This Thanksgiving, Minnesotans’ hearts will be full of grief as well as gratitude. Even so, thoughts next Thursday will turn to the people, places, and principles we cherish and give thanks for. As always in troubled times, music has been and will continue to be a source of reflection, fresh perspectives, and – yes – entertainment.
Here are ten songs released by Minnesota artists in 2020 that I’m thankful for, and that might fit well on the soundtrack to your Thanksgiving holiday, however you’re celebrating.
Duluth artists, “Let it Shine”
This gorgeous new version of “This Little Light of Mine” was created for an important cause: reminding north country residents to complete their census forms.
Dizzy Fae, “I’m Good”
Dizzy Fae has been sharing her new single on TikTok, offering it as solace for those who need to hear its affirmative message.
Glitterati, “I Believe You/Another Day”
From this Duluth band’s debut LP Among the Wild, “I Believe You/Another Day” affirms the values of trust and mutual support.
Humbird, “On the Day We Are Together Again”
It can be hard to imagine that one day we’ll be able to share spaces again, but Humbird takes us to that happier time in this haunting hymn of faith and love.
iLLism, “High Hopes”
If anything can make you smile, it’s the exuberant energy of this dynamic duo. “I’m high on love,” they sing. “I’m high on you.” In a statement accompanying the socially-distanced music video, they invite listeners to “come celebrate yourself with us.”
The Cactus Blossoms, “Happy Man”
“I’m a happy man on a gloomy day,” begins this laconic song from Minnesota’s favorite retro-country duo. Sometimes it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other.
Longshot feat. Taylor Ray and Champion, “Feels Good”
Amidst a year of searing reflection on tragic and enraging events, Longshot shared this song about shaking it out on the dance floor, with a percolating beat that makes the Minneapolis MC, for two minutes and 55 seconds, our very own Mr. Worldwide.
Mae Simpson, “Home”
It seems like a million years ago that Mae Simpson was on the Mainroom stage for First Avenue’s Best New Bands…but yeah, that was just January. One of the tracks from her new album Did You Make it Home is this longing but hopeful ballad about the comforts of a place we all came to know very, very well this year.
Nur-D, “One More Night”
As relationships change, sometimes you just want one more night to live in the moment. This percolating slow jam from the peerless Nur-D is a whole mood.
Semisonic, “You’re Not Alone”
New Semisonic music would be something to be grateful for in any year, but in 2020 this soaring track really hit hearts hard.