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Chuck LeMonds

Chuck LeMonds

Der aus Wisconsin/USA stammende und seit langer Zeit in Österreich ansässige Chuck LeMonds versteht die Kunst des einfachen, gekonnt auf den Punkt gebrachten Songs wie hierzulande kein anderer. Seine berührenden Geschichten treffen den Zuhörer mitten in Bauch, Herz und Hirn. Sein reifer, intensiver Gesang und sein technisch ausgefeiltes, enorm „groovendes“ Gitarrenspiel machen seine seltenen Solo-Konzerte zu echten Perlen.

Chuck LeMonds: Ein Leben in Kontrasten

  • Chuck LeMonds wurde im Sommer 1959 in St. Louis (Missouri), also an den Ufern des Mississippi geboren.
  • Seine Mutter, sang leidenschaftlich populäre Jazz-Songs aus den 1940ern und 50ern, spielte Klavier und Klarinette. Elf Kinder belebten das Heim, in dem mit dieser Frau die Musik zuhause war. Alle lernten sie Folk Songs, Musical-Melodien und was sonst noch zu der Zeit populär gewesen ist.(„Ich erinnere mich, daß ich mit ungefähr sechs Jahren beim Klavier stand, meine Mutter spielte und brachte mir ‚Maybe’ bei, ein Jazz-Tune.“)
  • Mit 15 hatte LeMonds seine erste Gitarre. Auf der er sich Songs von Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Woody und Arlo Guthrie aneignete. Ein Jahr später erhielt er auch ein Banjo.
  • Der Umzug in die Appalachian Mountains brachte mit sich, daß er dort an jeder Ecke Bluegrass Music hörte und die Stanley Brothers schätzen lernte.
  • Als Achtzehnjähriger schrieb LeMonds seinen ersten eigenen Song.
  • Mit 21 brach er, gemeinsam mit einem Freund, nach Europa auf. („Ich wollte sehen, wie die Menschen außerhalb Amerikas leben.“) Die beiden machten Straßenmusik, spielten in Pubs.
  • Während der 1980er-Jahre spielte LeMonds in Wisconsin bei diversen Bands, tingelte durch den Mittelwesten der Vereinigten Staaten, profilierte sich in Clubs, bei Festivals und live im Radio.
  • 1991 zog Chuck LeMonds nach Europa, arbeitete da mit vielen exzellenten Musikern aus der Folk-, Jazz- und Songwriterszene.
  • 2000 tourte LeMonds zweimal mit seiner Band „The Impermanents“. Eine der Tourneen führte ihn in seine Heimat Wisconsin. Die Besetzung: Reinhard Ziegerhofer (bass), Reinhard Winkler (drums), Klaus Ambrosch (e-guitar) und Bernie Mallinger (e-violin).
  • 2006: Nun erschien sein sechstes Album: “Pink Roshi”.Die Alben im Überblick:

    * 1988: “Here and Then, There and Now” * 1989: “Hearts of 1905”
    * 1994: “Color of the Sun”
    * 1996: “For a Moments Gain”

    * 1998: “Road To Limbo” * 2006: “Pink Roshi”

Bio (Englisch)

Chuck LeMonds’ life and legacy as a musician is not one shaped by music lawyers in LA or Nashville, or even the hard to define ghost of a “music business”! They were never in town when he was passing through. The music and recordings he has produced over the past 30 years can not be easily measured by the music industry’s high level of standards and perfection, for it is exactly that, the many imperfections in Chuck LeMonds’ music that make it authentic and real, and above all, music that resonates the heart strings, and at the same time, engages the critical minds of his listeners.

Born in 1959 along the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri, Chuck LeMonds’, it seems, was pre-destined to a life of moving about.

His father, Sonny, spent 25 years travelling on freight trains around the US, doing seasonal work like picking fruit, and then moving on when it got cold in winter to find work in warmer places, eventually living in an old school bus painted green parked near the Mississippi River outside of Cape Girardeau, which Chuck eulogized in his 1994 song “If The Motor Was Working”. His father taught him and his brother the art of hopping freights at the tender age of 8. Chuck’s grandfather Author, after losing his coal company in St. Louis in 1929 during the Great Depression, worked as a card dealer in back rooms of gin houses and honky- tonks along the Mississippi, always packing a pistol. This story is also documented as a song “Full Deck of Cards” on the same recording. His grandpa Gangi, his mothers father, drove trains for the Frisco line in Missouri.

The women in the family seemed to be the glue that held it all together. Growing up, Chuck’s mother Marilyn was a passionate musician playing in her schools marching band in Chaffee, Missouri with her main instruments being clarinet, piano and her voice. She loved to sing jazz pop torch songs that were so popular at that time in the 50’s. Her dream to become a professional musician was put on hold at the age of 16 when her first child was born . She brought 7 children into the world and lived her music out by leading all 7 children and 4 step-children, in a very natural way, into the world of music and singing.

Chuck’s grandma Madelaine was a beautician, with grey-blue hair always perfectly done, and managed a large beauty shop on Grand and Gravious Rd., the busiest intersection in St. Louis. His grandma Addie Mae, his fathers mother, was on the other hand, a very proud women of humble back ground that raised 5 children mostly alone. She was half Cherokee Indian and told stories of whipper-snappers and bush-whackers, and surviving the depression in 1929 by picking through vegetables on a wagon under the Eads Bridge in St. Louis, Missouri left by the large restaurants trying to help the poor. She spoke in the language of the late 1800’s.

Chuck LeMonds’ main musical arteries and influences run from The Stanley Brothers, Carter Family, Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, John Prine, Lucinda Williams, and the many great Delta blues players, as well as seeing great story- teller singers like Utah Phillips, Claudia Schmidt.

If there is a thread that runs through Chuck LeMonds’ 52 years, it would most likely be one of moving into new and unknown worlds and cultures as observer, documenting through song, and then as active participant, carrying the observed out onto any stage he might be walking onto, and continually switching between these two poles. He grew up between the noise of urban excess St. Louis and Washington D.C. and the rural pastoral settings of Poolesville, Maryland, where he lived as a boy in the servants quarters of an old plantation, and later in the Appalachian Mountains near Front Royal, Virginia where he first heard Bluegrass music, and amongst lakes, rivers and dairy farms of Wisconsin where he first heard polka music, learned to milk cows, and survive –30 degree below cold winters.

Many musicians, and others who know Chuck, would willingly say he has paid his dues. Meaning he has been out travelling, carrying his musical message through his songs, to stages big and small, house concerts, festivals and live performances of all kinds for more than 30 years. This would include the many ups and downs of making a living from music over many years. Chuck LeMonds’ has and still does make music from his home near Graz, Austria where he moved in the early 1990’s, living amongst the rolling hills of east Styria, not far from the borders of Hungary and Slovenia, with a view of the Alps and vineyards.

Chuck LeMonds has had the great honor and pleasure to work with, perform and or record with musicians worldwide who have devoted their entire lives to their art form. To name just a few: from Wisconsin, Grammy nominated flutist Peter Phippen, blues guitarist and national treasure Howard “guitar” Luedtke, violinist Randy Sabien, James Brown’s funky drummer Clyde Stubblefield, guitarist Willy Porter, recording artist and guitarist Chris Silver, singer-songwriter Liz Myer, from Belarus guitarist and composer Arkadiy Yushin, singer Jim Post, and from Austria: drummer Alex Deutsch, bassist Peter Herbert,the legendary Ripoff Raskolnikov, guitarist and songwriter Gottfried Gfrerer, violinist Bernie Mallinger, drummer Reinhard Winkler, and songwriter Georg Altziebler.

In the summer of 2010,Chuck LeMonds’ released his 8th recording named simply “LeMonds. It was recorded in the tower of a local castle in Austria, where he set up his studio for a number of weeks, and then upon completion, flew to Madison, Wisconsin to work with the “Swiss Army Knives” of studio work: bassist, cellist and vocalist Mary Gaines and her husband multi-instrumentalist Chris Wagoner. The three were joined by Belarusian born guitarist Arkadiy Yushin to finish the eight tracks.

“LeMonds” upon release has received radio airplay throughout the US, Australia and Europe mainly on public radio stations and college radio, where roots music forms are still being kept alive.

„Die Lieder sind gewissermaßen Teil eines mächtigen, klingenden Epos, in dem sich Menschen ihrer selbst versichern. Le Monds scheint jemand zu sein, der auf diesem Weg sich selbst immer wieder ein anderer wird. Was man an seinen Songs ablesen kann“.(Martin Krusche)

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