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Dusty Heart embark on month-long, community-building Icehouse residency

Dusty Heart

Dusty Heart Natalie Champa Jennings

What would you do if given free rein over the stylish Eat Street venue Icehouse every Wednesday in March?

Well, if you were Molly Dean and Barbara Jean of the acoustic duo Dusty Heart, you’d throw a party, invite a bunch of friends onstage, and donate all funds to Kulture Klub Collaborative, a local nonprofit that empowers homeless youth through artistic endeavors.

Beginning March 1, the duo, along with the rock trio BBGUN, will bring new guests to the Minneapolis venue each week, using music to foster community. Molly and Barbara spoke with us about their goals for the residency.

City Pages: You both had established careers in solo and other projects before Dusty Heart. What drew you to work together on this band? What do you feel you found here that you didn't in other musical environments?

Molly Dean: What drew us together was a natural inclination for collaboration and a mutual love of harmony. We found that our voices and instrumentation blended and complemented each other well, and from the start it has been a lot of fun to work together.

CP: Why a residency?

MD: The residency is a great opportunity to explore more of what we can do, and is a great way to invite other musicians and artists in the scene to bring their creativity to the table in collaboration. The goal is to have fun, engage in the community, be creative, and, in this case, raise money for a great local nonprofit.

CP: How did you get involved with Kulture Klub Collaborative? Why did you decide to donate all the proceeds of these shows to this nonprofit?

Barbara Jean: We want this residency to have a powerful impact, not just for us as artists and our audience, but for the larger community as well. We’re living through some very tumultuous times. Civil rights are under attack and marginalized communities are feeling the threat keenly. Now is the time to come together and help one another. Homeless youth are one of the more vulnerable populations out there and Kulture Klub does an awesome job of serving and empowering that community.

I first became aware of their work through their executive director, Crystal Brinkman, who is a longtime friend. For us, the connection to the arts was spot on. Kulture Klub not only helps make sure at-risk youth have access to resources to meet their most basic needs, but it also goes beyond the basics; KKC connects young people to the arts and artists and further supports their ongoing development of their artistic dreams.

CP: How did you enfold BBGUN into this residency?

MD: We shared a show with them for our video release [for “Timbre and Trail”], and the idea to explore combining our bands into a four-part harmony singing supergroup sounded pretty fun. The idea for the residency hatched from there.

CP: Can you give us some clues about who you have for special guests?

MD: A great mix of people! Alpha Consumer is currently part of the first event.

CP: What can we expect to see at the shows?

BJ: There will be a lot of musical collaboration between BBGUN and Dusty Heart, and we have so many amazing special guests lined up. Folks are in for a real treat. So come out, enjoy the company of your neighbors and friends, and help support KKC, a very worthy cause.

Dusty Heart
With: BBGUN, Alpha Consumer
When: 10 p.m. March 1
Where: Icehouse
Tickets: $8 adv, $10 door; more here