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Tommy Stinson brings solo tour to upstate New York

Heather Mull

Ex-Replacements bassist, Bash & Pop frontman to play acoustic shows in Burdett, Syracuse, Rochester this week

During his long career with the Replacements, Guns N' Roses and other bands, Tommy Stinson has played a lot of big venues, including stadiums, arenas and huge outdoor festivals.

But when he brings his solo acoustic tour through upstate New York this week (see dates below), he’ll be performing in much smaller places, including a winery, a record store, an artists’ cooperative, and even someone’s living room – and that’s just fine with him.

“I like doing these shows,” Stinson said in a recent phone interview. “It’s more of an intimate setting – you’re singing in people’s faces, and you’re communicating with them a little differently than when you’ve got a microphone, a band and amps. So it’s a better way to do that when all you’ve got is an acoustic on your back.”

A native of Minneapolis, Stinson has lived in Hudson, N.Y., for nearly a decade.

“I like it up here,” he said. “I’ve got good friends, it’s beautiful. It’s not a big city, which is great – I’ve lived in enough of them, and find I do a little better in a smaller scenario. That’s probably the highlight to that. I moved up here for a particular reason – I was married and had a little baby at the time, and (my wife’s) uncle was up here and we were helping him to divest an art collection. After coming up here a few times, I kind of fell into it and liked it a whole lot, and now I’m eight years into it.”

At 53, Stinson has been a professional musician for 41 years, having joined the Replacements on bass when he was 12. At these solo shows, Stinson will be drawing from a variety of his own projects, including Bash & Pop (who played at in Ithaca in 2017 to promote the stellar album “Anything Could Happen”), Cowboys in the Campfire (his duo with Chip Roberts) and his solo work. Just don’t expect to hear any Replacements songs.

“I didn’t sing any of those, so I’d feel silly to try to get up there and sing ‘Alex Chilton’ or all those kinds of things,” he said, deferring to Paul Westerberg's vocal role in the band.

But he’s still happy to talk about the Replacements, who remain much loved by fans nearly 30 years after their initial demise and a brief reunion early this decade. “It’s part of my history, so what the hell?” he said.

A few months ago, Rhino Records released “Dead Man’s Pop,” an expanded version of the Replacements’ 1989 album “Don’t Tell A Soul,” a record that Stinson originally was not a fan of. The box set contains a re-sequenced, remixed version of the album that’s closer to the band’s original intent, plus a variety of demos, outtakes and a live show.

“I think it made sense, because it there was stuff to wrangle in and make something out of it,” Stinson said. “The fans really like that extra content, so anytime you can find that stuff that you forgot about, it just helps the fans and gives them something to grab onto. But there’s only a few things left, to be really honest with you, in that regard as far as reissue stuff. And we may probably want to do them at some point.”

In the meantime, Stinson is focused on newer projects.

“I’m working on three different things right now: a solo memoir-type record, songs for a Bash & Pop record, and also trying to finish up the Cowboys in the Campfire record,” he said. “So with a little luck, by the middle of next year I’ll have all three records done and coming out in a fashion where I can go out and support them properly in their various ways.”

Tommy Stinson's solo acoustic tour of Upstate New York

Tuesday, Dec. 10, “Someone’s Living Room,” Hamburg

Wednesday, Dec. 11, The Bop Shop, Rochester

Thursday, Dec. 12, Wildflowers Armory at the McCarthy, Syracuse

Friday, Dec. 13, Barry Family Cellars, Burdett (between Ithaca and Watkins Glen)