Earlier this month, singer-songwriter jeremy messersmith released some new music — but with a twist. Instead of releasing recordings, messersmith created a songbook, titled 11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For the 21st Century and Beyond. As the title suggests, the songs are more reminiscent of sing-along nursery rhymes, and are a departure from his usual pensive sound.
Messersmith told the Star Tribune that he wrote the songs last winter while intentionally trying to escape the news of the day and he sees the songs as “a natural, perhaps crazy reaction to all the crazy stuff that’s been going on.” Some of the obscenely optimistic topics found in the songbook include kittens, snowflakes, and world peace. As to why messersmith decided to release a songbook featuring solely cheery and hopeful music, on his website messersmith explained that “the first step to a better world is to imagine a better world.”
Besides its optimistic nature, what makes the release of this songbook so special is that messersmith has been actively encouraging his fans and fellow musicians to record and upload their own versions of the songs. So far, messersmith has only released one recording of a song — “Everything is Magical” — leaving the rest up to interpretation.
The request has been wholeheartedly granted, as a handful of fans have shared their versions of their favorite songs. A free digital copy of the songbook is available to download on messersmith’s website, for those interested in adding their musical talent to the mix.
Below are some examples of fans partaking in the optimism, and they are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Besides messersmith himself, watch for local musicians including Katy Vernon and Prairie Fire Lady Choir, in addition to The Current’s Local Show host Andrea Swensson and Twin Cities expat David de Young.
— Emily Murphy (@LemonyMurphy) April 4, 2017
Lillian Speakman is a senior at Hamline University and a DJ for HU Radio.