“The Silver City” is pure gold!

Messersmith hard at work in his craft: beard growing. 
Photo courtesy Princess Records

Ashley Goetz

Messersmith hard at work in his craft: beard growing. Photo courtesy Princess Records

WHO: Jeremy Messersmith WHAT: âÄúThe Silver CityâÄù CD Release Party WHEN: Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. WHERE: The Varsity Theater WHY: âÄòCause âÄúGossip GirlâÄù is on Monday nights. Coming off of the critical acclaim of âÄúThe Alcatraz Kid ,âÄù and with the esteemed title of âÄúBest Songwriter of 2007 ,âÄù anointed by City Pages, working in his favor, Jeremy MessersmithâÄôs sophomore album, âÄúThe Silver CityâÄù has engendered a sense of anticipation in more than a few followers of the Twin Cities music scene. The album, which is reminiscent of Elliot Smith , âÄúLet GoâÄù-era Nada Surf , The Beatles and even BeckâÄôs 1998 release âÄúMutations ,âÄù is the work of a polished and thoughtful musician. âÄúThe Silver CityâÄù is a perfect balance of melancholy realism and dreamy pop. A&E tracked Jeremy Messersmith down to ask him a few questions about his new album, as well as what itâÄôs like being a musician based out of Minneapolis. So, you have a different producer for this album [Dan Wilson ]. Was the experience of working with a new producer interesting for you? Did you like it more than the process of âÄúAlcatraz Kid?âÄù Yeah, after I finished âÄúAlcatraz KidâÄù I was really sick of myself and I wanted to find some other people to collaborate with. Dan Wilson was willing to help out and it was easier in some ways and harder in others. ItâÄôs a little harder when youâÄôre just dealing with more people. I was pushed a little bit in directions I hadnâÄôt thought of, but thatâÄôs the main reason that I wanted to work with other people. Dan was really patient; it ended up being really good. It seems as if âÄúThe Silver CityâÄù functions very specifically as an album about Minneapolis. Do you agree with this? I think that that is pretty fair to say. I am curious if people outside the Twin Cities will know this âÄî I think maybe they wonâÄôt. I donâÄôt think I write specifically about the city; itâÄôs about it maybe but I think it has a sort of universal geography. I hope it does anyway. You have been compared to Elliot Smith more than once, what do you think about this? Generally I feel pretty good about it. I mean if it was someone I hated then I might not like it. He was a great songwriter, really confessional and heartfelt, songwriting-wise. I think that he is kind of ahead above some of the people he gets lumped together with. You also cover a song on the album by The Replacements , which is another Minneapolis act. Did you have fun covering that song? Was it your idea to do the cover? I am trying to think of whose idea it was. I donâÄôt think I was originally planning it. I was playing it live and I played it for Dan and he said, âÄúThis song should go on the album.âÄù I was a bit nervous about covering it because every time you cover a song you get half the band saying, âÄúHow dare you cover this song, this song is perfect the way it is.âÄù I got kind of bashed in one review where they said it was just a waste or didnâÄôt need to be covered. It was fun to do, though. Do you have any other Minneapolis musicians that you play with a lot? Sure, umm, I play probably every summer with Haley Bonar and also Chris Koza . I played with Kid Dakota a few times. Oh, and you know IâÄôve played with the circuit benders Beatrix Jar also. That was really cool. OK hereâÄôs the final and most important question: Do you like Grain Belt? Um, I know what youâÄôre talking about but I have never actually had it. I now sound like a complete beer newbie but I pretty much just drink Summit . I guess now I am going to have to try it so I donâÄôt have to answer âÄúnoâÄù if I get asked that question again [Laughs].