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Year End Critics’ Poll Packed with McNally Smith Talent

The Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper has announced the results of their annual critics’ poll, and McNally Smith College of Music personalities figure prominently in the list of “The Best Local Albums of 2008.” Joe Mabbott (read an interview here), a faculty member in McNally Smith’s engineering and production departments, arguably cast the longest shadow of any individual in the year’s tally of the 20 best releases. Mabbott served as producer, engineer and/or mixer on five of the releases – a full 25% of the entire list, including the #1 release “When Life Gives You Lemons . . . .” by Atmosphere. Other McNally Smith luminaries who scored year-end honors from the Star Tribune were composition faculty member Dessa (who is featured prominently on the self-titled release by the Doomtree crew, coming in at #6) and Assistant to the President’s Office Sean McPherson (bassist and leader of Heiruspecs, whose self-titled release came in at #9).

Joe Mabbott owns and operates Hideaway Studios in the Twin Cities, where each of the five albums bearing his stamp were recorded.  In addition to applying his touch to the Atmosphere, Heiruspecs and Doomtree recordings, he also recorded Mike Mictlan & Lazerbeak’s “Hand Over Fist” (coming in at #12) and Cecil Otter’s “Rebel Yellow” (coming in at #20). Not only did the Atmosphere CD take the top spot in the Star Tribune poll, it made a splash nationally by debuting at the #5 spot in the Billboard 200 album charts. In a recent review of the latest Heiruspecs CD, Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune referred to Mabbott as a “local hip-hop guru.”

Dessa and the Doomtree crew completed a successful national tour this summer in support of the “Doomtree” release. Dessa recently released her first book, a collection of essays and poetry entitled “Spiral Bound” (2009 Doomtree Press). Sean McPherson and his Heiruspecs cohorts celebrated their first release since 2004 with a headlining show at First Avenue. The group will also tour in support of the new CD.

Joe Mabbott, Dessa and Sean McPherson are all key players in the development of an exciting new Hip-Hop diploma program at McNally Smith.  Expect an announcement regarding the program in the near future.

See the entire list here.