MN women rock! – Mayda, Hannah von der Hoff and Holly Newsom


By Becca Martin

This is the review I have been dying to do! It is also the least objective piece that I will ever write. Sorry!  For a lady who has been music and musician obsessed for a long time, I adore this time in MN music.  Every weekend I can see my three local favorites belting it out, sometimes two in one night.

These three are Holly Newsom, Mayda, and Hannah von der Hoff.  They all are strong and able to command a show.  From the Dakota to the intimacy of Live Letters they have kept me spellbound.  After seeing Mayda at the Third Thursday event in February it has been a whirlwind of their shows.
Mayda is petite but mighty, and she has a natural charisma that draws you in. The awesome Michael Bland of Prince and Soul Asylum fame has produced her work, and he also represents her. If that were not impressive enough, Dessa does a cameo in “The Interrogation” album as well.

Mayda is on the cusp, and this may be her time. “The Interrogation” is number one in my car and I never get to disc two. I cannot get enough of “my circuitry”, and “focus”. Seeing Mayda perform my favorite songs was a huge highlight for me at Live Letters. The energy was contagious and I couldn’t help but move.  Whether she has a full band behind her, or simply a DJ-there will be magic!

I have had the good fortune to see Hannah von der Hoff on two occasions, in very different venues.   First my much beloved Live Letters, then at the Dakota Jazz Club. Both were intriguing and sexy.  You cannot look away from Hannah.  She has a vocal and guitar manner reminiscent of Jeff Buckley “Live at Sine’” era. When the MN Daily brought up the Jeff Buckley comparison I was thrilled!  That is exactly what I had said at the Dakota. My disappointment is that she has only released one song “Marcela”.  Please Hannah! I am not a patient person!  Don’t leave us wanting!

That leaves us with Holly Newsom, who despite her young age has put out a lot of music. There are her releases with Zoo Animal, and most recently her collaboration with Grant Cutler-“Weird Visions”.  This woman is relentless in her drive. She is out there playing all of the time, and everywhere.  I have only seen her playing solo, but was wholly impressed each time. She has such a unique vocal delivery, a sleepy and smoky drawl. Holly comes across as a down home ingénue, with a cool demeanor, and is quite funny in an unassuming way. Holly you are quite a blur!
So yes, I am a bit of a super fan of these women. To know them is to love them. I am proud of them as a woman, and proud of their contribution to the MN music scene. Well done!


One Response

  1. My favorite three, too! I also adore Live Letters and the opportunity to experience local music up close and personal. Although I was aware of Holly beforehand, that is the venue where I first experienced Mayda and Hannah. Your “unobjective” review was fine by me. I couldn’t have written an objective piece about these three, either.

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