Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Stories that stay with you

by HPR Contributor | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Music | September 14th, 2016

By Ben Haugmo

benhaugmo@yahoo.com

Those who have passed through Fergus Falls, Minnesota may have had the chance to drive by the old Regional Treatment Center. The hospital has been closed since 2005, but there are ongoing efforts to preserve the historic Kirkbride building that serves as the property’s main attraction.

Even with a permanent solution for its restoration seemingly far off, the space still finds occasional use. It has been discovered, for instance, that the former nurse’s cottage works splendidly as a recording space.

This Saturday, theatre artist and songwriter Ashley Hanson will be debuting her first solo album, “The Kirkbride Sessions” at The Spot in Fergus Falls. The album was recorded at the Regional Treatment Center during Hanson’s stay through the Hinge Artist Residency. The show is free to the public and open to all ages.

Before embarking on her first solo venture, Hanson played in bluegrass and folk bands and has worked in theatre art. Much of her experience researching small towns for her musicals has played a part in creating “The Kirkbride Sessions.” As with the theatre, Hanson’s goal in recording the album was to tell stories.

“A lot of times we hear so many stories, we can meet so many people, and we get to see different kinds of people and the challenges happening in rural Minnesota--rural communities across America--and a lot of that sticks with you. Even if it doesn’t make it into the particular play that you’re working on, the stories stay with you.”

“The Kirkbride Sessions” explores some of the darker aspects of rural life, those truths that we might prefer stay hidden but ultimately must acknowledge. The Kirkbride campus acted as a perfect environment to inspire songs drawing on the theme of the “rural underbelly.”

“Not that we have to be ashamed of it,” said Hanson, “but I think that we as a society need to look at these parts of our communities and start to look at ways that we can better heal and better help and bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots, the folks of privilege and the folks that are not in a place of privilege.”

Much of Hanson’s inspiration comes from her own experience growing up in a small town. The people she’s met, both in the past and in recent years, have come together to create a cast of characters that now appear in her songwriting.

“I grew up in rural poverty, so there was a lot of alcoholism, a lot of depression, and a lot of challenges. When I think about my childhood and that quintessential down-on-his-luck person, I think about my grandfather. He really loved old country music. He was the small town alcoholic dude hanging out at the bar every single night, and everybody knows him, you know? I wanted to bring in some elements of that character.

“Being a theatre artist, I think each of the songs speaks a slightly different tone depending on the character. They’re all different characters in my mind.”

The Kirkbride didn’t just inspire Hanson’s songwriting. It also acted as a unique physical space for recording each song. Together with recording engineer Brian Laidlaw and drummer Shane Ellis, Hanson was able to experiment with musical texture within the old nurse’s cottage.

“It was a really phenomenal space,” said Hanson. “We would move around the recording gear to get different sounds and different reverb. We would put amps in hallways. The building itself really became an instrument in the process.”

The song “Lay Me Down” was recorded at the Regional Treatment Center’s mass graveyard to add another unique layer to the music, and to honor those who had passed at the Kirkbride.

“On the final night, the sun was setting, we got everything out and used just the batteries from our computers to power the microphones. It was a really moving experience to capture the vocals in that outdoor space. If you listen closely you can even hear some of the little night birds in the background. It was all part of a story.”

“The Kirkbride Sessions” adds another chapter to the Regional Treatment Center’s tale. Join Ashley Hanson this weekend in an ongoing story that’s sure to stick.

IF YOU GO

Ashley Hanson – “The Kirkbride Sessions” CD Release Show

Saturday, September 17, 7pm

The Spot, 220 W Lincoln Ave, Fergus Falls, Minn.

Info: Free show, http://www.ashhanson.com/

Recently in:

After nearly two and a half years since the people of North Dakota voted to pass the Compassionate Care Act into law in the state, medical marijuana is finally available to patients. Only one dispensary is open right now, but seven…

It was an, “aha,” moment, said Jeremy Jensen. A woman had her vehicle towed into the Fix It Forward Auto Care shop in Moorhead. Jensen and fellow Fix It Forward Auto Care co-founder Matt Carlson had the vehicle on a hoist…

Thursday, April 18, 5-9 p.m.Drekker Brewing Company, 1666 1st Ave N, FargoThe folks at Drekker have partnered with a handful of area artists and the Lend A Hand Up program. A program providing help and hope to families facing…

In 2016, the Rand Corportation’s National Defense Research Institute published a year-long study looking at potential consequences for transgender members to serve within the U.S Military. This study looked at seven different…

The Nordic ModelDr. Thea Hunter, a graduate of Columbia University and an adjunct professor of history at a number of elite colleges and universities, recently died at age 63 of extreme capitalism—and asthma—because of lack of…

Cocktail Showdown

​Yo ho ho!

by Sabrina Hornung

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

After three years Jon Beyer aka “Jonny B” has become the face and the beard behind Jonny B’s Brickhouse in Jamestown North Dakota. Besides the largest selection of craft beers between here and Bismarck, wood-fired pizzas and…

By Gary Usseryusseryg@gmail.comFYB. Three letters, three words, well known by the guys who make up Cascades, and anyone who is a fan of the five-man band. When asked what genre best describes their sound, I was bombarded with at…

Harmony Korine keeps a tight grip on his title as one of the most critic/critique-proof filmmakers of recent times with “The Beach Bum,” a sultry companion piece to 2012’s memorable “Spring Breakers.” Not without its own…

Arts

​Hold your head high

by Sabrina Hornung

“I started to look around at state arts council positions because I felt that even though I had never done that, I felt like it would be a really good blend of skills, so I started to look around in 2016. A few jobs came up but I…

Countless examples can be found throughout the history of great art that was only recognized as such after the life of the artist that created it. Such is true of Georges Bizet’s opera "Carmen."  While its reception during his…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

By Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comThink & Drink is coming to Fargo! Organized by Humanities North Dakota, Think & Drink is a happy hour series that hosts a facilitated public conversation about big issues and ideas. Lead by a…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

It seems like the threats to North Dakota’s Badlands never cease. Let’s go back and revisit Wylie Bice. He’s the rogue, rich, rancher up in Dunn County, on the eastern edge of the Badlands, who’s built himself a private…