BEMIDJI BONDS: Making music and making friends with Ruby Tuesday
Bemidji has its own "Ruby Tuesday," only it's not a restaurant. Every Tuesday, at about 3 p.m., a group of music lovers gather at the Cabin Coffeehouse in downtown Bemidji for a jam session rightfully and jokingly named "Ruby Tuesday." Their set ...
Bemidji has its own “Ruby Tuesday,” only it’s not a restaurant.
Every Tuesday, at about 3 p.m., a group of music lovers gather at the Cabin Coffeehouse in downtown Bemidji for a jam session rightfully and jokingly named “Ruby Tuesday.”
Their set list is mostly folk songs you can sing along to, but their music’s not limited to one genre. “Over the years, we’ve added old rock and roll, country western songs, some newer things,” said Don Zieman, one of the group’s original members. “Everybody brings what they want to bring and practices, so we might get something that’s fairly new, like a Taylor Swift or Tim McGraw, or we might get something from the 1800s and that’s kind of fun.”
And the way in which they read their music has changed, as well. Instead of thick gig books they used to lug around, many members now use iPads.
The group has been around for about 15 years and its members have changed and grown in numbers, just like their music. Zieman guessed about 150 different members have been in and out of the group, many branching out to make their own groups to perform.
“(Larry Young) and I kind of just invited people to start joining us on Tuesday nights. At first it was just one other guy and a couple more and a couple more and every time we’d go someplace we’d mention to people,” he said.
Within the group are multiple guitars, a banjo and a bass player for a nice array of acoustic instruments. The large group and musical talent can be intimidating, but that’s the opposite of what Zieman or Larry Young want people to think.
“It’s the camaraderie,” said Young, “Everyone agrees this is sure much better than watching television on Tuesday nights. It kind of does something ‘in here’ that people come to realize if they haven’t done much music.”
The jam sessions aren’t formal and are not performances, although some members play regular Saturday gigs at the Bemidji Natural Choice Farmers Market. On Tuesdays they simply come together and play. The group usually plays until about 5 p.m., and anyone is welcome to play or come and listen, they said.
“Everybody can come and bring music in and give it a try and there’ll be people here to help them with it. We’ve got several here that basically learned how to play guitar here and never played before and they came and we showed them a couple chords and they follow along.” said Zieman, “It’s a good place for people to learn about music and be a part of the community.”
Grimm is a summer reporting intern at the Pioneer through the Minnesota Newspaper Association. She plans to attend BSU in the fall.