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BEST SONGWRITER Minneapolis 2005 - John Hermanson

John Hermanson was on the cover of this rag a few months ago. In a dress. He can often be seen singing and playing guitar on local stages. In a tracksuit. That he is costumed and mostly out of the spotlight for his duties as the least flashy member of Olympic Hopefuls is perfectly poignant, for it must be said that Hermanson (of Storyhill and Alva Star lineage) was responsible for one of last year's smartest (if little-heard) pop-rock records, Alva Star's Escalator. Like some indie-rock guide on the road to Damascus, Hermanson takes diligent listeners through the many stages of being in/out/over a band. In other words, songs like "Tornado Girl," "Comeback," and, especially, "Cold and Calculated," nail what it feels like to live and speak the second language (music) of these sound-saturated towns. The feeling here is that his writing chops are incubating during his time with Olympic Hopefuls, and will soon bear more fruit. If not, the guy's had a stretch worthy of another concept album; call it The Year of Living Deliciously.

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