Being a part of the music community in Minnesota is a gift to every artist, listener and participant.  The stage of Vieux Carré is rich with history and whispers of musicians past. Today the tradition continues with a varied schedule highlighting local talents in many different genres with a focus on jazz, soul, blues, and the magic of each.  Patrons and artists share the room to commune in the celebration of life and each other.

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April 2018

Pat Donohue & the Prairie All-Stars

April 14 @ 9:00 pm - 11:55 pm

Grammy winning fingerpicker Pat Donohue’s devotion to acoustic guitar has made him an American standard, as he echoes the tones of Robert Johnson, Charlie Parker, Merle Travis or Muddy Waters. A versatile guitarist’s guitarist, Pat enjoys entertaining fans with intricate fingerpicking, easy wit, and nimble interpretations of old blues, swing, R&B and original tunes.  A regular on NPR’s The Prairie Home Companion for many years, Pat Donohue has become a household name nationwide.

Besides his guitar chops, Donohue is also a talented songwriter whose original songs have been recorded by Chet Atkins, Kenny Rogers, and more.

Chet Atkins called Pat Donohue one of the greatest fingerpickers in the world today. And he writes songs too — recorded by Suzy Bogguss, Kenny Rogers, and others. Nobody’s Fault (Bluesky Records) is the most recent of Pat’s 10 albums.

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Louis Armstrong Night! w/Southside Aces

April 18 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Southside Aces 4

Southside Aces perform traditional New Orleans jazz. The band first began as the brainchild of Clarinetist Tony Balluff and Sousaphone player Erik Jacobson. Their whispers and rumors materialized in Tony’s foyer near Pillsbury and 27th in South Minneapolis, late August 2003. Since their first gig on a flatbed truck in Apple Valley, they’ve played weddings, festivals, clubs— “music furnished for all occasions.”

The Aces have self-produced and released five CDs: All Aboard!!, Bucktown Bounce, A Big Fine Thing, their Christmas album, Santaphone, and their latest, Second Thursday.

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Annie Mack Band

April 19 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

“Annie Mack is a real find. Her songs are testimony to the power of music and how it can change lives.”
-Colorado Blues Society

“In a blues world overrun with bad-mama posturing on one hand and hoochie-mama silliness on the other, it’s refreshing to hear a lyricist with deeper ideas on her mind.”
– David Whiteis/ Living Blues Magazine

“I am a student of my environment,” Annie Mack’s reply to the question of songwriting inspiration is blunt and honest, exactly like the woman herself. “I am a student of my immediate surroundings, my work surroundings, my Church surroundings. When I write a song, I ask myself, ‘Do I feel something? Is my idea powerful enough for me to cry or laugh, or force me to think?’”

Annie is branded as a blues singer, but she is so far out of the realm of standard blues that she not only defies the category but has created a whole, new identity for herself and her music. Her first record, Baptized in the Blues, rings with roots tinged gospel tunes and retro Motown soul, then shuffles easily to a classic country beat complete with the lonesome drone of a pedal steel. Annie’s voice is unique, bold and charismatic; never sharp or shrill. She is a natural born singer, true to her own style and dedicated to the ideals that music is a prime communicator and healer.

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New Riverside Ramblers

April 20 @ 9:00 pm - 11:55 pm

The New Riverside Ramblers band brings high-energy Cajun dance music from the prairies and bayous of south Louisiana up the Mississippi River to the Minneapolis – St. Paul, Minnesota area. The band’s compelling version of Cajun French music blends many influences from different south Louisiana communities, and includes two-steps, waltzes and blues. The members of the band have been immersed in Cajun music for many years. They have studied and performed with Cajun music greats such as Dewey Balfa, Tracy Schwarz, Steve Riley, Marc & Ann Savoy, DL Menard, Eddie LeJeune, Calvin Carriere, Lionel Leleux, and others.

The New Riverside Ramblers have been playing together for over 25 years for dances, festivals, parties, and other special events. Although the band usually performs as a 5-piece with bass and percussion, they also perform as an acoustic trio with Cajun accordion, fiddle, rhythm guitar, and French vocals.

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$20 advance / $25 day of

Adam Meckler Orchestra w/Rex Richardson

April 21 @ 9:00 pm - 11:55 pm


The Adam Meckler Orchestra (AMO) is an 18 piece ensemble that plays music composed and arranged by Adam Meckler. Adam is an Edwards Instrument Co. Performing Artist and Clinician. He has served as trumpet and jazz faculty at McNally Smith College of Music and MacPhail Center for Music, and has toured all over the world with Youngblood Brass Band and Todd Clouser (Ropeadope Records). Adam also performs with Nooky Jones, The Hornheads, The Jana Nyberg Group, The Graydon Peterson Quartet, The Jack Brass Band, and Lulu’s Playground.

The Adam Meckler Orchestra features many of the Twin Cities’ most exciting musicians and soloists including Nelson Devereaux (Bon Iver), Cameron Kinghorn (Nooky Jones), and Adrian Suarez (Jazz at Lincoln Center). The AMO’s debut album “When the Clouds Look Like This” was listed among 2014’s Best Jazz Releases by iTunes. The band has held monthly residencies at Jazz Central, The Artists Quarter, The Amsterdam Bar, and Vieux Carré, and performed on the main stage of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in 2014 and 2016. The AMO plans to release their second full length album Fall, 2018. For more information, please visit


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“among the very best trumpet soloists in the world today,” – International Trumpet Guild

“a standout soloist with the power, range and flexibility to rival Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw” – DownBeat

Rex Richardson is a veteran of the acclaimed chamber ensemble Rhythm & Brass, jazz legend Joe Henderson’s Quintet and Sextet, William Russo’s Chicago Jazz Ensemble, and the Brass Band of Battle Creek, known as the world’s “Rolls Royce of Brass Bands” (Brass Band World). He stays busy as a headline artist at international brass and jazz festivals and as a soloist with orchestras, concert bands, brass bands and jazz ensembles on five continents. These ensembles have ranged from the Phoenix Symphony to the U.S. Army Field Band, and from England’s Fodens Brass Band to the U.S. Air Force’s Airmen of Note Jazz Ensemble.

Richardson has collaborated with countless legendary artists and ensembles, including Brian Blade, Benny Carter, Boston Brass, Ray Charles, Mike Clarke, Dave Douglas, Kurt Elling, Carl Fontana, Aretha Franklin, Wycliffe Gordon, Stefon Harris, Conrad Herwig, Dave Holland, Dave Liebman, Keith Lockhart, James Morrison, Jimmy Owens, Jim Pugh, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Arturo Sandoval, Bobby Shew, Allen Vizzutti, Bill Watrous, and Steve Wilson. Jazz trumpet star Dave Douglas has called Rex “A national treasure.” (Style Weekly magazine)

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$20 advance  / $25 day of show

Christian Sands Trio

April 25 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm


“jazz star of the future” – Wynton Marsalis

With his debut recording, Reach, singularly talented pianist and five-time Grammy Award nominee Christian Sands is stretching into exciting progressive territory. He breaks new ground traversing from the straight-ahead zone into fresh-sounding music influenced by a range of styles, from Afro-Cuban rhythms to hip-hop beats to dirty blues with an edge. That’s impressive for a youngster who is just 27. “The collection here is about reaching new ideas and reaching new music,” he says. “I’m reaching from past recordings to bring in the future, which is really all about finding myself. It’s a chance to express my experience.”

Reach becomes one more milestone in Sands’ auspicious career that stretches back to his New Haven, Connecticut upbringing. Having started playing piano at four years old, composing his first piece of music at age five, starting music classes at eight, and becoming a professional at ten, Sands was well-prepared to attend such prestigious schools as the Neighborhood Music School and the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven (he later received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music).

But a key moment came when he attended the Jazz in July summer workshop at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst when he was in high school. That was where he met and began his mentorship with Dr. Billy Taylor. “I was 13 or 14 and I studied with Dr. Taylor,” Sands says. “After the first week, he asked me to stay a second. I went on to take private lessons with him and master classes. He became my music grandfather; I went to his house in the Bronx and we’d talk about different music such as his piano heroes like Art Tatum and then bands I was listening to, including The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, John Legend, and he was hip to all this.”

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Lonesome Dan Kase

April 27 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

As a teenager growing up in rural southern Michigan, Lonesome Dan Kase happened upon a radio show called the “Blues Cruise,” broadcast out of Ann Arbor. Although he had picked up the guitar a year or so before, when he began hearing artists like Reverend Gary Davis and Robert Johnson, he quickly became hooked on the country blues.

Lonesome Dan’s live performances showcase both his unique finger-picking style and dynamic vocals as well as his depth of knowledge of the history of the blues and related forms.. If you catch a live performance, you’re bound to walk away with some interesting tidbits about known artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson or more obscure performers like Funny Papa Smith. Lonesome Dan’s trusted companions are his hand built Kopp K-35 6-string and his 1935 National played bottleneck/slide style.

Lonesome Dan Kase continues to play his unique brand of blues in and around Minnesota. However, his desire to experience other parts of the country still takes him out on the road. Dan has put out 4 solo cds as well as 2 with Crush Collision Trio and one with 32-20 Jug Band. His most recent cd, “So Glad I’m Livin’,” was released in early 2009.

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Best Friday Ever! w/Southside Aces

April 27 @ 9:00 pm - 11:55 pm
Southside Aces 4

Southside Aces perform traditional New Orleans jazz. The band first began as the brainchild of Clarinetist Tony Balluff and Sousaphone player Erik Jacobson. Their whispers and rumors materialized in Tony’s foyer near Pillsbury and 27th in South Minneapolis, late August 2003. Since their first gig on a flatbed truck in Apple Valley, they’ve played weddings, festivals, clubs— “music furnished for all occasions.”

The Aces have self-produced and released five CDs: All Aboard!!, Bucktown Bounce, A Big Fine Thing, their Christmas album, Santaphone, and their latest, Second Thursday.

Find out more »

Scott Graves

April 28 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Scott Graves BOTC in wisconsin 2012


Growing up on a farm in southwestern Minnesota, Scott first learned to pick Hank Williams songs on an old flat-top guitar his parents got him for his 10th birthday. Reading the credits and liner notes to all the Rolling Stones, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and other British invasion bands of the day led him to the old blues masters. Johnny Winter was another important early influence and link to other bluesmen.

Scott continues to listen to a lot of the late great blues players–Albert Collins, Albert King, Freddie King–along with some more recent favorites like Snooks Eaglin, John Mooney and Chris Cain.

Scott played with a number of bands around the Twin Cities and Rochester area in the 1970s and 80s. He had a gig playing keyboards with Alexander O’Neal and played with Percy Strothers before being recruited by Big Walter Smith  for his Groove Merchants band in 1991. Scott was Walter’s lead guitarist and Musical Director until Smith’s death in 2012.

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Erica West Band

April 28 @ 9:00 pm - 11:55 pm

Erica West is strong, confident, and sultry right out of the box. Her striking looks and mesmerizing vocals make an immediate impression on the senses. In a uniquely captivating way, Erica brings a beautiful fusion of soulful, R&B, pop, jazz and blues inspired melodies to the microphone. But do not let her silky vocals fool you. Erica’s vocal style is both powerful and sultry influenced by female vocalists such as Barbara Streisand, Whitney Houston, Sade, Nina Simone, Shirley Horn, Anita Baker, Sarah McLachlan, Lizz Wright, Goapele and Jill Scott.

Erica loves the true art of musicianship, lyrical content, beautiful melodies and music that demonstrates true emotional expression. With hypnotic phrasing, subtle shading, and a powerful range, she offers that emotional experience, holding you spellbound from the first note to the last. There’s a passion that vibrates off of her and raptures her audience. That makes it easier than ever to separate her from the rest.

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