Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE LOESEL
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Patrick Ivory - November 22nd, 2010
Travels with Charlie :Singer/songwriter brings songs of the road back home
By Pat Ivory
It’s been a long trip for singer/songwriter Charlie Loesel, from playing next to the salad bar at Blondie’s roadhouse diner out on Chum’s Corner in Traverse City years ago, to releasing his own recording with session musicians from bands that backed Bob Dylan, James Taylor and Paul Simon.
Loesel, who now lives in Seattle, will make it a full circle with a homecoming performance as Sleder’s Tavern in TC on Sunday, November 28, at 4 p.m.
Loesel grew up in Traverse City and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in electrical engineering. After working a couple of years as a computer programmer in Chicago, he joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Africa.
When Loesel returned he got a job working as recording engineer for Sony Classical in New York City. It involved recording symphonies with people like Wynton Marsalis and Yo Yo Ma at the Lincoln Center.
“Being around some great musicians, I realized I wanted to set my compass for something in music,” Loesel says. “And it wasn’t being a recording engineer for 20 years. I really wanted to perform. I lived in West Africa with the Peace Corps with essentially nothing, and I was just as happy. I realized the most important thing to do is what I have passion for.”

When the recording job ended in New York City, Loesel then moved back to Traverse City and started taking lessons from local jazz pro Ron Getz. Loesel explored a wide variety of musical styles. In addition to his initial gig at Blondie’s, he played jazz at Windows Restaurant and Chateau Chantal. He also started a Celtic band called Smash the Windows and played in blues and rock bands at Lil’ Bo and Union Street Station.
Loesel had a clearer sense of direction after he attended a master class taught by guitarist extraordinaire Leo Kottke at Northwestern Michigan College.
“He played so wonderfully and was so damn funny,” Loesel recalls. “He wasn’t too sappy, he wasn’t asking too much of the audience. He was the first person I had seen doing a singer/songwriter thing that I wanted to emulate.”
After developing considerable chops on the guitar in a short period of time, Loesel began playing and moving all over the country in his Volkswagen Westfalia van. Over a six-year period he played over 150 shows a year. He spent a year in Virginia, and a few months in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,Austin and Nashville along the way. He eventually settled down in Seattle in 2002 where he is now married and has an eight-month-old son.
In Seattle, Loesel continued to perform regularly, but wanted to move beyond playing cover songs at bars and restaurants and began recording his own music.
“I’d like to play 80 to 100 concert shows a year,” Loesel says. “I began to see the key was to have a CD to promote.”

Through a friend from his days at Sony Classical, the recording process took Loesel back to New York City. There Loesel worked with producer Alan Zahn, who brought in several top-notch session players such as Larry Campbell of Bob Dylan’s band on Dobro and fiddle and Clifford Carter from James Taylor’s band on the B-3 organ to round out the sound.
The CD “Westfalia” includes songs written when Loesel was traveling across the country in the VW van that it is named after. The titles of the songs, “Jack Daniels and Johnny Cash,” “Nothing to Lose” and “Too Late to Die Young” might give the impression that is a country/folky recording. The sound though, with artfully arranged horns and keyboard fills is more akin to urban folk rockers such as Lyle Lovett and Ray LaMontagne.
Early on, Loesel remembers being on the road and imagining his triumphant return to his hometown. He now sounds more like an established performer in town to visit his family and play a show.
“The last two or three years there has been a more settled feel with the music,” Loesel says. “When I left town 12 years ago, I played cover songs and a few of my own. The show I’ll do at Sleder’s will be all my own material.”
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