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Chuck LeMonds: Biografie

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’ 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)

 


Chuck LeMonds: Zusammenarbeit mit anderen Musikern

Einige von den Musikern mit denen Chuck LeMonds gearbeitet hat:

 

singer/songwriter Liz Myer

James Browns’s funky drummer Clyde Stubblefield,

songwriter/guitarist Willy Porter,

Songwriter/guitarist Josh Harty

Songwriter/ guitarist Ian Foster (New Foundland,Canada)

bassist David Bell;

guitarist/songwriter Sir Oliver Malley

drummer Alex Deutsch;

bassist Peter Herbert, 

guitarist/songwriter Ripoff Raskolnikov;

violinist Kurt Bauer

hurdy gurdy player extraordinaire Mathias Loibner

songwriter/guitarist Gottfried D. Gfrerer;

flutist Peter Phippen;

jazz violinist Randy Sabien;

drummer Reinhart Winkler,

Flow Bradley,

songwriter L.J.Booth,

percussionist Ismael Barrios,

drummer Gunter Grasmück,

jazz violinist Bernie Mallinger,

electric guitarist Klaus Ambrosch,

blues guitarist Howard “Guitar” Luedtke,

Singer/Mandolin Chris Silver,

Singer,Cello and Bass player Mary Gaines,

Multi-Instrumentalist Chris Wagner,

bassist Walter Kreinz,

bassist Herfried Knapp,

Singer Livia Hubmann,

trumpeter Freddie Lang,

multi-instrumentalist Huber Dohr,

saxofonist Robert Cooper,

singer/songwriter Georg Altziebler

folksinger Jim Post

guitarist,producer Arkadiy Yushin

guitarist and producer Eric Spitzer-Marlyn

multi-instrumentalist Martin Moro

violinist Klemens Bittmann


Chuck LeMonds: Diskographie

Chuck LeMonds: Diskographie

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"
* 2008: "Mississippi Angel"

*2010: "LeMonds"

2013: "The Rivers Call"


Martin Krusche: über Chuck LeMonds und seine Musik

Im Gebrüll des Mainstream überhört man leicht jene Töne grundlegender Musiken Amerikas, die nicht von Lifstyle handeln. Sondern von Life. Das Leben. Nein! Die Leben! Eine Vielfalt in harten Kontrasten. Davon will erzählt werden. Weil jede menschliche Gemeinschaft zerbrechen würde, wenn das Erzählen verstummen müßte. Ein Singer-Songwriter ist in diesem Chor bloß eine von vielen Stimmen. Aber eine Stimme mit speziellen Möglichkeiten. Weil Lieder einen "besonderen Zustand" verlangen. Und sehr verschiedene Talente, die zusammenkommen müssen. Talente, die dem Suchen und dem Gefundenen, dem Wissen und dem Zweifel, die all jenen unverzichtbaren Gegensätzen eine gemeinsame Bedeutung geben.

["I was a dreamer and determined to define my world as I saw it to be or how I wished it to be."]

Seit Jahrtausenden haben wir diese kulturelle Tradition, daß wir eigentlich nicht belehrt, sondern bewegt werden möchten. Wir wollen uns auf viele Arten berichten lassen: Was ist gesehen? Davon handeln irgendwie alle leidenschaftlichen Erzählungen: Was ist geschehen? Es meint: Was ist erlebbar? Und es flüstert: Was ist das Leben? Wer achtsam hinhört, wird vermutlich feststellen: Wir verzehren uns nicht nach bestimmten Antworten. Die Fragen vorzubringen und sie mit anderen Menschen auszutauschen, davon handeln solche Momente. Während Antworten ... gewissermaßen im Leben selbst liegen. Aber solche Momente handeln auch davon, daß die Fragen darin nicht aufhören.

["Songwriting supported my desire to define my world on my terms and it still does. I get to create a world in my song."]

So ist das wohl ebenfalls mit den grundlegenden Musiken Amerikas. So entstehen immer wieder neue Lieder. Die Menschen und die Schicksale sind zu verschieden als daß alles schon ausreichend erzählt wäre. Verschiedenheiten. Wie sie schon die Kindheit von Chuck le Monds geprägt haben. Beim Großstadtleben in St. Louis, Missouri. In der Südstaatenstille von Maryland an der Ostküste. In der Entlegenheit der Apalachian Mountains von Virginia. Auf dem Weg nach Wisconsin ... Die Lieder dieser Musiken sind kein „Ratgeber-Material“. Um ein Beispiel aus le Monds Kindheit aufzugreifen, wie man so auf einen Güterzug aufspringt, daß es sicher gelingt, daß man nicht seine Beine auf den Schienen verliert, kann nicht erzählt, das muß gezeigt werden. Wie es Chuck’s Vater mit ihm tat.

["Of course, we spent a lot of time around the train station and walking the train tracks."]

Wie aber ein Leben auf den Strecken sein mag, unter freiem Himmel, das wird nicht gezeigt, das wird erzählt. Darüber wird gesungen. 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. So klingen auf seinem aktuellen Album „Pink Roshi“ sehr verschiedene Genres an. Dieser weite Weg, etwa von den Stationen am Mississippi River bis hierher, in die Oststeiermark, bleibt erahnbar. Wie le Monds heute Songs schreibt und interpretiert, bleibt frei von folkloristischen Versatzstücken. Das gelebte Leben ist in der Welt, die Lieder sind dessen Echo ...

["I never really chose to be a musician or to be a songwriter."]

Martin Krusche