ABOUT RAR: For those of
you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher
of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites.
Use this link to visit the
RAR music page, which features original music
compositions and other.
ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance"-AVAILABLE
NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM
CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects
the building of America in a trilogy of novels
collectively calledATWOOD. Book One explores
the development of the American West through the
lens of public policy, land planning, municipal
development, and governance as it played out in one
of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of
the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious
and cultural traditions that imbued the American
Midwest with a special character that continues to
have a profound effect on American politics to this
day. Book One creates an understanding about
America's cultural foundations that is further
explored in books two and three that further trace
the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one
isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as
an icon in the development of a certain brand of
American character. That's the serious stuff viewed
from high altitude. The story itself gets down and
dirty with the supernatural, which inATWOOD
- A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the
outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the
monumental to the sublime.The
book features the epic poem"The
well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard
Meets Larry McMurtry
I am offering another
novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service.
Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its
sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado,
1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm
equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of
individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and
distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.
It is a ripping good yarn, filled
with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to
pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950,
when the story is set. Richard Padilla
has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of
a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The
whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on
Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little
of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns.
Use this link.
EXPLORE THE KINDLE
If you have not explored the books
available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing
division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You
will find classic literature there, as well as tons
of privately published books of every kind. A lot of
it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published
books are awful, but some are truly classics. You
can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works
for two bucks.
Amazon is the largest,
but far from the only digital publisher. You can
find similar treasure troves atNOOK
Barnes & Noble site),Lulu,
Sick of Sarah Release an EP
Sick of Sarah have released
a six-song EP, titled Anthem.
Led by guitarist and lead singer
Abisha Uhl, Sick of Sarah
has been around for a decade, doing what they describe as a
punk girl-rock. The band includes
guitarist/vocalist Jessie Farmer, guitarist/vocalist
Murphy and drummer/vocalist
Jessica Forsythe. They are
high energy, rock professionals, and they have had some big
exposures on the festival circuit, and also some notoriety.
They had 1.7 million copies downloaded of a recording
featured on the BitTorrent Artist Spotlight, which made them
valuable in BitTorrent's marketing scheme. Sick of Sarah's
2205 album was automatically downloaded with BitTorrent
software, prompting users to refer to 2205 as the "spam
album" (this from
The videos below include two tracks from
their new release, "Rooftops" and "Blind".
was a time when Rock music was still young, but extraordinarily good.
Best example: Gypsy. A progressive
rock quintet that was, by turns, both fierce and sweet, featuring
extraordinary musical compositions, excellent musicianship (featuring
drummer Bill Lordan, a Minnesota
native, who would go on
to fame with Sly & the Family Stone and the
Robin Trower Band), and beautiful vocals,
Gypsy lorded over L.A.'s Sunset Strip as the house band at the Whiskey
A-Go-Go around 1970. Pure Rock music never really got better than this.
Diana Olson talks with documentary
filmmaker Aaron Goodyear, who is
doing his best to rectify the error committed by history in allowing
this stellar unit to slip from its rightful place in the pantheon of
musical greats. After you read Diana's piece on the film project, spend
a little time listening to the music of Gypsy. It will remind you of how
filled with promise Rock music once was, even outside of The Beatles!
Go to the Gypsy article.
OLSON (left) has been a fixture in popular music of the Minneapolis-St. Paul
area since her days as a deejay on KFAI radio. RARWRITER is pleased to have her
as a correspondent for art news emanating from the creative north.
always felt privileged to be involved in music," Diana writes. Her
interests, however, ranged far beyond simply spinning platters. She produced a
"community program" that "featured discussions with local
politicians and local musicians."
is working again with KFAI "doing special projects and volunteering,"
but her life over the past thirty years has included a career in stock brokerage
and parenting a trio of musically talented children. Diana and her three
talented children were in 15 plays in community theatre over a 14 year
has written for Insight News, The Alley and other local publications and now
writes for online magazines such as SKOPE. She also does reviews for mnblues.com.
work as Artist & Repertoire Publicity and Entertainment Writer for Star
Sound Studios/S Music Records Minneapolis has her publishing in a wide range of
nationally known on line journals.
most intense project right now is writing Bill Lordan's autobiography,"
Diana writes. (See the related panel below.)
has several feature articles available for reading from her MySpace
site. She also has links to articles she has written on
the likes of Steve Vai, The Limit, Quiet Drive, The New Congress, The Audition,
Back Door Slam, and Bill Lordan, as well as reviews of work from Tristan
Prettyman and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
BRIEF HISTORY OF MINNESOTA POP CULTURE
as one of the top places to live in the US, Minneapolis and St. Paul have always
been rich with music, theater and arts. From it's early beginnings traditional
Dakota music emerged. As settlers moved into the area, so did a diverse culture
of European, African American and Asian decent.
the rock era, several influential musicians and songwriters spent part or all of
their formative years in Minneapolis. Bob Dylan began his career in the
Minneapolis folk music scene in the early 1960s. In the 1980s, a host of
important alternative-rock pioneers worked in the Minneapolis club scene in the
aftermath of the punk and new wave movements, notably Paul Westerberg of the
Replacements and Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü.
far the most influential musician to call Minneapolis home has been Prince
Rogers Nelson, known to the world simply as Prince. A native of
Minneapolis, a graduate of Central High School, and son of a notable local jazz
musician, Prince started his career in the late 1970s. His signature blend of
R&B and rock, with prominent synthesizer and bass, came to be known as the
"Minneapolis sound", and his further efforts in music, film, and
multimedia grew to have a global influence throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
notable among the generation of Minneapolis musicians who got their start in the
"Minneapolis sound" era of the early 1980s were Terry Lewis and
Jimmy Jam Harris. The duo founded Flyte Tyme Productions in 1982, and has
continued on to produce over 100 gold and platinum recordings, including 15
number one hits.
We Minnesotans love our summers. Those blissful around 12 weeks of nice weather.
Who cares about the mosquitoes we don't have to shovel snow, scrap windshields
and get cabin fever for at least a little while. We spend most of this time
outdoors being there is an abundance of lakes, parks, biking trails and
festivals. No sooner than we get our farmer tans and it is over. We have one big
event called "Aquatennial" where for 10 days in July we have a big parade, milk
carton boat races, crown a queen of the lakes and do all sorts of outdoorsy
things. The other really big deal is our State Fair, 10 days just before Labor
Day. http://www.mnstatefair.org. The fair offers up all kinds of music, every
imagineable kind of food "on a stick", rides and even a museum of stuffed fish
from the area so we can marvel at all our great natural resources. Check out the
website and if you happen to be in the area catch some of the great music but
you better hurry, as soon as the fair ends and September ushers in fall, we will
all be going back inside to get our long underwear on. - Diana Olson
Twin Cities -
Tim Mahoney says
"Hey Adam Levine"
by Diana Olson
Pick up any newspaper in the Twin Cities
area and in the entertainment section you will find local
singer/songwriter Tim Mahoney
performing somewhere in the area. A Minnesota favorite, Tim was a
contestant on NBC's "The Voice" this spring. He got as far as the
regional quarterfinals but what's come out of the experience is a story
Tim sang Sam Cooke's "Bring it on home to
me". Judge, Adam Levine (from Maroon 5) turned his chair around to face
Tim (indicating he wanted him on his team) and said, "Oh, I thought you
were a Chick! but, clearly you have a penis." Tim, having a quick wit
said, "that's what people say about Levines voice too."
Tim decided to write a song about the
adventure. He says, "I think Adam Levine is great. He was my first
choice as a coach." He is hoping Levine gets a kick out of the song,
"Hey Adam Levine" and will have as much fun with it as Tim had writing
and recording it.
Are you originally from Minnesota?
I'm from Minnetonka, Mn. I Live downtown now
Tell us how you got started in music and who
your early inspirations were.
I was inspired by Elvis when I was very
young. I played drums first at age 14 move to piano and guitar in high
When is the digital version of "Hey Adam
Levine" being released?
I'm hoping beginning of Sept. Very fun track
just a lighthearted song about my experience on the voice.
Tell me about the song and more about being
on the Voice.
Being on "The Voice" was great. You can
never complain about being on national tv. I went from being "the guy
from Minnesota" to "the guy on The Voice". The Song was just an idea my
PR guy Mike Farley had. Tough part was to make something fun and hooky.
Any new projects in the works?
Newest thing is the new single. I will
following up with an EP of songs this fall.
t's been 3 years
since I first heard about Alicia
Wiley. She has produced 5 solo albums in the past
11 years earning a Minnesota Music Award as Best selling
self-released recording 2004, Best Female Vocalist 2004, and
Best Keyboardist/Pianist 2006. She is a gifted songwriter
that mixes great classical jazz piano on some songs and a
pop voice on others. All Eyes, Alicia's current band, takes
on a different style for her. She wrote all the songs on
their CD "Shelf Life" and it's easy to hear that she spent a
lot of time thoughtfully putting together each song.
What brought All Eyes together?
The four of us have played in a few different groups
together: Jake and Luke played on some of my solo albums,
Luke and Jake play in a couple bands together (Haley Bonar,
Gramma's Boyfriend), and Joe previously hired Luke to drum
on a studio project. As I wrote the songs that became Shelf
Life I couldn't shake the feeling that the songs would be
best served if we approached recording and playing live as a
band, basically encouraging everybody to utilize and expand
on techniques that we haven't been able to use as much or
explore as fully in other projects.
Alicia, you do all the writing
of lyrics, did you also write the music?
Yes, I did write the music, if by music you mean the
chord changes and song structures. To be fair, though, the
guys had a substantial role in shaping the sound of these
songs, which sounded pretty different when I first demoed
them! Luke's programming, Jake's wild guitar sounds, and
producer/engineer Paul Marino's sonic wizardry were all key
to the sounds you'll hear on the record.
Tell me about the band and what
makes it unique.
Well, I'm not sure if any of these facets make us unique,
per se, but here's a little history. We started out shaping
these songs in the studio, almost without really rehearsing
them and having never played them live -- in fact, the
record was fully mixed and mastered before we played our
first show. The studio dynamic was key to shaping the band's
sound, and we spent many hours sorting through a wealth of
raw material to make sure that each song was as strong as it
could be. We've all played in many kinds of other bands for
many years, which was important both for studio experience
and in understanding a band's dynamic. I think we've all
learned to check our egos and be quite open minded at this
point in our lives, and it's important to all of us that
there be very little conflict or drama in this group. We
view All Eyes as a place that we can experiment and mess
around with approaches we've always wanted to try but
couldn't, so we're excited to keep making music and pushing
ourselves to broaden our creativity.
Who are the musical inspirations
for the band?
It's tough to answer this question without sounding
either like a repository of arcane underground music or like
a cliche (I mean, who can't tell we all like Radiohead and
Beach House, etc.?). That said, I think we're most inspired
by what the others in the group are bringing to the table
and what we each want to reference in approaching a new
song. We'll come up with little rules, too, like if a song
sounds a like a swampy blues number on the first rehearsal,
only one person is allowed to sound any bit bluesy on the
next attempt, and so on until the song is totally
Tell me about the CD, Shelf
Shelf Life marks a new beginning for us creatively. We
love being part of a project that is more collaborative and
adventurous on the creative end both in the studio and in a
What other projects are you
All Eyes is the main project right now. In fact, we've
just started writing our second album, so between releasing
Shelf Life, playing live, and writing/rehearsing new tunes,
the plate's pretty full.
TIM MAHONEY - THE VOICE
Minnesota Favorite Son
Tim Mahoney got a big career boost this
season as a contestant on "The Voice", where he was championed by
Adam Levine (boc, earl). Minnesota Links Editor
Diana Olson has a brief interview with the smooth
vocalist, who talks about working with Levine (see below for an outtake from
First Published June 2010 Edition
First Published March 2010 Edition
Gearing Up with "d.wayne"
by Diana Olson
Minneapolis, Minnesota - St. Louis Park born and raised
Minnesotan, “d.wayne” has spent the past few years of his life
focusing serious time on his Music abilities. Although born with
acoustic in hand, he had not put his voice with it until his
early 20’s. Late start? Maybe. But with his fresh, smooth spin
on traditional acoustic singer-songwriting, d.wayne has begun to
make his impression on Minneapolis, MN.
Spending the majority of ’08 playing
his weekly gig at Solera Restaurant in DT Mpls, he has decided
to move into much livelier platforms. Opening up for The New
Congress and guest performing with Steph Devine, he feels his
wheels have started turning and has no plans of slowing down. He
released his first CD “Something New” in March, and has just
booked his CD release party for May 29th at Trocaderos. He was
recently hired by Aveda to perform at there annual Earth Day
event. He will be playing short sets through out the day while
clients get the hair done. All of his CD sale proceeds for that
day will be going to support Mpls Clean Water.
d.wayne, "Dusty Wayne Rhode" was born, raised, and resides in
St.louis Park, MN."no not with my Mom ;-)", he says. He is the
proud Father of 3 soon to be married. He loves singing, playing
and song writing whenever time allows. His "Something New"CD is
a collection of joy, triumph, courage, pain, and relationship
ups and downs. Says d "I write of what I know and what I have
been through. Sometimes poppy, sometimes sappy, but always
d.Wayne's soulful lyrics and soft
acustic guitar remind me of the 70''s when you could walk into a
Cedar Riverside coffee shop and hear Dylan and many other great
singer/songwriters who took a chance revealing themselves thru
their music with emotion and tenderness. "Something New" is a
song that stays with you in melody and content long after you
When did you start singing/writing songs and playing the guitar?
I have played guitar for about 15 years, but did not start
composing until around '00/'01. It took me until I was around 20
years old to feel confident enough in my talents to even
consider composing an entire song.
Who were your early influences? I would have to say my greatest
influences of people that actually inspired me to start writing
would have to be Lenny Kravitz, Anthony Hamilton, Maxwell, and
of course Prince. My favorite era of music hands down is 90's
R&B. Although that is not exactly the sound that comes out of me
in my music, it is definitely what motivates me and gets the
creative mojo flowin.
What do you want to be doing 5 years from now? Within the next 5
years I would like to have my self established as a well
respected and sought after Minneapolis Musician. There are so
many greats in this town and I just want to be on everyone's
radar as a guy that puts on one hell of a show. I love working
with other musicians also, whether singing back up or guest
performing, I would love to continue building and strengthening
those relationships. Although I love the intimacy of performing
solo, I hope to put together a small 3 to 4 piece band in the
not to distant future. " Thinking of a more Drum, Bass, and
Strings sound to add in with my Acoustic. So everyone be
watching for that!
Do you have another job besides performing? Believe it or not I
am a Hairstylist of over 10yrs in the biz. I have had wonderful
long standing success in the hair industry. I was a global
educator for 2 different major product companies and have been
fortunate enough to travel the world educating my peers in all
aspects of the hair business.
Diante Carridonnas' "Mountain
by Diana Olson
Minneapolis, Minnesota - You can hear
the musical influence of New Orleans on
Diante Carridonnas "Fire on the
Mountain". "He was born, raised and influenced by various
musical cultures of New Orleans", says Diante. He began to play
the guitar at a young age, but after learning the basics he
started to compose the lyrics and melodies of his own. To
enhance his guitar and vocal skills he attended Delgado College
as a music major, where he was able to expand his musical
competence. Recently Diante was given the opportunity to play
professionally in New Orleans and Minneapolis. He recorded a CD
in New Orleans that has received rave reviews and was in
Southern California last fall, and participated in a number of
"unplugged" song-writer venues, performing his new, original
compositions. Now he is working on completing a full length CD.
"Says Diante, I played all of the instruments
on my demo except the drums, where I used a computer program
called acid. I call it a demo because it is self produced and I
know with the right producer my songs would be off the hook. I
use my demos to promote myself and put together a band that I
can take on tour this summer."
The Fight is a five-piece rock band from Minneapolis, MN. The band
combines many styles of music from punk and metal, to classic rock. They combine
heavy riffs with solid beats and great vocal harmonies. TTF were selected in the
Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands to play the Vans Warped Tour in 2003 and 2005.
TTF were also semi-finalists in the 2004 Zippo Hot Tour. Their strong work ethic
has led them to share stages with The Matches, Melee, Limbeck, Break The
Silence, Bleed The Sky, Quietdrive, 3 Inches of Blood, My American Heart,
Dillenger 4, Fighting Jacks, Bowling For Soup, and The F-Ups.
group was voted as one of ten unsigned bands to keep an eye on in 2006 by
Alternative Press magazine. Their new e.p. "The Fire Within" was
produced by World Record Productions (Mudvayne, Quietdrive, Soul Asylum) The
disk is slated for a June release. Throw The Fight brings hard-fought experience
along with their unique, intense live show and a sense of musicianship that is
unrivaled in the music industry.
band consists of James Clark(vocals), Ryan Baustert (guitar), Joey Ulrich
(guitar), Aaron Huppert (bass) and Cory Huppert (drums). This band writes its
songs as a band, not individually. Says Ryan, "Songwriting is definitely a
group effort. We usually write all the music first and then do the vocals once
we have a solid foundation for a song." Once the band has written songs,
they go through a process, which eventually leads them to recording. "When
it gets time to record, we usually do rough demos of everything that we have.
Then we bring them to our producer and decide which tracks are right to record.
From there we do pre production on everything and then move on to the actual
tracking," said Ryan. From this process, the band has recorded its newest
album, In Pursuit Of Tomorrow, out digitally on April 22nd and in stores in
said, "We all have day jobs and the band is another full time job on top of
those. James owns a painting company, I am a graphic designer, Aaron is in
telecommunications, Joey is an estimator, and Cory runs a trucking company.
We're all working towards being able to support ourselves just playing in the
band. But it's a long way to the top, you know?"
The band has played over 275 shows in the last four or five years, with
highlights ranging from being on the Vans Warped Tour to lows like playing to a
less-than-crowded club now and then. The band's next big show will be playing
the Taste of Chaos at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium on March 4th. The band books
all of its own shows, which can be a full time job within itself. "We've
been doing it for so long that it's a lot easier now, especially around the
Midwest. The part that gets tough is when we try to head to new territory. So it
gets a little trickier to fill those dates sometimes. We do show trades with
bands all the time. We plan on touring as much as we possibly can and do
everything possible to get the album heard by as many people as we can."
THROW THE FIGHT: James, Ryan, Joey, Aaron and Cory (not necessarily from left to right)
You can get a taste of Throw the Fight's
music on their Myspace site
Jellybean born Garry George Johnson; November 19,
1956 moved to Minneapolis from Chicago at the age of 12. He is a self taught
drummer and guitarist who was a part of Prince's camp in the days of
"Purple Rain". Prince formed the band The Time in 1980 and Jellybean
has been the drummer now for almost 30 years. Jelly and the original line up of
the Time played live for the first time in over 18 years at the 2008 50th Grammy
Awards with Rhianna.
also drums with another Prince created band, The Family, who reunited in 2007
playing a pre Grammy part in LA and opening for The Roots. Jellybean plays
guitar nationally with the Ronnie Baker Brooks Band. Ronnie is the son of Blues
legend Lonnie Brooks. His schedule continues to be as busy as ever, on Mondays
he jams with the Combo at Bunkers and Tuesday in St. Paul at the Minnesota Music
Café with JB and The Routine. His latest endeavor is playing with the
powerhouse band The Truth, all of whose members have Prince affiliations.
The Truth (left) is an assembly of Minneapolis
musical royalty that consists of St. Paul Peterson (The Time, The Family) on
bass, vocals, guitar and keyboards, Jellybean Johnson (The Time, The Family) on
guitar, Odell (Mint Condition) on guitar and vocals, Jerry Hubbard (The Time,
Jesse Johnson) on bass, keyboards, guitar and vocals, Chance Howard (Prince, The
Time) on bass guitar, bass synth and vocals, Kirk Johnson (Prince) on drums and
vocals, Eric Leeds (Prince) on saxophones, keyboards and vocals and Donnie La
Marca (Jonny Lang, Bobby Caldwell). They have just released their first CD, The
Truth - Live.
I have seen Jellybean perform on numerous
occasions with different groups and at Tribute shows. He is one of my favorite
local musicians. Not only can he play the
guitar like the very best of them but he has a way of drawing you into the music
with a powerful grace. So, not only is it great listening to him but also
equally fun just watching him.
So how did he get the name Jellybean?
"We were playing at the Flame Bar on
Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, and Robert Martin said, 'We sound like a buncha
jellybeans!' The next day they got me a T- shirt that said Jellybean on it, and
it stuck. We used to play there six days a week as Flyte Time and the Standelles.
Cynthia Johnson was the vocalist in the band until she left to sing 'Funkytown'
for Steven Greenberg around 1980. I was originally a drummer. Morris Day, who is
a phenomenal drummer, and a lefty, and I used to set our drums up next to each
other at his mom's. I started messin' around with guitar."
After the breakup of The Time (left),
Drummer/percussionist Jellybean Johnson decided to work as
producer/musician/songwriter throughout his career,and eventually becoming a
long-time associate of Flyte Tyme productions.
His first session job was being a musician for
Alexander O'Neal's #11 R&B hit "Innocent" (produced by Time
bandmates Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis). On this track, he was not only the
drummer, but also delivered the guitar solos for the second half of the
ten-minute long song.
From this point on, he was in-demand as a session
guitarist (and drummer/percussionist) for Janet Jackson, Alexander O'Neal, New
Edition, and many others.
Throughout his career, he has also produced a
number of hits for Alexander O'Neal, New Edition and many others. But it wasn't
until 1990 when he would co-produce (with Janet Jackson) his biggest hit to
date: Janet Jackson's Heavy Metal/Rock inspired #1 smash hit "Black
Cat". He has also co-produced Mint Condition's entire debut album Meant to
With the formation of The Truth, Jelly Bean
continues to bring his great sounds to his fans.
Scott Sellner, only 24 years old, is a Twin Cities-based
singer/songwriter/guitar player from Sleepy Eye, MN. His music stylings have
been compared to those of John Mayer, Johnny Lang, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi
Hendrix. There is growing excitement about this young player.
are comments from a fan of Brandon's: "He has a huge number of loyal fans
who know this is no average musician. Like a woman at one show said, "its
like he sucks you out of the crowd right onto the stage with that guitar. I've
seen tears stream down faces of men and women alike, I've witnessed people fall
to their knees and bow like they are worshipping him and many times I have seen
people in the front of his crowds reach out to try to touch his pant legs and
shoes while he plays. He'll no doubt make Minnesota famous again. If you ever
have a chance to see him, grab the opportunity and you will see what I mean. Be
sure to get up close and watch his fingers move all over that guitar!"-
Dandy of the longtime southern rock band Black Oak Arkansas, with whom Sellner
has toured, says, "Man that kid sure can play." Sellner also has
rocked the house with former members of Canned Heat, Walter Trout and Junior
Sjulstad of Applauze magazine based in Mankato, Minn., wrote, "This is not
your grandfather's blues. There are blues bands and blues musicians, but few
have the blues in their soul." "Sellner's voice is instantly
recognizable and that the sky is the limit for this tremendous blues
asked Brandon a few questions:
did you start playing guitar?
started playing guitar when I was about sixteen years old. Stevie Ray Vaughan's
guitar playing and Jimi Hendrix's music were my two biggest influences. I
started singing about four years ago when I started paying more attention to
Jonny Lang's music. Most of my latest originals however, have been inspired by
the music of John Mayer.
you working on a CD?
years ago, we were distributing a blues demo that I co-engineered and
co-produced at Junior's Motel Records in Otho Iowa. About a year ago, we
released my current single, "Things Are Gonna' Be Good", a song I
wrote in a Fort Dodge Iowa hospital (I suffered from a ruptured appendix which
was nearly fatal, this experience changed my life and inspired me to further
pursue my career in music). In May, we look forward to releasing a six song ep
including all new original music and a re-mastered version of "Things Are
Gonna' Be Good".
do you want people to get out of your music?
take into serious consideration the response of my fan base and listeners. When
I'm onstage, its a constant exchange of energy and emotion between the audience
and myself. Its very important for me to know that the crowd is as into it as I
am and also, I try to let them know how important it is to me to share the music
with them. The people make it all worth it.
you have a favorite song you like to perform?
always been a fan of Joe Cocker. His rendition of Dave Mason's "Feeling
Alright" is by far my favorite song. We perform it (in our own way) at our
shows on a regular basis. Also, a recording that I believe stands the test of
time is "Bold as Love" by Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix had a way of putting
so much of his inner emotions into his music. Whether it was joy, sadness,
paranoia, or just purely raw/in your face, rock and roll, Hendrix had/has a way
that makes you feel the music.
is your favorite venue to perform at?
difficult to pick just one venue that I would say I enjoy playing at more than
any other. I've been the opener at Bunkers in Minneapolis on a few occasions.
That stage has hosted so much talent through the years, its an honor to play
there. I was fortunately a part of the Jimi Hendrix Rememberence Concert at the
Cabooze the year before last. Listening to and performing with some of the most
talented musicians in the Twin Cities area was a monumental and motivational
point in my career. I guess if I had to pick just one venue that I really enjoy
performing at, it would have to be the Georgia Theatre in Athens Georgia. Its
always a pleasure to play there and the crowd gets so into it.
do I see yourself doing in five years?
want to see the world. Traveling all over and playing music is what I love and
live for. We recently returned from a four week road trip which my manager/good
friend and rhythm guitarist Hardy White III organized (he wears a lot of
"hats"). With him and my band (Ky Haub on drums and Rick Montpetit on
bass), we showcased at the "world famous" Tootsie's in Nashville TN,
performed at the Georgia Theatre in Athens GA for the third time in less than
two years, sat in on a southern blues jam in Jackson MS, performed three times
at South by South West in Austin TX (thanks to Red Gorilla Music), and performed
for the first time in California at the Hi-Desert Cultural Center in Joshua Tree
CA. Music has allowed me to meet new people and see new places. I'm blessed to
be able to do what I love and love what I do.
Sowers hit the Midwest scene in February 2005 and she hasn't looked
back since. It didn't take her long after moving here from Key West, FL to start
making a name for herself. With great vocals and piano, she commands attention
on stage and leaves everyone smiling. When I listen to her sing all I can say is
"Fun, fun, fun".
has been performing since the age of 5, with support of an extremely musically
involved family. Sowers is a classically trained pianist with years of
experience in piano performance. Sowers made a big splash at Duluth's Bayfront
Blues Festival in 2006 and 2007 having the highest sales in CD's both years.
has been called the hardest-working blues woman in frigid Minnesota. "Two
things remain consistent at all her shows", said Chris Riemenschneider of
the Star Tribune, "her throaty but cushiony voice, which has a sort of
hard-mattress comfort to it that's part Bonnie Raitt, Etta James and a little
Amy Winehouse, and her band's rollicking New Orleans flavor, driven home by
dueling horn players and a bayou-thick standup bass."
has already shared the stage with Little Feat, Buddy Guy, Elvin Bishop, The
Lamont Cranston Band, The Blues Brothers, Joe Bonamassa, Nellie McKay, Irma
Thomas and James Hunter, among others, at venues such as House of Blues in
Altantic City, NJ and the Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth, MN.
on earth did you come to Minnesota?
I fell in love and moved here because he lives here. (He is now my bass player
and also a Lamont Cranston alum)
me about your CD's and what we can expect in the next CD?
This band is genre busting. Both CDs I have
released are that way as well. Songs from Thomas Ave and Under Lock
and Key are a great mixture of writing and arranging. I am so proud of each
of them. There are 10 originals and 5 covers. I wish I could tell you more. I am
in the process of writing a lot of songs. I can probably tell you more closer to
the release date. I am really happy with my band line up right now. Such
creative energy, we are like a family. So I am looking forward to the outcome of
this new release.
What do you want listeners
to get from your music?
What I intended in the writing, the feel of each
song. I want them to move. I would love to write music that moves Mountains but
for right now I just want to move people.
What do you want to
be doing 5 years from now?
Same thing on a national level and a better
Where is your favorite
place to perform?
I get asked that a lot. I can probably honest say
that I enjoy being listened to. If people are there to see us and listen, I am a
pretty happy gal.
are your CD's being sold?
Electric Fetus, Cheapo, CD BABY, Itunes
What do you like best
about living the Midwest?
I can plant. I have a garden. In Key West it is
all rock and sand... not a good mixture for tomatoes and such. I also love the
music scene. There are so many musicians and creative people. Key West was full
of a lot of cover bands and Jimmy Buffet tributes. Fun and all, but it wasn't
ready for my surly songs with a pre war feel. I think The Twin Cities are
Westside Band has been
around for over 20 years and has recorded 5 CDs, as well as other studio
projects. A new release is planned for 2008. In addition to the inspired
collection of covers from the 70s, 80s and today, bandleader Jr. Trego (J.T.) is
adding original material to the mix from past CDs and the new projects. This
well-known show band performs throughout the Midwest. They pack the house with
great vocals, musicianship and a stage show that is one of the very best. They
recently toured with a 12-member tribute band to Earth Wind & Fire.
is one of my favorite dance bands in the Twin Cities area. They have incredible
energy and talent. They are also nice people. Each time I see them I leave
feeling upbeat and energized. I hope they will be around for another 20 years.-DLO
WESTSIDE:J.T. (Jr. Trejo) - "heartbeat" of the Westside Band. Besides
being an accomplished drummer, percussionist, singer/songwriter, and producer,
J.T.also plays keyboards, guitar and bass guitar. J.T. began
playing drums at the age of three, performing at family functions and area
establishments. He formed "Saxon's Soul" while in grade school and
went on as a key performer with Danny's Reasons, The Mystics, Free and Easy, and
Gypsy (all four bands have been inducted into the MN Rock/Country Hall of Fame
over the past few years) before founding Westside Band. In the late 80s,
Westside appeared on "Ed McMahon's Star Search" with their regional
hit, "The Sweep." J.T. and Westside Band toured coast-to-coast with
the program. Westside Band has played with many national artists including Kool
and the Gang, A Flock of Sea Gulls, The Supremes, and Gladys Knight and The
Maffei (Keyboards, Vocals), a self-taught keyboardist began playing at nine.
A native of Brazil, Joe came to the USA in 1999. He is a MusicTech grad and is
active in the local music scene playing a variety of styles from Jazz to
Country, Latin to Hip-hop. Among others, Joe has performed with Jerry Lee Lewis,
Boogie Wonderland, Cryptic, Kathy Jensen of the Hornheads, Saved By Zero, Krush,
Darrin Rosha, Rebecca Leland and a few others. In 2002, Joe scored the original
soundtrack for the local movie "Ain't No Phase."
Tony Green (Lead Vocals) brings powerful vocals to the group. After a
short break, Greg Cauthen (Bass Guitar, Keys and Vocals) recently re-joined
Westside. He's working finishing the Live CD project. Dan Rea operated the
spotlight and loaded gear before joining in on percussion.
WESTSIDE:Chico Smith (Keyboards, Alto Sax, Lead and Background Vocals).
After seeing Flight Time and Grand Central (Prince), as a sixth grader
Chico started playing. He formed his own eight-member band
"Cohesion." In the Mid-80's he joined Westside Band and toured
coast-to-coast. In the 90s he joined "Fantasy" and later, before
re-joining Westside, started a band called "Back Beat." Chicco
has performed as an opening act for national acts including The Jets, Tyme,
Dazz Band, 505, Chaka Khan and The Temptations. He's received numerous
regional music awards including Best Performance and Best Band.
BENEFIT: Jr. and Westside are proud of the time and effort the
band devotes to giving back to the community. Last June, at the Point in
Hastings, Westside Band gave their 7th performance at an Amber Alert
Benefit. The participants, sponsors and Westside Band helped raise over
$10,000. Minnesota was the first state to have an organization raising
funds to help educate and inform us about the Amber program, and to
provide valuable technology tools for the officers in the field and first
to have an Amber Alert Benefit charity. Many of the same people who
started with the first Amber Benefit, like Westside, are still involved
PETERSON DELAIRE is a member of the well-known musical "Peterson
Family" of Minneapolis. His grandmother, Jeanne Arland Peterson, is
one of best-known ladies of jazz in the US. About his family he says,
"Well, my family's legacy started with my Grandmother and my Grandfather
Willie. They were celebrities in Minneapolis, as radio performers in the 40's
and 50's. All of their children became professional musicians as well,
performing with the likes of, Prince, David Sanborn and Steve Miller, among many
others. Starting with my Grandmother, they are all very good people first of
all, and also wonderful musicians. They all inspired me, and I just fell into
the 'Family Business'. Other musical inspirations were Stevie Wonder, Prince and
Babyface. "Prince is my all time musical hero! Growing up in Minneapolis
and being a musician, that is an obvious choice. When I was in high school, my
uncle Saint Paul did a little movie called Purple Rain. That movie changed my
life. When I saw Paul in that movie, I thought, I can do that! I've been in
music ever since. It was a dream come true to be able to eventually be able to
work with Prince. I also wanted to be a professional Baseball player and I still
play softball today."
attended Berklee School of Music in Boston, studying film score and musical
harmony. He is a well-rounded and versatile performer of classic jazz and R
&B and has earned a reputation as a solid touring accompanist and 'front'
solo. He is proficient on keyboards and saxophone, as well as being a talented
singer, songwriter and producer. Jason says, "singing is what comes most
naturally to me. I also play a little Bass guitar as well as Drum programming. I
like the Sax and Keys equally well!" His first CD Slow Jams, "
was a learning experience", he says. "After working with Prince, I
bought some equipment and opened my first studio with my buddy Jamie Chez in
South Minneapolis. I did a lot of work with Roger Troutman Jr. and my Uncle
Saint Paul on that CD". "It was a great time of my life. We recorded
some of it at Prince's studio, Paisley Park. Both Jamie and Roger have since
passed away. I miss them both very much. Slow Jams 2 the second CD, is
about love and relationships. There are also some cool instrumentals. The record
is R & B and Smooth Jazz."
is touring with Michael Bolton. "I met Michael Bolton in 1996, he says.
"I was a member of one of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' group on their label
Solo. We were the opening act for Michael on a European tour. Some years later,
Michael's old sax player quit. I was reintroduced by Dave DelHomme, whom I went
to Berklee College of Music with, and the rest is history!" "That
keeps me pretty busy touring around the world. It's a fun gig! When I'm home I
am busy working on writing new stuff as well as producing material for various
projects". Jason has also toured nationally and internationally with
renowned artists such as Oleta Adams, Prince, Alexander O'Neal, Richard Marx,
Solo, Donny Osmond, and Cherrelle. Jason has also done studio work with Michael
Bolton, Alexander O'Neal, Prince, Donny Osmond, as well as Bobby Brown, Ben
Sidran and Flyte Time Productions. He also has an acting career and has appeared
in several things including a Dunkin' Donuts commercial. "I just was in a
pilot for a new HBO series as well", Says Jason.
wrote In My Life, my current CD, in 2007," said Jason. "A good
portion of it was written and recorded in my hotel rooms on the road. I have a
portable studio that I take with me. I wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the
CD. There are collaborations with some of my buddies from the Michael Bolton
band as well. It is mainly a smooth R and B record with some funky
"I think as an artist you draw on your life experiences as well as a little
imagination. The Prodigal Son (about a man who takes a wrong turn in his life
and eventually turned his life around) was written for a movie of the same
title. It hasn't come out yet. The song is a bit autobiographical as well."
"In My Life," the title track to the album, has political and
spiritual themes. I especially like how the song combines rap, talk and singing
with great lyrics that reflect current issues. There is a strong influence of
Prince throughout the song. Gotta Keep The Funk Alive is a funky jam in tribute
to the old school funk greats… naming Prince, The Time, JB, Rick James, Cameo,
SOS Band, EW&F, Kool & The Gang and Uncle Paul. True Love is just vocals
and Fender Rhodes keyboard (courtesy of co-writer of the track David DelHomme)
and is sweet, sincere and tender. This is my favorite on the CD and Jason sings
at his best.
asked Jason what do you want people to get from your music? He said, "I
want people to chill out and enjoy the music". When I asked him what he
wants to be doing 5 years from now, he answered, "I hope to continue
working with great artists as well as continuing to put out my own CD's and
touring them as well."- Diana Olson
Saxophonist/Keyboardist/Singer/Composer J.P. DeLaire on tour with Michael
Bolton (far right) and sharing a stage with Actor/Bluesman Steven Segal.
J.P. with Biggie Smalls and crew
J.P. with LL Cool J and entourage
J.P. as he appeared during his time working with Prince
in early 1999, the NEW PRIMITIVES explores popular music through
high-energy Rhythm & Blues, Ska, Reggae, Calypso, and World Dance Music. The
music of the New Primitives is an amalgam of the communities and lives of its
members. Performing regularly in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, this diverse
group of talented musicians is dedicated to bringing people together.-DLO
RIGHT:The New Primitives are Tom Peterson (bass), Joel Arpin (trap drums,
percussion and backing vocals, Brian "Snowman" Powers (saxophones,
ewi, vocals), Stan Kipper (lead vocals, timbales, trap drums and percussion),
Chico Perez (percussion and backing vocals, DJ Trichrome (selecta, beats, hype,
tech), and (lower front) Javier Trejo. Matt Stevens (not pictured) sometimes
plays bass with the band.
Their first album, New
Primitives, released in 2003, was a self-described gumbo of styles,
mostly constructed around Afro-Cuban rhythms, ala bands like War and
Santana. The LP's mix of infectious covers and originals landed the band
on radio play lists around the U.S. and cemented their status on the
Minneapolis scene. For the past four consecutive years they have won
Minnesota Music Award honors in the "Best Reggae" category. The
Primitives have recorded a catalog of new material and anticipate the
release of a second LP in the near future.
Stanley Kipper is the founder, lead singer,
and creative visionary of the New Primitives. His selection of Javier
Baldemar Trejo as the band's guitarist was a fine tuning that he credits
with raising the quality of the band to the next higher level. Kipper has
some experience with "next higher level" types, having backed
Barry Gibb, Minnie Riperton, Bill Withers, Little Richard and Chuck Berry
at various times in his career.
The New Primitives currently play every
Thursday night at Nyes in Minneapolis. They also book regularly at Bayside
in Excelsior, Minnesota. See their MySpace site for a complete listing of
PRIMITIVE HISTORY by
Stan Kipper returned to Minneapolis in 1989 after nearly 20 years in Los
Angeles touring and recording with such artists as Minnie Riperton, Bill
Withers, Joe Walsh, Jay Ferguson, Andrew Gold, Randy Meisner, Barry Gibb,
Little Richard, Bo Diddley and Karla Bonoff. Stanley has composed songs
for several films and commercials,
and has also won top honors in the Coors Light National Song Contest. Stan
has played drum's with the Big 3 on separate occasion's - - Chuck Berry,
Little Richard (who stopped his band and jumped up screaming at Stan by
acknowledging that, "This boy got that thang, this boy got that thang!"),
and Bo Diddley - - playing with him every time Bo came to the Twin Cities
Stan first appeared at the Whiskey Ago-Go
playing drums with Jazz violinist and Downbeat Jazz Poll winner, Don
Sugercane Harris. Stan met Bill Zymzyck, legendary producer for the
Eagles, BB King, Jay Ferguson, and Joe Walsh, in 1970 at Tumble Weed
Record's in Denver. Bill said, "One day we are going to make hit
record's together". . he was right! Valerie Celene brought Taj Mahal
into the National Camera Exchange store in Golden Valley, MN on a lazy
Friday to see Stan. Taj offered Stan a chance to work on his label . . .
and the story is still being written!
offered his musical talent in an award winning ad for Los Angelos' Pioneer
Stereo's, along with director's Ridley Scott and Brent Thomas, and has
also worked on 2 film's, including working with Christian Slater and
Marisa Tomei in "Untamed Heart" and the
movie "Factotem" with Marisa Tomei and Matt Dillon.
played Bob Marley emerging from a cloud of smoke, for the Guthrie
Theatre's television ad campaign for "A Christmas Carol", and
played percussion with Bob Dylan's original "Blood on the
Tracks" Band. He is a BMI writer and has his own music publishing
company, Pilot Knob, named after his first dog. Stan was and still is a
member of the legendary band Gypsy, which was just inducted into the
Minnesota Rock/Country Hall of Fame last year. His travels have taken him
around the world, including 6 trips to Japan. He has appeared on Saturday
Night Live, (w/Andrew Gold) and The Tonight Show.
His current band, New Primitives have been
voted Minnesota's Best Reggae Band/Best Artist for five years in a row!
Stan is quick to point out, "we have so many influences that our
music is a stew of cumbia's/reggae, r&b and rocked out world
Here is information on the band members:
percussion and backing vocals
Chico has been an active percussionist for many years, touring with such
groups as Crow Cola, Gypsy, Jump Street, and 7th Wave. His professional
career includes numerous studio projects, as well as keeping busy as a
drum-maker and teaching African and Afro-Cuban percussion at the
Minneapolis Drum Center.
trap drums, percussion and backing vocals
Since completing his degree in Percussion Performance from the University
of Wisconsin in 1987, Joel has been an active percussionist in the
Minneapolis music scene. Joel currently stays active studying and
performing African, Afro-Caribbean percussion and World Music.
bass guitar, backup vocals
Matthew grew up in a musically rich environment, learning his first blues
lines on bass guitar at age 14 from his father. Soon, he began playing
with brother, Nate, and Javier Trejo in The Beads. Matt has studied and
played with Gary Hede and Jeoffry Baily and played Jazz at the U of M
School of Music. He also played with his group, The Jazz Bastards, and
with Hip-Hop group, United States of Consciousness. In 1999, he and Mason
Hozza re-formed The Beads. Soon after winning the Cabooze's contest for
"Best Unsigned Band in the Twin Cities", The Beads released
their 2003 CD, "Ordinary Sunday People." After The Beads' run,
Matt formed the Stevens Brothers Band with longtime friend, Dave Libman
(aka Juice), brother, Sam, on drums, and Nate on Vox and Harp. In the
spring of 2005, Matt began performing with Wookiefoot, adding another
dimension to his repertoire.
Matthew first met New Primitives in 2003
when they co-billed a show with The Beads. A few months later, Matt was
invited to fill-in for Tommy Peterson while he was away on his honeymoon.
During a practice/jam session before the gig, Matt remembers his feeling
of glee over the rhythmic differences and all the possibilities of playing
with this group. He finished the show, but did not hear from them about
playing until 2005. This is when Javier called to say that Tommy was
working on a new endeavor with his business partner and would he be
interested in filling in regularly?
Since then, Matt has played many gigs with
New Primitives. His experience playing jazz, hip-hop, reggae, and world
beat converges with New Primitives' style: multi-genre, percussion-driven
music at its finest.
Tom is the guy in the band that the crowd never notices - until the bass
drops out. . .Tom first heard Stan, Chico and Joel at a festival in St.
Paul with their group, One World, and handed Stan his card saying,
"If you ever need a bass player, give me a call". Nearly two
years passed, when Stan finally came to his senses and called Tom. Along
the way, you may have spotted Tom with many other fine bands in his 15
years in the music industry, but New Primitives offer up the Reggae/Afro-
Latin Soul thing that he so desperately needs. In addition to playing with
New Primitives, Tom is also co-owner of 318, and the Greenroom, and enjoys
a sporting match of bocce.
saxophones, ewi, vocals, and producer
Created deep in the swamplands of Louisiana by an accident involving a mad
scientist, some bleach, and a jar full of mystery goo, the
"Snowman" emerged from his home to spread the love and pure joy
of music to the world village. Strong New Orleans traditions of the blues,
R&B, and jazz seem to be infused into his very soul. After finding
that there was nothing he could do to prevent the demise of the Atari 2600
gaming system, Brian turned his focus to the saxophone. After winning
everything from first in the "All State" competition, to the
"most likely to eat a vat of un-ground community coffee beans"
contest, he clis by way of a brief layover in NYC. . .which lasted about
eight years. Let this be a lesson that you should never piss off your
flight attendant lest you be stranded in a really big city. While stuck in
New York, Brian "Snowman" Powers earned a BFA in Jazz, toured
the country, and shared the stage with wonderful folks including Blues
Traveler, The Spin Doctors, Reggie Workman, Chico Hamilton, The Samples,
Swampadelica, Deep Banana Blackout, Pat Mcgee Band, Antigone Rising,
Minneapolis Gospel Sound, Ecselsior, and Junior Mance --- just to name a
few. After finally reaching his destination here in the Twin Cities,
Snowman found his home preaching the message of peace with the New
Primitives, as well as cultivating a promising producing career.
guitar and vocals
Javier started playing music at a very young age. He started playing the
violin at three, moved to the piano at age seven, the saxophone at age
twelve and guitar only a few years later. "I feel very fortunate to
have found my calling in life! I still believe that music has the power to
save the world, and that we all need to get together on this and raise the
global consciousness because there are other people out there who feel the
"Latest additions to the band are Daryk
"Durwood Narum who plays tenor and baritone sax with us.
We plucked him from the No Dakota Boys. Also, Erick "afro-keys"
Anderson whose day job is keys with atmosphere, is a bonna-fide New
Primitive as well, and a brand new father. Millicent was born just a
couple of days ago!!"
The name New Primitives
comes from Kipper's appreciation of the elements and life's simple
pleasures such as "love, drum beats, laughter, rain, sun" and
his respect for the "tribe of mankind, ancestors, family, what holds
us all together", he says. When asked what he wants in the future for
the band, he said, "We would like to get tighter, reach a wider
audience, make better records, do better lives shows and make our family
and friends proud while bringing it with heat and daily passion".
"There is a live CD available, you can
get at the shows or on line at newprimitives.com. It was recorded at the
earth day show from Harmony Park, last year.
We are returning to the 10KLF festival (Detroit Lakes Mn.) again this
year. Our second studio CD (working title "American Nomads") has
a summer release date...We are at Nye's Palonaise Room (voted the best
place to hear music by Mpls/St.Paul Magazine) every Thursday night, if we
are in Minneapolis."
no mistake that this band shares in the rich Minnesota sound with its roots of
coming up with Prince and other Prince band members. The band mixes turntables
with old-school R&B and classifies their music as a blend of jazz, hip-hop,
pop and rock.
The first choice for a band name was just The Congress but "one day we were
all hanging out and someone overheard us talking and said are you talking about
the Congress? We need a new one thus, The New Congress", says the band.
was formed in 2005 and has performed with the likes of Faith Evans, Mint
Condition, Jon B. and have headlined several major national clubs and events.
Morris Hayes, (New Power Generation), produced a pair of tracks on their debut
CD, "Everybody Gets Up," released in 2006, and the album is receiving
international recognition and airplay.
earned "R&B/Soul Song of the Year" and "Neosoul Band of the
Year" in 2006 for the 16th Annual Los Angeles Music Awards and performed at
the red-carpet event at the Music Box Theater in Hollywood, CA. This past year
they also received the Minnesota Music Award for "Everybody Gets Up"
and were voted as Best R & B Artist by the local paper City Pages. Their
sophomore album is due to be released in early 2008. They say they are
"contributing to bringing the world back to real music by real
musicians". I asked them what they meant by this and they said, "We
write and play from our hearts. That's as
real as it can get. Music today is just band in a box track shows. Not all
music, but the majority of it on pop radio these days." - DLO
The New Congress members are: AARON
"ORANGE" COSGROVE (Vocals / Guitar / Songwriter); RUSS KING
(Keyboards / Background Vocals); DJ DUDLEY D (Turntables / Background
MANNY FRESH (Congas / Percussion / Bass); ANDY MARK (Bass / Background
BARRY ALEXANDER (Drums).
NEW CONGRESS MP3S:
the New Congress MySpace page
you can listen to some of the clips from the Everybody Gets Up CD.
"Only Human" is jazzy and smooth. Easy listening with crisp cool
distinctive power. I listened to it just at the right time, when I was
feeling a little down. On "Cant Be Me" again that jazzy sexy
smoothness with rap included in a very special way. "Ain't About
You" has a sweet keyboard with upbeat backgrounds. I love the harmony
on this one. This one is my favorite. I am truly excited about this group.
Their sound is wonderful and it makes you feel good. - DLO
OLSON TALKS WITH THE NEW CONGRESS
songwriters….where did you get your inspiration?
From agony, love and romance
do you fashion yourselves after and who were your influences?
The Beatles, James Brown, Prince, Nirvana, N.W.A., Lauryn Hill..the list
do you want to be doing in 5 years?
Still making music and hopefully living in a warmer climate.
do you want people to get out of your music?
Everyone receives something different individually from the gift of music.
If somehow we can make their life a little brighter such as helping
someone through a difficult time or celebrate a great moment in life, then
we have done our small part. We hope that our music can lift the weight
off heavy hearts.
can hear The New Congress every Thursday night at Bunkers.
Condition is an R&B band from the Twin Cities. The group is
well known for its highly diverse musical style (able to play anything from
traditional jazz stylings to mainstream R&B and rock-based music to funk
grooves and even Latin and Jamaican-based rhythms) and also its captivating live
and originally signed to Perspective Records by music producers Jimmy Jam and
Terry Lewis in 1989 (after being heard at a performance at a club in downtown
Minneapolis called First Avenue), their debut album was entitled Meant To Be
Mint (released in 1991). Despite their musical versatility the band attempted to
attract New Jack Swing listeners with their dance cut "Are You Free",
but it wasn't successful (the song hit #55 on the R&B charts). However, they
did enjoy major success with the stunning ballad "Breakin' My Heart (Pretty
Brown Eyes)". The song stayed on the charts for 34 weeks, hitting the
R&B top 5 (#3), and the Pop Top 10 (#6). "Forever In Your Eyes"
was also successful (#7 R&B). Two years later they released their 2nd
platinum album, From The Mint Factory (1993). They enjoyed success with the #2
hit "U Send Me Swingin'", while "Someone To Love" and
"So Fine" hit the R&B Top 30. 1996 saw the release of Definition
of a Band. The album hit the R&B Top 20. Some successful singles on this
album are: "What Kind Of Man Would I Be" (#2 R&B), and "You
Don't Have To Hurt No More" (#10 R&B). Two years later, The Collection:
1991-1998, a greatest hits compilation, was issued.
Perspective Records/A&M folded, the group signed with Elektra Records in
1999, releasing their fourth full-length album, Life's Aquarium (#7 R&B).
Its main single, If You Love Me, hit the R&B Top 5. As the 21st Century came
around, Mint Condition was the only R&B/Funk band signed to a Major Record
Label. After a six year hiatus, the group resurfaced as a quintet due to former
member and keyboard player Keri Lewis leaving the group to produce for other
artists, such as his wife, singer Toni Braxton. During the same year, they
released Living The Luxury Brown on their independent label Caged Bird Records.
The album hit #1 on the Independent Album Charts. Live From The 9:30 Club, a
performance of a concert at the 9:30 club in Washington DC, was issued in 2006.
Formed in the late 1980s, its members are lead singer (and in-studio
drummer/percussionist) Stokley Williams, bassist Ricky Kinchen, guitarist
Homer O'Dell, pianist Larry Waddell, and keyboardist/saxophonist Jeffrey
Mint Condition's next scheduled release is
the album e-Life, due in May.
CONDITION ON THE RECORD
Recordings from 2006 back to 1991
by Diana Olson
Singer/Songwriter Ella (Born
Michelle Lynette Reid) is from Stillwater, Minnesota. She openly
tells her life story at ellaspage.com.
When I first listened to her sing, I heard something deep and
powerful. After reading about her life, I now understand what I
heard. A car accident nearly ended her life and from this tragic
episode, she has mustered the strength and determination to do
what she always wanted to do. As she says, "music is my life
blood and I finally have what I wanted all along. A passion that
I eat breathe and love, I want to touch lives thru my music".
Ella is currently working on her
national debut album "Stunned By Sunrays", which is being
produced by Grammy Award winning producer Dana Bailey, and her
debut single "So Love" is now available on iTunes, Sony Connect
and Rapsody. It has earned credits of over 30,000 digital
downloads in two weeks and has packed concert halls of over
15,000 people! BusyBoy Entertainment is busy preparing for
Ella's 2009 tour to coincide with her album release, which has
already received rave reviews from industry people all over the
world. While on iTunes, be sure to check out Ella's current
release of "Let's Reunite" the theme song from the new reality
series "The Reuniters" (thereuniters.com). Ella is known for her
unique harmonies, astounding sense of range and vocal blending.
From her poetic lyrics in "No Longer We" to the dissonant,
unexpected vocal range in "Super Grudge". Look for Ella online
at ellaspage.com or
www.myspace.com/michellereidmusic. Her debut music video is
set to be released late fall. Go Ella!
From the rural
hometown settings of Hamel, Minnesota and the river banks of Minneapolis/St.
Paul, the blues influence surfaced as early as the mid 1960's for what was to
become "The Lamont Cranston Blues Band".
By 1969, The
Lamont Cranston Blues Band was well on their way to becoming the legend that it
is today. You can't seem to go anywhere today from coast to coast without
running into someone that has heard of the band. They are one of the founders of
the Minneapolis music scene which is flourishing more than ever to this
"Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men?
The Lamont Cranston Band knows!"
the past 10 years TIM MAHONEY has undergone a transformation. One that
began with the high-energy pop-rock band, the Blue Meenies--which quickly made
its mark on the Twin Cities music scene, colleges, and clubs all over the
midwest. His success allowed him to release 5 solo albums that have since sold
over 80,000 copies and were well received by the strong audience he has built. -
Tim Mahoney MP3s
can be heard from his
MySpace site, including tracks from his 2996 LP Stay/Leave.
LANG started playing the guitar at the age of twelve after his father took
him to see the Bad Medicine Blues Band, one of the few blues bands in Fargo.
Lang soon started taking guitar lessons from Ted Larsen, the Bad Medicine Blues
Band's guitar player. Several months after Lang started guitar lessons, he
joined the Bad Medicine Blues Band, which was then renamed Kid Jonny Lang &
The Big Bang.
band moved to Minneapolis and independently released the album Smokin.
Lang was signed to A & M Records in 1996. He released the critically
acclaimed multi-platinum Lie to Me in 1997. The next album, Wander
This World, was released in 1998 and earned a Grammy nomination. This was
followed by the more soulful Long Time in 2003. Lang also made a cover of
Edgar Winter's "Dying to Live." Lang's newest album, the
gospel-influenced Turn Around, was released in 2006, and most recently
won Lang his first Grammy Award. In more than ten years on the road, Lang has
toured with the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, BBKing, Jeff Beck and Sting. -
Jonny Lang hails from Fargo, North Dakota, but it was in Minneapolis that
he got his big break. In 1996, Kid Jonny Lang & The Big Bang signed
with A&M Records and had multi-platinum success with a string of
albums. Jonny lives in Los Angeles these days, but to many in Minneapolis
LANG ON HIS 2006 LP, TURN AROUND
Jonny Lang has a message for you. Sure, he's been in touch before, speaking
often with his guitar in the language of deep blues and searing rock & roll.
But Turn Around is different. The guitar is still there, whispering
sometimes, occasionally even screaming. Now, though, it's just one voice in a
chorus of sounds-the tight band, the passionate singing, and lyrics that conjure
beauty as well as pain and speak the truth, all at the same time.The
GRAMMY-nominated, former prodigy instrumentalist, who topped the Billboard New
Artist chart with his first album at age 15, stands now as a mature creative
force, made more sensitive yet also toughened by life's adventures. He's learned
what it means to rise above hard times and to find meaning where chaos seemed to
rule. These insights, and the emotions they unleash, makes Turn Around the
pivotal album of Jonny Lang's career to date-a passage that links the triumphs
of his past to the promise of his future.
soul-stirring organ, played by GRAMMY-winning producer Shannon Sanders,
forecasts the surge of music that follows on Turn Around: the stomping
funk of "Bump in the Road," the startling climax that closes "The
Other Side of the Fence," the electrifying vocal exchanges with Michael
McDonald on "Thankful," and on the opposite extreme, the work-gang
chant that drives "Turn Around" and the profound intimacy of
"Only a Man."Turn Around is all of this and more, a tumble of musical
colors that dazzle and soothe. And in the end, they achieve coherence through
the meaning that Lang conveys so urgently.
this album I want to focus, more than ever before, on my purpose in life,"
he explains. "I've been so incredibly blessed. My wife and I just had our
fifth anniversary. I get to do what I love for a living. But it wasn't so long
ago that I was spiraling downward in a lot of ways."For all the conviction
that Lang brings to Turn Around, the album began almost as an afterthought. Lang
was in the studio one day with his producer, Ron Fair, who is also president of
A&M/Interscope Records. There wasn't anything pressing on the agenda; they
were doing routine work on the final stages of Lang's previous record, Long Time
Coming. Then, out of the blue, Fair said something completely unexpected."
He looks at me and goes 'Dude you need to make a gospel record.' "Lang
says, laughing at the recollection.
Joshua James (a.k.a. Josh
Von Mink - Vocals, Guitar, Bass), Uncle Byron (a.k.a. Guy
Fox - Drums, Percussion, Production) and Jacob Michael
(Vocals, Guitar, Bass)are The Vintage Mink.
by Diana Olson
Minneapolis, Minnesota - Brothers on Fire
was recorded over
the winter of 2007 and 2008 after The Vintage Mink’s Pacific
Northwest Tour. It was released on December 1, 2008 along with
www.thevintagemink.com. Brothers On Fire is the first
full-length album from the band and includes 10 new original
tracks written by brothers Joshua and Jacob. There are cameo
appearances as well from all star drummer Byron Mercurius (Sam &
Dave, Cool & The Gang, and Rising Lion) and virtuoso key
performances from Ramsey Embick (KISS, Ray Charles, Gladys
Knight and The Commodores). The CD mixes the maturity of these
legends with the brothers fresh Rock sound.
Born in Minneapolis,
Joshua began his musical journey at a young age. Growing up on
the North Shore of Lake Superior gave Josh the time and space to
find his own voice as a performer and producer. As a
multi-instrumentalist, his influences come from many different
sounds but always returning to the guitar as his instrument of
choice. With a wide variety of accolades under his belt for such
a young age, Joshua has brought his solo music and the music of
The Vintage Mink across the globe. "Working with my brother
and my family is like forging wonderful works with grit, iron
and fire. We are always fine tuning ourselves and constantly
pushing each other to grow in our music and in our lives."
Joshua is known for his attention to detail within every process
of the music business. Whether he is producing or performing,
teaching or recording, his heart and soul radiate his continual
commitment to excellence as a solo artist and front man of The
established a name for himself as a versatile Blues axe-slinger
in his school years packing Minnesota pubs at age 11. After
playing for many notable groups and founding The Vintage Mink,
Jacob moved to Boston where he is currently ripping up the scene
after graduating from Berklee College of Music. With Blues and
Soul dug deep into Jacob's musical vocabulary, he plays an
All-American style of Rock & Roll that has a fresh sound and a
new attitude that comes shinning through like a spotlight on The
Vintage Mink. He touches on everything from Jazz, to Reggae and
Funk creating a personal yet familiar voice. Jacob's Rock & Roll
philosophy is that of a scholar, a disciplined and conscientious
student. The music has evolved into a melting pot of style that
constantly takes different forms and new sounds while paying
homage to the traditions and the greats. "The Vintage Mink has
been a journey that is extreme and takes me to new musical
worlds of possibility…" stated Jake when asked about his role in
the band. What started back home on Highway 61 is now a
tradition and a lifestyle for the brothers that is on going and
I first met Josh and Jacob when we
all worked shifts at a local motel. These brothers had moved to
Minneapolis from the North shore of Lake Superior Minnesota to
pursue their music careers by attending the Perpich Center for
the Arts School. A unique school serving grades K-12 focusing
on the arts. There they met musicians from all over the state
and started up their band. The first thing I noticed about them
both was their Minnesota nice personalities, strikingly handsome
looks and great vocals and guitar.
In August 2007, while doing a
special project for KFAI radio, I had The Vintage Mink on a
radio program I produced. They had put out their first CD
“Vintage Mink” and gave them out over the air. Shortly after
that, Jacob headed off to attend Berkeley school of music in
Boston and Josh stayed behind working part time and performing
with various players around the area. The brothers continued to
get together on a regular basis and toured the Pacific Northwest
in late 2007 and early 2008.
Jacob had some formal vocal training
over the years and Josh and he harmonize beautifully. Their
guitar playing is first rate. Their lyrics are thoughtful and
provoking. On Brothers On Fire, They saved the best for last.
The 10th and last cut “The Waltz” is my favorite.
It’s bluesy rock with a romantic theme. You can hear samples at
their new website
www.thevintagemink.com and at
Andy/Mel Ford Band
by Diana Olson
Minneapolis, Minnesota - At least 5 years ago, my sister
(who always has the best taste in music) drove me over 400 miles
to hear West Side Andy and the Mel Ford Band. Since then, I have
been privileged to see the band a number of times when they've
come to Minneapolis.
Side Andy/Mel Ford Band has been together for more than 14 years
playing throughout the Midwest and attracting hundreds in their
home state of Wisconsin. This incredibly talented group of
musicians displays a real love for what they are doing at every
Alley Cat, their most recent CD, is the best of the best and
packed full of some of the bands favorite recordings from their
live performances. The first cut Alley Cat was written by Mel
Ford and starts the CD off with dancing blues. You gotta get up
and join in the fun. If you have never heard Westside play
his harp, you’re in for a treat as he is truly one of the best
players there is. He wrote "She’s Hot" and "Back Roads" on the
CD. Mel Ford wrote 6 of the tracks and as always, his strong
rich voice and sweet guitar carry the cuts thru a blues journey
to the end of the CD. All five of the musicians in the West Side
Andy band blend their sounds beautifully and I guess that is
what has helped them endure and develop a large loyal following
over the years.
listening to Chastity Brown,
it reminds me of some of the greats from the 70's. Her style is
reminiscent of Joni Mitchell and Phoebe Snow, and like more current
singers, such as Tracy Chapman. Yet this young lady is much more. Not just
folk, old blues or alternative, but a very special talent. She has a
calming effect even when blurting out political or feminist lyrics while
strumming on her acoustic guitar.
Chastity says, "I was born June 1,
1982, in Claremont, New Hampshire. All of my family, Aunts, Uncles and two
Sisters, still live there." Like so many other musical greats,
Chastity grew up in the church. She loved the music of the Wynans, Gary
Oliver and Stephen Curtis Chapman. In sixth grade she played saxophone in
her church "praise and worship team." She wrote her first song
(It was Kind of a Prayer) at 15 years old. For a time, she wanted to be a
music minister. "My mother remarried and we moved to a small town
with a Goodyear plant called Union City, Tennessee," said Chastity.
After high school she went to a small, religious school in Baltimore, MD,
but when she broke a no dating rule, she was expelled. She moved to
Knoxville, where she took some community college classes and starting
performing in local venues and writing lyrics and music.
Chastity says, "My music is my
release. The first couple years of writing the tunes I never left my room.
My music is my perspective and my service --- my heart, my groove. Yes I
write everything I play. Music or art in general is open for
interpretation. As much as I would hope that folks would catch a groove or
a particular phrasing and be moved, I have come to terms with the fact
that is not always the case. I can say that if you can't feel it, you
won't get it. I am not an entertainer, some musicians are, but that is not
what I consider myself to be, but then again - interpretation. I am
singing out of the deepest parts of my womanhood and I hope that people
I asked Chastity why she moved to
Minneapolis. Her response was, "A friend of mine decided to move up
here two years ago to be closer to her family and to possible go to grad
school. Other friends invited me to come here. I thought about it for two
days and said yes. I only knew three people here, but I would consider
myself a nomad so I couldn't pass up the opportunity. There was music, art
and water or coffee shops - I know if I stayed long enough I would find
beautiful people as well. The music scene is so diverse here. If anything,
it has encouraged me to dive more into my own creativeness. I will say
that the hip-hop and spoken word artists have such a tremendous presence
it inspires and ignites me, artists such as Tish Joes, Sha Cage and
Desdamona. Actually, it was Desdamona's invite to the Blue Nile's open
mike that exposed me to some of the city's most talented
On her CD "Do the Best You Can",
some of her recordings from 2004 were remastered and repaired after being
demolished in a fire (there was only one scratched remaining CD). These
wonderful numbers have some soft instrumental parts added, including a
wonderful cello, and are my favorites on the CD. Chastity's voice is out
front on these songs, vivid and pure on these takes. Her website is
www.chastitybrown.com, where you can listen to some of her music and
purchase her CD. - DLO
TO QUOTE RILKE:
"Bouncing around a bit from north to south and now landing in the
midwest, I truly believe that there are beautiful people everywhere. But
life is also full circle so naturally there are some shitty ones that I’ve
meant along the way. Which brings me to point. The music I write is mostly
out of personal experience - reflection- anger-peace. Rilke said..(not a
direct quote) to feel everything. Which is what I try to tap into.
Emotion. Raw and unmarketable if need be." (From Chastity Brown's
Quietdrive is a pop punk band from
Minneapolis, Minnesota. They released their debut album When All That's
Left Is You in 2006.
Quietdrive members Justin Bonhiver
and Droo Hastings were best friends growing up together. In 9th
grade, Brandon Lanier started telling Hastings that he was a great
drummer, and that they should start a band with him. At the time, Droo
Hastings was the lead singer of the trio, and Brandon was the bass player.
The band started to audition for a lead singer, so they posted an ad on
MP3.com. Kevin Truckenmiller posted his solo work, including an
early incarnation of the song Both Ways. They later got Kevin to audition
When All That's Left Is You was
produced, engineered and mixed by Matt Kirkwold and James Harley of
World Record Productions with additional mixing by Chris Lord-Alge
and Mark Endert. Its first single was "Rise from the Ashes"
and was featured on EA's NHL 2007 soundtrack. Matt Kirby has been quoted
in saying that the band wants to explore different sounds in their album,
including the harder rock sounds from their past.
Their cover of the Cyndi Lauper song
"Time After Time" (which is more upbeat than the original) has
been used in promotions for the WNBA for its "Have You Seen
Her?" campaign. It has become a minor hit on pop radio, hitting #33
on the syndicated American Top 40 countdown show. It was also featured on
the soundtrack of the 2006 feature film, "John Tucker Must Die."
Quietdrive went back into the studio with Matt Kirkwold and James Harley
of World Record Productions to work up a new track. They released the new
single entitled "Pretend" on their AbsolutePunk.net page in
early 2007 for fans to stream.
In the month of January 2007, Quietdrive
was featured as the "Artist of the Month" on Xbox Live. On
Buzznet.com, January 2008, they were quoted on the front page as saying
they have now recorded a song with a country vibe to it as well as a disco
dance song and a ballad.
I asked Droo the following:
When do you expect the new cd to come
out? Can you tell me anything about it?
We're hoping to release the new record by
the middle of 2008. It's far too early to set a solid release date but
we're looking at this summer as an ideal time.
Where did the name Quietdrive come from?
In all honesty we chose the name Quietdrive
because we liked how it sounded. Some of us were still in high school at
the time. We've grown into the name, though, and it's become a mantra of
sorts. The word quiet representing the subtle way that emotion can
manifest itself in a melody. Drive meaning our will to press forward in
any and all circumstance. When written the name is two separate words
fused together, bridging the gap between the two ideas. Quietdrive.
What do you want listeners to get out of
When people listen to our music we want it
to stir something in their soul. Human beings are emotional creatures and
music is the unseen force that has the power to commandeer and direct
those emotions. A sad song can make you cry when you're happy. A happy
song can make you smile on a bad day. We just want to take part in
allowing people the opportunity to feel those things. The more people that
can take something good away from what we do the better. We want people to
live their lives in our music. Kind of like a great pair of jeans.
Any Upcoming gigs?
We're taking significant time off from tour
to restore some sanity and make the new record. We will be spending
countless hours in the studio (that's actually where I am right now haha).
That doesn't mean, however, that we won't be keeping everyone up to date
via myspace and our website…
Any comments about yourselves to add?
Keep your ear to the ground in Quietdrive
land. Like I said, we're going to be posting tons of content on
www.myspace.com/quietdrive and quietdrivemusic.com, not to mention other
internet outlets. You can get your fill of Quietdrive in the studio
through the first part of the year. Meanwhile, keep putting your spare
change in that piggybank for when our new record drops this summer!
CARVER is regarded as one of the Twin Cities most versatile and dynamic
trumpet players. Known for his powerful sound and range, he is a sought after
player for both live stage shows and studio recording sessions. Jeff is also
highly regarded as a soulful jazz artist, performing inspiring trumpet and
flugelhorn with national gospel artists and various local jazz and blues groups.
Since the early 80s, Jeff has performed lead
trumpet and been a featured soloist with professional dance and club bands
throughout the Midwest. In addition, he has energized audiences by performing as
guest soloist and clinician with high school and college jazz and marching bands
throughout the Midwest. He spent years as a lead trumpet player and soloist for
the NFL's Minnesota Vikings Band and owned his own band, the Power Player's, for
the NHL's Minnesota Northstars. Jeff has also performed the National Anthem at
several Minnesota Twins professional baseball games.
Jeff's biggest thrill came when he joined trumpet
legend, Maynard Ferguson, on stage to perform a couple of songs with Maynard's
band. In fact, The Boss handed Jeff his own personal trumpet to play!
After a few years away from music pursing several
business interests, Jeff's music career came roaring back. First co creating and
performing with the local R & B Band, Power of 10 and later performing with
the Minnesota Music Award winning, Soul Tight Committee. During that time, Jeff
also recorded a nationally marketed, smooth jazz CD project for beverage
sponsor, Southern Comfort. The CD featured Twin Cities songwriter and
saxophonist, Joe Alley and World class musician, arranger and producer, Ricky
Currently, Jeff performs lead trumpet for the
Minnesota Music Award nominee 12 piece band, High and Mighty. In addition, he
performs strolling jazz holiday entertainment at Twin City based Bonfire Grill
restaurants, making him one other Twin Cities' busiest trumpet performers.
Besides his professional performing, Jeff, a
former award winning high school band director, has a thriving trumpet lesson
studio and works with students on improving their trumpet playing and having
more fun doing it. Adding to his already busy schedule, Jeff can be seen
performing at weddings, corporate VIP functions and church services throughout
Jeff is a member of The International Trumpet
Guild (ITG), International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE), National
Association for Music Education (MENC), The Minnesota Music Education
Association (MMEA) and The Twin Cities Jazz Society (TCJS).
Jeff Carver's career has taken him from music to
business, back to music and now he's enjoying the business of music more than
"When I graduated from college with a music
teaching degree, directing high school bands was all I wanted to do. I had some
great experiences and some fantastic students, some who have become lifelong
friends. But after 7 years I was ready for something really different."
"I took off on a new path and began a
business career that spanned many, many years. It was a terrific time and I got
a chance to know some tremendous people, many who were incredibly creative.
Unfortunately, during that time, I put my trumpet down and even sold off my
piccolo trumpet and other horns and accessories. I didn't think I would ever
pick it up again. However, I am here to tell you, you can come back, you can
rediscover your passion and you can do whatever you set your mind to. For me,
its teaching kids and playing trumpet live. It doesn't get any better than that!
As Miles Davis said, "sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to
play like yourself."
I have seen Jeff perform a number of times with
the High and Mighty. The horn section of the band is always exciting and
involves the audience by spreading out over the venue (standing on chairs, rails
and anything else they can find to stand on) and blowing their instruments with
authority and energy. This dance band keeps their fans out on the floor wherever
they perform. If you go to Jeff's
MySpace you will find a special treat in his version of "Somewhere over
How and when did you start
playing the trumpet?
I began playing in 5th grade, like a lot of kids
do. I started on a cornet. During those days, young would-be trumpeters started
on a cornet because it was easier to hold. Trumpet wasn't really my first choice
I wanted to play drums! However, my parents would have none of that and
convinced me to play cornet, and eventually the trumpet.
I struggled on cornet and trumpet early on and
even tried to quit band in 9th grade, which my parents were furious about. They
said I made a commitment and I was sticking with it through high school. Once I
got into high school, my band director, Marty Crandell, inspired me to practice
more and become more involved in jazz. My junior year in high school, my dad
took me to a concert by trumpet legend, Maynard Ferguson, and I was hooked!! I
wanted to play like that! Like so many trumpet players my age, Maynard, who
passed away just a couple of years ago, became the trumpet player's hero. I had
some great trumpet teachers over the years including my college teacher, Philip
Who were your early
inspirations in music?
My trumpet influences are wide ranging but I have
always liked the big sound and high range players. I wanted to be like and play
like Maynard Ferguson, but I was also strongly influenced by Doc Severinsen,
Chet Baker, Bill Chase, Maurice Andre, Claude Gordon and the trumpets from Tower
of Power and Chicago.
Have you written any of your
own compositions? Do you have a CD out?
I did a record a few years ago with former
Minneapolis Sax player and LA producer, Joe Alley, as a promotional project for
Southern Comfort Bourbon. Joe wrote all the tunes and its kind of an easy,
smooth jazz thing. It did pretty well. We sold a decent amount of copies and got
some airtime. Ricky Peterson, of David Sanborn, Stevie Nicks and John Mayer
fame, plays a couple of smokin' tracks on the CD.
You are deeply involved in
education. What do you get out of teaching others?
I was a high school band director in the late
70's and 80's. Although I had success and really super kids, music education
wasn't providing what I needed, both as a career and financially. So I did some
other things, focusing on the business scene. Now, after all these years, I am
back to music and exactly where I want to be. I have about 20 really wonderful
brass students and do a lot of public school clinics and trumpet/brass master
classes, many sponsored by my friends at Schmitt Music. With my performing and
recording work, it's a nice place to be! I enjoy the teaching aspect like never
before! My students range in age from 6 years old to over 50! I really enjoy it
when my students come out to hear me perform, too. I try a little harder for
What do you want to be doing 5
years from now?
In five years, I hope to be doing more of what I
am doing now. I really love playing with High & Mighty and I am sure we will
be more successful than ever in five years, as we keep improving all the time! I
want to be doing more school clinics and have a few more private brass students.
I also want to continue to work on my trumpet playing and be the best I can be.
What is your favorite
venue to play at in the TC's?
I don't really have a "favorite" venue when performing. Every night is
a new experience for us so each club takes on its own personality based on the
audience that night and how well I can hear on the stage.
Besides The High and
Mighty, are there other groups you enjoy playing with?
Over the last 10 years, I have played with club bands such as Power of 10 and
Soul Tight Committee, as well as Davina and the Vagabonds. However, I really
feel like I have found my home with High and Mighty and have a riot playing with
those guys. I also have a ball playing my Holiday jazz music at Bonfire Grill on
Grand Avenue in St. Paul every year. I do quite a lot of noon to 3pm jazz gigs
between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am also putting a trio together with Todd
and Rhonda from High and Mighty, to play some jazz gigs during the week, happy
hours and such. We play a happy hour at Bonfire on Grand on Friday, April 4 from
4-6pm. Todd and Rhonda are really fine musicians and I am really looking forward
to playing some nice jazz with them.
What do you want people to get
out of your music?
I work hard to put on a great show on every gig I
play. I am sort of old school in that I love the audience and really get turned
on when they goes nuts over what we are doing. There is nothing like that and it
takes me to a higher playing level. I have a lot of friends that come out to
gigs from time to time and its always-extra fun if there is a trumpet player in
I have kicked my trumpet to the curb a few times
over the years. I don't regret it as its part of the journey of life. However, I
feel like the balance between my life and where music and my trumpet fits in is
perfect. So, I guess you can go home again.
- Diana Olson
Jeff Carver on trumpet (center) with the High and Mighty.
High and Mighty with Jeff Carver in the
in Oklahoma, Mike Smith
spent his childhood moving to different cities where his father served in the
Air Force. Finally, establishing the family in Rapid City, SD at Ellsworth Air
Force Base, they stayed. He and his two sisters sang in church. Of his high
school class Mike was one of two black students out of 400.
friends through church and school they grouped together and began singing for
school events, in parks and at city events. After attending college for a time
in Sioux Falls, Mike was ready to move but didn't want to go too far from home
so he came to Minneapolis to pursue a musical career.
met Mike at an Old Chicago restaurant where every Tuesday night was Karaoke
night. I was taken back by his voice. What was a young man with his talent doing
singing Karaoke? He said it was because "he loves to sing". When he
sang Desperado, he owned the crowd. They cheered and roared with pleasure and I
told myself that I was listening to one of the next great artists.
helped form a band The Sole City, that was gracious enough to come on radio show
I was hosting and the band sang live. It was one of those moments I will never
forget. The singers, male and female, had sweet harmonies and meaningful lyrics.
I was in tears by the end of the song. The band did songs of hope and
encouragement. Not necessarily religious in nature.
also writes music and has written hundreds of original songs. One of my
favorites is "Forgive Me". Mike says, "Life is about healthy
relationships and good communication with others. Whether it is a spouse, friend
or whoever. Forgive me is a song that encourages people to have good
relationships. If you tick someone off, say I'm sorry, if someone rubs you the
wrong way, let him or her know and move on. Get over it and forgive. Life is too
short to hold on to that stuff".
September 2006 Mike joined The Sounds of Blackness. They are a Grammy Award
winning vocal and instrumental ensemble from Mpls/St Paul who perform music from
several genres including Gospel, R&B and Jazz. The group scored several hits
on the Billboard R & B charts and Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart
in the 1990's.
Jam and Terry Lewis had become familiar with the group and used their talent as
back up in a few of their productions in the mid 1980s. It was not until Jan
1989 that Jam and Lewis finally made their decision to sign the group to their
new record label, Perspective Records. Janet Jackson, who worked heavily with
Jam and Lewis, was a major factor in the pair's decision; after the two brought
Jackson to an SOB concert and she encouraged them to sign up SOB.
2007, SOB released their newest CD Kings and Queens; Message music from the
movement. The CD is a music based movement and campaign promoting positive
self-images and taking a stand against domestic violence. In the words of Gary
Hines, SOB Director, "The time has come to bring the spirit of the movement
in the tradition of Martin Luther King to the issues of self respect, self
denigration and domestic violence. The primary reason for the Kings and Queens
goal of promoting positive self-images is to stem the tide of violence and death
that continues to plague our youth. Despite the valiant efforts of many well
intentioned people and organizations, this epidemic of violence and death not
only continues, it is escalating and has been exacerbated by budget cuts to
youth programs, organizations and activities. Time and time again, music has
consistently been shown to have a very positive, palpable and even quantifiable
impact upon the behavior and lives of our youth. For decades, study after
study has definitively demonstrated the direct correlation between self-image,
self-esteem and behavior, achievement and goals. That is why the
Mike Smith, currently a vocalist with Grammy
Award winning The Sounds of Blackness Gospel/R&B/Jazz group, points to
another of the group's awards, the Urban Music Best presented to band leader
and lyrics of Kings and Queens encourage walking, talking and becoming Kings and
Queens. I asked Gary Hines what organizations have benefited by SOB over the
years. He said, "these types of endeavors have always been the case with
SOB be it the Urban League, Childrens Heartlink, the Lupus Foundation, UNCF,
Scholarship America and countless other organizations and causes over the years.
By purchasing Kings and Queens it is a way for every person to contribute to the
MLK Memorial and continue fighting for self-respect and against violence and
Smith says. "The Sounds of Blackness has been one of the best things to
ever happen to me. They are turning legendary in the music industry. Gary Hines
is an Icon in the Gospel and R&B worlds. He has started a lot of what we
hear today. I am very fortunate and blessed to have been invited to join the
group after auditioning".
I asked Mike about SOBs recent nomination ceremony for The Image Awards. He
said,"The Image Awards were AMAZING! Sounds of Blackness was nominated
twice. We collaborated with Jordin Sparks, and performed the tribute song to
Aretha Franklin as she got a lifetime achievement award. Though we didn't win,
the experience was outrageous. I met a lot of people that I've looked up to for
years. The highlights were Denzel Washington and Janet Jackson.
are working on now and what are your future plans?
am still writing songs, and will be writing for a big project coming out in the
future. I still have Mike Smith the Artist on the back burner, and have been
focusing on the bigger picture, which is right now the Sounds of Blackness and
this new project".
am preparing to go back to school and finish my degree in Texas. I am also
planning hopefully with in the next year to do some AIDS work in Africa with
some other Celebrities. I am also going to be doing some movie work for about
the next 2 years or so. That is going to start in the fall. I also have a flyer
posted in my pics on Myspace for a cancer benefit I am hosting at the Times on
Mike is doing…..the world is a better place because of him and his music.
The Guthrie Theatre
(right) continues to be one of the most renowned theaters in the country. It was
the result of Sir Tyrone Guthrie's desire for a new kind of theater that would
provide an atmosphere which would encourage the production of great works of
literature and cultivate actors' talents away from the more commercial
environment of Broadway where increasing production costs demanded profitability
over artistic content. - DLO
Theatre Trust, owner of the historic State, Orpheum and Pantages Theatres, is a
non-profit charitable trust devoted to enriching the vibrant cultural atmosphere
of the Twin Cities. The Trust engages community members in a diverse array of
live performances and contributes to the economic vitality of the Hennepin
Theatre District through its presentations of Broadway touring productions,
National Geographic Live Speaker’s Series, the Literary Legends Series and an
eclectic range of variety entertainment including theatre, dance, comedy and
music. The Trust’s additional community education programming includes its
SpotLight Musical Theatre Program, Critical
View student reviewer program, the Access Program and Kids’ Night on Hennepin.
Over 500,000 patrons visit the Trust’s State, Orpheum and Pantages Theatres annually.