Local Current Blog

Ask a Cool Person: Brianna Lane of the Warming House, a listening room coming to South Minneapolis

Photo by Andrea Swensson/MPR

Each week on the Local Show, we’ll meet a new person from the Minnesota music community who has some fresh discoveries to share in a feature called “Ask a Cool Person.” These people will come from all corners of the scene, including record store clerks, recording studio engineers and producers, artists, writers, bookers, photographers, and fans.

This week’s “Cool Person” is Brianna Lane, a respected singer-songwriter and the executive director of a new listening room coming to South Minneapolis, the Warming House.

  1. Listen Ask a Cool Person: Brianna Lane

When did you get the idea to start your own venue?

I never really thought I would be starting a venue, but I always knew I could. I spent a lot of time touring up and down the East Coast in my 20s, and especially up in Boston and the Northeast, it has a lot of listening room venues. And I said, oh man, Minneapolis needs that.

So whereabouts is this Warming House?

40th and Bryant. South Minneapolis.

What makes a good listening room? How are you going to get people to listen?

Well, we’re going to set up that expectation from the start. There’s a lounge upstairs, and then you go downstairs. It’s like a theater, but for music — it’s like a tiny black-box theater for music. I think that music lovers will want to listen instead of cramming up towards the stage at a bar and trying to listen. And musicians always want to be heard, so it’s a happy combination.

Musicians want people to actually listen to what they’re doing, and not just clink glasses together?

Isn’t that amazing?!? Yeah!

Well this is going to be fantastic, a really great addition to the community. To get people in the spirit for your big opening weekend in early May, we wanted to play some artists you might see in a listening room environment. One of these people is involved in the Warming House project: John Louis. Tell me about him.

John Louis just put out his first record a few months ago, and it’s absolutely beautiful. I think he set out to do a little demo, and then he’s like, you know what? I’m going for the whole thing. He’s a neighbor, he’s a friend, he’s on the board, he’s involved with some of the daily operations of the Warming House already. And the song we’re going to play is featuring the Cactus Blossoms.

Yay! And Blake Thomas is another one you brought in. What’s his story?

He is a good friend of mine, and has been for a long time. I first saw him play in Madison, Wisconsin, and he just just kind of blew me out of the water. His writing is so good, and he’s one of those guys that doesn’t really put himself in public’s ear a lot, but I feel like everybody should hear him. He’s involved with a lot of theater stuff up in Duluth; his wife is Mary Fox, who is also involved with theater, and they’re involved with Take It With You, a really amazing radio show up there, which happens monthly.

And this last artist will be playing your opening weekend of the Warming House, which is the first weekend in May.

Yeah! Friday, May 6 will be Peter Miller from We Are the Willows and Chris Koza, and then Saturday, May 7 will be Reina del Cid, a duo version of that band. I can’t wait.

Keep up with all the latest news on the Warming House on their website. The Warming House opens May 6 and will be located at 4001 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis.