The uber-popular Michigan country artist will leave his band, The Usual Suspects, this fall after releasing a new album and completing one final tour.
After almost 10 years of touring the Midwest with his Michigan-based country group The Usual Suspects, lead vocalist and guitarist Brian Lorente is calling it quits later this year to spend more time with his family.
After one more CD release and a final set of live dates in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio through September, Lorente plans to leave the band and devote his musical efforts to songwriting. But The Usual Suspects will go on without Lorente, as he said he’ll be turning over the microphone to vocalist Kurt Stone.
Lorente started The Usual Suspects and nurtured the band over the past decade through personnel changes. He was at the core as manager, accountant, booking agent, marketing director, while holding down a full-time job and family life.
“With all of that, there is no time to sit back with my guitar or a pad of paper and create,” Lorente said. “I am actually excited for the chance to sit back and become a storyteller again, and to kind of re-find that guy who loves songwriting.
“I have learned it is possible to stay alive in music, and not be on the road all the time. But it is a new field that I still have a lot to learn about: Live streams, videos and status updates will be the main way to keep in touch with my fan base, but every once in a while, I am sure I will get an itch to the stage again, so I promise not to drop off the face of the earth.”
EYEING A NEW ALBUM AND RELISHING THE ‘EXHILARATION OF LIGHTING UP A CROWD’
He said the band had planned to release its latest recording in March. But the project has been plagued by technology issues and the release date is tentative.
“Honestly, it has been far too long, between the ‘2:45’ release (2011) and now, but that is how it goes in this life,” he said. “Time is a major factor; money is a major factor. I wanted this done right and sounding amazing, so I think it will be worth it in the end.
“The hope and dream is to have an official CD-release party, then push the album everywhere, as hard as we can, until the tour ends in September. We have started to sneak the new songs into the set list, so people can get a little tease, to raise enthusiasm for the release, but as soon as I can, they will be hearing all the tracks a lot more.”Lorente conceded he’s relished the time he’s spent on stage in front of exuberant audiences.
“I love stepping on stage and feeling the exhilaration of lighting up a crowd,” the Lansing-area singer added. “No job or profession I take from here forward will ever give me that kind of personal satisfaction and joy, but with this profession comes a cost.”
The time, energy and work it takes to be successful in the music business never ends, Lorente said, and moving ahead would require even more time away from home.
“Along the way, my favorite shows have been the 45- to 90-minute opening or headlining slots,” he said. “So much energy packed into one performance. And the crowds are always excited and ready to get fired up at those types of events. B-93 Birthday Bash, Intersection shows, those are the ones that we step off the stage with a huge high.”
As for Lorente’s family, he said they are excited about his decision to step away from the band.
“They are happy that I will be at home more,” he said. “My kids like that I get on TV and radio and all that; they can brag a little bit about what I do. But at the end of the day, they are not happy when I am not there for movie nights, or gone all weekend.
“And my wife, she’s been a real trooper, this entire time. I’m excited for the occasional date night.”
VIDEO: Brian Lorente & The Usual Suspects (EightWest)
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC