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"Music Midtown, Atlanta GA"

With a folksy feel over funky grooves, this band is definitely a must-see.
-- Brooke Marshall, Entertainment Editor and Chris Megerian, Executive Staff Writer
The Emory Wheel, Atlanta,GA
- Emory Wheel, Atlanta GA

"CD Release, Fine Line 2005"

New band here in the twin cities led by a deft Guitar player and fine singer named Carl Torgerson..... - Cities 97 Radio, Clear Channel

"Power of the Trio"


At the Nomad World Pub, I'm getting ready for Jistoray to take the stage – right after catching the impressive tail end of a set by Bill Mike – and I say to myself: Self, how in the ham-same is this trio, inarguably talented though they are, going to effect the kind of magic live they did on their album Footprints? The studio gave frontman Carl Torgerson the chance to overdub guitars and harmonize with himself on his compositions. In the flesh, there ain't but one of you and, son, you better be able to bring the goods for folks who were knocked out by the recording.

Didn't hardly take a minute before the wonderin' was over. With Don Brummer's lyrical bass guitar pumped up in the mix and Giovanni Stilinovich drumming with sheer finesse, all Torgerson had to do was show strong chops. That he did with room to spare, strumming and picking sweet acoustic and singing crystal clear with emotive authority. In his subtle phrasing you can hear hints of Murray Head and Donovan Leitch, along with an unmistakable stamp of spirited originality. Early in life, Carl Torgerson's mom exposed him to an extensive music library, including Leo Kottke. Torgerson doesn't play 12-string with Jistoray, but it's clear he paid close attention. Choice chord figures and inventive riffs intrigue as the guy shows a world of disciplined passion. When they get around to cutting a live disc, it should be a smoker. Meanwhile, Footprints serves as an admirable first step-- big time. Look for the late-spring release of their follow-up, Hollywood, which they previewed at the Nomad World Pub, to do the same.

Bottom line, Jistoray handsomely executes killer material -- jazz-tinged soft-rock with solid lyrics that tend to shoot from the hip. The sardonic "Nothing" is a fine example: "No need to worry about the things keeping you from sleeping," sings Torgerson. "I wish it were only that hard / to rid myself the things that keep me up / all hours of the night until faced, I am alone / tell me it isn't what I think it is my-- baby's dead / But mama I'm gonna say how I feel / I'm gonna walk today / And you think I'm right on track / in reality, I'm all the way across town." The Latin-flavored standout "Spanard" immediately had the Nomad audience right there with it. Arrangements on both cuts, as well as "20 Past 4," prove beyond a doubt that you can pack rich complexity into 4/4 time. The group also has the blessing of Torgerson's remarkable songwriting range. It's clearly all from the same pen, but without this or that song sounding just like one of the others. And from beginning to end, there isn't a throwaway cut to be found.

Jistoray has been around for about 6 years (4 years with Brummer in the band). "I had a dream when I was 13," Torgerson recalls. "[That's] where the name Jistoray came from. This was shortly after I started playing guitar at 11. I woke up and wrote it down, always remembering it until the right group came along. Years later, I [left] college in Duluth to move back down to the Cities to play music. As fate had it, I met John Stilinovich. We immediately fell in love musically. We had a bass player that was a long time friend of mine, played many a show in Duluth and the Cities, but he was not the right choice. Again, as fate had it, we met Donny Brummer-- the right bass player. We have since played many a show in the Cities ranging from dives, which are fun, to headlining The Fine Line, as well as Music Midtown [in] Atlanta, and Summerfest [in] Milwaukee." Occasionally he plays hooky from Jistoray. "I still play solo from time to time which I enjoy. After all, that's how I started, but I always knew I wanted to work within a band. It just took the right musicians stylistically and personality-wise, you know, the level of passion, and personal dedication to music."

Brummer (friends and neighbors call him Donny) does some moonlighting himself with Beer Money, described by those who've heard them as acoustic funk (now, that should be an earful). "I joined Jistoray", he says, "because a friend of mine, Jeff Martin, was good friends with Carl and let me know that they were looking for a new bass player. So, I went to a Jistoray show at Bunkers one night and totally loved what they did. I hadn't played bass in a band in two years, so when I went to audition I was a little rusty. But luckily they liked my style and we all came together to form that signature Jistoray sound. I love playing with these guys because they challenge me every time I pick up the bass for them. We play some really tough power trio stuff, some really mellow ballad-y kind of stuff, and we love to just jam some funky stuff to get people shaking their booties. That is why I love to play with Jistoray." Trust me, you'll love listening to them, too and every bit as much as those who were on hand at Nomad World Pub.
- Pulse of the Twin Cities


"Footprints" LP 2005
"Hollywood" LP Coming September 2007



What began as an adolescent dream has found its way into your hands and ears. He heard it clearly as he took the stage: the crowd surging, a young woman calling, “Whoa, Jistoray!” The young Carl awoke, the scene—and female voice—still vivid in his mind, and scrawled down the prophecy that would one day identify his band.
Today, Jistoray is a power-folk-rock-funk trio fronted by passionate and poetic singer/guitarist Carl Torgerson and flanked by John Stilinovich’s jazzy, in-the-pocket drumming and Donald Brummer’s groove-fueled, funky, melodic bass.
The songs of Jistoray—captured artfully and full of life on Hollywood, the band’s sophomore release—aren’t easy to classify, but they’re easy to sink into, explore, enjoy…and find yourself inspired. For need of comparison, try these, all at once: Jeff Buckley, Dave Matthews, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jill Scott, Phish. Each song is a hybrid, each melody a gift. Says Carl, “Most of the songs come from that infinite deep wellspring somewhere that I cannot take credit for.”
The Pulse Minneapolis recognizes in Jistoray’s songs “an unmistakable stamp of spirited originality.” Lyrically, the music on Hollywood offers a colorful and insightful hybrid of Bob Dylan and Tom Marshall; from train-hoppin’ grit to anthemic power, the album is pleasantly diverse. You’ll be drawn in by the laid-back maturity and depth of “Take My Heart,” the hook-filled “Let It Fall,” and the folk-funk “Swami,” while “Wisely” shows just how big a minimalist three-piece can be.
Of course, the studio only tells half the story, and Jistoray is no exception. Onstage, the three are electric, synergistic, blending John’s jazzy tinges of Dennis Chambers with Donny’s rhythmic Claypool-ness and Carl’s Kottke-meets-funk-grass approach.
As for what inspires his music and guides his life, Carl is humble. “I know truth, and am learning, and walking.” He’s also writing and singing and making us feel, taking the stage as appreciative fans call out his band’s name. Only this time the command has changed; there’s no slowing down. Gallop, Jistoray. The ride has begun.