The only album to soundtrack both late-‘70s Minneapolis lounges and a Travis Scott x Dior fashion show. Recorded in a host of living rooms with only a Fender Rhodes piano, a Donca Matic Mini Pops drum machine, and Senrick’s wide-eyed, 20-year-old voice, the 1977 LP disappeared into the wild and joined the Wendigo in Minnesota lore. A provocative mix of marina soul, easy listening, and loner folk, Dreamin’ is a sanguine sliver of the American private mind garden.
Harsh winters coupled with a relative lack of interest amongst siblings allowed Chuck Senrick years of unfettered access to the family piano in their Farmington, Minnesota, home. Learning both by ear and by instruction, Senrick began gigging professionally at age 15, joining John Zimmer and the CR4 for a weekly rundown of Allman Brothers, Blind Faith, and Cream covers at the Sea Girt Inn in Lake Orchard. Tapping into James Taylor’s pop-chart achievements in songwriting and enunciation, Senrick composed the bulk of the songs featured on Dreamin’ before graduating from Farmington High School.
At 20, Senrick migrated 30 miles north to the Twin Cities to pursue music full-time. Using borrowed equipment and borrowed living rooms, a string of informal recording sessions generated the quarter-inch tape for Dreamin’. “I didn't know how to do it,” Senrick says about producing an album. “I just knew it could be done.” Constructed with vocals, Fender Rhodes, and an assortment of rhythm presets on his Donca Matic Mini Pops drum machine, a mere 200 copies of the private-press masterpiece were stamped and sleeved and sold hand-to-hand at performances. Chuck’s wife Lesli illustrated the album cover—a pen-to-paper portrait of her husband against the backdrop of the Minneapolis Skyline, she and their newborn son situated on a nearby knoll. Any plans for a re-press were quashed when producer Bruce W. Hansen lost the reels during a messy divorce. “I was a kid with big ideas and not much hope to do anything but play,” Senrick said of the Dreamin’ era. “It still amazes me that people are interested in it.”