Singer-songwriter Michael Monroe abandoned the Twin Cities music scene in the mid-1990s for the North Shore, a log cabin in the woods, and a solar-powered studio. For his trouble he's been dubbed an "eco-folkie," an entirely honorable tag that accurately captures his perspective, nature-inspired tunes, and richly melodic acoustic music. This gig marks the release of his new, seasonally oriented album, Wintersong (MisTree), a collection as warm and full of sparkling light as a roaring fire guarding against an arctic gale. Graced with a dark-toned mellifluous voice, Monroe etches immutable images of north woods winter, interlacing his songs with vivid instrumentals featuring his limpid guitar and scampering flutes, including the haunting "Snow Leopard," which dances on Mark Anderson's scintillating percussion. Amidst the originals are a couple of fine covers about different kinds of chilled yearning: Joni Mitchell's "River" and Donovan's "Catch the Wind." With heartfelt sincerity and a poetic touch in both the lyrics and music, Monroe explores subtle, quiet places that spark the imagination.
Fri., Dec. 7, 8 p.m., 2007