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Erik Koskinen Brings Authentic Songwriting to The Historic Chief Theater, Sunday April 3rd, 2022

Erik Koskinen
Erik Koskinen will perform Sunday night in Bemidji, April 3rd. 2022.

Minnesota songwriter and blues rocker Erik Koskinen is returning to northern Minnesota along with Jeffrey Foucault for a free show at the Historic Chief Theater in Bemidji on Sunday, April 3rd 2022. Koskinen recently spoke with KAXE News Director Heidi Holtan and KAXE Music Director Kari Hedlund ahead of the show to chat about his creative process and what it means to be touring with Foucault. Click the player above to hear the full interview recorded on Thursday, March 31st.

Koskinen is an authentic songwriter. Drawing on experiences growing up in small-town Michigan, touring around the Midwest, and now living on a farm near Cleveland Minnesota, Koskinen displays a genre-spanning catalog of original music. From country, blues, folk, and rock, the unifying factor is that the songs are authentically his.

“That’s the most important thing for me,” Koskinen said in the interview. “I'm not very good at playing other people's stuff. I'm not very good at copying other peoples’ feels musically. Everything I have ever done for the most part is kinda going by feel. I just focus on the song at hand. That's the way I do it, I guess that's the best answer I've got.”

The bill for Sunday night at the Historic Chief Theater has Koskinen supporting (and playing alongside) Jeffrey Foucault, a Wisconsin-Born songwriter. The two are touring around the Midwest this Spring, and they’ve had plenty of opportunities to gel as creative partners. “We've toured a couple times together playing co-bill shows or I open for him,” Koskinen said before heaping on the praise of Foucault. “He's definitely a better singer than I am, he can write a melody. I fake them, but he writes the heck out of them. He's a great vibe to be on stage with. He understands rhythm, vibe, and grove. And he's been at the same school for the last 20 years as me as far as that kind of stuff goes.”

Both Koskinen and Foucault will be playing their sets with full bands, and during the interview, Koskinen was excited to list some of the musicians who are joining them for the tour. Musicians like bassist Jeremy Moses Curtis and steel guitar player Eric Heywood will be on hand Sunday at the Historic Chief to add chops to the songwriters’ tunes.

More than anything, there is a respect and admiration between the two artists. “We get along really well, so that makes traveling easy. It's a lot more fun, you can't sit in a van with someone for five days or more, or even one day, if you don't like them” Koskinen said.

In today’s music-industry landscape of streams and clicks, Koskinen has been a solid supporter of local radio and especially KAXE. For him, hearing his songs on the radio “is one of the most important things. I get a lot of feedback on my music when people hear it on the radio. I know you play a lot of my music on KAXE; it’s my favorite station.”

Learn more about Erik Koskinen by visiting his website here.

More information about Jeffery Foucault can be found here.

The show is Sunday, April 3rd at 630pm at the Historic Chief Theater in the heart of Downtown Bemidji.

Jeffrey Foucault & Erik Koskinen

Max Philbrook (he/him) is a Producer at KAXE focused on telling the stories of the people, events, and organizations that make up the fabric of northern Minnesota. Based out of Grand Rapids, Max spends his time reading fiction at the library, seeing sports and live music, and supporting the arts and cultural events in the area. Get in touch with Max if you have a story to tell, an event to publicize, or just want to chat about life in the northland.
Kari (CAR-ee) is originally from South Dakota … a state often referred to as the land of infinite variety. As Music Director at Northern Community Radio, Kari has taken that theme to heart with her ability to feed a community of listeners hungry for an infinite variety of music and ideas. Along with her trademark lipstick and husky voice … Kari also raises a family … and Baguettes when time permits
Heidi Holtan has worked at KAXE/KBXE for over 20 years. She currently helms the Morning Show as News and Public Affairs Director. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North. In 2018 Heidi received the “Building Bridges in Media” award from the Islamic Resource Group for her work on KAXE/KBXE hosting conversations about anti-Muslim movements in rural Minnesota.