BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN It’s become a tradition: Each school year, the Delano Guitar Club records an extended play, known as an EP, at Pete’s House of Groove in Delano.
After releasing “Guitar Club EP” in December of 2014, the club has now released “Live from Pete’s House of Groove.”
“This one we took our time on,” said Joe Lawrence, who serves as advisor for the Delano High School-based group. “It’s not that the first one wasn’t good. We just know what we’re doing a little better. We all got better as players and singers.”
Lawrence estimates 60 people have been involved with the club in its five-year history, and 15 of those members can be heard on the recent EP in one way or another.
The EP features original songs titled “Voodoo Queen” and “Long Time Coming,” as well as covers of “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins, “Could Have Been Me” by the Struts, “Moaning Lisa Smile” by Wolf Alice, and “Drain You” by Nirvana.
Kate Bruhn wrote the lyrics to “Voodoo Queen,” while Kaden Paulson wrote the music.
Bruhn shared the story behind the lyrics.
“I like to go driving with my dad. We were talking while driving, and he said, ‘Miracles are just black magic.’ I thought, ‘What are you saying? What does that even mean?’” Bruhn said of one of the lines of the song. “I wrote it down. I looked at it when I was writing a song, and I said, ‘I know what I’ll do with it.’ I pieced it together with other lines. I write a lot of one- or two-line phrases when I see things. Usually, I just stitch them together.”
The song has been mistaken as a cover by at least one person.
“My wife asked, ‘Who is she covering?’ I said, ‘No one, it’s an original,’” Lawrence said.
While two club members wrote “Voodoo Queen,” “Long Time Coming” was written by committee, something members of the club used to do more often.
“’Long Time Coming’ was kind of about Kaden coming back home,” Lawrence said, referencing Paulson’s return to Delano after his freshman year at a college in Nashville.
“They were asking, ‘What’s Nashville like?’” Paulson said. “I said, ‘It’s too hot, and everyone’s better than me.’”
Bruhn said the song showcased Paulson’s skills with a guitar.
“We didn’t have any long Kaden solos before that song,” Bruhn said. “I sent it to my friends and said, ‘This is a person I play with and am very proud of.’”
As for the cover songs on the EP, some of them were picked by members of the band Alaytra, which is made up of Delano Guitar Club members JT Petersen, Kayla Dahlberg, Kourtney Ryan, and Paulson.
“They picked songs they liked that people would recognize,” Lawrence said. “The current guitar club kids picked ‘Today.’ It fit Zach’s (Nickless) voice, and everyone would say, ‘I know this song.’”
Pete Johnson, of Pete’s House of Groove, donated his studio and services, as he produced and mastered the EP.
“It’s always a treat when these young adults come in to record the tunes they’ve been working on,” Johnson said. “For next year’s CD, I’d like to see one or two students help with the production and mixing of the songs to expand their experience to more than just the performance part.”
Artwork for the album was created by Seth Thoelke, and features a picture and silhouette of seniors Keenan Sutherland and Brenna Shaffner, as is tradition.
“Live From Pete’s House of Groove” may be purchased during the club’s performance Sunday at Central Park, during any performance by the newly-formed band Goldn’ Young, or by contacting Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org. A minimum donation of $5 is suggested, as proceeds from the EP benefit the Delano Guitar Club, which is free to join and does not receive funding from Delano Public Schools.
“This is not a high-tech operation,” Lawrence said. “Find me, and I’ll give you CDs. We’re not using PayPal or Dropbox. I’m selling CDs for cash out of the back of my truck.”