Hello everybody, I hope you are well!
It's gonna be a busy month for me and the band, we'll be touring between the 20th and 23rd, hitting Albert Lea, Fort Dodge, Kansas City, and St. Louis. If you have friends in those areas please let them know that we're coming through! We'll also be playing in Grand Forks this month.
We have some pretty bad ass shows booked for this summer already, including Memory Lanes Block Party in Minneapolis, Bastille Days in Milwaukee, Med City BBQ Festival in Rochester, Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth, and opening for 38 Special in Niagara Wisconsin!
Since the last update I've finished three new songs, which I'm super excited about! I'll be playing them at upcoming shows, which are listed below, boogie! See you soon! Alex
Hope you're enjoying the tail end of winter! I'm on temporary hiatus from doing Crankshaft full time, I'm playing once a week though, every Sunday at Magillycuddy's in downtown Anoka, 6pm-9pm , and will continue to through the end of February . This is what happened there a couple weeks ago, it was so much fricken fun!
I'm in the process of writing songs for the first Pork Neck series release. I'm planning on releasing at least five EPs for the series, each will include five tracks, each one with a different musical theme, the first will be a swampy, country-ish, rockabilly mash, and I have four songs written already!
Hope to see you soon, check out the website for the spring schedule, thanks to our new booking manager we have upcoming shows in MO, ND, WI, FL, and IL! www.crankshaftmusic.com
I should also mention that after five years of managing my own booking schedule next Sunday, February 23rd will mark the last show that I booked on my own. It's been a long road, literally starting on the street playing for tips at the Anoka Car Show, to now having a repretiable management company behind me, what a trip! I'm looking forward to working with Hello Booking, and I'm flattered to be on the same roster as Charlie Parr, the Gear Daddies, and Lucy Michelle!
Thanks for the continued support everybody! Alex
I hope you had a great new years eve, Rachel and I hung out at Magillycuddy's and watched Kevin and Tony play, it was nice to see some of you there, what a great night! Below is my 2013 year in review, thanks for all the support this year! For the next couple months I'll be playing exclusively at Magillycuddy's in Anoka (1st and Jackson St.) every Sunday starting at 6pm, hope to see you! In a couple weeks I'll be releasing my spring tour schedule on www.crankshaftmusic.com including dates in Chicago, Kansas City, Grand Forks, Fort Dodge, plus more!
Crankshaft & Gear Grinders finished in the semi-finals at International Blues Challenge.
An interview with Crankshaft was featured on Minnesota Original (MN PBS).
A story on the new album "What You Gonna Do?" was featured in the Star Tribune.
"What You Gonna Do?" was released on vinyl and CD at Famous Dave's Uptown.
"WYGD?" hit the Americana Music Association Top 100, where it remained for 10 weeks.
Production started for the music video "Waiting for Me."
For the first time, a Crankshaft song started getting daytime airplay on 89.3 The Current.
Production started for the music video "Kingpin."
89.3 The Current featured "Boomtown" as song of the day on May 24.
Celebrated my golden birthday with over 300 friends dancing on 2nd ave. in Anoka.
A guerrilla-style one man band performance at Back To The Fifties on June 22.
Production started for the music video "Fill It Up."
"What You Gonna Do?" made top 25 on the Euro-Americana Chart.
Andrea Swensson featured Crankshaft on The Current's Blog:
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders played at the Bayfront Blues Festival, and according to the festival coordinators it was "the largest crowd ever" to gather in the acoustic tent.
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders were featured on the index page of ReverbNation.com.
C&TGGs preformed at the Harley Davidson 110th birthday bash in Port Washington, WI.
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders opened for Dillinger Four at Surly Brewing's Festival.
Three new music videos were released at Famous Dave's in Uptown.
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders performed at the MN State Fair on Heritage Stage.
Crankshaft was added to Hello! Booking's roster (Charlie Parr, G.B. Leighton).
Crankshaft's canned food drive raised $2,400, plus over a quarter of a ton of food!
The new music videos were released to YouTube:
A new limited edition live CD titled "Boogie Melt" was released at Famous Dave's Uptown.
Music video "Fill It Up" received over 10k views on YouTube in less than one month.
"What You Gonna Do?" - Top 10 local releases of the year - 89.3 The Current.
"WYGD?" - Top 89 albums of 2013 - 89.3 The Current.
"WYGD?" - 7 Best Minnesota Albums of the Year on MusicThatIsn'tBad.com
"WYGD?" - Hymie's Records Top Ten Releases of 2013.
Song "Boomtown" - Top 89 songs of 2013 - 89.3 The Current.
And I have a feeling that more big things will happen for Crankshaft in the future! I plan on releasing the first of the Pork Neck EPs in 2014, as well as a new music video for that release. Three of the five songs have been written and I'm really pleased with how they've turned out!
During January and February you'll find me at Magillycuddy's in Anoka every Sunday from 6pm to 9pm. I hope you have a wonderful 2014, thanks again for the continued support!
Hello, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I had a very exciting one, I uploaded all of my music videos to YouTube! If you have a minute, please check them out
Last night we blew our $1,600 goal out of the water with a total of $2,400 raised for Second Harvest Heartland and the Anoka Food Shelf! Thanks so much for coming out to Magillycuddy's to show your support for such a good cause! We're not sure how much food we collected, once it's weighed I'll make a news update on http://crankshaftmusic.com I can say, the Crankshaft van is very full of food!
I'll be releasing a new limited edition CD on December 14th called "Boogie Melt" a live album that was recorded with a giant 13 piece rhythm section! I'm only pressing 1,000 copies, it will not be released to Itunes, and will not be repressed. Hope to see you at Famous Dave's in Uptown! My friends The Fattenin' Frogs, and Kevin James & Tony Comeau, will also be releasing new albums on that night, so this will be a triple release party!
Have a great holiday season everyone, I'll be scaling my performances back in January and February to focus on finishing the upstairs of my home, during that time you can find me exclusively at Magillycuddy's every Sunday from 6-9pm (no cover).
Thanks for your continued support! - Crankshaft!
Hello everyone! This is an exciting month for me! Thanksgiving day will mark the world wide release of my new music videos on YouTube! I can't wait to share them on the internet with out of state family and fans that were unable to make it to the release party, yeah!
The night before Thanksgiving I'll be hosting a canned food drive at Magillycuddy's in Anoka, it's a $10 donation at the door, or $5 if you bring a canned or dry food item. 100% of the money collected will be donated to Second Harvest Heartland, for every $5 raised Second Harvest Heartland will be able to provide 18 meals for the hungry.
Since the last update I've been working on finishing up on the new live album "Boogie Melt." A collection of ten live tracks recorded with a giant rhythm section last February, a horn section, backup singers, piano, harmonica, the works! It will be released on December 14th at Famous Dave's in Calhoun Square. This will be a limited edition CD, only 1,000 copies will be released, and will not be available on any download site, get physical baby!
I've got a ton of fun shows coming up this month, I hope to see you soon! - Crankshaft
I have exciting news... I've been added to Hello Booking Agency's roster! I feel like this is a big step forward for me, with the booking and calendar management out of my hair I'll be able to focus on making more music and art, which is pretty much my favorite thing in the whole world! If you have a minute, check out Hello's website: www.hellobooking.com
The turnout for the music video release show was so incredible, thanks for coming out! If you missed the party don't fret, the videos will be released on Thanksgiving day! Until then we're giving away copies of them on DVD with purchase of any Crankshaft merchandise, anything goes, if you buy a bumper sticker for $1, we'll give you a DVD, that goes for internet sales too!
Hope things are well for you, and I hope to see you at a show soon! - Crankshaft.
Hello folks! All three of the music videos that I produced, directed, and edited are complete! They're being sent to get pressed onto DVDs tomorrow, and will be ready by the big release at Famous Dave's in Uptown on Saturday the 21st. Thanks so much to everyone that helped out with their production, I couldn't have done it without you! We're also releasing a new T-shirt design on the 21st, featuring an image of Crankshaft standing on top of Cowboy Mel's Cadillac!
The release party lands almost exactly on the one year anniversary of the fan supported Artist Signal win, I'm giving everyone through the door a free DVD copy of the music videos as a thank you gift! You'll get to watch and own the videos eight weeks before their release onto YouTube Thanksgiving Day! The trailer is below:
Thank you again for your voting, there's no way I would have been able to justify such a large investment in these promo videos without the boost that I received from the Artist Signal prize money! I hope to see you on the 21st, if you'd like to attend please RSVP below, thanks! Alex
Our new album "What You Gonna Do?" is continuing to show success in the Euro-Americana chart, this month coming in at #17! This is so great, I can't hardly believe it! To make things even better, ReverbNation.com has made us one of this months featured artists!
Last week we did a bunch of filming for the Fill It Up music video, you might have seen us driving around Anoka in a 1975 midnight blue Cadillac with a giant water buffalo skull strapped to the front! Look forward to the release of that video, plus two others on September 21st at Famous Dave's in Uptown, if you'd like to RSVP to the event via Facebook, the link is below.
We have a ton of shows this month, hope to see you soon!
We have very big news this month, our new album made the top 25 chart for Americana Music in Europe! I hope we can get a European booker to set us up with a tour! http://euroamericanachart.eu/
I'm editing the Kingpin music video and starting to put the pieces together to film the video for the song Fill It Up, we just purchased a 1975 Cadillac Eldorado that we'll be filling with cement! I'm so excited to do this I can't even wait! The triple music video release party has been booked for September 21st , a no cover charge show at Famous Dave's in Uptown. This show lands almost exactly on the one year anniversary of the Artist Signal countdown party! We'll be releasing Waiting for Me, Kingpin, and Fill It Up that night, everyone through the door will get a free DVD copy of the videos, you'll want to make it because the videos won't be released to YouTube until Thanksgiving. So mark your calenders now, some folks have already called to reserve tables!
The first pressing of Junkyard Rhythm is almost sold out, if you'd like to get a hand-numbered copy act now, there are only about 200 left. Copies are available at any Crankshaft show or online at: CrankshaftMusic.com.
Yep, it's true, I'm leaving my 20's at the end of this month, and I'm planning on going out with a bang!
I hope you'll all join me for my 30th birthday party on Sunday, June 30th (it's my golden birthday!) from 2-6pm on 2nd Avenue in Downtown Anoka. Kevin James will be opening the show at 2pm followed by a Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders performance. This is a free street party, and all ages are welcome! The shops on second avenue all chipped in to host this party, please show your support. Downtown Anoka has been struggling over the course of the last decade, let's all band together to help this old river town sustain.
We finished filming the Kingpin music video a couple weeks ago, I'm really happy with how the footage turned out, I'll be spending the next couple weeks editing it all together. I'm planning a triple music video release party on September 21st at Famous Dave's, landing almost exactly on the one year anniversary of the Artist Signal countdown party!
So, this is gonna be one busy summer! Plans have been set into motion to film a music video for the song Kingpin this month, Tea Simson of L'Assassins will be playing the female role, and Joe Lamon will be playing the male role. My long time hero Ric Hollister of Jack Knife and the Sharps will be playing a cameo part in this film as well! The video will be released in September along with two others, Waiting For Me and Fill It Up, landing almost exactly on the one year anniversary of the Artist Signal countdown party! I'm super excited, for the first time ever I'll be producing, directing, and editing all three of these videos, giving me a creative funnel, which will be awesome. Waiting For Me is nearly finished and I'm really pleased with how it's turned out.
This is the 10th consecutive week that the new album has been in the AMA Top 100. "What You Gonna Do?" peaked at #62 in the early part of April, and has been bouncing around in the 70's the last couple weeks. We're starting a European Americana campaign for radio in the next week or two, hopefully we can hit top 40 for that chart! KEXP 90.3FM in Seattle added our new album to their library, I'm not sure if they've played it yet but it would be great if they did, as they are one of the country's largest indie radio stations, if you have a minute please send them a request, thanks! We've had a ton of local support from radio as well, 89.3 the Current (Minneapolis), KVSC 88.5 (St.Cloud), KFAI 90.3 (Minneapolis), KUMD 103.3 (Duluth), KMSU 89.7 (Mankato), KQAL 89.5 (Winona), Northern Community Radio (north-central Minnesota), Pioneer 90.1 (Thief River Falls), and Rockin' 101 (St. Cloud, MN) have added the album or specific songs from the album to their playlists!
March was a great month! Our new album hit the top 100 at AMA (Americana Music Association) starting at #93 on March 6th, and it's continuing to climb, this week at #77! This month also marks the first ever regular play on 89.3 The Current, so THANK YOU SO MUCH for requesting! We've been getting a lot traction with press as well, Emily Buss did an in depth review of it on her blog, On The Rechord, check it out if you have a minute: OnTheRechord.com
We've received so much great feedback from fans and press related to the new song Waiting For Me, that I decided produce a video for it. Rachel and I started capturing footage a few weeks ago, and it's coming along nicely. This will be the first Crankshaft video that I directed, and edited. I plan on directing and editing two more this summer. I attached video stills from Waiting For Me to this message, look forward to it's release in the early fall!
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders signed up for a chance to play at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013. This would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for us, please take a minute to "Add Your Support." It's easy, all you need is a valid email address. The more people that support, and play tunes on our profile, the higher our score goes up. You can support as often as you wish to. The rules state that only the top 100 bands will be considered by a panel. I think this is possible, please help spread the word!
We've managed to stay on KVSC 's top 30 for four weeks now, during the first week of February it was #1! We're just barely hanging on now at #28, if you live inside the 88.1 broadcast range please call in and request your favorite track from "What You Gonna Do?" 320-308-5872 . We've also been getting play on the 89.3 The Current 's Local Show, the track Boomtown has been added to their catalog, now DJs are allowed to play this track, please call in and request it as well, 651-989-4893 .
During the next month I'll be doing my one man band show every Tuesday night at the 331 Club, hope to see you!
Thanks for your continued support! - Crankshaft.
I've had a really exciting month, we just got home from the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, where Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders completed the contest in the semifinal round. We had an amazing time, thanks to all the Minnesotans that came down to support us during our three different performances on Beale Street! Be sure to check out the photo blog that Rachel did for the tour, the pictures turned out great and can be found here: http://www.trixielongstocking. com/category/crankshaft/ . Thanks so much for the support and good luck wishes while we were gone!
Rift Magazine, Bman's Blues Report, and Schwindy's Indie Music Spotlight all posted reviews for "What You Gonna Do?" this week, the album hit itunes and AmazonMusic yesterday and will be released on CD and vinyl this Saturday at Famous Dave's in Uptown. Last Wednesday St. Cloud's 88.1 FM played the entire album from front to back during their blues program, how cool is that?! Thanks to the ArtistSignal money, the album is being promoted by Pete Knapp and Co., voted Americana Promoter of the year in 2012. I'm super excited to see how the album will do on the national Americana Top 40 Chart!
I literally just received confirmation from the associate producer of Minnesota Original that Crankshaft will be featured next Sunday, February 17, at 6pm and at 10pm, on TPT channel 2! I'll also be doing a live Twitter chat while the feature is being aired, I can be found at Twitter.com/crankshaftmusic - I'm so flattered and excited to be a part of this program, I've been looking forward to this for a long time! Thanks Brittany S.!
Hello Folks! 2012 proved to be a busy, successful year for me and a year of many firsts, including two performances on the KARE 11 (MN-NBC) morning show, a performance at the sold-out First Avenue main room, and a major internet voting contest win that granted me 25k to use to further my career. Most of my energy was spent producing a new album which will be released on February 9th at Famous Dave's in Uptown (Minneapolis, MN). The album features 12 new original songs and can be previewed in its entirety here: https://soundcloud.com/ crankshaft-1/sets/what-you- gonna-do I'm planning on releasing three new music videos from this album in 2013, I'm really excited to execute the ideas that I have brewing for them! Early in 2013 TPT channel 2 will be featuring Crankshaft on Minnesota Original, I'm incredibly flattered that they chose me to be a part of their show and will keep you all updated on the air time! Thanks for the support across the past few years, I hope 2013 is great for everyone! Alex.
January - Crankshaft was mentioned in the Minneapolis Star Tribune for the first time
February - Crankshaft was featured in the Artist Spotlight
in Dig in Magazine out of San Franciso, CA
March - "327" was featured as a bumper track on NPR's Car Talk
- Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders won the Famous Dave's Battle of the Blues Bands
- Won the Road to Memphis Challenge in both the solo and the band categories and will be representing Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge in 2013
May - Plans were set in motion to record the album "What You Gonna Do?" in a barn built in 1914, the space was cleaned out and wired for power
June - All of the instrumentation for the album was recorded and the music video Earthquake Shake was shot in the barn between June 1st and 8th
- - Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders were featured on KARE 11 morning show (MN - NBC)
July - Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders opened for Soul Asylum at the First Avenue main room
August - Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders performed at the Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth, MN
- - Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders were featured on KARE 11 morning show again! (MN - NBC)
- - Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders opened for Bret Michaels at the Pour House in Minneapolis
- - Crankshaft (solo) performed at the Minnesota State Fair
September - Crankshaft won the first place $25k purse in an internet voting contest held by ArtistSignal for unsigned bands
- - Crankshaft (solo) started a 27 day 4,000 mile tour around the eastern United States
- - Crankshaft was featured in the Anoka County Union's Art section
December - Crankshaft's Second Annual Canned Food Drive raised $860 and 249 lbs of food for Second Harvest Heartland
I have great news, the upcoming album "What you Gonna Do?" is totally finished! I can't explain how good it feels to have my name attached to the final project. It sounds amazing! I'm very lucky to have been graced by the company of the many talented Minneapolis musicians that played on the album, and most importantly to have had the support and patience of my studio engineer and lifelong friend Trent Urness. The artwork and the audio have been submitted to both the CD pressing plant and the vinyl pressing plant and will be finished for the release on February 9th at Famous Dave's in Uptown. This is the first album of mine to be pressed on 12" vinyl! This will also be the first CD to include lyrics and liner notes in a 20-panel booklet. One of the singles, "When the Sun Goes Down" can already be requested on 89.3 the Current. Louisiana Bayou Santa is on their playlist as well, please call in and request some Crankshaft! 651-989-4893 .
Rachel and I made it home safe from the 26-day one-man band tour around the east side of the country! With the exception of having to replace the front brakes, calipers and rotors in Richmond, VA and a broken mirror in St. Louis, the fan-funded 1986 Toyota Travel Master made it back too! We met lots of nice people and I got to play a bunch of very fun shows to new audiences. Once again the kindness we encountered from strangers was humbling and awesome! I hope you can make it to the homecoming show this Saturday at MaGillycuddy's! Recently The Earthquake Shake music video that we shot in the barn was uploaded to YouTube and is available to view at http://youtu.be/HKFjdB9Evkk . Enjoy! This month I'll be wrapping up loose ends on the upcoming album, and I'm excited to announce that this will be the first of my albums to be released on 12" VINYL! Hope to see you at a show soon! -Crankshaft!
With only 9 days left in the Artist Signal ( www.artistsignal.com/crankshaftmusic ) contest, I'm asking everyone to vote for Crankshaft as many times as they can, we're trying to maintain FIRST PLACE! Randy Burk is in second place and is trending more votes per day than us with just a small margin of votes between. Please help spread the news about voting to everyone you know! If you love coming out to Crankshaft shows, if you like the albums that I've released, or if you enjoy the music videos that I've produced, PLEASE VOTE! Winning this $25,000 would really help me out, I'm hoping to use it to produce three big-budget music videos, and also use a portion of this money to hire a national publicist to pitch my next album to major review publications like Rolling Stone, Spin, Mojo, and NPR. Please take a minute to register, it's free to do so and it could potentially change my life. Thanks for your support! www.artistsignal.com/ crankshaftmusic
So, we're in the 30-day countdown for the ArtistSignal contest that I signed up for. I need your help with this now, for real! We're in a heated race to maintain FIRST PLACE!! I really need all my fans to vote as often as they can, because $25,000 is on the line! Please help spread the news to others, many Crankshaft fans are disconnected from the social networking sites and possibly this email list too. The voting countdown party will be on September 7th at Patrick's Cabaret, hope you can make it! Thanks so much for voting!
In case you haven't heard, Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders got to open for Soul Asylum at First Avenue on July 20th! It was my first ever time playing the main room, what a blast! There are some photos from that night on my website www.crankshaftmusic.com, check 'em out if you get a chance. A video of my Weber's Deck exit surfaced on YouTube recently too, http://youtu.be/iX3g1R-wO7U. And don't forget about the Earthquake Shake Music Video/Crankshaft Sampler Volume One CD release party on August 24th at Cause. Come out and see if you made the final edit and get a free copy of the sampler, which includes two new tracks! Thanks for your support, I hope you're having a great summer!
Hope you're enjoying the summer!
I signed up for a contest to win $25k through a site called Artist Signal, it is a simple popularity contest. Artist Signal lets any artist or band create a profile where fans can vote for them every hour on the hour, and after 90 days whoever gets the most votes will win $25k! I've pledged to make three new big-budget music videos with the earnings. So please bookmark this page: https://artistsignal.com/crankshaftmusic and vote as often as you can! Tell your friends to vote, tell your parents to vote, tell the neighbor kids with their newfangled fancy phones to vote, tell your mailman to vote, tell the cashier at your grocery store to vote, tell the dude you normally try to avoid to vote, tell that one person whose name you can never remember to vote, show your grandparents how to use the internet and only teach them how to vote, tell your dealer to vote, tell your best friend's new significant other who you can't stand to vote, guilt your mechanic to vote before you agree to pay, tell your best friend that if they agree to vote you will buy them a beer at the next Crankshaft show that they attend, tell your landlord that you will not be late on rent for the rest of the year if they vote! Tell you what, if you vote a few times per day for the next couple months, you'll be helping me win $25k, then you'll get to enjoy three new Crankshaft music videos, deal?! ... Hope to see you at a show, thanks for your support! Alex.
I feel that it's necessary to explain to you what Weber's Deck is (the show listing below this). Four years ago, Casey Weber decided that he wanted to start doing Sunday concerts in his backyard, so he literally removed one of the railings on his deck and made it a stage. The idea is simple: ask a few bands to come play and the people will come to listen, and they definitely have. I was talking to Casey on the phone a few weeks ago and he mentioned that his last year's final show drew more then 1,200 people! Again, I feel it's necessary to reiterate, there were over 1,200 people listening and dancing to music in Casey Weber's backyard! This is just four years after he started hosting shows! This is a very cool DIY approach to having a music venue, it's very old school American in it's attitude, and that's what I love about it! This is a volunteer-run event and all of the bands get paid equally from donations made by the crowd. So, bring a lawn chair, a cooler, a few bucks for the band, and your tired soul to Weber's Deck, you will leave there feeling better than when you came, and you can't beat that on a Sunday!
Well, the last couple weeks have proven to be the craziest for me since I started Crankshaft back in '08! I started preparing to record my new album in a barn hayloft back in the early part of May, which took a ton of work. We cleaned out the entire room of excess building materials and cleaned up about four decades of pigeon crap off the floor, we built a stairway going up to the loft from the outside, and I wired the barn for lights and outlets. We also improved the structure so that it could support the all people that came out to be a part of the music video we filmed to promote the fact that we recorded an entire album in a hayloft! Between the 1st and the 5th of this month we finished recording all of the instrumentation tracks, and the drums, guitar, and upright bass were all tracked live too! I'll be recording vocal tracks on an old school RCA D77 ribbon microphone that Kare 11 is lending to me as soon as I have some spare time to do so. On Friday over 130 people attended the filming party! Almost everyone dressed up too and damn, there were some sharp-dressed folks in that barn! I have to throw out a special thanks to my Mom, Dad, Tom, and Rachel for their support at the event as well as during the recording process, I know I couldn't have done it without them! Also, a big thanks to Jason Langseth for letting me us his barn for this project! I'm planning on throwing a music video release party in August, and the same night I'll be releasing a Crankshaft Sampler CD that will include two of the songs from the new release! Wooo! This will be my new "Sold by donation" release, I'll be featuring two songs from each of my releases on it to bring with me to the International Blues Competition in Memphis. The sources I've found on the web tell me that this runs from January 29th to February 2nd, 2013, for those of you that have asked. Thanks for your support everyone, I hope to see you at a show soon! Cranky.
Woah, what a crazy month! On April 11 I left Minnesota to travel to the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi. My dad was my copilot, and it was great to have him along for company and to help fix the motor home when things went wrong. Despite the front brakes, the alternator, and one of the belts failing, we managed to get to all of our performance obligations!
I flew home from Memphis on Sunday April 15, the morning of the final battle of the blues bands competition at Famous Dave's. My dad started driving the camper home the night before and somehow made it back to Minneapolis with time to spare before we took the stage! There was stiff competition that night, but Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders took first place! Huge thanks to all my fans and family for coming out to support us!
The following weekend, both Crankshaft and Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders competed in the Minnesota Blues Society's annual Road to Memphis Challenge. There was a band category and a solo/duo act category and I decided to enter both to have a better chance of winning one of them. When they read the results at the end of the night, I was honored and amazed to find that Crankshaft had won in both categories!!! We earned the chance to compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in February 2013. I decided to take the band with me to Memphis and let the runner up in the solo/duo act have my slot because the IBC rules say that you can only compete in one category there. There will be plenty of MN Blues Society events between now and then to try and raise some money for the trip down to Memphis.
On top of those big wins, I have been playing like crazy and trying to coordinate the recording of my next album, which will be recorded in the hay loft of an old wooden barn in St. Francis early in June. Pete Hennig and Keith Boyles will be the rhythm section for the recording along with special guests Bruce McCabe (of Johnny Lang and Lamont Cranston, also recorded on Junkyard Rhythm) and Zach Lozere (of the Jack Brass band) will be a couple of the many guest musicians. Be sure to mark your calendars, on June 8th we'll be filming a music new music video at the same location! It is going to be a black tie optional event, so please dress your best! More details and a reminder will be included in the June update, but you can join the event on Facebook right now
In less than a week I'll be traveling down to the heart of the Mississippi Delta to a town called Clarksdale to perform as a one-man band at the Juke Joint Festival! This is the town where highways 61 and 59 meet to make the famous "crossroads" where legend has it that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his lightning fast guitar skills. To my knowledge I'll be the only Minnesota musician booked down there, so this is definitely an honor for me!
Last Sunday Keith and I advanced to the final round of Famous Dave's Battle of the Blues Bands, which just happens to land on the same weekend as the Juke Joint Festival! This has created some crazy logistics for me and my family. This is what we came up with: My dad agreed to drive down to Clarksdale, MS, with me for the festival during Friday and Saturday. Then on Sunday morning he's going to drop me off at the Memphis airport, and I'm going to fly back to Minneapolis, while he drives the camper back home. When I land, my mom is going to pick me up at the airport and literally bring me straight to Dave's to compete at the final Battle! Yes, it will be a marathon, but hopefully it will be a worthwhile one. I'm pretty confident that my band and I can win!
I've also set a plan in motion to record another full length album! We'll be recording the guitar, upright bass, and drum tracks live during the first week of June in a early 1900's wood barn about 40 minutes northwest of Minneapolis. This will be the first album that I'll be hiring a national publicist for too! I'm aiming for a November or December release. Last weekend "327" was played on NPR's Car Talk as a bumper track. This is the second song from the album Junkyard Rhythm that they've played in the last three months! The next album is going to blow the last out of the water in both writing and song arrangement, so I'm pretty excited to see what kind of momentum it will create if songs from Junkyard Rhythm are getting national play! I hope you've been well, 'til next time, keep the knob cranked!
Hey everybody! After a two-month hiatus I'm back in full tilt boogie mode, and I've got some great news... Keith and I advanced to the semi-finals at the Famous Dave's Battle of the Blues Bands! Mark your calendars, the next round will be April 1st! We had a crazy good turnout the last time that we played down there, I hope you can make it out again! If not I hope to see you at one of these shows!
I hope you've been enjoying this crazy mild winter, I sure have been! I've got some fun shows booked for February and March including a battle of the bands at Famous Dave's the last Sunday of the month. Hope you can make it out, the best part is it's FREE and ALL AGES! I've also got a bunch of great guest musicians lined up this month for my Thursday night residency, including Scott "Frenchy" Fremont, Keith Boyles, and "Hye Pockets" Robertson; who played all over the world backing up Luther Allison! Frenchy will be moving to Los Angeles, CA in April so these will be his last few shows as a Gear Grinder, help send him off right! Thanks for your continued support... Turn it up and BOOGIE DOWN!
I hope you all have a great New Year! I thought it would be fun to do a 2011 Crankshaft year end review, here goes:
Finished recording the album "Junkyard Rhythm" after four months of collaboration with 14 local musicians.
Finished the album cover art for the new release.
Threw a CD listening party where Crankshaft fans chose three singles for the radio promotion campaign.
Directed and co-shot the music video "Neighbor Boys," one of the singles chosen from the new CD.
Pressed 2000 copies of "Junkyard Rhythm," as well as 250 promo copies.
Mailed over 100 copies of the new album to college and independent radio stations nationwide.
Released "Junkyard Rhythm" at Lee's Liquor Lounge, and despite tornado warnings, I-94 being closed downtown, and competition from Art-A-Whirl that weekend, over 150 people attended!
Junkyard received play on over 25 FM radio stations nationwide.
Started booking a 30-day national tour.
Recorded every Sunday show during this month for a new CD, "Lubricated, Live, and Loud."
Crankshaft fans raised nearly $4,000 towards a national tour bus at CRANKFEST!
Ran a request bomb 89.3 The Current campaign.
The single "Neighbor Boys" was featured on The Local Show on 89.3 The Current! Yes, it worked... don't try this at home.
Left MN on a 26-show national tour!
Opened for Bob Log III in Chicago, IL.
Met Cy Taggart and John L. Venable, who was a road manager for Atlantic signed bands for 20+ years in Richmond, VA.
Played with Nick Savage in Gainesville, Florida (Bo Diddley's Sax Player from '88 to '08)
Met Red Morgan, who is a staple in the New Orleans Jazz community.
Released the limited edition "Lubricated, Live, and Loud" CD (500 pressed).
Wrote, recorded, mastered, and released the single "Louisiana Bayou Santa."
"Louisiana Bayou Santa" was played on 90.3 KFAI, 88.1 KVSC, 89.3 The Current, and it received over 700 plays on SoundCloud!
"Motorcycle Woman" was used as a bumper track on NPR's Car Talk, this was our first ever nationally syndicated play!
Ran a canned food drive that earned $222 for the Anoka Food Shelf plus a boatload of food.
Played my last Sunday show at the River City Saloon (and last show of 2011), thanks for the awesome year and a half we had together there!
What's in store for 2012? I have a new house gig at the Eagles Nest Lounge in Robbinsdale (4106 Lakeland Ave N--on the corner of 41st and W Broadway), I will be playing there every Thursday at 8:30pm starting January 5th. A lot of folks are wondering if I'll be playing any shows in the Anoka area and I can assure you that I will! Tanner's in Andover has picked me up on a 6-week rotation starting in March! I will continue to play some out-of-state events in the coming months as well. In April I will be going to Clarksdale, MS, to play and hopefully make some good national connections at the Juke Joint Festival. Locally I'm booked for Rumble Fest in Amherst, WI this summer as well as the Bayfront Blues Fest in Duluth. There are a few monumental things that I'm working on as far as booking goes too (I'm talking overseas!), but nothing is solid yet. I do plan on recording another album this year, I'm not sure if the release will be in 2012 or 2013 though, that depends on how many copies of Junkyard Rhythm are left come the end of summer. I can say, if 2012 is even half as productive as 2011, you can look forward to a bunch of awesome music and art from Crankshaft in the year ahead! Thanks again for all your support this year, I hope you have a great 2012!
Just sending you an update to let you all know that this Sunday will be my last at the River City Saloon. I've had an excellent year and a half run there. Thanks for all the unbelievably fun shows! The energy and the motivation you have all given me is appreciated so much! Unfortunately, and after months of consideration, I have realized that it is necessary to make a move closer to the city. Mainly because I've had a hard time getting attention from the press and the larger radio stations in Minneapolis/St.Paul. This was confirmed again this morning when a writer that contacted me a few days ago pitched the Canned Food Drive that I'm running this Sunday at the River City Saloon to his editor as a possible feature story and it was turned down, and I quote, "Mainly because it's outside the Twin Cities." This being said, my new residency will be Thursday nights at the Eagle's Nest Lounge (connected to Broadway Pizza) on the corner of 41st and West Broadway, which halfway between downtown Minneapolis and Anoka! Please come out to the opening show Thursday January 5th and BOOGIE with me! I stopped by there a few weeks ago to scope the place out and it has mad style, beach cruisers, vintage beer signs, barn steel, pool tables, hot rod art, and even a painting of Robert Johnson on the wall! I think you will dig the place for sure! The shows there will be NO COVER and will start at 8:30pm. Thanks so much for your support this month, don't forget to share the free download of "Louisiana Bayou Santa" with your friends! It will be available to download for free at www.crankshaftmusic.com until January 1st! Happy Holidays!
What if Santa ain't a polished and primped fat man, but instead a bad ass Cajun that does whatever he wants? After I got back from tour, there were only two things on my mind: good sleep and writing songs. "Louisiana Bayou Santa" is one of the tunes I wrote when I got back! During my stay in New Orleans we visited City Park where I was drawn to a statue featuring Santa and his sleigh being pulled by alligators instead of reindeer. That image inspired me to twist the folklore about Santa, making him a tough ass alligator catcher instead of the jolly St. Nick our parents and Coca-Cola told us about! Check out the song, you'll be entertained for sure! Please tell your friends that it will be free to download on www.crankshaftmusic.com starting on Friday! That's right, you get to hear it first! A short run (30 copy) 12"x19" poster, screen printed and illustrated by Dwitt will be released on Sunday, November 27th at my Sunday house gig at the River City Saloon in Anoka. The rough inking of it is attached. Try and make it to a show this month! Happy holidays!
Rachel, Trixie and I all made it home safe and sound. Thanks again for the awesomely reliable tour bus, we didn't have any major breakdowns during the 4,635 mile trip around the east side of the country! The tour was amazing, we met so many awesome people out on the road, some of them even got me gigs for the nights I would have had off or before/after the shows that I had scheduled already! We left with 21 shows booked and picked up five extras making the total 26 in 30 days. During the second week of the tour I got a voice mail message from Bo Diddley's sax player, Nick Savage! He said he likes to hideaway in the venue that I was scheduled to play in Gainesville, FL. He saw my flyer on the wall and checked out my music videos online and loved them! I called him back and asked him if he would be willing to sit in for part of my set and he said he would love to! So that was super awesome! We also met Bob Log III, Red Morgan, and John L. Venable (who was a road manager for Atlantic Records signed bands for 25+ years) - who helped us get two of the additional shows. We got tons of offers for us to come back to the places I played and also met folks that said they would help me get better gigs if I come back through. We sold over 200 CDs while we were gone too! All in all it was a great success in both of our minds, and we even still love each other! BONUS!
The home coming show is this Sunday at the River City Saloon, Hope you can make it! The Live At The River City Saloon CD (Limited edition - only 500 pressed) release party will be the following weekend, November 13th. Hope to see you at a show soon! Until then, keep boogiein'!
This week has been an insane week of running around with my head cut off! I tuned up the RV to make her road ready for the 4,500 mile tour, and now she's stuffed to the gills with Crankshaft merchandise, including the new Crankshaft bombing T-shirts! Across the past few weeks a bunch of people have asked us to keep them up to date about the tour so Rachel started a tour blog at http://www.leavinthistown.blogspot.com/, be sure to bookmark that page! Check out the dates below, if you have friends or family in the cities I'll be playing in please let them know! All of the events are also listed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/crankshaftmusic.
This week we also got the artwork done for the Live at the River City Saloon project and it was dropped off at Copycats CD Duplication! It's going to be a short run (500 copy) CD in a four panel digi-pack. The CD release will be Sunday, November 13th at the River City Saloon, hope you can make it! Thursday I uploaded a new live Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders music video to YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8sLPPR8Wu4, this was recorded at the Junkyard Rhythm CD release party at Lee's Liquor Lounge back in May. The full band just landed a pretty bad ass gig too, when we get back home we'll be playing during halftime at the North Star Roller Girls bout on Saturday, November 5th at The Convention Center! Their events usually draw between 1,500 and 2,500 people so I'm pretty sure that will be the biggest gig I've ever played! See you all in six weeks! Thanks for your support!
The request bombing was a success, Dave Campbell played the song Neighbor Boys Sunday August 20th during the Local Show on The Current! Thanks for requesting! This week Rachel and I are getting some photos together for the album art for the Live at the River City Saloon album which will be released on Sunday, November 13th. It will also mark the one-year anniversary of Crankshaft playing every Sunday at the River City! In other news, I'm almost sold out of Crankshaft T-shirts so if you like the screamin' design you better snatch one up, there are only 30 left (mostly mediums). I designed a new one that's inspired by the request bombing flyer and that should be printed within the next two weeks. The show this Friday at the River City Saloon will mark the 100th Crankshaft show of 2011! The first 25 fans through the door will get a free 11x17 Crankshaft poster illustrated by Tim Jewett of the Frankensteiners Car Club! The posters will also be for sale for $5 if you come later. If you can't make it to this show, I hope you can make it to one before I leave for tour at the end of the month. Have a great week and thanks for your continued support! CRANKSHAFT!
Crankfest is this Saturday at the River City Saloon in Anoka (201 Jackson St.) and it is going to be a blast! Crankfest is a beer bust fund-raiser to help me tour this fine nation in October! The day's events start with a motorcycle ride, leaving from the River City Saloon at 10 a.m. and going to the Roadhouse Tavern in Chisago, then a stop at Route 65 in East Bethel, and back to the River City around 2 p.m.. Registration for the ride starts at 9:00 am and is $15 (driver or passenger) which includes an all-you-can-drink beer wristband and 5 raffle tickets. If you don't want to ride, beer wristbands will be for sale for $10 and will also include the 5 free raffle tickets. Live music will start at 2:00 pm featuring Crankshaft and a ton of guest musicians including Mr. Mark Vetsch, Pat Nudd, Kirk Humbert, Keven "KP" James, Al & Carmen Mevissen, Jay Walter, Dan Schwalbe, Scott Kalpakoff, Jake Stevenson, Elmer "Danger" Johnston, Pete Henning and maybe more! There will be a Crankshaft look-alike contest, so come in a suit and you will get a prize! We're going to have a dunk tank too, so you can pay to dunk your favorite River City staff member or me! There will be a silent auction and raffle featuring gift baskets, gift certificates, and other goodies that have been generously donated by local businesses and lots of Crankshaft swag as well. And if you have a sweet tooth, stop by the bake sale, which will include the Red Hot cupcakes that were at the River City on the night of my birthday, brownies, pies, and a bunch of other delicious baked goods. Hope to see you there! Thanks for your continued support!
July - 2011
Today is my 28th birthday! So ... I'll be taking a break from shows this weekend including my Sunday house gig at the River City Saloon. June has proven to be another busy month, I recorded every Sunday gig I had this month at the River City Saloon for a live CD. The coolest part is that all of the recording was done on analog tape! A big thanks to everyone who came out to help make some noise for the recording! Rachel (my wife) and I also started booking a national tour this month and already have five dates confirmed starting September 28th in Eau Claire, WI where I'll be playing with 4OnTheFloor! Which brings me to my birthday wish: a camper for touring. This will be my first large-scale tour and I don't expect to make enough money to sleep in hotels every night across 30 days. So I started a Kickstarter fund raiser project to get some money raised for a camper. The project can be found here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1695414819/motor-home-fundraiser-for-a-national-crankshaft-to?ref=card I'm pretty sure if each of my friends and fans donated just a couple of dollars for my birthday, the project would be totally funded. Or you can donate more and choose a reward for your contribution. One of the backer rewards is the new album, Junkyard Rhythm, for $15 (which is the same price I'm selling it for on www.crankshaftmusic.com). Also available are T-shirts, limited edition posters, and one of a kind Crankshaft memorabilia (including the Rustbucket station wagon)! Mark and Holly from the River City Saloon are throwing me a beer bust called CRANKFEST on July 30, the day before the project ends, so hopefully the money raised there will bump the project over the top of the goal. Look for more details on CRANKFEST in the coming weeks on Facebook and my website, we have lots of fun things in the works! Rumor has it there may even be a Crankshaft dunk tank...
I've got a ton of shows this month, hope to see you at a few, at least at CRANKFEST! Thanks for your support! Cranky.
May proved to be a crazy busy month! Thanks to everyone who came out to the CD release party! The new CD Junkyard Rhythm is now availabe at Mr. Mark's Music, Cheapo, Electric Fetus, and Down In The Valley. If you prefer mp3s you can download the whole album on CD Baby, Itunes, or Amazon. As always the new album will be available at my shows now for $10. We finished the music video for Neighbor Boys which is one of the singles from the CD and posted it to YouTube on the 17th. Since then there have already been 940 views! Check it out and share it with your friends! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXB2AP1E6cI
I'm playing a ton this month including some shows with my backing band The Gear Grinders! Another fun thing...all of the Sundays at the River City Saloon this month will be recorded for a limited run live CD, so come out and make some noise! Thanks again for your continued support and I hope to see you soon! Crankshaft.
The CD release party for my new album Junkyard Rhythm is only two weeks away! I've been busier then a cat on a hot tin roof lately. I have new shirts, hoodies, and tank tops for sale at shows, and 2000 copies of the new CD in the basement just waiting to be released. I've also been doing lots of radio station call backs and Junkyard Rhythm is getting air play both locally and across the nation! On a more concerning note, I have had no luck getting onto the playlist on our local indie mega station 89.3 The Current. You would be doing me a huge favor by taking a minute to request Crankshaft and The Gear Grinders here: http://www.publicradio.org/ The more requests they get, the more likely they are to play your favorite song! Thanks! I'll be playing a ton of shows this month including every Sunday at the River City Saloon from 6-10 pm in downtown Anoka. Please check crankshaftmusic.com for the rest of the dates. Thanks for your continued support, hope you can make it to the release party and BOOGIE!
Well, the CD listening party was a success! The songs you chose for singles are The Curse, Neighbor Boys, and Solid Gone. I sent out promo CDs to 102 college/public radio stations on Friday including 88.1 KVSC, 90.3 KFAI, and 89.3 The Current. The three singles will be up for sale on Amazon and iTunes in about a week. Today I recorded two one-man band tracks for the local Robert Johnson Centennial Compilation that Chris Holm (4 On The Floor/Fattenin' Frogs) is producing and releasing on the SlabTown Label! I think I might've made Robert Johnson roll over in his grave today when I laid down Terraplane Blues, oh well. The release party for this comp will be May 7th at Palmer's Bar in Minneapolis. I'm also in the process of getting some shirts, tank tops, and hoodies printed with a new four color design, yes, FOUR COLORS! I should have them up for sale by the start of next month. My Sunday gig at the River City Saloon has switched to summer hours, now I play from 6-10pm, hope you can make it out! Thanks for your continued support! - Alex.
Got some great news, "Junkyard Rhythm" is totally finished! It has been mastered by Greg Reierson and is waiting in line to be pressed in a 6 panel digi-pack by Copy Cats. The CD listening party will be at Avant Garden Coffee Shop in Downtown Anoka Friday, March 18th between 6-8pm. Come out to vote for your favorite song! The singles will be picked by the Crankshaft fans that make it to the listening party for the NATION WIDE independent/collage radio release. The radio release will be mailed by April 1st, so you should be hearing Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders on the radio soon! The CD release party is booked for Saturday May 21st at Lee's Liquor Lounge, put it on your calender! It will be the first time I'll be backed on stage by a full bad... BOOGIE! In the mean time get your ass to a show! Thanks for your continued support - Cranky.
The new album is done being recorded! The recording engineer (Trent Urness) did a phenomenal job blending the 14 guest musicians different approaches and styles. I will be sending the album off to the record mastering company today, they should be finished with it by the 10th of the month if everything goes as planned. In the mean time I will be working on the album art with my wife Rachel for the next couple weeks. She and I have decided to push the release date for the album to May so there will be enough time to get some local radio play and press reviews before the CD release party. So in the mean time you will have to settle with a live show to hear the new tunes!
January is going to be a light month for me locally because I will be going on a seven day tour to New Orleans with my brother, so unfortunately I will not be playing at the River City Saloon Sunday the 9th. When get back from tour I'm going to focus on finishing the mixing on the new album and getting the art work together. I should have a solid idea of when the CD release party will be by the time I send out the February News email SO THAT IS EXCITING RIGHT?! Hope to see you at The River City Saloon this Sunday, it is usually standing room only by 6pm so if you want a good seat come early! I hope you have a great 2011, I know I'm going to!