Milwaukee-based American roots musician Will Branch released a song called “Duluth” on his 2004 album Press On.
And the harsh wind is blowing up steep streets of old Duluth
Around the house you were born in, middle of World War II
Before Nicholas David was a finalist on NBC’s The Voice, he was known as Nick “The Feelin'” Mrozinski, a singer-songwriter based in St. Paul whose band frequently backed up Duluth music-scene staple Teague Alexy.
The song “Bob Dylan Loves Duluth” first appeared on the Feelin’ Band’s 2008 album The Sacred Play of Life and was released again the same year on Mrozinski’s solo piano album, Oak Chase Way. The version above is from the 2010 compilation album Midwest Jam Season 1, on which Mrozinski is credited simply as the Feelin’.
The song “Cincinnati Dancing Pig” was released by everybody and their brother in 1950, and in this post several versions are gathered. The words were written by Al Lewis and the music by Guy Wood. The internet purports the first recording was by Dick Jurgens and His Orchestra in May 1950, but the first release was by Red Foley in August 1950.
The Duluth-related lyric:
From Duluth to Birmingham
He’s the pork chop Dapper Dan,
He’s the keenest ham what am,
Cincinnati dancing pig
Chicago-born composer Joshua Musikantow references Duluth on three tracks of his 2006 new-classical album Etched in Twilight and Other Works. Above is “Duluth 99: In the Garden with Mary.” Below are “Duluth 99: Rope” and “Duluth 99: Haiku.”
Musikantow notes “Duluth 99” is “a duet for flute and percussion consisting of three movements, each inspired by a different personal experience in Duluth.”
Saxophone virtuoso Jim Snidero for some reason titled an instrumental piece “Duluth at Noon.” Whether the tune sounds like a midday stroll on the Lakewalk is up for interpretation.
Perhaps coincidentally, the song is on Snidero’s 2015 album Main Street, which is the same title as Sinclair Lewis’ famous satiric novel from 1920. Lewis had visited Duluth while in the early stages of crafting Main Street, and moved to Duluth 23 years after it was published.
As near as can be determined through web searches, “The Couple from Duluth” was composed by acclaimed bassist Jay Leonhart and was originally released on his 1984 album with Joe Beck titled There’s Gonna Be Trouble. The version above is a live recording from Leonhart’s 2015 album The Bass Lesson.
The punk rock band Meat Puppets released “Lake of Fire” on the 1984 album Meat Puppets II. It also appears as a hidden track on the 1994 album Too High to Die.
The Duluth reference goes a little something like this:
I knew a lady who came from Duluth
She got bit by a dog with a rabid tooth
This Duluth song doesn’t actually have the word “Duluth” in its lyrics, but is loaded with Duluth references. It’s from the self-titled 2005 album by Duluth band Swimming with Nancy.