The end of August was quite a whirlwind trip up to the Northwoods of Minnesota, over to the UP of Michigan, then down to the driftless region in Wisconsin for a show before returning back to Iowa. All of that in 4 days. During that time, I met with my longtime friend and musical collaborator Matt Mulville. We worked on two singles that I will be releasing onto streaming platforms as soon as they are ready. This whole experience was pretty transformative. That's not just all the legal weed talking. Matt brought a feeling and approach to these songs that are unlike anything I've ever heard. Once these new singles are released, and the upcoming double record is completed (much more on that in the near future), I will move forward with chasing this sound on a record we'll call "Scattershot". That's putting the cart well before the horse. I have a tendency to move onto a new project before the current one is finished, or even started really. I hope you'll listen to these new singles once they're available, because they are very cool and unique to what I've been doing for the last decade and a half. There was some evidence of this sound in my 2013 EP "Darling of the Western Sky", and that's because Matt played guitar and bass for that selection of songs as well. This is all cyclical.
You can hear me wax poetic about music any time. You want the beans.
While I was up on the UP I learned of a barbecue joint called UP-n-Smoke. I was excited to get in there and try their offerings. However, I followed the map to the address of the business and was greeted by an empty lot. I spent the next couple days trying to find a barbecue restaurant that I could review. No luck. The Sunday of this little northern run had me in Elkader, Iowa for their Fine Arts Festival. That was a fine way to end a series of shows. I also stumbled upon a food truck at the festival called Smokin' Monkee and was delighted to see baked beans advertised on their sandwich board in front of the truck. I ordered the beans along with the brisket nachos. As you can see below, the nachos were on par with gas station food, but they did have plenty of delicious, shredded brisket on top. Now, "on par with gas station food" doesn't sound like a promising review for nachos, but I assure you, it's one of my favorite things to eat. Burying the lead here. The beans were served up in the clamshell box you can see below, as a side to the nachos. They were at a modest price, and I believe that is reflective of the quantity and quality of these beans. It was a single bean variety dish, and I'd be stunned if these didn't come from a generic, institutional sized can of beans. They were hot. They were mushy and over cooked. The sauce had a familiar, sweet flavor with slightly tangy note. There was no heat or smoke presence in the dish whatsoever. To break up the consistency of the dish, the folks in this food truck did add in some scrap meats from their smokehouse and that helped keep the dish somewhat interesting. There were no vegetables added to the dish, from what I could tell. This particular side dish was a bit lacking in all areas. An afterthought for a menu that was designed around, and hidden behind, the strength of their smoked brisket.
Ratings (On a scale of 1-5)
Total Score: 5
For what it's worth,
Making music with your friend: 5