By Paul Schmitt
In an effort to reinvigorate Saint Mary’s University’s campus radio station, local blues musician and 2003 SMU alumnus Mike Munson was brought into the studio on Jan. 15 for a live interview and performance.
Nick Novotny, a sophomore music industry major and host of his own show dubbed “Knarly Tunez,” contacted Munson in early December about coming into the studio the following semester as a way to add something new to the station lineup.
Guest artists have been featured on KSMR in the past, but Novotny said “fans can expect to see a lot more live music on my show. I’ve actually already got Craig Weatherhead of The Weathered Heads coming in on March 12 and I am working with Twin Cities’ artist Jake Ilika about coming in as well. And the nice thing about our studio is that fans on campus can come down to the Toner basement and watch it all happen.”
Though Munson has been playing music in the area since he graduated, his popularity has seen a spike in the past couple years with a standing gig every Sunday at Ed’s No-Name Bar in downtown Winona, and, most recently, the release of a self-titled album in early November.
Munson said on the radio show that he thought his recording process was “kind of slow,” that “it felt good to take the time and feel like we did it right.”
His patience seems to have paid off in the form of attention from MPR’s The Current, who asked him to participate in last year’s Caravan du Nord tour, for which Munson played at SMU’s own Page Theater with Duluth-based band Southwire and the Twin Cities’ Night Moves.
Beginning in March, Munson, accompanied by Ilika, will set off on a sixteen-stop, three-week tour out west before returning to Winona just in time for Midwest Music Fest.