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McNally Smith Faculty Top Twin Cities Critics’ Best Local Records of 2010

In a landmark year for the Twin Cities music scene, the Star Tribune’s annual Critics Tally confirms that new, local music is as good as it ever was – and getting better. Nearly half of the artists make the list with breakout albums, including McNally Smith College of Music’s 2010-11 Artist in Residence, Dessa Darling. In addition, Composition faculty member Jeremy Messersmith tops the Critics Tally with his album, The Reluctant Graveyard, and Engineering faculty member Joseph Mabbott is recognized for his work on multiple albums for audio production and guest vocals.

A staple of the Twin Cities Hip-Hop scene since her 2005 EP False Hopes, Dessa has been known for her work with celebrated Twin Cities Hip-Hop collective Doomtree, as well as spoken word poetry and essays. Her first album, A Badly Broken Code, was released January 2010, to critical acclaim, being placed at #2 on the Twin Cities Critics Tally, as well as #20 on the A.V. Club’s Best Music of 2010. In September of last year, McNally Smith President Harry Chalmiers named Dessa as the College’s 2010-11 Artist in Residence. Dessa continues to perform in the Twin Cities and nationally, with Doomtree at the annual December Blowout (this year, “Snowout”), and this month at the Cedar Cultural Center, supported by McNally Smith Hip-Hop and Composition faculty member Sean McPherson on bass.

Jeremy Messersmith, who began teaching at McNally Smith in 2009, topped the Critics Tally with his May release, The Reluctant Graveyard. His third full-length release in four years, Graveyard earned songwriter Messersmith extensive radio play on The Current, favorable reviews from the Star Tribune, City Pages, and NPR’s All Songs Considered, and a featured performance at The Current’s 6th Birthday Party this month. Members of Messersmith’s touring band include McNally Smith Composition faculty members Brian Tighe and Andy Thompson, the latter also serving as the record’s producer. In addition to being the Twin Cities Critics Tally’s #1 album, The Reluctant Graveyard placed at #4 on NPR’s Stephen Thompson’s Top 10 Albums of 2010.

McNally Smith College of Music Engineering faculty member Joseph Mabbott has been with the College since 2007, and an integral player in the Twin Cities hip-hop and indie scene for much longer. Founder of The Hideaway Studio, which has produced for members of Twin Cities favorites Rhymesayers and Doomtree, Mabbott’s featured work includes Dessa’s A Badly Broken Code (mixed at The Hideaway), Lazerbeak’s Legend Recognize Legend (#13, recorded and mixed at The Hideaway), and as a guest vocalist on Gayngs’ Relayted (#5).

McNally Smith congratulates its recognized faculty members and all the local musicians featured on the Twin Cities Critics Tally 2010. With this year solidifying the College’s place as a key contributor to contemporary music, McNally Smith looks forward to seeing its faculty (and students) topping the Critics Tally in 2011 and beyond.