Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers
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Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers

Lansing, Michigan, United States

Lansing, Michigan, United States
Rock Americana

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""On Being" Album Review"

Joe Hertler is a singer-songwriter from East Lansing who has been quickly gaining momentum in the Midwest scene, and it’s easy to see why; the songs on his debut album On Being are charming, listenable, and melodious. Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers are mining an area of poppy country-tinged folk rock that has both a very broad appeal and allows a lot of room for creative growth.

On Being has a particular emphasis on a really upbeat, hopeful sound: the guitars are bright, the drums relent, and the banjo rollicks right alongside harmonicas and handclaps. It’s mostly centered around Joe Hertler’s voice, which can be both soulful and precious within any one song- it’s when On Being relies on this preciousness that it can falter slightly and border on insular, sometimes reaching a bit too hard for delicate sentimentality. Still, the dynamic shifts between energetic and atmospheric (“Carbon C14”) and the strong percussion (“We Are Everything”) offer ample variety, and there are some delightfully unexpected creative flourishes at work here, like when the group nods towards an electro-pop influence on “What it Feels Like to Drown”.

On Being is an enjoyable record, aurally tuned to the Midwest’s fall-winter transition and showcasing a bourgeoning Michigan talent bound to be on everyone’s radar soon. You can stream the album and pick it up on bandcamp here. Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers are playing shows around Michigan pretty consistently, and I’ve been told they put on a damn fine show. Keep an eye out for tour dates on their Facebook. - Mostly Midwest


""On Being" Album Review"

Joe Hertler talked with passion about writing a seminal track, “What It Feels Like To Drown,” on the debut album from Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers titled “On Being.”

“It’s about losing yourself in the moment,” said Hertler, a Lake Orion senior. “The title came from a photograph in the (University Art Gallery) of a big mountain-scape with ‘What it feels like to drown’ under it.”

After more than a year of playing songs such as “Ego Loss on Grand River Avenue” and “Devil, Don’t You Steal My Bicycle” to crowds across Michigan and the Midwest, the band is holding an album release concert at 9 p.m. on Friday at Rubble’s Bar, 112 W. Michigan St.

The Mount Pleasant event will feature performances from Prussia, Jetpack On! and American Opera.

The album will be released for purchase on http://bandcamp.com Nov. 8.

Lower Peninsula Records and Bigger Brush Media, both out of Lansing, are issuing a limited release of the album on vinyl, expected in December.

Lansing resident John Krohn, Lower Peninsula’s founder, said the album has its roots in Michigan music in a similar vein to Detroit-area folk band Frontier Ruckus.

“It’s very much a Michigan record. There’s references to Michigan places, sports teams, etcetera.,” Krohn said. “It’s an example of putting Michigan out there as a place that inspires creativity.”
Hertler said what he enjoyed most about the recording process was having a band to help bring the songs to life.

“I really felt that I enjoyed watching my band put themselves into the record” he said. “There’s little pieces of songs I know I couldn’t have done and I completely credit my band.”

This collaborative effort sparked many different ideas while recording, said Kevin Prichard bassist, producer and Lansing resident.

“No idea is a bad idea,” Prichard said. “There was no risk.”

Prichard used studio techniques such as reverse-reverb, which he said creates a sound similar to that of a ghost sneaking up on the listener.

He said the Beach Boys popularized this technique.

Electric guitarist and junior Ryan Hoger, from Commerce Township, said playing the songs live helped in the studio during recording.

“I’m glad we played the songs out live before we recorded them,” he said. “By the time we get to recording, getting the song down is the easy part. Then we can embellish the record with all the bells and whistles.”

Fusion Shows owner Irving Ronk said the album, from beginning to end, feels complete and full. Fusion Shows is a Howell-based concert promotion company and Ronk is Hertler’s manager.

“I like the way it came together as a full album. It’s rare to find that all the songs go together perfectly,” Ronk said. “It feels like the record was all done with purpose, which I think it was.”

Singer-songwriter Jeff Pianki, a Milford resident who has played many shows with Hertler and his band, said “On Being” has a very big feel.

“You can hear that the songs start out very slow and quiet and by the end of the song you just have chills and it sounds big and you hear so much going on,” Pianki said. - Central Michigan Life


""On Being" Album Review"

Very rarely does a local record floor me.

Sometimes I listen to a new record and think, "This is amazing! I could listen to this for days." Then I do listen for a few days — but soon it becomes yet another drop in the sea of my ever-growing musical collection; still remarkable but amongst other great records it gets lost in the shuffle. The new album by Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, On Being, may just prove to stand out indefinitely from other discs.

The Mt. Pleasant-based band combines elements of indie, folk, country, soul and even dance music ("What it Feels Like to Drown") into a fresh and wide-ranging take on indie rock. The band is great at maintaining long, epic song buildups particularly on "Ego Loss on Grand River Avenue" and "Best Friend." These are some euphoric, joyful tunes.

The instrumentation is fantastic. Hertler (guitar/vocals) strums and fingerpicks his acoustic guitar with a Woody Guthrie-like humbleness. Electric guitarist Ryan Hoger's parts are simple yet effective, adding texture at the right places and times like on "Best Friend" where a simple, few note part fills the space nicely.

On "Devil, Don't Steal My Bicycle," Hoger's guitar lines have a country twang. The bass, played by Kevin Prichard, simply adds warmth and lushness to the melodies. Other unique textures, like violins and trumpets, were added on "Carbon C14,"and other distinctive tunes.

Hertler's lyrics, often dealing with religious and existential themes, are catchy, yet insightful. His vocal delivery is passionate and soulful, even making banal lyrics sound beautiful. Hertler seems to at least quantify his view on religion on "Ask the Dust": "I believe that maybe there is something greater, beyond all recognition a universal bind, I believe it's the essence of religion." For those looking for something a little less serious, there's a song about partying ("Good Times"), with lyrics like "You don't know me and I don't know you until tomorrow" has a hooky sing-along vibe to it.

Characterized by epic musicianship, passionate vocals and perceptive lyrics, On Being has a timeless sound that will sound great years from now. Yup — Hertler is that good. - Revue Magazine


"Rubbles Bar hosts local band benefit concert for TOMS Shoes"

The audience got its music, the bands got their audiences and the poor got shoes. Everybody won.
Central Michigan University’s TOMS Shoes registered student organization held a benefit concert from 7 p.m. to after midnight on Saturday at Rubbles Bar, 112 W. Michigan St. TOMS Shoes is a company that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair it sells.
Terry Cole, public relations executive for the RSO, said the $5 cover charge was donated to help pay for Tiny TOMS, smaller shoes designed specifically for children, bound for Argentina.
“A lot of people are digging deep into their hearts and pockets,” the Kentwood freshman said. “We had one lady give us a 50 (dollar bill), and when we offered to give her a pair of shoes, she said she’d just rather it all went straight to the kids.”
Cole organized the event with the support of organizations Moore Media Records and To Write Love On Her Arms, and brought in entertainers Chano, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, Zach Burger, Bloomill and Your Best Friend. Cole said Rubbles allowed them to host the show.
The crowd stretched from the stage to the front and brought in a total of $1,043, which could purchase about 54 pairs of shoes. It was an achievement TOMS Shoes CMU President Heather Burger, a junior from Lowell, said was an exciting surprise.
“We were only expecting $500 at the most,” she said. “We’re already thinking about making this a yearly event because it’s been so successful.”
Cole credited the night’s success to people’s love of music, the talent of the bands and an attitude of generosity that caused many to give more than just the coverage donation.
Hertler, who brought his backing-band The Rainbow Seekers to perform with him, said he was impressed with the turn-out.
“Last weekend (when we played) we had about 175 people out here, and it looks more packed than then,” the Orion senior said.
Nick Elder, drummer of Saginaw-based Your Best Friend, said he is a huge fan of TOMS Shoes and was happy to come out and support the effort.
“I have four pairs of their shoes,” Elder said. “I wear them all summer, absolutely love them.”
Beth Wright said her favorite performances of the night were Joe Hertler and Your Best Friend. Wright is going into the music business and was looking for performers interested in doing another concert, which she invited Hertler to afterwards. Wright has watched Your Best Friend perform before and said she enjoys the melody of their music.
“They have a sound like Joe Hertler’s group that I’ve never heard it before,” the Brighton senior said. “What I love about them is their harmony, it’s so unique.” - CM-Life


"Sing Hard- The Joe Hertler Story"

Mt. Pleasant has a girl to thank for local talent, Joe Hertler.

When Hertler was a freshman at Central Michigan University, he bought his first guitar in order to impress a girl who worked at Kaya Coffee & Tea Co.

Although he didn't get the girl -- she had a boyfriend -- he now had a guitar to add onto his musical repertoire.

Previous to guitar, Hertler played violin, cello, and upright bass in high school orchestra.

"I really hated it," he said. "I always wanted to quit, but my parents forced it."

Hertler got serious about his musical career by playing open mic nights at Kaya, and since then has released two albums -- The Hard Times LP in October 2009, and Sleeping Giant EP in August 2010.

Now 21, Hertler's most recent accomplishments include a set of high-quality music videos he released online through the Lansing music collective Bigger Brush Media, as well as being signed to the CMU Broadcasting department's record label, Moore Media Records. His first contribution to Moore Media will be a song on its upcoming compilation album. He is also working on an album that he anticipates to be released in the spring.

In addition to guitar, and the instruments he learned in high school, he can also rock the banjo, recorder, harmonica, and reed accordion, which he considers his signature instrument.

"I'm pretty happy my parents forced me to keep playing," he said. "No, I'm so happy they forced me to."

He said by his senior year of high school, his parents had pushed him enough to remain in the school orchestra that he developed a newfound appreciation for music, and decided to try out his own sound. The result is his soothing, mellow blend of acoustic folk rhythm.

"I sing hard and I sing it like I mean it," he said.

Hertler's main themes are relationships and his home state of Michigan -- as songs like "Welcome to Michigan," and "Pontiac" illustrate -- as well as religious undertones, which came from growing up in a religious family. (Hertler says he does not practice religion.)

"I'm not apologetic about what I write, because I'm not conscious about it. I write whatever comes out."

But still, he lets his audience interpret his metaphorical lyrics as they see them.

"Relationships, the state of Michigan, religious undertones; those are things a lot of people can relate to," said fellow musician Ryan Hoeger, who recently started performing with Hertler. "And that's what good music should do: Let them pick it up and make it their own."

He says his next album through Bigger Brush Media will focus on lighter material.

"No love or breakup songs," Hertler said. "It's more philosophical, playing on materialism versus substance dualism, diving into human conditions and instincts of spirituality, coming to terms with where we stand. But as always, Michigan will be there too."

The new album will also feature Hoeger, as well as musicians from the collective.

"If I can ever make it big enough to afford this, I'd like to have 10 people with me, playing any instrument," Hertler said. "But, we only have so much sonic space." - Mostly Midwest


"The Quilted Attic"

I don’t like to admit when I’m wrong. Call it headstrong, call it stubborn, it takes some convincing for me to correct myself. But since my first article, where I said a “major con of living in [East Lansing] is the saddening lack of a major music scene,” I find myself eating my words. With a little bit of work, and help from the artists of the area, it is easy to see that the Lansing music scene is alive and well. A prime example is the Quilted Attic Sessions coming out of Bigger Brush Media, and specifically, artist Joe Hertler.

The Quilted Attic Sessions are an endeavor by Bigger Brush Media, based out of Lansing, Michigan. With quite the repertoire of artists to their name (such as Double Saginaw Familiarity, whose live show I covered previously) Bigger Brush Media is pumping out great recordings of quality artists. Quilted Attic refers to just that; Bigger Brush lined an attic with heavy quilts and sound equipment to produce some of the finest quality recordings I’ve ever heard. Their first volley comes courtesy of Joe Hertler.
Joe is a Detroit Metro native, currently bouncing around mid-michigan. His recent stop in Lansing produced three quality tracks at BB’s Quilted Attic, and they are worth checking out. Bigger Brush’s setup makes Hertler’s chords fierce and powerful, with every individual string resonating, his voice cutting over the instruments. Ego Loss on Grand River Avenue is one such song. Each strum of the guitar, each thud of the stand up bass, each chorus from the organ, each wail by Joe, all blend and harmonize into a small masterpiece of a song. Hertler and Co. show some real talent and the Quilted Attic does them justice. We look forward to keeping an eye on both his and Bigger Brush’s future additions to the Michigan music scene. - Mostly Midwest


"Joe Hertler"

Here at Tune-Tap, we love to show off local artists, and the other day, I was talking to my friend Kristen from CMU when she told me about Joe Hertler. I wen't and checked out some of his music and was blown away. Now, there are tons of local artists I love and I believe will go far with their music, but this guy is unbelievable. I have probobly listened to his song "Ego Loss On Grand River Ave" so many times that my computer automatically bookmarked the link! Joe is an extremely talented musician with a great voice that is mellow, yet exhilarating when he hits his high notes, and also a very creative song writer. I highly recommend listening to him, and watching out for him in the future because this guy is pure talent. If you don't believe me, go check out his live "Quilted Attic"session here (or below) and see for yourself. I also had a chance to talk with Joe a little bit, so check out an exclusive interview with him below.
Q. When did you first start your life in music? Did you start out singing or playing guitar?

I started up with music in Middle school, where I played Bass and Cello in the orchestra all the way until I graduated high school. I really hated the academic side of music until my senior year when I ended up playing bass for a metal band. It was at that point when I realized that music could actually be really fun. My first "indie" show was in 2007 at the Magic stick in Detroit where I saw Anathallo play live. An old girlfriend of mine dragged me there, but I was really inspired by the show. Soon after that, I ended up attending CMU, but I didn't get into the music program. Needless to say, I was really bummed out and ended up buying a guitar to kill time in the dorms. At some point I started playing at the local coffee shops and it's just kind of gone on from there.

Q. Favorite TV show growing up?

My favorite TV show growing up was either Nova or Legends of the Hidden Temple. Those temple guards scared the hell out of me, but damn did I love that show.

Q. What artists did you grow up on?

Growing up, I listened to my parents vinyl collection as a kid. My dad had all the 70's rock classics, like The Who, Bowie, and the Beatles, and my mom had the Funk and Disco records... everything from Sly and the Family Stone, to Al Green, to The Beegee's.

Q. Are you currently going to school? If so, where at and what are you studying?

I'm currently attending CMU, where I'm studying to be an Elementary School Teacher. Language Arts Major and Children's Lit/Planned Program Minor. At the moment, I'm a Senior living on campus and I plan to graduate in another year and a half including student teaching.

Q. Anything crazy or interesting about you other than your musical talent?

I've always loved dance music and started listening to tons of EDM when I first came to college. I didn't get into audio production until about two years ago, but before that, and really before I started writing songs, I was really into making beats in Logic. It introduced me to the basics of audio production. All the stuff I made was crap, but it was still fun. Over summer I started DJing pretty heavily. I've played at Mac's a few times with the LEAK guys and have done a few other events, but I've kind of tapered off from doing it lately to focus on my own music. It was really interesting to jump into a totally different music scene in Lansing and I really loved just getting to meet everyone. I still do parties and I DJ at a club in mount pleasant a few times a month. It's just way too much fun! Other than that, I love video games, computers, fishing, skiing, hunting and cooking.

Q. Now let's make it a little interesting. If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could have one non music related item with you, what would it be?

On a desert island, I'd want a giant tarp. I could use it help build a shelter, but I could also use parts of it to make a solar still, allowing me to turn the salt water into fresh water!

Q. Last but not least, what is the one song in the world that you can listen to that will always brighten your day?

A song that never fails to brighten my day would be It's Getting Better by the Beatles... either that or the Beaver Boys theme song from Tim and Eric. - Tune-Tap


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Joe Hertler is a growing talent quickly garnering attention across the Midwest. Called "...a bourgeoning Michigan talent bound to be on everyone's radar soon" by Mostly Midwest, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers promise nothing but the best. The latest release, On Being, showcases Hertler’s ability as a singer-songwriter to create cohesive songs that dance across genres and easily charm listeners. The album lies on the fringe of pop and folk rock, combining light, animated instrumentals with energetic vocals. Hertler's songwriting prowess shines in his ability to take listeners through a story without sacrificing his signature liveliness.

Over the past year, Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers have been building buzz across Michigan. With the release of the band's album On Being, the band has received critical acclaim across the state. All Around Sound referred to the band as "energetic, fun, and [with] a blindsiding wealth of songwriting talent", and Revue Magazine chimed in on the album, writing “On Being has a timeless sound that will sound great years from now… Hertler is that good".

Having recently played alongside artists like Electric Six, Frontier Ruckus, The Civil Wars, Matt Pond PA, Tycho, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Breathe Owl Breathe, Chris Bathgate, and Atomic Tom, as well as selling out their own shows across Michigan, they are no strangers to entertaining crowds. Bringing undeniable talent and natural charismatic exuberance to the live show, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers’ performances are not to be missed.