By Kristi Kates
Much like a good recipe, a good local band is composed of complementary ingredients - in this case, the music and sounds that have influenced each member. This analogy definitely applies to Boyne River Remedy, who founded their group in 2008.
Josh, Kevin and I got together with several other musicians to write and record a song, Boyne River Remedys Mark Blaauw-Hara says. We had a great time, and were very happy with how it turned out, so we decided to see how it would go to form a band.
With a very informal process in terms of just who was in said band (at one point, we had nine members, Blaauw-Hara chuckles), Boyne River Remedy morphed around who the bandmates knew and who they enjoyed playing music with.
Our first gig was at Shorts Brewery, Blaauw-Hara remembers, and we were thrilled to have a place to play where theyd give us pizza. As we polished our set list and our lineup became more stable, we started playing other places and events in the area - weve done everything from house parties to benefits to festivals.
And now, back to our analogy - those complementary ingredients. In addition to Blaauw-Hara on vocals, guitar, and bass - his influences being both legendary rockers like Springsteen and modern bands like The Hold Steady and Bon Iver - Boyne River Remedy matches up a quintet of members (well, at least at the moment.)
Drew Barr, influenced by the Allman Brothers and U2, mans the keyboards, hand drums and percussion; classic rocker Josh Manthei plays electric guitar (a few of his favorites include the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix); old-school rap fan Kevin Putman handles the drum duties; and Joni Mitchell fan Jen Schaap strums the acoustic guitar.
One of the strengths of our band is the diversity of our influences, Blaauw-Hara says. We all come from a different starting point, and the synergy of those different points of origin makes us unique.
A focus for the band is professionalism.
From the beginning, its been about having fun for us, Blaauw-Hara explains, but were professionals - we show up on time, dont take long breaks, and tailor our set lists to the crowd and the venue. We do this because we like each other and love playing music; the chemistry is good between us, both musically and personally. And truthfully, I think when people see a band, they want to see a group thats having a good time and obviously loves what theyre doing. I know thats what I look for.
The crowds are already looking for Boyne River Remedy, as evidenced by their busy summer schedule, which will include gigs in Boyne City, on Beaver Island, and in Petoskey, where a weekly show at The Perry Hotels popular Noggin Room is proving a popular event.
Weve got a regular Thursday night gig at the Noggin this summer, Blaauw-Hara says. Weve written a number of original songs that we like and that we intersperse with our covers, which include a Bon Iver song, an acoustic cover of an Usher song, some Springsteen, and some old-school country, like Johnny Cash, for good measure.
BOYNE CITY TRIBUTE
Another song that fans might find familiar is a local love song - but its not to a person, its to a town, namely the one reflected in the bands name.
Boyne City (Im in Love with this Town) is a catchy folk-rocker thats getting plenty of exposure; the bands open to seeing what happens with the local favorite, especially since so much has already happened.
Its been really surprising how that song has legs, Blaauw-Hara says, We adapted it a couple years ago for North Central Michigan College to use it in a video, and then the Boyne City Main Street committee adapted the original recently for use in their entry video for a national competition, he continues.
Its also an adaptable song; we play it from time to time at our shows and change the chorus to reflect where were playing, he says, for instance, we might howl out Beaver Island! or The Noggin! or whatever - its fun.
Boyne River Remedy have made keeping up with the band fun, too, with a regularly-updated Facebook band site, t-shirts, and a demo CD of cover tunes available to fans. Their Noggin Room shows are also full of pep and variety.
We start out with our mellower, more vocally-oriented music so people can eat their dinners, and we steadily build the energy throughout the night, Blaauw-Hara explains, and we frequently have guests sit in for a few songs - so theres no telling exactly what might happen.
Boyne River Remedy will be performing on Thursday nights from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm in July and August at the Noggin Room in the Perry Hotel, downtown Petoskey. Additional gigs and more info may be found on the bands Facebook page.