You can paint a picture of, or while, ballooning, or as Carole King would sing, you can have the tapestry woven through music.
There is plenty of both in the 27th annual Hudson Hot Air Affair, which has as its theme Paint the Sky — to the point where that is even one of the prize categories in its annual torchlight parade.
There is much more to this affair than balloon launching, as music is offered early and often each night.
The longtime ballooning extravaganza running from Feb. 5-7 also is sponsoring the Taste of Hot Air Affair as a fundraiser. It features sampling of spirits, wine and beer, along with appetizers, decadent chocolates and artisan cheeses from providers from all over the St. Croix and Missisippi River valleys. The charitable event will feature the music of Boondoggle, members of which come from the Roberts area.
The five-member country, rock and blues band covers songs from more than 50 years, going beyond the usual ’70s, ’80′s and ’90s that are the staples for many groups. Members are Brent Ackley, Dawn Budrow, Jim Ehlers, John Wolf and Nate Dahl. “We play music by Elvis, the Beatles, the Stones, Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Dwight Yoakam, and anything and everything around and in-between,” according to their online bio.
The tasting event is set for Saturday from 7:30-10 p.m. in the Chateau Room of the Hudson House Grand Hotel, 1616 Crestview Drive. Proceeds from the Taste, in its fourth year, will go to the Hudson High School Mental Health Program.
Pre-sale tickets for The Taste can be purchased for $20 (or $25 at the door) at event sponsors Hudson WESTconsin Credit Union, the Hudson House, or Linda White Family Hair Care. All other festival activities are free for spectators.
Urban Olive and Vine will again feature a pair of very different bands. Jazz Savvy takes the stage on Friday and the duo of Kiersty and Nathan Santos on Saturday. Both start at 7 p.m.
– You’ll want to tap your toes and snap your fingers to start the weekend, but it’s still savvy, not your usual jazz band. With what’s called a fresh and innovative sound, Jazz Savvy is a unique trio with songs you might not expect to hear locally, even though they have built a following at a number of Twin Cities area venues. There’s no pabulum radio sound, no smooth jazz, or “canned” standard tunes, and every time Jazz Savvy gives a performance, they give the audience a new jazz experience, they say.
Drums, percussion, and other erstwhile rhythmic offerings are provided by Joe Steinger. From Kansas City, Joe migrated to the Twin Cites, and soon hooked up with a number of groups including his current mainstay, Café Accordion Orchestra, but others too. Joe provides a solid and liquid rhythmic addition that his peers say you will want to hear again.
Rounding out the trio is bassist Terry Bailey, probably best described as a serous journeyman. Terry has played the Twin City area with a number of groups and at numerous venues.
– Nathan and Kiersty Santos are an acoustic duet who have been heard and seen a lot around the Twin Cities, doing a variety of original and cover tunes, in what Urban Olive and Vine call a perfect pairing with the dinner and wine hours.
Nathan Santos is the lead singer, writer and producer from the American rock band, “The Hard Luck.” Nathan’s intimate acoustic performances blend his form of rhythmic guitar with swooning vocals. The group’s most noted accomplishments include winning the Cities 97 Battle of the Bands competition and making live feature television appearances.
As far as Kiersty, she has a powerful voice with a style all her own, as shown in her online rendition of Journey.
– The Negret Wine company’s downtown south store, renovation for which allowed it to begin business a few months ago just to the north of Pudge’s Bar as a part of that building complex, are new to the music scene for the Hot Air Affair, having a duo of brothers, Matt and Max, playing on Friday and Saturday nights.
In sessions at Negret, Matt plays a toned down style that allows people to converse or even read a book, and not be hampered by a loud guitar. When pinned down after a recent performance there, he cited as influences the Beatles and thus the music of two Johns, that being Lennon and Denver, the latter of whom you don’t often hear referenced.
Both Matt and his brother go to college in the Twin Cities, studying music, and also have day jobs, but plan to squeeze in as many gigs as possible, including Thursdays at Negret and over the summer. They start earlier than is typical, around 7 p.m., as they will during the Friday and Saturday of the Hot Air Affair.
“I play a lot of acoustic indie singer-songwriter music and mix in some 60′s oldies,” Matt said, adding that his style incorporates soft rock and folk, and a mix of the old and new. Some of the tunes are just offbeat enough to blaze a trail away from the overplayed classics.
“That’s a decently broad category to pull from: Stu Larsen, Passenger, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Jack Johnson, Nick Mulvey, Neil Diamond, John Denver, Bob Dylan, the Oh Hellos, Good Old War, George Ezra, Joshua Radin, Cage The Elephant, Coldplay, Harry Connick Jr. and Johnny Cash are all prominent influences,” Matt said.
These days, he has short and carefully coffed hair, while in photos from his not-too-long-ago playing days, he looks just a bit edgier, so you know you’ll be getting a variety when listening to him.
Matt’s format stays the same when he plays with his brother, who he says does accompaniment much in the style of the Lumineers or the Oh Hellos.
– Rounding out the music options connected with the Hot Air Affair are these acts at two of the other participating sponsors, both featuring relatively new band leaders. There is deejay dance music downtown at Dick’s Bar and Grill on Friday and Saturday starting at about 10 p.m., which gives a chance to mingle with the pilots, especially after the adjacent Torchlight Parade and following fireworks starting at 7 p.m. Friday. Also, there is karaoke in an intimate setting at the bar at the Plaza Lounge/Hudson Bowling Center on both nights, a venue not far from the Moonglow or Field of Fire that is set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Other noteworthy Hot Air Affair events are balloon launches at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and at 3 p.m. on Saturday, all weather permitting, and smoosh boarding at 1 p.m. Saturday. All are at the Rock Elementary School grounds.
The Hot Air Affair has as its corporate sponsor the WESTconsin Credit Union.
Visit www.hudsonhotairaffair.com for more information.