Cloud Cult

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Cloud Cult
Cloud Cult in 2017
Cloud Cult in 2017
Background information
OriginDuluth, Minnesota
GenresArt rock, experimental rock, indie folk, indie pop, baroque pop
Years active1995–present
LabelsEarthology, Baria
MembersCraig Minowa
Shawn Neary
Shannon Frid-Rubin
Sarah Elhardt-Perbix
Connie Minowa
Scott West
Dan Zamzow
Jeremy Harvey
Past membersArlen Peiffer
Martin Begue
Eduardo Vaz
Mara Stemm
Matthew Freed
Dan Greenwood
Sarah Young

Cloud Cult is an experimental indie rock band from Duluth, Minnesota led by singer-songwriter Craig Minowa. The name originated from the ancient prophecies of indigenous North Americans.[1]


Cloud Cult developed in 1995 as Craig Minowa recruited several other artists to contribute to his solo recordings. The band's early work earned Cloud Cult several offers from record labels, but all were rejected in favor of self-publishing.[2] As they began to play live, one of their show's most distinctive features was the live painting by Connie Minowa and Scott West: over the course of a show they each completed a painting to be auctioned off at the end.[3]

In 1997, lead singer Craig Minowa formed Earthology Records on his organic farm, powered by geothermal energy and built partially from reclaimed wood and recycled plastic. This nonprofit label uses only recycled materials and donates all profits to environmental charities.[4] The band also tours in a biodiesel van.[5]

In 2002, shortly after the unexpected death of his two-year-old son Kaidin, Minowa wrote songs to deal with the loss.[2] They Live on the Sun was finished in 2003 and went to No. 1 on college radio station charts across the country. In January 2004, Cloud Cult added Mara Stemm on bass and released Aurora Borealis just six months later. The album was nominated by the Minnesota Music Awards as "Album of the Year" along with Prince and Paul Westerberg. With a van covered in solar panels, the band began touring nationally. In 2006 Cloud Cult released Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus, which Pitchfork Media called "insane genius" and rated the album with an 8.3. The Denver Post ranked the 2007 release The Meaning of 8 as one of the top ten albums of the past decade, along with bands like Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips and Radiohead.

Sarah Young and Connie Minowa (background) perform during the 10,000 Lakes Festival in 2009.

Cloud Cult released a new album entitled Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) on April 8, 2008. The album was recorded and produced at Minowa's small organic farm in Northern Minnesota. "The place is so far out in the boonies, you can barely find it, because it's not on the maps," said Dan Montalto, an MTV Producer who brought a camera crew to the farm to film a short MTV feature on the band.

Craig said that this might be the final Cloud Cult album: "I don't think there's going to be another Cloud Cult album for a while. It could be never, I don't know."[6] The band's website said that "the band plans to take a short respite to focus on family in the latter part of 2008 and into 2009."[7] In October 2008, Cloud Cult was featured in an animated Esurance commercial. The band is shown playing the song "Lucky Today" while floating on clouds. This and other songs are available for free downloads on the Esurance website.

In the spring of 2009, Cloud Cult released "No One Said It Would Be Easy" a full-length documentary about the band, on DVD. The film was later released as a direct download.[8]

At Coachella 2009, Craig revealed that Connie would not be performing because she was "not feeling well.... she's pregnant."[9] They continued to tour and appeared for the second year straight at the "St Johns Block Party" outdoors in front of over 7,000 fans in Rochester, Minnesota.[citation needed]

The band announced a break beginning August 23, 2009 for Connie and Craig's baby. They resumed playing regionally in late spring 2010 and nationally in fall 2010.

In the spring of 2010, Cloud Cult became a contributing artist to Think Out Loud, a compilation album serving the homeless in the Twin Cities.[10] In early 2010, the band announced that it would release a new album entitled Light Chasers, with the intended release date being September 14, 2010. Despite these plans, the album in its entirety leaked to the internet in early July 2010. The lead single for the album, "Running With The Wolves" was released in April 2010 and received local and national radio play. The band toured nationally in support of the album.

In spring 2011, Cloud Cult music was featured in a commercial on BBC America for Petrobras, a Brazilian energy company.

In summer 2011, Cloud Cult played at the St. John's Block Party in Rochester, MN; the first band to play three times at the St. John's Block Party. There Craig announced he and Connie were expecting.

On May 4, 2012 after an 8-month hiatus, Cloud Cult announced a surprise show at the University of Wisconsin–River Falls campus, about 40 minutes away from the Twin Cities. This was the start of a stream of shows following the birth of Craig and Connie's baby. Another Cloud Cult album came in the summer of 2012, titled Lost Songs from the Lost Years, a ten-year anthology of previously unreleased work from Minowa.

Their song, You Were Born, was played on How I Met Your Mother in The Magician's Code episode.

Ninth studio album

Cloud Cult performs at the Stoughton Opera House in Stoughton, Wisconsin on November 19, 2016.

On April 25, 2012 Cloud Cult said, "Working on the new album. About 9 songs in so far..."[11]

On October 1, 2012 they said, "We've been hammering on the new album for a couple of years now, but we're getting to the final phases of recording the project."[11]

November 17, 2012 Cloud Cult said, "Thanks to Greg Calbi for mastering Cloud Cult's new full length album this week out in NYC. The album is now finished, and this final touch is exactly what it needed."[11]

One new song is called, "Good Good Friend" that will be on the new album. The lyrics go, "We are not broken ones, just shattered pieces of the same bright sun, trying to figure out which way to run and we can’t do this alone".[12]

On December 7, Cloud Cult announced that their ninth studio album, 'Love,' would be released on March 5, 2013. In addition to this announcement, the band also premiered a video for the first single from the album, 'All the Things We Couldn't See,' which will be the 5th track on the 13-song album.[13]

Tenth studio album Cloud Cult released their 10th studio album entitled The Seeker on February 12, 2016. The concept album was accompanied by a feature film of the same name. During the last several months of 2015, Cloud Cult created a pre-release campaign through Pledge Music to promote their new record.[14] Throughout this campaign, the band released one song per week to supporters crowd-funding the effort, along with a corresponding clip from the film and a message from Craig Minowa.

The film runs 70 minutes and follows the story of a young girl through her personal journey of grief and healing. It was directed by a friend of Minowa's, Jeff D. Johnson of Motion 117 Productions, and shot in rural Wisconsin over three weeks. Josh Radnor of How I Met Your Mother and Alex McKenna star.[15]

2018 Exclusive Holiday Single – Best Time of My Life – Released December 12, 2018


Cloud Cult's star on the outside mural of the Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue

Minnesota Music Awards 2004: "Artist of the year" for the studio album Aurora Borealis.

Cloud Cult has been honored with a star on the outside mural of the Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue,[16] recognizing performers that have played sold-out shows or have otherwise demonstrated a major contribution to the culture at the iconic venue.[17] Receiving a star "might be the most prestigious public honor an artist can receive in Minneapolis," according to journalist Steve Marsh.[18]

Band members[edit]

Current members
  • Craig Minowa – Singer-songwriter, guitar
  • Jeremy Harvey – drums
  • Shannon Frid-Rubin – violin
  • Daniel Zamzow – cello
  • Shawn Neary – bass guitar, trombone, banjo
  • Sarah Elhardt-Perbix – keyboard, French horn, trumpet
  • Connie Minowa – visual artist
  • Scott West – visual artist, trumpet
Former members
  • Sarah Young – cello
  • Dan Greenwood – drums
  • Mara Stemm – bass guitar
  • Matthew Freed – bass guitar
  • Martin Begue
  • Eduardo Vaz – drums
  • Adrian Grote/Young
  • Arlen Peiffer – drums


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Alt.
US Heat
US Indie
US Rock
The Shade Project
  • Released: 1995
  • Label(s): Self-released
Who Killed Puck?
They Live on the Sun
  • Released: July 7, 2003
  • Label(s): Earthology/The Orchard
Aurora Borealis
  • Released: June 22, 2004
  • Label(s): Earthology
Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus
  • Released: June 2005
  • Label(s): Earthology
The Meaning of 8
  • Released: April 10, 2007
  • Label(s): Earthology
Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes)
  • Released: April 8, 2008
  • Label(s): Earthology
Light Chasers
  • Released: June 28, 2010
  • Label(s): Earthology
9 47
  • Released: March 5, 2013
  • Label(s): Earthology
57 12 9 18
The Seeker
  • Released: February 12, 2016
  • Label(s): Earthology
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released


  • Running With the Wolves – EP (2010)

Live albums[edit]

  • Unplug (April 2014)


  • Lost Songs from the Lost Years (2002)
  • Lost Songs from the Lost Years [Limited Re-Release] (2009)
  • Think Out Loud: Music Serving The Homeless In The Twin Cities (2010)
  • Minnesota Beatle Project, Vol. 3 (2011)
  • MN Music 4 MN Kids: A Benefit For Children's Hospitals And Clinics Of Minnesota, Vol. 1 (2011)


Television Shows[edit]

You Were Born

Good Friend

Best Of, Live, Remixes[edit]

A studio cut is available on Spinout Record's Duluth Does Dylan Revisited, a compilation of Bob Dylan covers that reflects how the local music culture has been influenced by being the birthplace of the music icon.

The studio cut is also available on the new Lost Songs from the Lost Year album released in 2009, and is a track on the EP Running with the Wolves.

  • On Live Current Volume 3[26] there is a live recording of the track "Pretty Voice", which can also be found on 89.3 The Current's YouTube channel.[27]


  1. ^ In Tune with the Earth: An interview with Cloud Cult's Craig Minowa
  2. ^ a b First Avenue – Event Listing: CLOUD CULT
  3. ^ KEXP Blog » Blog Archive » Cloud Cult announce tour, give away tix + talk about art
  4. ^ cloud cult 1sheet.indd Archived October 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ An interview with Craig Minowa of green-leaning band Cloud Cult | By David Roberts | Grist | Main Dish | 18 Apr 2007
  6. ^ Raihala, Ross. "The Band: Cloud Cult." St. Paul Pioneer Press April 6, 2008: E8.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 23, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Buy Cloud Cult: No One Said It Would Be Easy on VHX". Retrieved May 11, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ personal communication to Wumba April 2009
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c "Cloud Cult". Facebook. Retrieved May 11, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Cloud Cult's 2012 PR Photos (November 1, 2012). "Cloud Cult's 2012 PR Photos". Cody York Photography. Retrieved May 11, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Eakin, Marah (December 7, 2012). "Cloud Cult announces new record, Love, premieres arty new video · Newswire · The A.V. Club". Retrieved May 11, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Cloud Cult: "The Seeker": New Album AND Film". PledgeMusic. Archived from the original on February 15, 2019. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  15. ^ Taylor, Luke. "Cloud Cult's 'The Seeker' is a big dream realized". Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  16. ^ "The Stars". First Avenue & 7th Street Entry. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  17. ^ Bream, Jon (May 3, 2019). "10 things you'll learn about First Avenue in new Minnesota History Center show". Star Tribune. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Retrieved May 10, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ Marsh, Steve (May 1, 2019). "First Avenue's Star Wall". Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Retrieved May 10, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ "Cloud Cult – Billboard".
  20. ^ "Cloud Cult – Billboard Alternative Albums".
  21. ^ "Cloud Cult – Billboard Heatseekers".
  22. ^ "Cloud Cult – Billboard Independent".
  23. ^ "Cloud Cult – Billboard Rock Albums".
  24. ^ Tunefind – Cougar Town: Season 5
  25. ^ KEXP Blog » Live @ KEXP Vol. 3
  26. ^ "Live Current Volume 3". Archived from the original on April 4, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  27. ^ Pretty Voice – Live on 89.3 The Current

External links[edit]