Jami Lynn

Dakota Duets

At the time I started playing music in front of audiences in SE South Dakota, I wouldn’t have crossed paths with Thomas Hentges. I would have been softly crooning over an acoustic guitar, tucked in the corner of a noisy coffee shop, whereas Thomas was likely screaming at the front of a rock band in one of the few remaining clubs in Sioux Falls in the early 2000s. Years before that, his first gig was four songs in front of the student body of Chester High School before it let out for Christmas break. “I got pulled out of the place by my ear by their principle because he thought I was using profanity on the stage. I assured him that a.) I wasn’t and b.) he needed to get his hands off of me,” Thomas explained with a laugh.

Though our beginnings look very different, time and musical evolution brought Thomas and I to almost the same place at the same time. Many consider him one of the best songwriters in the state, and I’m fortunate enough to consider him a friend and colleague. And just as we’ve finally fallen in the same folky singer/songwriter genre these past few years, Thomas is already morphing into his next musical state with a full band supporting his moniker, Burlap Wolf King. Last year, they released a full on rock and R&B record Bitter Honey. I love this record, and encourage you to check it out if you’ve not already done so.

For Dakota Duets we recorded Townes Van Zandt’s “If I Needed You.” When I suggested the song, I didn’t expect a short dissertation on Townes’s reckless and interesting life and its subsequent inspiration to Thomas, but maybe I should have. I’m aware of Thomas’s carefully curated record collection and extensive knowledge of the folk and rock greats. What I didn’t know was that around 2006, he watched the Townes Van Zandt documentary “Be Here to Love Me’ for the first time. It inspired him to “pick up that crappy acoustic guitar in the corner of my apartment and get into three chords and the truth.” I think you’ll find the truth in Thomas Hentges’s voice and lyrics in any genre. While listening to our version of “If I Needed You,” I hope you’ll agree that three chords are exactly the right amount.


2018-05-16 18:19:39 - Michael Schumacher
Absolutely beautiful! A melding of two great voices in a great song!
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