Photo Credit: Darin Back

Photo Credit: Darin Back

Hailed as a “Minnesota music hero” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, singer-songwriter jeremy messersmith got his start like most musicians: performing in coffee shops and recording songs in his basement. His first effort, The Alcatraz Kid (2006) featured quiet, often melancholic songs drew the attention of Dan Wilson (Trip Shakespeare, Semisonic), who then produced Messersmith's follow-up, The Silver City (2008). With his subsequent releases (The Reluctant Graveyard and 2014’s Heart Murmurs) messersmith's reputation for elegant, literate songcraft continued to build nationally with acclaim from NPR, Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, The New York Times and an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. In April 2017, messersmith took an unexpected turn by publishing a songbook of ukulele music entitled 11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro Folk Record For The 21st Century And Beyond, which he followed up with an 80-stop “micro tour” of free pop-up concerts around the US. messersmith's most recent effort, the orchestral pop record Late Stage Capitalism, was released in 2018 on Glassnote Records. His next full-length release is scheduled for fall 2019.

“…he’s a pop genius, with creative ambition to match his songs’ considerable charm”


“…a Minnesota music hero”

—Star Tribune


NPR Tiny Desk Concert

Late Night with David Letterman

11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For The 21st Century And Beyond - songbook

11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For The 21st Century And Beyond - songbook


jeremy is also an accomplished educator who has served on the songwriting faculty at McNally Smith College of Music, as artist-in-residence at Hopkins High School, and continues to offer a diverse range of arts learning and engagement opportunities.

In 2017, he released 11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For The 21st Century And Beyond, a new songbook and album. It's jam-packed with ridiculous songs about kittens, flying cars, world peace, and the transformative power of love. Why? Because we all need a ray of sunshine every now and again. Because it's important to not lose sight of how good things could be. Because the first step to a better world is to imagine a better world.

Why a songbook? Because singing is powerful & singing in a group is one of the best social bonding experiences humans have. Communities that sing together are stronger & more resilient than ones that don't. It's largely a lost tradition in the US outside of religious practice & jeremy wants to see more of it. Why ukulele? Because they are cheap, easy to learn & fun to play - a true folk instrument. Folk music was always meant to be approachable and playable for all and jeremy wants to bring it back into public places in unique & meaningful ways.

Start Your Weekend With An ‘Obscenely Optimistic’ Ukulele Jam - NPR

Past residencies have included activities for students, seniors, and community members of all ages and abilities such as:

  • Pop-up ukulele sing-alongs

  • Songwriting workshops

  • Ukulele & guitar workshops


Becky Hoffmann