Nomadic Luke Redfield returns home, finds his voice on new EP

Luke Redfield, seen here in a green plant.

Luke Redfield, seen here in a green plant.

No matter where he goes, home seems to point to Minnesota for Luke Redfield. The Duluth-born singer/songwriter has been living back in Minneapolis for about a year now, after living a somewhat nomadic life in the south for a handful of years. The years were hard for a musician doing service industry work on the side, but they were also rewarding, allowing Redfield to live on his own terms. 

While living and working in Austin, Texas, Luke met and fell in love with an Australian woman. She (inexplicably) wanted to see what a Minnesota winter was like, so the two moved to Minneapolis last year. Like many before, she found the cold wasn’t for her, and moved home to Australia. Redfield, on the other hand, re-acclimated quickly and nestled himself back into the heart of Uptown.

Redfield, sitting outside of the Herkimer on a recent warm autumn evening, notices the new influx of high-rise condos — buildings that crept in during his was away. He's contemplative as he talks about the change and even more so as he talks about his new album, Uncover the Magic.

Arranged in the classic singer-songwriter style, Redfield’s music is narrative and at times moody. Find yourself a shot of whiskey and a field to sit in, and you will feel right at home. On his new album, he made an effort to move away from music that required listeners be in a certain mood. To be able to get in the right headspace for writing, he spent a lot of time alone on walks in the city, tuning out every day to meditate and gather his thoughts.

“I was thinking this morning, I gotta move to the country. I’m a country boy at heart," Redfield shares. "I lived in the country for five years, but I think the grass is always greener. When I’m in the country, things get so slow, and I want to go out to a show at night. When I’m in the city, it’s the grind seven days a week. I would like to have the best of both worlds, but I probably will move out to the country eventually.” 

Looking to Wilco and Jeff Tweedy for inspiration, Redfield crafted over a hundred tunes this past February and March that would capture the sense of awe and reverence for the mysteries of life.

“Our minds are racing at a million miles an hour,” he says. “There’s so much beauty that eludes us, because we’re not as mindful as we should be.”

In a tiny studio by the Bad Waitress and Pancho Villa on Nicollet Avenue, Redfield worked with Tom Herbers (Low, Jayhawks) and bandmate Glenn Alexander to narrow down and record four songs at Creation Audio (also Kay Bank), where Hüsker Dü and the Trashmen have also captured some magic.

Uncover the Magic is the human voice, stretched out to summon up the choral and the ancient, funnelled through a free, hippie mind. The record is almost too sweetly warm and touching to be true. Although Redfield had many songs to choose from, an EP felt right because he was between records.

The tracks encompass feelings that resonate with the listener — no matter what mood they are in. The honing of his writing voice came from “enough life experience,” Redfield admits.

“I learned how to get out of the way of how I want things to be and just celebrate how things are. It was a lot of not trying to change the situation, unless it was really shitty and awful. I learned how to count my blessings a lot more.”

Luke Redfield EP-release for Uncover the Magic

With: Romantica, DJ set from Martin Dosh.

When: 10:30 p.m. Friday, October 25.

Where: Icehouse.

Tickets: $10-$12; more details here