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A Conversation with Jacob Sanders from THE LOVESTRUCK BALLADEERS, Playing the Temple Theater Oct. 12Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Listening to the likes of the Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and the Rolling Stones from his parents records first inspired a young Jacob Sanders to learn guitar. But the teenage Sanders found himself shying away from the folk-rock music of the 60s and 70s to the big band jazz sounds of the 20s and 30s.
Moving to New York after high school, Sanders met bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Vince Giordano of Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. He became a mentor to Sanders who continued to spark his enthusiasm for 20s jazz.
It wasn’t until Sanders began his first solo album in 2015, that he had the desire to create a band with friends and collaborators he had known for 10 to 15 years. “It was just about the people, more than anything.”
After the completion of his album, Sanders presented the idea to four friends with mutual musical interests of a group performing this “old, nearly forgotten music,” and was thrilled with their excitement towards the project.
It was at that point that Sanders, pianist Dalton Ridenhour from St. James, MO, bassist Sean Cronin from Vancouver, Aaron Jonah Lewis from Detroit, and Dennis Lichtman to from the Boston area came together one year ago to form THE LOVESTRUCK BALLADEERS.
Lewis and Lichtman are both multi-instrumentalists, something that Sanders believes makes the band shine. Lewis plays violin, banjo, and mandolin while Lichtman plays violin, clarinet, and mandolin.
“I thought, well this is really interesting to have these guys who are kind of virtuosic soloists to play in one group because really, you get six musicians out of two.”
THE LOVESTRUCK BALLADEERS played their first show in December of 2017. Predominately performing shows in New York City, they are excited to begin their first tour on Oct. 10 in Chicago.
Along with layers of sound from the early 20th century, THE LOVESTRUCK BALLADEERS transport audiences with international music from Mexico, Brazil, and Italy. Traveling and playing in Brazil, Lichtman introduced Sanders to the bounce of Brazilian music and famous musicians including Jacob do Bandolim. Sanders recalled his childhood, hearing his mother’s Mexican string music and when meeting Lewis, realized he was interested in playing this genre of music as well.
“Mexico, like many places, has a very deep musical tradition, I don't pretend to be an expert, but I think melodies have always crossed borders freely and hopefully they continue to,” he said.
Having careers solely in the music industry, Sanders laughs and said, " I always think, if I’m not enjoying the music then there’s always smarter ways to make money. I’ve always erred on the side of throwing caution to the wind and trying to do exactly what I want to do, even if it seems impractical. I didn’t become a musician because it’s a practical decision."
And while one may think that creating a band centered on what Sanders labels the "old, weird” sound of the 20s and 30s in our contemporary society, is risky, Sanders doesn’t. “I think it’s funny when one musician calls another musician crazy because I think we are all kind of crazy,” he says, laughing.
When asked how their eccentric name was chosen to be at the forefront of their group, Sanders laughed and said, “Well, I think we’re all very eccentric people…I don’t have a story behind it, I just thought it sounded right.”
Sanders, from Appleton, WI, is also excited to dip his toes back into Midwest living for their performance in Des Moines.
WHO: THE LOVESTRUCK BALLADEERS
WHERE: The Temple Theater, 1011 Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 12, 2018