at www.RARWRITER.com      

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Volume 1-2016






Use this link to add your email address to the RARWRITER Publishing Group mailing list for updates on activities associated with the Creative Culture and Revolution Culture journals, and other RARWRITER Publishing Group interests.


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.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.


(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"On to the Next One" by Jacqueline Van Bierk

"I See You Tiger" by Via Tania

"Lost the Plot" by Amoureux"

Bright Eyes, Black Soul" by The Lovers Key

"Cool Thing" by Sassparilla

"These Halls I Dwell" by Michael Butler

"St. Francis"by Tom Russell & Gretchen Peters, performance by Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh; 

"Who Do You Love?"by Elizabeth Kay; 

"Rebirth"by Caterpillars; 

"Monica's Frock" by Signel-Z; 

"Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; 

"1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; 

"We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; 

"Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; 

Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY;

"I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  

"Carriers of Light" by Brendan James;

"The Last Time" by Model Stranger;

"Last Call" by Jay;

"Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; 

"Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" fromActress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; 

"Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; 

Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; 

Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio;

Apteka "Striking Violet"; 

Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along";

Dana deChaby's progressive rock




"Music Hot Spots"




























Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page


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 in ATWOOD - 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 Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel











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.



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.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves atNOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.




MINNESOTA LINKS    Minnesota Links




Sick of Sarah Release an EP

Minneapolis-based rockers 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 Katie 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 their Wikipedia page).

The videos below include two tracks from their new release, "Rooftops" and "Blind".

There 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.


Contact Diana Olson by sending a message to her at her Facebook page.

DIANA 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.

"I 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."

Diana 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 period.

Diana 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. 

Her 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.

"My most intense project right now is writing Bill Lordan's autobiography," Diana writes. (See the related panel below.)

Diana 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.


by Diana Olson

Voted 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.

During 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.

By 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.

Also 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.


SUMMER EDITION: 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



The 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 in itself.

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 school.

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.

video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQ6GQZnS9Hs



Alicia Wiley and "All Eyes"









By Diana Olsen

It'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 transformed.

Tell me about the CD, Shelf Life.

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 live setting.

What other projects are you working on?

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.


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 "The Voice").



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 genuine".

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 hear it.
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 Fire"

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."





Throw 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.

The 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.

The 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 June."

Ryan 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


Twin Cities' Jellybean Johnson Builds "The Truth" on Fact and Legend

by Diana Olson

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.

He 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 Be Mint.

With the formation of The Truth, Jelly Bean continues to bring his great sounds to his fans.


   To hear tracks from The Truth and learn more about the band,  click here to go to Jellybean Johnson's MySpace. 





Brandon 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.

These 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!"- Linda Tauer

Jim 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 Watson.

Mike 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 guitarist."

I asked Brandon a few questions: 

When did you start playing guitar?

I 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.

Are you working on a CD?

Two 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".

What do you want people to get out of your music?

I 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.

Do you have a favorite song you like to perform?

I've 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.

What is your favorite venue to perform at?

Its 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.

What do I see yourself doing in five years?

I 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.


At the Brandon Scott Sellner MySpace page you can listen to tracks. 



Click here to view Brandon's "Things R Gonna Be Good" video.




Davina 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".

Davina 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.

She 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."

Davina 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.


Why on earth did you come to Minnesota?

Ha! I fell in love and moved here because he lives here. (He is now my bass player and also a Lamont Cranston alum)

Tell 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.










Davina Sowers

What do you want to be doing 5 years from now?

Same thing on a national level and a better wardrobe.

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.

Where 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 ready:)







Go to Davina and the Vagabonds MySpace page to hear MP3s.








The 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.

Westside 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 Pips.

Joe 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.

AMBER ALERT 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 today.


At the Westside Band MySpace page you can listen to tracks. 





WESTSIDE: Junior Trejo (vox, dms, gtr, keys), Tony Green (vox, keys, perc), 
Greg Cauthen (vox, keys, bass), Chico Smith (vox, keys, sax), Joe Maffei (vox, keys, gtr, bass, etc), Dan Rea (vox, perc, keys)/





JASON 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."

Jason 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."

Jason 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.

"I 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 elements".
"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.

I 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

ABOVE: Saxophonist/Keyboardist/Singer/Composer J.P. DeLaire on tour with Michael Bolton (far right) and sharing a stage with Actor/Bluesman Steven Segal.





LEFT: J.P. with Biggie Smalls and crew






LEFT: J.P. with LL Cool J and entourage








ABOVE: J.P. as he appeared during his time working with Prince 




Go to Jason's  MySpace page at www.myspace.com/jpdelaire to hear cuts from In My Life.

The In My Life CD is now available on Itunes and through Jason's website www.jpdelaire.com




Jason DeLaire has released two CDs on his independent label: Slow Jams (left) in 2006, and In My Life in 2008.  


SKOPE.com feature on Bill Lordan - click here.

Diana Olson's MySpace site - click here.

Bill Lordan's site - click here.




Formed 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.




Go to The New Primitive's  MySpace page at www.myspace.com/newprimitives to hear their tunes.


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 upcoming events.

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 area.

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!

Stan 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.

Stan 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 music!"

Here is information on the band members:

Chico Perez:
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.

Joel Arpin:
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.

Matthew Stevens:
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 Peterson:
bass guitar
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.

Brian "Snowman" Powers:
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.

Javier Baldemar Trejo:
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 same way!"

"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."





It's 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.

TNC 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.

TNC 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 Vocals);
MANNY FRESH (Congas / Percussion / Bass); ANDY MARK (Bass / Background Vocals); and


At 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 


For songwriters….where did you get your inspiration?

ANS: From agony, love and romance

Who do you fashion yourselves after and who were your influences?

ANS: The Beatles, James Brown, Prince, Nirvana, N.W.A., Lauryn Hill..the list goes on.

What do you want to be doing in 5 years?

ANS: Still making music and hopefully living in a warmer climate.

What do you want people to get out of your music?

ANS: 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.


You can hear The New Congress every Thursday night at Bunkers.




Mint 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 performances.

Discovered 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.

After 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.

MINT: 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 Allen.


Click here to go to YouTube to view Mint Condition's video for "You Send Me Swingin."




At the Mint Condition MySpace page you can listen to tracks from the band's 2005 release Livin' the Luxury Brown

Mint Condition's next scheduled release is the album e-Life, due in May.


   Recordings from 2006 back to 1991


Michelle "Ella" Reid

Stunned by Sunrays

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 busyboyentertainment.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 day.  - DLO 


"Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? The Lamont Cranston Band knows!"




Over 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. - DLO 








Tim Mahoney MP3s can be heard from his MySpace site, including tracks from his 2996 LP Stay/Leave.




JONNY 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.

The 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. - DOL

MINNEAPOLIS CONNECTION: 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 he's "theirs."

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.

A 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.

"With 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.


Listen to MP3s at the Jonny Lang MySpace page

Photo: Jackie Butler

Click here to go to YouTube for Jonny Lang videos.


The Vintage Mink

Brothers on Fire

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 their website www.thevintagemink.comBrothers 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 Vintage Mink.

Jacob Michael 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 ever changing.

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 www.myspace.com/thevintagemink .


Westside 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.

West 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 performance.

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.

Visit www.westsideandy.com  for schedule information.






When 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 can connect."

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 individuals."

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 MySpace)









Go to Chastity Brown's MySpace to hear tracks and see videos.


Photo by Amira




by Diana Olson

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 for them.

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 your music?

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!




JEFF 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 Peterson.

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 the Midwest.

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 ever!

"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 the Rainbow".


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 Cansler.

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 them!

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 the audience!

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











LEFT: Jeff Carver on trumpet (center) with the High and Mighty. 


High and Mighty with Jeff Carver in the horn section.

Go to Jeff Carver's  MySpace page to hear MP3s.


Photo (right) by Heather Matson


See Jeff Carvers website for future schedule




Born 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.

With 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.

I 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.

Mike 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.

Mike 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".

In 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.

Jimmy 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.

In 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 Gary Hines.

music 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 domestic abuse".

Mike 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.

What are working on now and what are your future plans?

"I 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".

"I 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 May 17th."

Whatever Mike is doing…..the world is a better place because of him and his music.





Go to The Sounds of Blackness MySpace page to hear MP3s.






Included below are links to wonderful places vital to our local scene. - DLO















The Guthrie Theatre

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

Click here to go to The Guthrie Theatre website for a listing of events.


Hennepin Theatre Trust Presents

Hennepin 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.


Click here to go to the Hennepin Theatre Trust website for a listing of events.










Copyright © November, 2018 Rick Alan Rice (RARWRITER)