MANKATO — Will Bauermeister knows the route to Mankato.
As a youth, he learned to play guitar at Camp Omega in Waterville. After graduating from high school in Buffalo, he moved to Mankato where he attended Bethany Lutheran College and started a band called The Divers with a few like-minded friends. When he left The Divers — which still performs regularly and remains an area favorite to this day — he helped form Dazy Head Mazy, an indie, pop rock favorite in Minnesota that was a fixture on Mankato's music scene and later recorded a promotional song for the chamber of commerce.
Still, Friday's performance at the Coffee Hag in support of his newly released, debut solo effort, "110 Objects," represents a change of direction for the musician and songwriter.
"For a while I've wanted to do a solo, sketchbook kind of project," Bauermeister said. "This one was kind of maverick and cavalier, all on my own."
Written, composed and recorded entirely on his own, "110 Objects" is marked by strong motivic development and instrumentation that is understated, yet lissome and clever.
Several songs include references to nature and wilderness, which Bauermeister said are vestiges of his interest in the outdoors and conservation efforts. On "Dakota" — a track named for a former Mankato radio personality — he strikes an ambiguous and foreboding note. But on "If They Put You in a Pill," Bauermeister is sweetly innocent and humorous as he sings "If they lost you out into space, I would turn on the TV and look at your face, 'cuz you're famous now, everyone loves an astronaut."
Though he's played at the Coffee Hag several times over the course of his career, Bauermeister said he's looking forward to returning — and not just for the performance.
"After living in the Twin Cities," he said, "I can really appreciate being able to find a parking space."
Bauermeister's performance begins at 8 p.m. Donations accepted at the door.