Roots reach deep for The Pines

The Iowan folksters are ramblin’ across the Midwest with their timeless meditations

For Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt, Folk is so much more than a genre of music, its an approach to their life and past.

Image by Photo courtesy Darin Back

For Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt, Folk is so much more than a genre of music, it’s an approach to their life and past.

by Sally Hedberg

What: The Pines

When: Nov. 12

Where: Dakota Jazz Club

Cost: $20


Straight from the heart of the Midwest, folk-duo The Pines have grown into a force to be reckoned with. As they round out a tour to promote their 2009 release, âÄúTremolo,âÄú theyâÄôll indulge Minneapolis with an evening of music at the Dakota Jazz Club

Though band members David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey have chosen Minneapolis as a music-making base of sorts, their home sweet home is in Iowa, an acknowledgement that permeates the underlying approach to their artistic process.

âÄúItâÄôs kind of just where we come from and itâÄôs where our roots are,âÄù Huckfelt said. âÄúItâÄôs got a lot of space. Our music has a lot of space to it.âÄù

Where some Minneapolis acts adopt an in-your-face mentality in establishing their scene cred and grappling for recognition, The Pines are about as chilled-out as they come, in both attitude and music.

âÄúI feel like we definitely strive to be on the subtler side of things,âÄù Huckfelt said.

Another element that adds to their laidback folk disposition is their record label, Red House Records. Famous for its position as one of the most respected folks/roots labels in the country, Red House has supported the careers of many an influential folk presence, like Tom Paxton and RamblinâÄô Jack Elliot.

While Red House Records generally offers its coveted services to gray-haired artists, The Pines, more spring chickens than old hens, got lucky in securing their contract.

âÄúThey decided it was time for them to start developing some younger artists so we were one of the first of that effort,âÄù Huckfelt said.

Their experience with the label has been a positive one, and the band feels fortunate to have gained such personable representation.

âÄúI would probably say itâÄôs the fundamental belief in the creativity of the artists they work with,âÄù Huckfelt said. âÄúThey put that first: The freedom of an artist to create the kind of work that they want to. Then they help it get out in the world.âÄù

For The Pines, artistic creativity runs straight from the vein of folk tradition, meaning the subject matter they confront is largely a function of geography. They sing about the transience that is vitally American, about leaving the places that are most important to them and about the gratification of appreciating their homes.

âÄúWe embrace the climate and the setting of where a lot of these dreams and ideas and songs and visions take shape,âÄù Huckfelt said. âÄúItâÄôs a wealth of influences. The music is the message.âÄù

After several gigs throughout the Midwest, the humble duo will take both their music and messages to the UK for their maiden European tour.

And while theyâÄôll see more of the world than ever before, The Pines believe that itâÄôs their roots that provide the firmest influential foundation.

âÄúYou donâÄôt have to go to the ends of the Earth to be inspired,âÄù Huckfelt said. âÄúIt can happen right where you live.âÄù