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McNally Smith Names Jeremy Messersmith and Andy Thompson to Songwriting & Composition Posts

Two young songwriters who are hitting their stride in the pop music world are now also sharing their craft and performance experiences with students at McNally Smith College of Music, one of the nation’s top music colleges. The school recently hired Jeremy Messersmith and Andy Thompson as Adjunct Faculty for the 2009-2010 school year.

Messersmith’s melodic and lyrical pop songwriting style has been compared to Elliott Smith, Brian Wilson, The Beatles and others. Thompson, who is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, producer and engineer, has worked with a variety of musicians and written for television, advertising and other performance artists.  After teaching songwriting for the fall term, Thompson will begin teaching composition in the next semester. Both will assume their part-time faculty gig immediately while rigorously pursuing their own artistic endeavors.

Messersmith’s first full-length release, The Alcatraz Kid (Princess Records, 2006) was marked by a wide-eyed clarity and sweet, straightforward musicianship that resulted in critical acclaim and a growing live following. City Pages in Minneapolis-St. Paul named him “Best Songwriter” in 2007. Songs like “Novocain” and “Beautiful Children” garnered local radio play on The Current and the attention of Minneapolis stalwart and Grammy Winner Dan Wilson (member of Semisonic and producer of Mike Doughty) who offered to produce Jeremy’s next disc, The Silver City. Accolades for his first record included:   “Messersmith excels in one category that can’t be taught,” said Time Out Chicago,” while National Public Radio’s Open Mic opined, “The songs reflect some of his influences: Elliott Smith, The Beatles and Brain Wilson.  ‘Beautiful Children’ showcases the emotional depth of his lyrics and vocals.”

Messersmith’s new disc is in part a homage to the twinkling pop vistas of The Beach Boys and the ‘60s.  The Silver City expands the scope of his sound and is inspiring critical raves and radio play from around the country. He will be on tour later this fall. ” Learn more about Jeremy and his work at: www.JeremyMessersmith.com

As a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, producer and engineer, Andy Thompson has been making music professionally since 2001. After studying composition, percussion and jazz at the University of Michigan School of Music, he moved to Minneapolis and began regularly gigging on guitar, keyboards and drums, performing with Dan Wilson, Semisonic, Mike Doughty, Robert Skoro, Jeremy Messersmith, Heiruspecs, Atmosphere, Chris Beaty, Daniel Johnston, and Sean and Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Steven Rush, Clearly and The Mainstream, blues guitarist Laith Al-Saadi, and jazz saxophonist Dave Luther.

As a composer, Thompson has received commissions from GTCYS and the FAIR School, and has recently been a composer-in-residence at Sorin Sirkus in Tampere, Finland. He is currently pursuing an electronic music collaboration with New York based juggler Sean Blue.  Thompson’s commercial work includes TV and advertising such as music for The Cartoon Network, Disney, and NBC, plus music for Target and Best Buy TV spots. His music for Garmin’s (makers of GPS navigation systems) 2008 Super Bowl spot was nominated for an AICP Award (Association of Independent Commercial Producers Award).  He has also co-written with Dan Wilson, Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish), and Willie Wisely, and has amassed a large  personal catalog of songs, selections from which he is currently recording  his first release.

“Students are very fortunate to have Jeremy Messersmith and Andy Thompson as part of their educational experience here at McNally Smith,” notes Christopher  Cunningham, Department Head, Songwriting & Composition at McNally  Smith College of Music. “Both bring their considerable talents to the classroom at a time when each is enjoying a period early in their young careers when they are breaking out in the wider world of music. We are looking forward toward their contributions in and outside of the college’s academic environment.”

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