge Reservation which teaches talented young musicians on her reservation the skills necessary to become working musicians.
Davidica is the recipient of the Best Alternative Rock Artist at the West Coast Native American Music Awards 2014. The performance of her original song, “U Trust Who,” at the awards was the highlight of the show.
Davidica has toured the Southwest with fellow Heavy Metal Rock band, Uncommon Knowledge on the “Resist Conformity” tour.
April 29: Chris Huisenga
Chris Huisenga is a South Dakota based singer/songwriter whose style can be described as anything from rhythmic blues rock to Indie acoustic and everything in between. His lyrics focus on honesty. Anyone can find something to relate to in his words and music. Chris draws from a range of influences from Nine Inch Nails, Gary Clark Jr., and Foo Fighters, to Fleetwood Mac, Ari Hest, and Underoath.
In August 2017, Chris was named the Songwriter of the month by the South Dakota Songwriter’s Association and was featured in their collection of the “Singing Buffalo Sessions” EPs.
Chris released his debut album “All My Friends & A Girl” in April 2018, and has since been busy writing new material and playing shows in support of his album.
May 6: JuQ
JuQ joins us again. See his bio from his Mar. 18 appearance (above).
May 13: TBD
May 20: Tiana Spotted Thunder
Tiana Anpo Win Spotted Thunder was gifted with the Lakota name, “Tasiyagmuka Ho Waste Win,” at age 9 which means, “Good Voice Meadowlark Woman.” This name predicted her destiny as a singer and composer of music.
Being raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, she has strived to present herself and her singing with pride and honor. She is active in her traditions and culture and displays many of the Lakota Values. She composes round dance songs, stick game/hand game songs, peyote songs, and Rhythm and Blues songs.
May 27: Sophia Beatty
Based in the Black Hills of South Dakota, 22-year-old singer and songwriter, Sophia Beatty, sings with passion and heart that can be truly felt. She is known for her ability to sing classic jazz and soul cover music. From Whitney Houston to Natalie Cole to Aretha Franklin, she covers a whole variety of well-known music that gets people up on their feet and singing along.
Building on this creative powerhouse of covers, Sophia has recently taken to the streets to share her original creations as well, which have been applauded greatly by the regional music community. She is already well on her way to becoming a staple of the northern plains musical experience. Sophia’s gift of synesthesia makes her original acoustic songs unique and emotionally moving. The journey her music will bring you on is something one must experience when traveling through the Black Hills.
ArtCentral is a community collaboration to centralize the arts as an integrated asset for inclusivity, economic development, and outreach in Spearfish. ArtCentral was made possible through a 2016 Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation.
About the Bush Foundation
The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. We encourage individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area. Since it was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, the Foundation has invested nearly one billion dollars in grants to thousands of organizations and individuals. Website: www.bushfoundation.org.