Downtown music

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November 29, 2004 // UPDATED 4:46 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

One multi-talented man

Often described as "a thinkin' man's country music," Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots are an altogether intoxicating, seductive musical experience.

Munly's wide vocal range, from a low bass to a high soprano, on top of the Harlot's dark, often sensuous string arrangements make for music that sticks deep in your head and heart long after the CD has stopped spinning.

From the dirge-like despair of "Jacob Dumb" to the almost frenetic ditties like "Of Silas Fauntleroy's Willingness to Impress the Panel," the depth and range of this ensemble is flooring as they successfully marry musical arrangement and jaw-dropping lyrical storytelling.

Outside of this project, Munly has been performing in a variety of musical settings, most notably, as the front sideman of Slim Cessna's Auto Club.

He has released four solo albums to date, a book ("Ten Songs With No Music"), and recently received the Young North American Playwright award for his works for that other kind of stage.

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 9 p.m., Lee's Liquor Lounge, 101 Glenwood Ave., $4. 338-9491.

What's in a Name?

With a last name like "Hornsby," you might suspect that this performer was, say, a trumpet player, or a clarinetist. But, no -- and I suspect this is intentional. I mean, can you just imagine poor little Bruce Hornsby in 2nd or 3rd grade or even in high school, being taunted by playground neanderthals, "Hey, Bruce! Where's your horn? Hey, Bruce, beep beep!"

(Hey, my kid gets accused of secretly being a werewolf because of his name, Wolfgang . . . and let's not get into the bullys' reactions to my name.)

Anyway, I'm thinking that the music-loving Hornsby may have picked up the piano just because he couldn't bring himself to give the taunters any more grist.

Seemed this approach has worked out just fine for the three-time Grammy winner; he's sold more than 10 million records overall. On the keys, Hornsby performs jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, rock, vaudeville and even swing-influenced pieces seemingly effortlessly, bringing a sense of playfulness and whimsy to everything he does.

His ninth full-length album, the chipper and optimistic-sounding "Halcyon Days," is now out on Columbia Records. Expect to hear a few selections.

Saturday, Dec. 4, 8 p.m., Historic State Theater, 805 Hennepin Ave. S., $31.50-$36.50. (651) 989-5151.

Like an angel

Linda Eder is one of the most popular new interpreters of theatrical songs. Her seven solo albums, featured roles on original Broadway cast albums and other stage musicals (including "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and "The Civil War") have won her critical acclaim and accolades galore.

She's performed three sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall, and constant comparisons to Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbara Streisand and Celine Dion have catapulted Eder into the pantheon of the greatest American female vocalists.

Friday, Dec. 3, call for times. Historic State Theater, 805 Hennepin Ave. S. $44.50-$49.50. (651) 989-5151.

Holly Day can be reached at lalena@bitstream.net.