WORDS BY Rebecca Bell Sorensen
Lambchop isn’t just the cuddly sock puppet of our youth—but if you follow the Minneapolis indie music scene, you probably know that already. The Nashville–based, alt-country group of the same name is the brainchild of sound innovator Kurt Wagner, a regular collaborator with Poliça and Bon Iver. Later this month, Wagner returns to Minneapolis to perform his world premiere of the Walker Art Center and Liquid Music’s Lambchop: Showtunes, The Bible in the McGuire Theater.
Co-commissioned by the Walker and Liquid Music, Wagner’s diverse collection of new songs from Showtunes “for people who don’t like show tunes” blended with his buzzed-about forthcoming album The Bible of “spiritual music for the godforsaken” was a true partnership between Liquid Music’s award-winning producer Kate Nordstrum and McGuire Theater director and senior curator of performing arts Philip Bither.
Both Nordstrum and Bither are longtime Lambchop fans and frequent artistic collaborators who saw the potential early on of Wagner’s recent work for the stage. “I was so entranced by the sparse, dramatic set of songs (in Showtunes) and could imagine them in a dark, theatrical space with full instrumentation,” says Nordstrum.
While Nordstrum and Liquid Music worked on the curation of the work, Bither was excited to bring Lambchop: Showtunes, The Bible to life at the venue. “The McGuire is the ideal setting to arrange and shape songs with great instrumentals and electronics to fulfill the work’s true potential,” he says.
The result is an impressive 16-piece ensemble that includes CJ Camerieri (Bon Iver, Carm), Ryan Olson (Poliça, Gayngs), Andrew Broder (Fog), Blake Morgan (VOCES8), Cole Davis, and Bryan Nichols. Add in a five-piece chorus, four-piece horn section, turntables, and Wagner, and we may find religion after all.
Masks required for all attendees