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Thursday, February 1, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

A Pony Rug showcase First Thursdays at the Aster!

Pony Rug is a Minneapolis-based live music video session platform, with weekly releases featuring up and coming artists!




8PM JOHN LOUIS https://youtu.be/NrzsSriFUz8

9pm HOPE COUNTRY https://youtu.be/HgoOOtaRem0


John Louis is a Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter and guitarist who crafts twangy folk songs about love, loss, living and nostalgia.

“I think of my music as tonic from the chaos and swirl. Music for the road, or the kind of songs you sing with friends around the fire,” said Louis. His songs evoke hope and longing, change and regret, love and death, lost and found, and kindness.

Collectively, Louis says he’s been influenced by all of the music he has ever heard, but is especially fond of that long list of singer-songwriters that begins with Kris, Townes, Lucinda, Bob, Waylon, and Gram. “I am drawn to songwriters who are serious about their craft, but who make themselves vulnerable — who from time to time put big pieces of their heart and soul into their songs.“ It is through these influences that John has put big pieces of his own heart and soul into his songs.
While Louis has written songs and played music with other musicians for many years, the release of Drift in September 2015 marked his first record as a solo singer/songwriter. Louis wrote the bulk of Drift in late 2013 and 2014. The album was recorded and mixed at Underwood Studio in Minneapolis with producer Mark Stockert and co-producer Brianna Lane. Mastering was performed by Pete Lyman of Infrasonic Mastering in Los Angeles.

For Drift, Louis pulled together some of the most gifted musicians around: Mike “Razz” Russell (fiddle, mandolin, guitar); Jimmy Johnson (pedal steel); Brianna Lane (banjo, vocals); Michelle Kinney (cello); Jed Germond (fiddle); Andy Carroll (bass); and Kris Schaefer (drums). Louis provides lead vocals and guitar to every track. The album also features gorgeous vocals by notable musicians Page Burkum and Jack Torrey (Cactus Blossoms), and Ben Kyle (Romantica).

When not playing music or writing songs, John can most often be found on a bike or listening to other musicians around town.


“I believe that with love and encouragement we can change the worst of atmospheres,” says Brent Johnson.

Born and raised on a farm in Wisconsin, Brent had a desire to see the world and travel at an early age. He began playing in bands at 17 and has since toured in over 40 states as well as all over Canada. His desire to create an environment and place of hope led him to start Hope Country in 2011. With an emphasis on strong songwriting and storytelling lyrics, Hope Country has developed into a prime example of modern-day Americana.

Hope Country has released two EPs in the past three years and has supported them with multiple headline tours, festival appearances, and support slots for Brandi Carlile, Ingrid Michaelson, Twin Forks, Joseph, American Aquarium, The Wild Feathers, Nikki Lane, Sturgill Simpson, Rayland Baxter, Andrew Ripp, David Cook, Soul Asylum, Martin Sexton, & more, along with a run of sold out dates with Judah & The Lion.

While “Water, Land, & Sky” is dynamic full-band record and “Thirty One” showcases Johnson’s softer singer/songwriter side, the forthcoming self-titled release marries the two, calling to mind artists such as Jason Isbell and The Avett Brothers. Lyrically, the record continues Hope Country’s heartfelt stories of life and living. The album was recorded at Summer-Winter Studios in St. Paul, MN with Levi Stugelmeyer (The Cactus Blossoms, Caitlyn Smith) and mastered by Huntley Miller (Bon Iver, The Tallest Man On Earth). The record will be released on 02.24.17 with extensive touring to follow.

Hope Country’s purpose is to bring hope to our whole world everywhere the music goes.

Call 612-379-3138 to save your table!
$7 cover charges on the tab.


Thursday, February 1, 2018
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Aster Cafe
125 SE Main Street
Minneapolis, MN 55414 United States