MARQUETTE – Three musicians with Upper Peninsula connections recently released efforts on CD and EP:
“Hold Me Close”
– Randy Tessier grew up in Big Bay and spend much of his early years as a musician playing in the Marquette area, his most famous gig being part of the legendary lineup of Walrus.
He’s now a lecturer at the University of Michigan and lives in Ann Arbor. But you can’t take the Yoop out of the boy: One of the tunes on his new 13-song CD is called “Yellow Dog Stretch.”
In his Facebook page (facebook.com/Countrywhale?fref=nf) musings about things, Tessier shared the following:
“Music isn’t novel to me. Much like you, I love it. Earliest memories would include my mom’s Jonah Jones’ ‘Muted Jazz,’ LP and Martin Denny’s ‘Quiet Village’ 45. Our early 60’s babysitter brought over the Elvis and dance hits of the time, and that was our TV (although she always turned it on for American Bandstand). I heard ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ and wanted to be like the Beatles -fame, fortune and girls.
“Of course, actually playing the guitar requires patience and persistence. I decided I’d be a lead singer. This was in Marquette. I kept at it. By 1970, I had learned to play the guitar, joined the local counter-culture band, got in trouble, and subsequently moved to Ann Arbor in 1972.
“Since then, in fits and starts, I’ve slowly maintained a public presence, playing with various local players, fronting my own bands, and never giving up on the quixotic hopes of a perennial dreamer. That’s what I have to say about me.”
“Of Lake and Isle”
– Minnesota native Terri Bocklund worked at Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay during three summers.
“The best of my life they were,” Bocklund said in a letter to The Mining Journal.
Though she did not grow up in the Marquette area, much of her family hails from the community. She has ties, she said, to the Bocklunds, Andersons, Andereggs and Grundstroms, all of Marquette.
But she also has a deeper connection to the Upper Peninsula as evidenced in her CD, “Of Lake and Isle,” created while she and her husband, Curt Kowalski, spend last summer on Isle Royale. Maryland resident Bocklund was chosen to the an artist-in-residence there.
“There is a story behind the music,” Bocklund said in her letter. “A trip to the end of the road on the Keweenaw Peninsula, a six-hour ferry ride to the Isle Royale National Park and three weeks in a cabin built in 1905 set atop a 30-foot cliff overlooking Tobin Harbor and the Merritt Straights.
“Stars of this adventure included northern lights, moose bones, a going-in-circles canoe trip in dense fog, a face-plant and a black eye and minor concussion on the downhill slope following an unintentional overnight while slightly lost on the Greenstone Trail, tiny wildflowers growing in tiny cracks in the most ancient basalt on the planet, and all the music that flowed out of my fingers onto the strings,” she wrote. “Words and melodies evoked by the northern muse.”
The result is the CD with 15 songs with titles like “Superior (My Heart’s Home),” “The Northern Muse,” “Aurora” and “The Open Hand of Lake and Isle.”
Some songs incorporate natural sounds Bocklund recorded during her time on Isle Royale.
Radz (Aaron Radzwilowicz)
– Watersmeet’s Aaron “Radz” Radzwilowicz, a songwriter-recording artist, recently released his debut extended play record in Los Angeles.
He will be returning to the U.P. for a visit next week
“Ramshackle Heart” features six powerful songs that portray blues, roots and soul with lyrics derived from a place of provincial isolation.
The album was recorded by Datolite Records owner Lindsay Tomasic (a U.P. native herself) and features A-list musicians such as Darrell Leonard, Larry Tuttle, Quinn, Dave Gross, Lynn Fanelli, Dave Pearlman and Gregg Leonard. Radz, who for eight years worked as a graphic designer for Tomasic’s music company, moved to Los Angeles a year and a half ago to follow his lifelong dream of making music.
He started out performing gigs as a solo artist around Los Angeles. During one particular show in Santa Monica, Tomasic was in the audience. Swept away by the maturity of his lyrics and rough-edge style, Tomasic invited Radz into her recording studio. Less than a year later, his first EP record was complete. The EP was produced by Tomasic, mixed by engineer, Gregg Leonard, and mastered in Hollywood by legendary mastering engineer, Gavin Lurssen.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.