This week’s episode featured Satala playing a new song in-studio, plus music from Benjaman James, Jukejoint Handmedowns, The Zannies, Last Gasp Collective, Magenta Flag and more. (Video, podcast)
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Sometimes, there’s more to the story than meets the ear.
Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Brant Satala has released a half-dozen powerful recordings since 2005 and is currently at work on his latest studio project, which he hopes to release in early 2018.
But behind all of the thought-provoking indie-folk and Americana songs is a guy with an uncommon tale of triumphs and travails.
After releasing his third full-length album, “The Summer Thief,” Satala in 2013 left West Michigan to “try something different because life is a little bit too short.” He worked for two seasons at a dude ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and in between those stints, spent time in Washington and Colorado.
“It was just a lot of mountains,” he said. “I grew up loving mountains ever since I was a kid and watched ‘The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.’ So, just hiking, working on the dude ranch, riding horses and trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I got back.”
But when he did return to Grand Rapids, he suffered an unexpected setback: a rare chronic pain condition that sidelined him for more than two years. He eventually recovered but it was “a lot of work and it was horrible.”
With that behind him, he’s now in school to become a physical therapist assistant, something he hopes will help fund his music.
And that music has occupied him for eight to 10 hours a day over the past month as he works to record his next album. He’s producing the album himself and playing most of the instruments, with a few special guests such as singer Cole Hansen expected to pitch in.
Satala gave a preview of that new project during this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, performing a new song, “Boats,” in Studio X, along with an older tune, “Lost at Sea.” Watch a video of “Boats” here and listen to the full radio show podcast below.
VIDEO: Brant Satala, “Boats” (Live for Local Spins on WYCE)
For Satala, a song such as “Boats” can spark something special for a writer. “Sometimes you have these little moments where you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, this sounds really cool,’ ” he conceded.
Satala performs regularly across West Michigan and will play the Wine, Beer and Food Festival at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, followed by a 7 p.m. show that same night at Thornapple Brewing, 6262 28th St. SE. He also plays Hops in Holland on Dec. 9.
At the Wine, Beer and Food Festival, Satala will play the RendezBREW area in the Grand Gallery, which will also feature Sam Corbin on Thursday, Mark Sala on Friday and Chris Laskos on Saturday night. The festival’s Beer City Station Music Stage, meanwhile, will feature The Jake & Jimmy Band on Thursday and Friday night, with pop/rock’s Valentiger playing two long sets on Saturday (2-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.)
Meanwhile, the wine area, dubbed The Vineyard, will feature the funk, rock and fun of Melophobix on Thursday night, The Steve Hilger Jazz Quartet on Friday night and Melophobix again on Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening. And Melophobix will play in a new location for Vineyard bands: on a balcony overlooking the wine-tasting area.
Henri Boucher of ShowSpan, which produces the festival, said the live music enhances what he calls a “once-a-year opportunity” for folks to sample hundreds of wines and brews, along with food from 25 area restaurants at an event that’s grown from 40,000 square feet to 130,000 square feet over the years.
“A lot of people will live down there for those three days,” he said of the festival that runs Thursday through Sunday. Get details and a schedule online here.
This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE also featured the on-air debut of brand new music from Sleepover, Nordlund, Grand Valley State University’s New Music Ensemble, Rick Chyme & Nixon, Benjaman James, Jukejoint Handmedowns and The Zannies, plus music from Last Gasp Collective, Bermudas and Magenta Flag. Listen to the entire podcast here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (Nov. 10, 2017)
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