Posts Categorized: News

A few moments with Dawes…

Dawes will be performing at the Cavalier Theatre in La Crosse, WI on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. Catch a ticket here if it isn’t already sold out.

Dawes is:
Wylie Gelber – bass
Taylor Goldsmith – guitars
Griffin Goldsmith – drums
Lee Pardini – keys

Interview by Benji Nichols / Inspire(d) 2017

The Cavalier Lounge & Theatre in La Crosse has been working hard the past few years to create a space that can house national shows on a regional level. Owner Jason LaCourse has poured much into the club and lounge, and caught a few breaks along the way – including an evening with West coast rockers Dawes coming up October 17. Here at Inspire(d) HQ we’ve been fans of Dawes since around 2009, catching them at Gabe’s Oasis in Iowa City, after enjoying their first Daytrotter.com session. Dawes played on 2016’s ‘Gentleman of the Road’ festival hosted by Mumford and Sons in Waverly, IA as well and continue to reach new heights as the they pound the road. They’re latest release “We’re All Gonna Die” is out on the band’s own HUB Record label. They play the Cavalier Theatre in La Crosse on Tuesday, October 17. (Click here for tickets – if they aren’t already sold out!) Inspire(d) was given the opportunity to catch up with Lee Pardini, keyboard player for Dawes, while he was en route to San Francisco for the Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park. Lee has been with Dawes for the past two years and has played an influential roll in the bands growth with his tasty key chops that reach far beyond rock and roll.

Roll the tape…

I(d): You guys keep –good- company. We saw Dawes play on the ‘Gentleman of the Road’ show in Waverly, Iowa with Mumford and Sons. The band has a history with artists like Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Robbie Robertson, Elvis Costello, and Dave Rawlings. You’re staring down tours with John Mayer and Kings of Leon this fall. What’s it like knowing you are working with some of the most revered musicians in the world?

LP: We couldn’t be more excited – and these are all really different experiences. When we do the “evening with” shows (like the upcoming La Crosse show), it is us for two and a half hours with the crowd – its really intimate, and we’re excited to bring that to the audience. When we’re on the road supporting larger tours of this stature – musically speaking, its great to be around artists of this caliber – but then its also exciting playing in front of a lot of audiences that maybe don’t know us so well – or at all. Being able to craft a 45 minute set to capture an audience is a really great challenge, and ultimately, it is all about the music first – so it’s quite an experience. We couldn’t be looking more forward to it.

I(d): We’re All Gonna Die, came out last September on your own ‘HUB records’ label. It was

produced by long time friend of the band Blake Mills. How has it been watching an album take life?

LP: Its been amazing – there were a lot of new sounds and textures on this record, and the recording process itself was a really great process. It’s a new sound that has developed – and its been exciting to see people really accepting us pushing things forward. Watching the audience in the live shows be familiar with a new record is kind of crazy too. One of the first shows we played after the record came out – like a week after, people in the crowd knew all the words to ‘One of Us’ – and that was such a great feeling. Over the past months playing the songs live really helps us grab ahold of how fans are connecting to the songs in so many different ways. Its been a great year – and we’re always trying new things, pushing ourselves to be better and make the most out of the shows.

I(d): We were checking out the “Custom Vintage Keys” trio session video that you did, and it is so tasty. Its clear you enjoy vintage key gear. What’s your jam these days?

LP: I’ve always been a big jazz fan – and studied a very broad world of jazz that I’m constantly digging into. I’ve also been listening to a particular set of Herbie Hancock records from the 70s – lots of textures. I’ve been digging into a lot of synthesizer stuff – which is something I’ve been working to bring to Dawes. You know – t’s a life long study. I know it sounds a little like a California stereotype, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Bob Marly lately as well. The keyboard work on every single one of his records is just incredible. Its economical, its groovy, and the songs are so good. From an education standpoint, the players he had on his records were so great. There’s always Dire Straits – the guys love Mark Knopfler. Allen Clark from Dire Straits is unbelieveable – and the way that band could extend their songs – really incredible. And always, there’s a decent amount of Grateful Dead that I’m listening to.

I(d): The upper Midwest is a funny place – and a lot of people still don’t give us much thought, but with outlets like Daytrotter, and the Codfish Hollow Barnstormers (Maquoketa) – we have some authentic stuff happening out here. La Crosse is right on the Mississippi River in the heart of the “Driftless” region – have you been to this area before? Any thoughts on the Midwest?

LP: Oh Yeah, absolutely. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Midwest over the years – I love it. There’s just an – its like another version of Southern hospitality. Everyone is so sweet. Take Codfish Hollow – the people there really care – they’re hip to what’s happening, and they care about being hospitable. You don’t get that everywhere. What strikes me is the amount of pride that people take, especially in the Midwest, in creating a great space for music and making people feel welcome and comfortable – its great. •

12 Year old Author Jenna Hartz

Here at Inspire(d) we are big fans of print media (right?)!

When we heard about 12 year old St. Ben’s student Jenna Hartz publishing her first book, “The Guardians of Middle School”, we thought, “Dang girl – you go!” We decided it would be fun to hear a little bit about the book, process, and all that goes along with being a not-even-teenage (yet) author. Not only was Jenna inspired to write the book, but along with her parents researched publishers and worked through the process of bringing a book to life with Outskirts Press of Parker, Colorado. Jenna has also offered to donate her book to all area community libraries, including the Decorah Public Library as well as the Decorah Community School District. You can find out more about “The Guardians of Middle School” and purchase your own copy at Dragonfly Books – including a special Author reading and signing on Monday, November 28, 2016 at 7pm.

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Author Jenna Hartz with St. Benedict’s 5th Grade Teacher Mrs. Galligan.

I(d) = Inspire(d)
JH = Jenna Hartz

I(d) – What inspired you to write “The Guardians of Middle School”, and how long did it take you to finish the book?

JH – My friends inspired me, as well as my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Galligan. It took me about 10 months to finish including writing, editing, and publishing.

I(d) – How many pages is the book in its finished form? When you were writing did you have any idea how long the book would be?

JH – There are 95 pages in the book. My goal originally was 100 to 200 pages, but that was a little more challenging than I thought. I’m pretty happy though how it turned out.

I(d) – Writers often have favorite places to work or rituals that help them get words on the page; did you have any special places you liked to write or things that helped you get through any tough spots in the story? 

JH – I always wrote at the computer on the counter several times a week after school. Since I was having trouble coming up with the main conflict, I just typed multiple ideas, and figured out which one worked the best with the rest of the story line. If there was something I didn’t like, I wouldn’t like to keep changing it over and over again because then it would start loosing it’s touch. I’d do it all over again though.

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I(d) – Some of the locations and people in”The Guardians of Middle School” are real and local here in Decorah. Can you tell us about those and how you decided to include them?

JH – The characters from the book were all people that were in my life including my friends from my class, and my teacher at the time. After I got the main idea of what the book was about, I let my friends help with deciding their elements. Then I tried figuring out a part for my teacher to play. After a lot of thinking, I decided that she should be our trainer and our mentor. As for the locations, I decided to pick ones that my friends and I love.

I(d) – Being print magazine makers, we love the process of creating something you can hold in your hands and read – desktop publishing has revolutionized the ability to do that as well. Can you tell us how you went about getting the book printed?

JH – After I finished editing, I looked for great publishing companies with my parents.  They helped me find one that didn’t just have a computer edit it, but with an actual editor who could work with me. That’s when we found Outskirt’s Press. With all of that done, then we had them help us with the cover. We took the photo of my hand, and combined it with an amazing design that Outskirt’s Press came up with. Finally, they printed the books and we ordered a bunch of copies.

I(d) – What has been the most fun part about having the book finished and out to the public?

JH – The part that I find most fun is that I can actually say that I am a published author. I really hope that this will inspire others to do what they love, and to follow their dreams.

I(d) – Any plans for future writing projects?

JH – I don’t have any plans right now, but I’m hoping to get more writing done in the future when school work begins to slow down a bit.

I(d)  – What’s your favorite snack to have while writing?

JH – I honestly don’t know what my favorite snack is, but while writing I usually have a range of things from fruit to chips.

I(d) – Anyone you would like to acknowledge for helping with the process?

JH – I’d like to acknowledge my friends for being so supportive through this writing process, my family for always being there for me, and especially my 5th grade teacher for inspiring me so much and for being so trustworthy.

–(d)–

And of course, to every great (almost) teenage writer, there is a great support network! Jenna’s parents (Jodi & Michael) and two brothers were all excited to support the endeavor, especially once they realized how in depth Jenna had taken the idea of writing a book! Jenna also credits her 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Galligan, for sparking her interest to write a book. Jenna encourages others to pick up a book, hold it, and read from real pages!

Don’t miss a special evening at Dragonfly Books – including an Author reading and signing on Monday, November 28, 2016 at 7pm.

Decorah Jersey – Longest Loop Fundraiser!

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Earlier this year, Decorah resident Bob Bishop got the idea to put together a Decorah themed bicycling jersey. They are out now and available in Decorah, but Bob has made a special offer for supporters of the Longest Loop Project. When you purchase a jersey between now and July 15, Bob will donate 20% of the sales to the Longest Loop Project which is raising money to support the purchase of Winneshiek County Conservation’s Neste Valley Recreation Area project.

Bob can be reached by phone at 563-380-9922 to arrange for the purchase of a Decorah Jersey (that will include a donation to the Longest Loop!). The jerseys are high quality Owayo custom printed, in sizes S, M, L, XL.

The jerseys are also available at Decorah Bicycles on College Drive, as well as the Vesterheim Museum Gift Shop, but only jerseys purchased through Bob will qualify for the donation.

You can also make just a donation to the Longest Loop Project that will help fund the Neste Valley Recreation Area. Click here for more information on how to donate! 

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