Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Elysian Fields - Minneapolis

When I lived in Decorah, Iowa in the mid-90s, there was a bar there, probably from 1993 to early 1995 called Orrsey's. I won't go into the details on where the name came from, but it was Dave Orr's bar. The bar opened up soonafter I moved to Decorah, and actually had live bands just about every weekend. Most of the bands were of the cover variety, but there were a few bands that played their own music.

One of the bands that I enjoyed was called Elysian Fields. I realize there was some other band that burst onto the scene around 1996 with the same name, but I assure you, the band I'm talking about was not that band. The one I'm referring to was from Minneapolis. They self-released a CD, and then I moved away in April 1996, so I never knew what happened to them.

This is the unfortunate problem with the internet. These days, any kid with the software can record songs and get a Myspace page. Myspace is very helpful in providing bands a quick start to allowing people to access information about the band AND their music. I would have killed for Myspace in the late 80s/early 90s.

What I have often found as I've travelled and moved around the country in my post-college years is that just because you think Band X is the shit in say, Ames, Iowa, or Decorah, Iowa, someone who lives in Florida may or may not feel the same way, since they didn't see the band in the bar in your condition. It's almost like a "I Guess You Had to Be There" situation. What you get in a live show, you don't necessarily get on the CD.

Elysian Fields used to play a lot of their originals, and in fact, I'm pretty sure they stuck to the ones that would later be on their CD. They also did some covers that I liked. They did "Sister Luck" by the Black Crowes, they did "Sucker" by Mott the Hoople, and while I was never a big fan of "End of the World As We Know It" by REM, they did that, and it was a crowd favorite.

I enjoyed their originals which ranged from an almost MC-5-like "DC-X", the straightforward rock of "Ether", the plodding "A Couple Weeks" and the Zeppelinesque "Sometimes Why".

These guys came back into my consciousness a few weeks ago when I was taking the garbage and compost out. Or maybe I was shovelling the driveway. I just remembered that on the live version of "A Couple of Weeks" they would get to the middle part and sing, "Forty years ago, drifting through the snow, I lost my way, could not go" and we would chant it back at them. Because, you know, it was fun. And we were drinking brown liquor. Whenever I'm out in blowing snow, I am reminded of those lyrics.

So, anyway, I went looking for them on the internet the other day (as I have several times over the past few years) and came up with nothing. So I was hoping that someone out there, maybe up in Minneapolis way, would know about them or some of the members and what they're up to these days if I put a footprint on the internet out there about them.

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Anonymous Kurt said...

Jez - Any names of the group members? I can ask around if I got a member name. If the band isn't around anymore 1996 may be far enough out that they won't remember the band name. A lot of the guys I work with have and still do work side gigs for local bands or were in the scene prior to working here. It's a start...

10:24 AM

Blogger gregtuco said...

This is really good. Obviously they're not available on iTunes. How can I get this?


11:33 PM

Blogger Narm said...

I know this isn't the point of your post so I am sorry to hijack it but i had a thought on Myspace.

Growing up, when I had finally saved up enough money to buy an album I had to make sure it was the exact right choice. Even if I didn't like it on the first listen I would listen to it 20 more times before making a decision.

I don't know how many bands I've cast off because I didn't like the 3 songs on their Myspace page now. It is too easy. I love what hte internet has done for music - but it is almost TOO easy. The joy of discovering and supporting bands is different now.

12:10 PM

Blogger stephan said...

i am the drummer.

we just finished making a recording of 5 new songs here in chicago this past weekend.

thanks for the interest. we don;t get together too often nowadays, as we have spread out between minneapolis, sheboygan WI, and evanston & chicago IL


9:13 AM

Blogger Jez said...

Very good, Steve. I remember you all showing up in Decorah one time the day after playing in Ames and you were a bit hung. Will you make the five songs available? Will you have a website, or what? Can you discuss more about the band with me by contacting me through my email (which I think is available on my profile)?

Me and a friend opened for you guys once in Decorah, we played acoustic guitars and sang about 5 songs - trust me, we learned them all that day so it probably wasn't that memorable.

9:29 AM

Blogger stephan said...

shoot me yer last name so i can befriend you on myspace et c

9:57 AM

Blogger Jez said...

Jesse Trent, my man.

11:20 AM

Anonymous オテモヤン said...


9:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is "Your Heart Beats Like An Anvil" by Elysian Fields, Minneapolis.


6:56 PM

Anonymous Jim Hurlbut said...

Ha! I thought I'd do a search on this band after thinking about seeing them at Orseys. I really dug them and had them over to our place once for an after show party when I lived with Hans Barnaal and Greg Limburg. And Jesse I sure remember you! This is Jim Hurlbut, though I don't know if you ever knew my last name. I recall you getting up on stage one night and doing a respectable version of Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" with some band spur of the moment. Remember? Ah, those were some good times at Orseys. How about the Delta Drifters? Man, you take me back. Hope all is going well for you. Cheers! Jim james.hurlbut@yahoo.com

7:18 AM


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