For each of the past five years, the Minnesota Beatle Project put together by Vega Productions has consistently been one of the best local compilations. And Volume 5, out December 3, is no exception, with all of the proceeds going to support music and art education in Minnesota public schools.
The roster of bands and artists involved this year includes the Okee Dokee Brothers, Poliça's Chris Bierden, Carroll, the Monks' Gary Burger, Zoo Animal, Dosh, and Actual Wolf -- to name just a few. "My parents have always been fans of the Beatles, so I grew up listening to them," Actual Wolf's Eric Pollard tells Gimme Noise. "I think initially their music was appealing because it was easy to remember 'She Loves You,' 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand,' and 'Love Me Do.' Then, as I grew up with their music, I was really drawn to the production and the musicality of it all."
It's possible that the song Pollard chose to cover for the Minnesota Beatle Project, "Your Mother Should Know" off 1967's Magical Mystery Tour, might find its way into Actual Wolf's future live sets. "It's one of my favorite songs," he says. "And it's essentially an a cappella number. I also knew I could do something fun with it."
Pollard, who recently relocated to Nashville, has just released a terrific new self-titled Actual Wolf album of his own, and the strong sense of melody and effortless appeal of his new songs echo the straightforward song structure of the Beatles filtered through the iconic artistic lens of the Band, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young. Pollard is celebrating the vinyl release of Actual Wolf at the Turf Club on December 7 with a stacked lineup of friends and collaborators, featuring Frankie Lee (who is also releasing his vinyl that night), Tara Fox, Lydia Hoglund, and DJ Jeremy Ylvisaker.
Everyone else on Volume 5 of the Minnesota Beatle Project -- featuring Abbey Road-inspired artwork by Adam Turman (complete with Paul Bunyan serving as the shoeless stand in for Paul) -- adds their own distinctive twist to the Fab Four's familiar sound. And, most importantly, all proceeds from the sale of Vol. 5 will go to benefit Instruments In The Cloud, a program that improves student access to musical instruments and solicits instrument donations for music programs in Minnesota public schools.
* "Your Mother Should Know" - Actual Wolf
* "Dig A Pony" - Zoo Animal
* "She Said She Said" - Carroll
* "I Feel Fine" - Gary Burger (of The Monks)
* "Taxman" - The Suburbs
* "Day Tripper" - Sonny Knight & The Lakers
* "Because" - Chris Bierden of Poliça
* "Here, There, and Everywhere" - Meme
* "Blue Jay Way" - Dosh
* "Nowhere Man" - Greycoats
* "Mother Nature's Son" - The Okee Dokee Brothers
* "This Boy" - The Cactus Blossoms
* "Please Please Me" - Denfeld High School Jazz Band