FIVE THINGS WITH MUSICIAN AND CYCLIST JOHN LOUIS
FIVE THINGS is a weekly feature on the Banjo Brothers Blog. It’s a short interview about life and bicycles with a notable person. This week’s FIVE THINGS is with John Louis, a Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter, year-round cyclist and co-founder of Minneapolis' first listening room, The Warming House. Star-Tribune Music Columnist Chris Riemenschneider wrote, "Singer/songwriter John Louis [is] equal parts John Prine and Robert Earl Keen." John's got a penchant for corny jokes and straightforward songs about love and loss. We caught up with John to talk bikes and life this week on a sunny Wednesday afternoon to get this spin on Banjo Brothers #FIVETHINGS.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU RIDING?
JL: My winter bike is an 80’s Bianchi Alante, a mountain bike that was converted into a 3-speed by Greg Neis (of Farmstead Bike Shop). It has drum brakes, Dynamo lighting, studded tires, and came with a vintage Rhode rack that holds up pretty well. I commute just a few miles each way to work, and throw my work backpack in a Banjo Brothers Market pannier. When the roads aren’t icey or salty, I ride a Handsome Devil and a 60’s Raleigh 3-speed. The Devil is my go-to cycle for commuting, touring, and everyday rides. I take out the Raleigh on special occasions.
BANJO BROS: WHERE ARE YOU RIDING?
JL: Typically I commute by bike each weekday to work, which is about 3 miles each way. Two-thirds of that commute is on the Greenway in Minneapolis, so it’s fast. I get out for random rides now and then, including social rides and solo rides. Mostly around Minneapolis. Last summer I got out for a couple of overnight trips with 40 - 60 mile days. I need to do more of that this year.
I drink a ton of kombucha. I love that stuff. Double Dog and Deane’s are my favorites. And I need to start brewing my own.
BANJO BROS: WHAT LISTENING TO
JL: My top five in listening frequency over the past few months would be Patty Griffin, Anais Mitchell, Jason Isbell, Townes Van Zandt, and Ryan Adams. And I’m excited about some new stuff coming out -- Ana Egge has a new record coming out this spring, and Brianna Lane is releasing a new song each month this year. I also listen to tons of emerging folk and Americana musicians. I spend many nights each month running sound and being a house manager at The Warming House, a South Minneapolis listening room that I co-founded with my friends Brianna Lane and Greg Neis. Consequently, I get to hear so many folks playing shows there-- tons of compelling musicians come through our venue. Every month I get an introduction to someone new that gets added to my listening routine.
Speaking of new music, this April I am releasing my latest recording: Live at The Warming House, Minneapolis Minnesota. It will drop locally at a CD release show April 14, 2018, and worldwide on April 20, 2018. Live at The Warming House includes eleven new songs, plus two from my 2015 release Drift. This new recording was made in the style of my favorite Townes Van Zandt record Live at The Old Quarter, and features me, my guitar, songs, jokes, and a live audience. The CD artwork was designed as a tribute to Live at The Old Quarter as well. Live at The Warming House is available now at special pre-release prices on my website.
BANJO BROS WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING?
JL: I drink a ton of kombucha. I love that stuff. Double Dog and Deane’s are my favorites. And I need to start brewing my own.
BANJO BROS: WHAT'S STUCK IN YOUR CRAW?
JL: The particular music and cycling worlds I live in are progressive and community-focused worlds, yet I’m struck and angered too frequently by the sexism and abuses of power I see there. As Harry Potter taught us, even in magical worlds there are plenty of jackasses. The #metoo movement and related conversations and experiences have had a powerful impact on me, and I’m awed by the bravery of those who are speaking up. And I’m struck by the fact that it should not be job of victims to speak up for themselves. It is my responsibility to confront my peers and those in power when I see sexist, ageist, racist, homophobic, or transphobic actions or systems. I’m working hard to lessen my own failings in this area, and to speak boldly to the bad actors. #ifyouseesomethingsaysomething
MORE ABOUT THE FIVE THINGS INTERVIEWS FROM BANJO BROTHERSA big, Banjo Bros. thank you to John Louis for participating in this week's edition of Banjo Brothers' Five Things. These short interviews about life and bicycles will appear every Friday on the Banjo Brothers Blog. If you liked this FIVE THINGS from Banjo Brothers you should check our our
full series of past five things interviews.
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Use the contact form on our website to send us a note. See you next Friday. Also, since you're here, we do need to mention, Banjo Brothers makes a whole line of tough, practical and affordable gear for cyclists. Thanks for reading.