Community Connection: Don Ness Shares Low Memories
For fans of the band Low, the past two weeks have been a time of grief and reflection. For former Duluth mayor and current executive director of the Ordean Foundation Don Ness, this brought many musical memories to mind.
It was 2005, and it was Homegrown. The future of the festival was at a bit of a crossroads. “We wanted to have a Low show at the Norshor,” says Ness, who was a part of the committee at the time. With a tight budget to work with, there wasn’t much to offer a band that was growing their national fan base. Ultimately, Low accepted the $50 offer (the same as was offered to all other Homegrown performers that year.) “In so many ways, Low really are the soul of the Duluth music scene. It comes in their connection to this place, their loyalty to Duluth… and their generosity.”
Ness was also present for a Low and Wilco show at Bayfront which was laden with fog and inclement weather. “They have this reputation of being this quiet band, but they just came up and faced the storm and played an amazing set – and set the tone.” Wilco followed up with an enthusiastic and spirited performance as well.
During his time as Mayor, Ness was afforded the opportunity to present Low with the Key to the City at the Duluth Does Low event. “It was their 20th anniversary as a band,” says Ness. “It was all local artists stepping up and playing Low songs… I remember looking over at Al and Mim and just seeing them beaming from ear to ear.”