Commanding Softly

by Robert Dunstan

Ken Stringfellow (of The Posies) has just released a new solo album, Soft Commands, and we spoke to him over the telephone. He was in the twin cities of St Paul, Minneapolis, touring, as he frequently does, as the unofficial fourth member of US rock supergroup R.E.M. after having toured with that band in the past and having also played guitar on their new album, Around The Sun, as well as on some of the band’s more recent offerings.

What’s the deal with St Paul being known as the twin cities?

“Well, it’s two cities – St Paul and Minneapolis which are adjacent,” Ken kindly explained.

I had first heard of the twin cities via Garrison Keelor’s syndicated US radio show, A Prairie Home Companion.

“Yes, that program is still going strong,” Ken declared. “It’s done here in Lindburgh Theatre, I believe, which is said to be haunted.”

Ken managed to squeeze in a quick US tour to promote Soft Commands before hitting the road with R.E.M.

“It came out in July and I did a three-week solo tour which went great,” he said. “But I must say that I’ve been a little disappointed with the sales. But, hey, what can you do?”

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