As veteran treasures of the Twin Cities folk scene, Curtis & Loretta don't really have a reputation for covering the hits—until now, though the popular tunes that receive their customary charming and spirited attention on their new album go all the way back to '58. That would be 1858, the year Minnesota became a state. In fact, the songs on Our Heritage in Song would have been widely sung around the new state that year and were brought together by Curtis & Loretta as part of a Minnesota sesquicentennial project. There are sea chanteys; a children's ditty to the tune of "Yankee Doodle"; songs related to voyageurs, farmers, loggers, homesteaders; some dealing with contemporary issues like the looming Civil War and the evils of slavery; several referenced by Laura Ingalls Wilder; one recounting the exploits of outlaw Jesse James; and Abe Lincoln's campaign song. It's a sweeping tapestry of life and times 150 years ago, with topical threads that remain relevant today, specifically those about hard times and the poignant "When This Cruel War Is Over." As expected, Curtis & Loretta nail every one: His rich tenor entwines with her sparkling soprano for thrilling harmonies, while they adeptly accompany themselves on vintage stringed instruments that would have been familiar to nascent Minnesotans. To further set the mood, Curtis & Loretta will dress in 1850s attire when they introduce this truly unique project at the Cedar.
Sun., Jan. 24, 7 p.m., 2010