bryan lubeck
by Bonnie Schendell

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Bryan Lubeck is a finger- style guitarist known for lighting up the stage with his flamenco grooves and high power sound.   Invited to perform as an up and coming artist at the 2010 American Smooth Jazz Awards, in Chicago, Bryan has commanded standing ovations at many of his performances.  Bryan is a former Microsoft marketing executive, and clearly understands the value of branding and marketing his music, and knows exactly how to do it.

SmoothViews (SV):  Bryan, I like to start by asking about the instrument that you play, and why that instrument was chosen.  Was the guitar the first instrument that you played?
Bryan Lubeck (BL):  Yes, it was.  My mother bought the guitar. We traveled around a lot, but I always remember that the guitar was under the bed, and I remember having the original guitar pick.  We finally settled down when I was in first for second grade when we moved in with my grandmother.  My grandmother set me up with a lady who played the guitar, as well as many other instruments.  Even at nine or ten, I remember creating my own tunes.  I even learned how to make my own set lists.

(SV): When did you actually start recording music?
(BL): Well, I was probably about twelve, and my teacher knew I was bored, because I didn’t like to practice.  She brought me several kinds of music books, but I was really hooked when she brought me popular music to practice.  So, I had two cassette recorders.  I took my guitar in the shower (yes, in the shower) and I would record the rhythm.  Then I would play back the rhythm and play the lead, and record them both on the other.  I had my own little recording studio and didn’t even know it.  Yes, most people sing in the shower.  I took my guitar in the shower.

(SV): I know that you traveled a lot while you were at Ball State University.  Was this the time in your life when you got the bug to perform?
(BL): I actually traveled with the University Singers for about four years.  The University Singers were one of the tops in the country—it was a song and dance group.  We performed at Disney World and other locations.  Not only did we sing & dance, it allowed me to be featured as a guitarist.  It was a type of variety show.  It was when I was about twenty years old, when I played in a summer stock musical in Stevensville, Michigan.  One of my friends introduced me to Dave Carlock, who at about sixteen, had his own recording studio.  I learned a lot about recording, and of course, found that quite interesting.  As it turns out, Dave recently won a Grammy for his technical ability.

(SV): So, now you have all of this experience on stage and traveling.  What made you decide to take a chance to go out and perform on your own?
(BL): Well, I had all of this music that I had written over the years, (none of it was instrumental) and I decided to get a band together and perform.  I booked us in at a little place called The Box Factory, in St. Joseph, MI.  As luck would have it, we had a standing room only crowd.  Soon after, I received a call from Gayle Olson, who had been at the Box Factory show.  He had a successful radio station and was starting a smooth jazz concert (Smooth Jazz at Sunset) on the shores of Lake Michigan.  He told me that he had booked in Craig Chiquico, and was looking for an opener for him.  I thought that he was calling to see if I knew of anyone, but it turned out that he wanted me.  I was shocked!  I was invited back to open for Richard Elliot the following year.  I knew that I had no music to sell, so I headed to the recording studio, with some of the best musicians that I knew.  That cd was Acoustic Vineyard, and had a very mellow flamenco influence.  That night was magic.  After we finished out set, we had a standing ovation, and no preparation for an encore.  After my performance at the Elliot show, I stood at the cd signing tent and sold and signed cds well after Elliot had finished his set.  I think I sold about 180 CDs that night.  I think it was at that point that I knew something was happening.

(SV): Bryan, you hooked up with Johannes Linstead and Tomas Michaud, back in 2006, and recorded a Christmas cd that sold thousands upon thousands of copies.  I understand that you received a note from Rick O’Dell, one of the top radio programmers in the U.S., telling you that We Three Strings was one of his Top 10 Christmas CDs of all time.
(BL): It was a shock and an honor to receive that message from Rick.  As you know, Rick is known all over the country, and was a radio personality and programmer for WNUA, the Chicago powerhouse smooth jazz station.  The cd, We Three Strings, was a tremendous commercial success.  Johannes, Tomas and I each contributed four songs for the cd.  We all play in the flamenco style, but we each have different influences.  We cut a deal with Hobby Lobby, and they, alone purchased 18 thousand copies.  The cd still sells well, and still gets radio play each holiday season.
(SV): You have had the good fortune to travel and perform internationally.  What countries do you find are playing Bryan Lubeck?
(BL): I’m getting radio play in the UK, Sweden, Australia and Spain.

(SV): A little bit about your new CD Tuscan Sky.
(BL): Tuscan Sky is part of the evolution in my music.  I started out with Acoustic Vineyard, which is  “grab a bottle of wine and relax on the deck.”  With Vineyard Groove, I added some urban sound.  It is a “put the top down and cruise though the vineyard.”  Tuscan Sky takes you there.  It was incredible working with all of these fine musicians.  All the artists pulled together to give the fantastic sound that is on the cd.  Working with Jim Peterik was awesome.  He is so kind and so brilliant.  He put a new twist on a song that I wrote years ago “Raining Through The Trees.”  We are now working on releasing the first single from Tuscan Sky.  “Sydney’s Way” will be released in June.

(SV): Bryan, it is always a pleasure to talk with you, and I wish you tremendous success for Tuscan Sky

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