6/4/09 Carbondale Nightlife Article

I Shall Be Released

by T.J. Jones

The wineries of Southern Illinois are surrounded by the beautiful Shawnee Hills. The atmosphere is calm and introspective, and Ruvane Kurland can revel in that kind of mood. The former Carbondale resident will return to Southern Illinois to play two shows– at Inheritance Valley Winery on Saturday, June 6 and at Rustle Hill Winery on Sunday, June 7.

Joining Kurland is old friend Steve Wierman. The two men play as Six String Ride, and Kurland is looking forward to returning to a place he still holds close to his heart. “Working with Steve is a lot of fun,” Kurland says. “He’s the lead man. He plays a mean guitar and it’s a real treat to be able to play with him.”

Kurland has toured the Midwest for more than a decade. In the world of folk music, Kurland has lived the life of a journeyman and has grown as an artist who can stay down-to-earth while challenging himself. Most recently Kurland has experimented with looping in his live solo shows. “I am trying to stay with an organic feel [to the looping],” says Kurland. “Whether it’s an acoustic instrument or my voice, I won’t do any synthesizing, drum machines, electric bass, only sounds that can be created by my guitar or my voice.”

While he wants to stay true to his folk roots, Kurland feels his looping experimentation will add a new layer to his music. “I know other musicians loop, but I am speaking more about background tracks. Ultimately it’s a more complicated karaoke, where you play to a predetermined beat that you bring to every show.”

Another reason Kurland is experimenting with a somewhat new sound may be that his new album, Life in 360 Degrees, will be released June 2. Like any artist, Kurland’s studio and live performances differ slightly, but Kurland admits that the artists he worked with on Life in 360 Degrees were so special that he might have raised the bar on his own solo performances. Guest musicians on the album include Jimi “Jazz” Prescott, formerly of G. Love and Special Sauce, Brian Fachino of the Pat McGee Band, and children’s musician Marc Rossio. “I listen to their music and go to their shows,” says Kurland. “It was amazing to have them participate in the [creation of Life in 360 Degrees]. That’s something I couldn’t do live because of the rigorous touring and recording schedules of their respective bands. It was great to see how they would interpret my music.”

Kurland spends most of his time in Columbus, Ohio, where he lives. During the summer, however, Kurland takes to the road, and as a former Southern Illinoisan, he always feels welcome. “I certainly have had positive experiences in Southern Illinois,” Kurland says. “It’s a beautiful place to visit, especially [this time of the year]. The vineyards are excellent. That’s how I fill my tour schedule, basically. I go to the places I like going to. I go where the fans and the friends are, and where the music makes sense.”

One strength of Kurland’s performances is his ability to change with his surroundings. “When you’re performing, you’re looking for different landscapes,” says Kurland. “If you painted the same picture every day or played the same song every day, you’d get really bored. There’s a certain [kind of] electricity playing a place like PK’s, where people will be up dancing [to my songs]. At the vineyards, you’re standing in breathtaking countryside in flowing hills and vegetation. You’re playing for different reasons at [bars and wineries, respectively]. You’re more of an entertainment at a bar. At a vineyard you’re more of an artist, because people listen more to the words than feeling a beat.”

Life in 360 Degrees will be available at Kurland’s shows, and also can be found at iTunes. More information on Kurland can be found at <http://www.RuvaneKurland.com>

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