Lock 'n' Load|
(And all bluegrass hell breaks loose!)
Bodles Opera House -- Friday, March 26, 1999
Story by Kevin Robinson --
Pictures by Ellie Apuzzo
been meaning to catch
act for almost six months.
There's just something about the look folks who've seen her get in
their eye when they tell you about the experience. You see that look
and know that Mindy must put on quite a show. That look doesn't lie.
Nobody's ever looked at me and said: "Mindy Jostyn? Oh, she's
okay." It's always something more like: "Mindy Jostyn! Oh, yeah!
Well, they're right. She is great. But the reason everybody thinks
so is more complicated than I had imagined. Usually, when I hear lots
of enthusiasm about a regional performer, it's because s/he has a
unique style, has carved out a particular niche, or has developed a
special rapport with the audience. It is sometimes sort of a "one
trick pony" kind-of-thing, and it's not unusual to find that
performers who have begun to succeed on the regional level have honed
their "trick" to a fine art. But Mindy Jostyn defies this stereotype.
There's nothing "one trick" about her. She is most certainly unique.
And her rapport with the audience surpasses 90% of what I've seen at
this level of the "local" live music scene. But it is her musical
bag of tricks that will blow you away.
First, vocally, Jostyn seems comfortable throughout the musical
spectrum. She'll get nasty one minute, singing bad girl blues like
she'd lived there all her life; and, a minute or two later, she's
singing gospel like an angel in the heavenly host. Her voice
alternatively reflects sweetness, joy, sorrow, and/or devilish humor,
seemingly unaware of the borders being crossed and re-crossed at will.
Then, of course, there's the whole matter of instrumentation. Most
solo performers play guitar. A few even play some keyboard as well.
Mindy Jostyn is completely at home with no instruments at all,
but then out comes the harmonica, and the guitar, and the fiddle, and
the accordion, and, well, you get the idea. And, yes, she does it all
very well. This young woman is nothing short of captivating.
That is why people who've seen her perform get that look in
On this particular night, Jostyn was splitting the bill at Bodles
Opera House with a bluegrass band called "Lock 'n' Load." Fortunately
for the audience, her first time meeting Steve Lutke, Bob Harris,
and Travis Wetzel
at the sound check before the show turned into an
impromptu jam, a jam they carried over into the show. When Mindy
finished her set, she called up Lock 'n' Load, introduced them to us,
and stayed on stage, performing a half a dozen great bluegrass/country
tunes with the amazing trio.
Bluegrass tends to be fast. Okay, very fast. And these guys
are very, very fast. Steve Lutke (banjo/vocals) and Bob Harris
(guitar/vocals) have played together for years, and it shows. Both
are nationally recognized. Travis Wetzel (fiddle/mandolin/vocals) is
the relative new kid, but he has no trouble keeping up whatsoever.
And whether it was on guitar, fiddle, or harmonica, Jostyn proved that
runnin' with the big dogs was no big thing for her either. If you're
a fan of public television, you've probably heard Steve Lutke's banjo
in the background on more than one occasion, and the same holds true
for Bob Harris, once voted "Guitarist of the Year" in one of the
nation's top guitar magazines. Travis Wetzel also has his own band
and plays out often in and around Pennsylvania, so watch for this
talented young man's name at a venue near you.
The crowd at Bodles on this night went nuts after Lock 'n' Load's
final number, an original piece played at such a riotous pace that all
three players were drenched in sweat upon its conclusion. Some wise
guy in the audience called out "Can't you play something faster?"
There was some laughter at this as the band thanked the crowd and put
down their instruments, but the thought "Yeah, right" was visible on
most faces. The applause just didn't stop; and so, three exhausted
bluegrass players dragged themselves back on stage (James Brown would
have been proud of them!), and proceeded to put the pedal to the metal
again, this time pegging the speedometer needle permanently to the
back wall of Bodles Opera House. When it comes to Lock 'n' Lock,
speed kills. . .but only in a good way!
is a freelance writer/photographer, and
the author of three "Stick Foster" hardback mystery novels.
A former syndicated columnist for
the Detroit Free Press, his byline has appeared over 100 times in
national and regional periodicals. Kevin is a partner at
No Bull Productions,
and his PR credits include promotion and
booking work for several of Kansas City's top blues bands. Kevin can
be reached at nobull@NoBullProductions.com.
Ellie Apuzzo owns and operates
Ellie's Consider It Done.
"on-site oversight for absentee owners" here in the Florida
Keys; and so far, this lifelong New Yorker just can't seem to
get into "Keys time!" Ellie can be reached at
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