Musician Talk is an exciting new show on KYMN Radio, airing Sundays at 10:30am. It is an interview show with musicians you know, you've heard, or perhaps just heard about. When you tune in, you’ll hear host Pauline Shuster Jennings conduct casual, candid and lively conversations with local area musicians about how music matters in their lives, our community and beyond. Interviews include a few of their favorite songs – occasionally played live for the show. Tune in each week to hear up and comers and those that have been performing for years…and for a lot of fun. Don't worry if you miss an on-air episode, archived episodes will appear on this page.

Pauline Jennings has been on stages as an actor and/or singer for almost 40 years. She's worked in theater as producer, educator, director, writer, stage manager and (primarily) an actress. She also spent 15 plus years as singer in a number of pop/country/rock bands that performed throughout the region. She is married to drummer Steve Jennings, has two grown children, Chris and Sam, and lives in Northfield.

Episode 22: Paul Niemisto
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Paul Niemisto

Dr. Paul Niemisto was this week’s guest on MUSICIAN TALK.  Niemisto recently retired from the St. Olaf College Music Department as Professor Emeritus. He joined St. Olaf in 1978, as conductor of the Norseman Band and instructor of low brass instruments. Originally from Northern Michigan he taught for a few years in the public schools in Canada before coming to Minnesota. In 1979 he founded the Cannon Valley Regional Symphony Orchestra, which he still conducts. In 1990 he founded Ameriikan Poijat (Boys of America), a Finnish style brass septet made of American musicians, which has toured internationally. In summer 2006 he spearheaded the now internationally known Vintage Band Music Festival. Niemisto was awarded the “Living Treasure in the Arts” award by the Northfield City Council in 2013. He also was a Fulbright scholar in Finland for the spring of 2017. He regularly performs as a conductor and on trombone, euphonium and tuba. He has three grown children and lives in Northfield with his wife Elinor. Listen to find out so much more...

Episode 21: Pete Schleif
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Pete Schleif

This week's guest on MUSICIAN TALK is Pete Schleif, who is currently in his 26th year of teaching vocal music. He has directed school, church and community choirs in Colorado, North Dakota and Minnesota. Choirs under his direction have performed all over the United States and internationally. Schleif received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he studied with René Clausen. In addition to his role as Director of the Vocal Performance Program at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, he is also the Associate Conductor of I Cantanti, a community choir based in Northfield. He lives in Northfield with his wife Lori and two sons, Isaac and Ian.

Episode 20: Steve Paoli
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Steve Paoli

This week on Musician Talk: Steve Paoli.  Paoli is a drummer, singer, instructor and occasional guitarist you might've seen playing around Northfield or up in the Twin Cities, where he held the drum chair for 24 years in the popular show band C.B.O. a.k.a. Casablanca Orchestra. Paoli played and sang Brown-eyed Girl at President George W. Bush's Inauguration Ball in 2005. He's also been on countless recordings, including the soon-to-be-released new CD from local singer Mark Allen. His latest projects include the bands IVPlay and Amzie Strickland

Episode 19: Wendy Smith
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Wendy Smith

This week's guest on Musician Talk is Wendy Smith. Smith has called Northfield home for the past 20 years.  She is a versatile singer, instrumentalist, songwriter and band leader, who designs sound and has composed for both theater and film. She performs as a solo artist, with her band The Zillionaires, and with her husband, Dave Drentlaw, as 1/2 a Zillion. Listen to find out so much more!

Episode 18: Mike Hildebrandt
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Mike Hildebrandt

This week's Musician Talk guest is the Minnesota Country and Rock Hall of Fame fiddler Mike Hildebrandt. He can play anything on that fiddle of his – from gypsy jazz to top 40 with the group Relativity to bluegrass with Long Time Gone Bluegrass Band to a plethora of genres with local favorite Over & Back Band. If you’ve ever heard him play Orange Blossom Special, you’ll never forget it. Actually, all of his fiddle specials are so very memorable - recorded or live. Hildebrandt is a retired MD living in Faribault with his lovely wife Paula. He and host Pauline Shuster Jennings cover a lot of ground in this terrific conversation. Take a listen to find out more.

Episode 17: Marty Hodel
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Marty Hodel

Marty Hodel holds a doctorate (along with a host of other degrees) in trumpet performance and has applied his education and talent as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player in the U.S. and around the world. Hodel has performed on A Prairie Home Companion, MPR, public television, played with The WHO and shared the stage with many heavy hitters in the jazz world including Joe Henderson. When not on stage, he’s a music professor at St. Olaf College. He’s certainly another musician that Northfield is lucky to have around…. Listen to find out much more.

Episode 16: Ray Coudret
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Ray Coudret

This week's guest on MUSICIAN TALK is Ray Coudret. Coudret comes from, as he puts it “way up nort,” but has called Northfield home for over 20 years. When not teaching the next generation of mathematicians or producing highly acclaimed high school musical productions, he is a prolific songwriter and has performed with a variety of bands over the decades, including Area 51 and Why Not? Coudret is the co-creator and producer of the long-running 411 Concert Series in Northfield, which brings professional acts to the city through the Northfield Arts Guild. Listen to find out more!

Episode 15: Jon Bjork
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Jon Bjork

This week's guest on Musician Talk is Jon Bjork. Bjork settled in Northfield in 1960 at the age of 5 and has been here since. He has been playing guitar and singing since 11 and has been in a myriad of bands covering a myriad of genres since then. In 2005, he picked up the accordion and hasn’t looked back. He currently plays that accordion and guitar and sings in a Nordic Folk group called Cloudberry Jam – You may have seen them playing in and around Northfield. Listen to hear more!

Episode 14: The Border Hookups
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The Border Hookups

This week's guests on MUSICIAN TALK are Dave and Jaqueline Hudson. They are the husband and wife acoustic duo called The Border Hookups. With their mix of crafted harmonies and a unique take on cover songs, as well as a mix of catch originals, the Hookups have entertained crowds across Minnesota and beyond. The depth of their songbook ensures that no two shows are ever the same. Dave, a Northfield native has played on stages across North America and throughout the Caribbean. Jacqueline, a relative newcomer to the music scene, brings to the stage her unique musical style based on her Canadian roots. Listen to find out more including their RV life on the road.

Episode 13: Luke Smith
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Luke Smith

This week’s MUSICIAN TALK is sponsored by Reunion, a hip place to eat, drink and gather in historic downtown Northfield.

MUSICIAN TALK’s most recent guest is Luke Smith, a singer/songwriter and producer from Faribault. He writes pop and folk on his guitar and EDM and hip-hop on his computer. In 2017 he was nominated for “Best Solo Performer” by Southern Minn Scene. Luke shares his thoughts on songwriting and the music industry in his blog, Alternative Student. He is also the host of a monthly Songwriter Showcase at The Contented Cow Pub in Northfield.

Episode 12: Christina Schwietz Listen Now

Christina Schwietz

Singer, actress, model, and mother of two, Christina Schwietz is a local icon, most notably for her involvement in Northfield Arts Guild theater productions and for co-founding the Minnesota band Sweet Jazz with Peter Webb. The sweet spot for Sweet Jazz is the exploration of jazz vocal standards and originals. Christina’s voice hits the mark every time, and her tone is rich and ethereal at the same time. Host Pauline Jennings first met Christina when they did a show together (written by Ann Gregory Bjorklund) for the Fringe Festival in Minneapolis many years ago. She recalls feeling an immediate kinship and fell in love with Christina’s openness, generosity, talent and all-around beauty. Listen to find out more and to hear her sing a couple tunes.

Episode 11: Todd Thompson Listen Now

Todd Thompson

This week, the Musician Talk guest is Todd Thompson.  Todd get’s a lot done!  He’s Director of POEGTA, a non-profit organization promoting peace through music and education, works at Graphic Mailbox, is a freelance musician with the Todd Thompson Band, and Founder of Songs of My Life, a project promoting community building through songs and shared experience.  He’s also very educated with a BA in math, PhD in chemistry and a Masters in music.  I hope I can keep up with him.  Today’s conversation focuses on Todd’s new song called George – a song about George Floyd’s murder, equality, justice and hope.   Listen to find out more!  You may also watch the video that accompanies the song George on

Episode 10: Meredith Fierke Listen Now

Meredith Fierke

This week’s Musician Talk guest is Meredith Fierke who comes to songwriting by instinct it seems… she wrote her first song in grade school. Speaking her mind about important issues through her work, her voice and her guitar also seems to come naturally – that first song was about gas guzzling! Meredith grew up in Northfield.  She has collaborated with Steve McKinstry, another Northfield treasure, since 2009, creating and recording out-of-the-box compositions. She had the rare honor of having her original composition, Train’s Song, chosen for the 2009 Cities 97 Sampler.  About her album, The Procession, City Pages said: It hits hard and often with razor-sharp insights and abstract takes on autobiographical subjects, all steeped in a steamy voice. In the interview she discusses her artistic process and how music matters in her life.

Episode 9: Terry Vandewalker Listen Now

Terry Vandewalker

This week on Musician Talk is the drummer for The Big Wu, Terry Vandewalker.  Vandewalker grew up in St. Paul, and went to college at St. Olaf. The Big Wu, a progressive northern rock jam band, was founded in 1992 by St. Olaf students including Vandewalker. The Big Wu played in Northfield until 1995 when they started to play in Minneapolis. In 1996, they got the house band gig at the Cabooze where they continued to develop and strengthen their fan base.  Since then they’ve played all over the U.S. and overseas.  Vandewalker moved back to Northfield to raise his kids in 2005.

Episode 8: Dan Kallman Listen Now

Daniel Kallman

Episode 7: Steve Jennings Listen Now

Steve Jennings

Episode 6: Kat Middeldorp Listen Now

Kat Middeldorp

Episode 5: Curt Johnson, Part 2 Listen Now

Episode 4: Curt Johnson, Part 1 Listen Now

Curt Johnson

Episode 3: Jon Manners Listen Now

Jon Manners

Jon Manners is the dean of the Southern Minnesota music scene, with a sound that is unmistakable. Combining the bounce of funk, the passion of soul, the thoughtfulness of jazz, the storytelling of folk and the joy of rock ‘n’ roll, Manners is the very model of a great folk troubadour.

Episode 2: Sam Ryden Listen Now

Sam Ryden

Sam Ryden's music is distinctively unbound by traditional stylistic category and gives glimpses of the possibilities for this young singer/songwriter. His performances feature hook-filled tunes uniquely pressing together folk, acoustic blues, pop and gospel.

Episode 1: Craig Wasner Listen Now

Craig Wasner

At heart, Craig Wasner is a musician. He plays keyboards and guitar with equal skill, sings, composes, arranges and records music. He studied music at the University of Minnesota/Duluth and at Berklee College of Music in Boston, touted as the premier institution for the study of contemporary music. He has performed with national recording artists such as John Hiatt (Capitol Records) and Hal Ketchum (Curb Records), and Grammy award winners Deana Carter (Arista), Shelby Lynne (Capitol), and Larry Carlton (Warner Brothers). Craig's musical talent is a gift he has shared freely. Through his 15 annual Craig Wasner & Friends Benefit for World Vision concerts, he has raised over $500,000 from ticket sales and donation commitments to World Vision. As band leader for the Over & Back benefit shows, these sold-out performances produced significant cash donations for 55 Northfield-area charities. Craig also loves working with aspiring young musicians, and serves as the music coordinator for the Northfield High School's Rock 'n' Roll Revival concerts. Craig lives on a small farm near Northfield with his wife, Linda. He has three children: Lahna, 32; Maren, 31; and Casey, 30. He also has two grandchildren: Nyah and Kysen, both are 20 months old.

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