On the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 12, singer-songwriter David Huckfelt, accompanied by guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker and drummer J.T. Bates, performed in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall in Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Performing Arts Center.
The trio performed many songs off of Huckfelt’s most recent album called Room Enough, Time Enough, along with song covers of artists including Bob Dylan and Keith Secola.
“If you have a pulse you are interested in music,” said Huckfelt on why he does what he does. “It’s kind of the heartbeat of humanity.”
Huckfelt also noted, “Music can change the world by opening people’s minds and softening their spirits. It takes the edge off daily life, especially now in the midst of all the challenges we face.”
He continued on to say, “I have been moved to view the world completely differently by somebody’s song. Participating in that to some degree is what I live for.”
The crowd in the Recital Hall, while small, was enthusiastic and loud, excited to be seeing Huckfelt and hearing his music. “It’s very intimate,” the performer joked at one point. “I feel like I should take questions.”
Huckfelt spoke on Room Enough, Time Enough and it’s origins during the show: “I wrote the record just before my child was born, at the beginning of the pandemic.”
Most of the album was recorded during the original quarantine, by Huckfelt and all of his collaborators.
“What makes the record what it is is the dream list of collaborators in the record,” he said. “I wanted to make an inclusive and diverse record in a time when a lot of musicians are stripping down, a lot of people recording by themselves. That’s not what I see my role being. I just kept thinking about what human beings would sound great on this song and would send the tracks to the people that fit.”
The album, which features folk-style music, blows up the mythology surrounding “cowboys and indians,” the history and how skewed it is, and aims to represent both sides and erase the divisions. “Music has never had divisions,” commented Huckfelt.
Throughout the performance, Huckfelt, Bates, and Ylvisaker kept the crowd lively and entertained with their talents and their banter.
At the end of one song, a string on Huckfelt’s guitar snapped. This was taken in stride, with Bates and Ylvisaker taking the reins to impromptu perform a song that they both knew, entertaining the crowd while Huckfelt fixed his guitar.
“They are two of the most inventive, imaginative, capable, expressive musicians I know,” Huckfelt said of his accompanists. “A midwestern wrecking crew; there’s not a style of music you can’t find them playing. They are two of my best friends.”
Recently, Huckfelt has been involved in the fight to stop the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 Project, a pipeline set to cut across Minnesota. His newest single, “Book of Life,” is dedicated to the Indigenous water protectors standing up for the Earth.
“Musicians have to get really inventive to find out how music can play a role in activism,” said Huckfelt. “I wanted to make music that acknowledged the efforts the Native community makes to stand up for the planet, and for the people. They are at the front lines taking care of our planet.”
The night was rounded off with a cover of Keith Sicola’s “Book of Life,” a song of questions, to which the crowd responded with great applause.
All three artists’ music can be found on streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple music and on personal websites as well.
Header Photo: Huck David Huckfelt accompanied by guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker and drummer J.T. Bates performing on Tuesday in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall at MNSU. (Maddie Beherns/The Reporter)