Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Music · TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE LOESEL
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TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE LOESEL

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.”

HEADING HOME
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.”

TEAM EFFORT
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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