'Motown: The Musical' actress-singer delights in her multiple legendary roles

(Photo by Joan Marcus) Patrice Covington as Martha Reeves (center) with other members of the touring cast in Motown: The Musical.

Motown: The Musical, the hit Broadway musical now touring the country, arrives next week for a 13-day run at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis.

Grammy-nominated artist Ashley Támar Davis plays several roles, including Gladys Knight and Motown founder Berry Gordy’s sister Esther. She talked about her parts in a MSR phone interview.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Understated timeless cool of Jeremy Messersmith at the Turf Club

(Photos by Ann Treacy)

Man, woman, child, I don’t care who you are – everyone has a little crush on Jeremy Messersmith. He could fit into almost any era with pompadour, dark glasses and cardigan. He could play with Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly or the Bing Crosby, banter with Mr. Rogers, give him a pipe he could hang with Beaver Cleaver’s dad. The themes of his song – mostly love lost – are just as universal. And that adds to the crushability!

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MUSIC REVIEW | Punk rock party at the Turf Club: Dillinger Four, Pink Mink, Whatever Forever, and NO SKIN

Photos by Ann Treacy

This week I went to two nights of local music at the Turf Club—both sold out! A great sign for the Turf Club and Twin Cities audience appreciation of homegrown music. Wednesday night was all country (Cactus Blossoms and Erik Koskinen); Friday night was punk all night. It was also a 10 year anniversary party for Ben and Sheela. I don’t know them but I want to thank them for a great night. What a fun and generous way to celebrate.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Experimental jazz with Embezzler at Khyber Pass Café

Photos by Ann Treacy

I have good news and bad news, my favorite quiet nights of music—Thursdays  at the Khyber Pass Café in St Paul—are filling up. I’m glad for the musicians. I’m glad for the Khyber Pass. But I’ve got to start being on time. Embezzler played this week, which is Paul Metzger on the guitar and other instruments, Adam Linz on the upright bass and JT Base on the drums and other percussion accoutrements.  

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MUSIC PHOTOS | Doomtree Blowout at Varsity Theater

Photos by Meredith Westin

Doomtree played at the Varsity Theatre on Wednesday, December 11 as part of their final Doomtree Blowout ever.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Mannheim Steamroller self-sabotages, charges on at Orpheum Theatre

A picture from Mannheim Steamroller's 2013 tour. Photo courtesy of Mannheim Steamroller

Mannheim Steamroller, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary year, is now almost as much a cultural phenomenon as a performing ensemble. Even people who don’t recognize the name have probably heard its holiday music on the radio or as the soundtrack for innumerable videos on YouTube showcasing holiday lighting excess (not that that’s a bad thing). The ensemble’s holiday concert tours are sufficiently successful that there are actually two simultaneous touring groups crossing the United States each year. This is the root of the problems with the Dec. 7 concert at the Orpheum Theatre.

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MUSIC PHOTOS | 101.3 KDWB's Jingle Ball 2014 at Xcel Energy Center

Photos by Patrick Dunn

101.3 KDWB’s Jingle Ball 2014, presented by Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park and Allstate, rang in the Season with its annual star-studded holiday concert at Xcel Energy Center on Dec. 8. The radio station did a great job creating buzz and had the mostly younger crowd amped with anticipation. With a pre-party concert at Roy Wilkins and the main event at Xcel Energy Center lasting over three hours, it really was a substantial night of entertainment. The list of artists was stacked with a number of leading women currently in heavy rotation on the Pop Music airwaves; featuring Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, One Republic, Iggy Azalea, Meghan Trainor, Jessie J, Nico & Vinz, Rita Ora, Becky G and Shawn Mendes.  In addition to many of your favorite KDWB DJ’s, Nick Jonas was on hand as the special guest host. One Repbulic had a particularily solid set and Demi Lovato's vocal was a standout.  

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MUSIC REVIEW | Transitional Species, HACK, Surgery at the Hands of Machines and Lazarus Long at the Kitty Cat Klub

The Kitty Cat Klub is great for a wide range of entertainment. Sunday night I saw a few experimental bands or bands that at least defy traditional labels or grouping. The set lists were abbreviated since Freddy Fresh took over the bar at midnight to shoot a video. (Always kind of fun!) But it was enough time to get a taste of each act.

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Carrie Underwood first act in 2015 Minnesota State Fair Grandstand Concert Series

(Courtesy Minnesota State Fair)

Carrie Underwood is the first act announced for the 2015 Grandstand Concert Series at the Minnesota State Fair. She will be performing on Sat. Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Shakey Graves brings distinct sound and fine musicians to Cedar Cultural Center

Photos by Tom Baker

Packed to capacity, Shakey Graves played at Cedar Cultural Center and along with his distinct sound, brought some very talented musicians with him to round out a four-hour concert. Esme Patterson opened first, followed by Sean Rowe. Each a wealth of talent, Patterson and Rowe complimented Graves with their abilities and sound, as all three performers are standouts in the singer-songwriter world where it's stage presence, creativity, and singing that captivate the audience rather than flashy costumes, dance troupes, and elaborate stage lighting. Graves has built momentum during his short career, selling out The Turf Club last year and now The Cedar. Next time around, don't be surprised if he fills the main room at First Ave and the show sells out within a day or two. So be vigilant and buy tickets as soon as they're on sale next time around, as this is an act worth experiencing. 

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