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Laconia, New Hampshire, United States | INDIE

Laconia, New Hampshire, United States | INDIE
Band R&B Funk




"Article 1"

Jammin' with Relevation: Local band making a name for itself around New England


LACONIA — Most people are not familiar with musical instruments such as the hang, fish and djembe, but for the up-and-coming band Relevation, these uncommon instruments are a part of every performance to help create the jammin' sound unique to this local group.

When listening to Relevation, it's easy to enjoy the laidback sound and sing along with Cody's infectious lyrics but trying to put your finger on the genre of music that the band falls into is another story.

The six- person band creates a mix of rock, blues, reggae, jazz and jam. The band mixes and produces all of its own music at Relevation Studios in Gilford.

"I can see people ages 7-70 wanting to dance to this type of music," said Cody Kretschmer, lead vocalist and guitarist of Relevation.

The band formed about two years ago in Connecticut. Kretschmer attended the University of Connecticut on a track and field scholarship. Like the other members of Relevation, Kretschmer, who grew up in Chester, New Hampshire, has had a passion for making music since childhood.

"When I was like 7, I started writing lyrics, and poetry," he said.

Around the age of 10 he started playing the drums and eventually started playing guitar. From there, he has constantly been writing music.

While studying at UConn, Kretschmer was introduced to Mike Moran, also known by the band members as "Mikey Mo," who now plays the drums, guitar and is also a vocalist for Relevation.

"I've been playing since I was 5 or 6," said Moran. "My father was a full-time musician, so I started playing guitar very young. I've played in several groups in Connecticut and with my father's band so that's how I started performing."

Moran and friend Brian Urban, who plays the bass and vocals in Relevation, grew up together in the Farmington, Conn. area. They played in several bands together throughout high school.

A friend heard Kretschmer playing and urged him to meet Moran.

"I was playing guitar and playing original songs," said Kretschmer. "We ended up taking it pretty slow. It all just came together, slowly but surely."

At this time, the band had a drummer, who has since left. The group of four then decided to move to the Lakes Region, where Kretschmer's parents vacationed. Here they rent his parent's lake house.

Urban, along with the rest of the band, worked at Gunstock doing various jobs in 2004 and 2005. Moran was a snowboard instructor, while Kretschmer and Urban worked in snowmaking. Here, they met Kevin Borella who is a lift services manager at the recreational facility.

At this time, Relevation was playing regularly at The Black Cat. Borella, who is a hand percussionist, caught the band at the downtown Laconia cafe one evening, and seemed like the perfect fit for the group.

Borella grew up in Moultonborough and started playing music for modern dance classes at Frates Creative Arts Center in Laconia. He has had an interest in playing since childhood.

"I always wanted to play the drums, but couldn't afford it as a kid," said Borella. "Now there are drums all over the house."

Borella has also participated in community classes and demonstrations and festivals including an artist gathering in the woods of Vermont where a number of workshops and performances are offered in various art mediums.

While attending such a festival in Laconia, the band connected with Mike Zaccheo of Goodfella's where they now perform monthly.

The two newest members of the band, Claude Colp, who plays the saxophone, keys and vocals, and Evan Southwick, who plays trumpet and keys, joined the band a few months ago.

Colp, who has lived in the Lakes Region most of his life, had been playing the saxophone since the fifth grade in Belmont. He played all through high school and with the Northeastern concert band. Colp continued to tour with the concert band after graduation. He had stopped playing the saxophone for about two years, but recently started up again when he joined Relevation. He saw the band playing at one of the open mic nights that the band was hosting at Goodfella's on Wednesday nights during the winter, and found he was very interested.

"Art and music have always been the biggest passion of my life," he said.

Colp graduated from the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and received a degree in computer engineering, but found that the corporate world wasn't the career path for him.

Southwick, who is a graduate student studying inorganic chemistry at the University of New Hampshire, is a good friend of Colp. He has been playing music since the first grade and continued throughout high school, on various instruments such as the piano, trumpet and guitar.

"I had him come and sit in and it was magic," said Colp about how he invited Southwick to see the band one day.

"We had never played together before," said Southwick. "It was unbelievable."

Relevation uses several instruments to create their unique style of music. The hang is a fairly new instrument made by a Swiss company. Borella described it as an inverted steel drum that is melodic and pleasing to the ear. He and his wife, Erin Lovett, bought it together as a wedding present.

"It looks like a flying saucer," he said.

The djembe is an African drum that is shaped like a classic bell and usually made with goatskin and rope. Like the hang, a fish is described as a wooden instrument that vibrates to make a unique sound.

Relevation has been working hard, and one set goal is to offer such an art festival as part of every show. They indicated the name Relevation means "to lift up" and "to bring to another level."

"We'll hopefully be able to release our first CD in mid-October," Colp said.

The band has about 25 songs in its repertoire, including songs such as "Thread," "Flip" and "Fenina," which can all be heard on the band's web site.

The band is confident now that everyone is in place and they can begin working to release their first album. According to Kretschmer, they are creating a buzz.

They have performed at numerous places such as the Timberman Festival and the Relay for Life. Cody, Mike, Brian and Sarah Diters, god-daughter of Glenda Yoder, director of Farm Aid band members traveled out to Chicago on their own dime to volunteer at Farm Aid, a worthwhile cause that the band stands behind. While there, they cooked organic food backstage for the musicians performing at the even.

Just recently, Relevation wrapped up a show at the Battle of the Bands at Plymouth State University where they were a big hit among the crowd.

"After our show, all the students chanted 'encore' ," said Kretschmer.

The group has been meeting weekly with promoters in hopes to spread the word about their band.

Relevation is planning on doing a tour along the East Coast this fall, and move in toward Manhattan, Boston, Portland, Maine, and Burlington, Vt. They are also planning a trip to Montana this September to record music.

"We definitely put on an energetic show," said Kretschmer.

This Friday, Relevation will be performing at Club Blu in Hartford, Conn. The band will be featured on the rooftop stage of the nightclub. Accompanying the band will be DJ Rolie, a dance hall reggae master. DJ Rolie is the first artist affiliated with Relevation Studios.

Locally, Relevation can be found at the Village Perk in Meredith on Saturday with a free show at 7:30 p.m. and at the Boot Hill Saloon in Laconia on Friday, May 26 at 9 p.m. and at Goodfella's on June 7 with a 9:30 p.m. performance.

The band will also be performing a few times this summer at Hesky Park in Meredith, including a performance on June 23.

Currently, the band's website is under construction, but information about Relevation is available at where band members keep up-to-date show schedules, news and music downloads. - Citizen


Still working on that hot first release.



Cody James and Relevation features multi-faceted musicians from around New England, performing and creating original roots vibe music. Singer/songwriter Cody James writes and performs original music with catchy positive lyrics in the Northeast and Nationally. The band Relevation features James on vocals, guitar, mandolin, foot pedals and harmonica, the talented Kevin Borella on hand percussion, international performer/composer and session pianist, Joe Deleault, skilled bassist Chad Owen and original drummer Mike Moran are in rotation. The members of the group all collaborate with other local bands, but no matter the gig, Cody James and Relevation put on a creative, high-energy live show you'll never forget.