The magical collaboration of many of Our Town's incomparable musicians has led our "Cherokee Troubador" Charlie Leissler to the release of his second CD, entitled "January Journey."
Leissler's newest offering, that will absolutely blow listeners away with its quality and meaningful compilation of memorable songs, piggybacks with the release of his CD producers' own new CD - "An Old Fashion Christmas" - by Dr. David and Judi Klee, owners of their own recording studio and founders and owners of "The Spice Rack" in downtown Cherokee.
Leissler says he's forever indebted to the Klees and their musical genius in helping him produce his new CD that was inspired by family and close friends, and his experiences in his beloved adopted hometown of Cherokee.
"I would not have been able to do this without David Klee's talent in recording, mixing, mastering and his keen musical ear," explained Leissler, adding that "It was a great honor that they asked me to play guitar on a couple of their tracks on their new CD.".
Following his first "Over The Dam " CD, Leissler began writing songs again. Each song carries its own special meaning of how it came to be.
In some cases, one song would lead to another and they were all very personal stuff, explained Leissler. With the exception of the song "Younger," most all of the songs were written from November 2011 through late spring of 2012.
"I would have put 'Younger' (1973) on "Over the Dam" but could not recall some of the words in the first verse until Steve Alingh (outstanding Cherokee keyboard talent) lent me his reel to reel machine and I finally found it on an old tape," said Leissler.
"Carry Me on This Journey" and "Rise Up" turned out to be praise songs following the fire at St. Paul's UMC and are simply amazing, memorable songs so enjoyable you keep playing them until you know the lyrics.
Charlie was contacted to put a song together for the Cherokee Yacht Club fundraiser and he composed "Spring Lake Park." Cherokee Gold, indeed.
"Love by the Minute" was written for a couple's wedding in the spring of 2011, and Charlie then wisely figured after 37 years of marriage that wife Marilyn should have a new song, "January Journey," an epic revelation of why some marriages last forever.
The "Book Vine" song is a fun one that just kind of happened. He was playing one day and sang, "Mollie can you find a book for me." It just came out that way. So he went there and started looking around at the building, bookcases, mezzanine, wine, etc. and came up with the lyrics that fit beautifully with Leissler's always enchanting melodies.
Laura Bernhardt from Storm Lake is an accomplished violinist and professor at Buena Vista University and accompanies Charlie on a couple tracks.. She is an accomplished musician, singer/song writer. Leissler said when he was composing them, he could "hear" violin parts on "The Fix" and "Wishing Bone" and he loves what Laura came up with.
Another accompanying, stellar musician, Andy Juhl, who farms near Remsen and is a singer/song writer, guitar player and also has a new CD in the works, did some harmony, guitar and harmonica on "Book Vine."
Also in the mix is Michael Klee, the son of David and Judi and has a business in Columbus, Neb. named Complete Percussion. He was the drummer when they started the praise band at St Paul's. The Klees and Charlie thought congas would be good on "Pure Inspiration" and "Rise Up" so Michael did those tracks.
Doug Hines from Sac City and Leissler played music together while at Morningside College back in the day. Hines spent a number of years in Houston, Texas playing in several bands and upon moving back to farm near Sac City has played with the "Hooterville Allstars" and the "Eric Hovey Band."
"We had to get that Fender Rhoads sound on "Younger," said Leissler of Hines' work.
When recording his new CD, some of the recordings were started at the BVU studio where Dr. Klee teaches music production. All of the mastering was done in Sac City, where the Klees will be relocating and have a recording studio there.
Charlie did all of the vocals and guitar with the exception of Andy Juhl's work on the "Book Vine."
The CD is available at Book Vine, Copper Cup, Cherokee General Store and Spice Rack in Cherokee, and online at cdbaby.com (main site), cduniverse.com, emusic, amazon and others.
According to Judi Klee, a well-kept secret with her exemplary voice and soothing style, their long-awaited Christmas CD is now available.
The music features Judi on vocals, David on flute, son Michael (a professional percussionist) on drums, a professional keyboardist they know who lives in Macon, Georgia, Charlie Leissler on guitar, and other musicians.
The Klee CD has beautifully arranged sacred and secular Christmas songs that tug at the heart and remind us all of the timeless old fashion Christmas songs done with impeccable vocal and instrumental skill pleasing to the core.
Judi discovered a love of music early in life. She enjoyed music lessons on various instruments in elementary school and started playing guitar and singing folk music, first performing publicly at age 13.
Having grown up in a dysfunctional family, music became an integral part of her being by enabling her to express emotions through song. Because of her background, Judi's music is rich in emotions of her love for God whose gift helped carry her through her youth.
Judi continued singing a variety of musical styles in choirs and at various events, and eventually found her "home" in Christian music sharing her love of God and gratefulness for the gifts He has given her. Her greatest joy comes when she learns someone has been blessed in some special way by her music. She would relish the opportunity to share her musical gifts with you and yours.
Not only does Judi love music, but she also thrives on being in the kitchen. Her love of cooking drove her to earn both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Nutrition. She has served on the faculty of both Iowa Central Community College and Buena Vista University. She also owned and operated The Spice Rack store in Cherokee, a combination bakery, bistro, and kitchen supply store.
Judi believes that each person has received God-given gifts and the use of those gifts is central to God's plan for us.
During this time, he amassed considerable experience by playing many styles of music as a staff musician for leading recording studios in the Southeast and also as a touring performing artist. Dr. Klee has been on several university music faculties, including Tift College, Georgia College and State University, Mercer University (Georgia), and Peru State College (Nebraska). He is currently an Associate Professor of Music Production and Technology and the Director of Jazz Studies at Buena Vista University. His latest degree is a Master Certificate in Music Production & Technology from Berklee College of Music (Boston) in 2007.
Dr. Klee is currently principal flute with the Fort Dodge Area Symphony, and The Karl King Band (Iowa) and is the owner, chief engineer, and producer for Cherokee Recording Studio previously located in Cherokee, and now in Sac City.
As an educator/performer David's ambition is to use his God-given musical skills to help show everyone that each of us does have purpose and meaning through God.
You can reach the Klees anytime at info@InspirationMinistry.com, or at the Spice Rack until Dec. 24.
The total musical experience gleaned from listening to these two incredible CDs is jaw-dropping, making it very difficult to wrap your head around the fact the performers are all local talents with special gifts.
Leissler's new CD is absolutely Big Time, with every song powerful, exquisitely done, and as professional as any to ever come down the pike.
The Klee's CD wraps you up in family, home, God's love and is warmer than a Christmas Eve fireplace.
Put these CDs in the player and hit "repeat."
Because you will, time after time.