There was a certain magic, a freewheeling feeling, playing together came naturally and we both recognized this special energy…(on playing with Sarah Voswinkel of Dead Horses).
We sat down with Adam Greuel of Rucksack Revolution, we chatted about this musical duo coming together, how they got their name, touch on a new album in the works, and what attendees can expect from their upcoming show in La Crosse.
Amy Gabay 00:01
La Crosse Local is proud to be a sponsor of the La Crosse Winter Roots Festival brought to you by Ultra Federal Credit Union. We invite you to celebrate music, cuisine, artists, makers, brewers and distillers in the new La Crosse Center Riverside ballroom. Musical entertainment includes Dan Sebranek, Three Grimm, Tugg, the Remainders, Greg Hall and the Wrecking Ball and the Tripping Billies, the nation’s most renowned Dave Matthews tribute band. La Crosse Winter Roots Festival is presented by the La Crosse Center, La Crosse Local, and with special thanks to the Remainders. Find out more information and how to get tickets at lacrosselocal.com. We sat down with Adam Greuel of Rucksack Revolution. We chatted about this musical duo coming together, how they got their name, touch on a new album in the works, and what attendees can expect from their upcoming show in La Crosse. You can find more conversations, food reviews, live music and events on our website, lacrosselocal.com. I’m Amy.
Brent Hanifl 01:09
And I’m Brent.
Amy Gabay 01:10
And this is La Crosse Local.
Brent Hanifl 01:46
So we’re talking to Adam Greuel, Rucksack Revolution, also known for Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Barons Group, the High Hawks, Total Pool and Greuel. Is there any other bands you’re joining?
Adam Greuel 01:59
Well, it’s hard to tell at this point. But you know, I’m always in new projects. It’s – it keeps the creativity rolling. And it’s good to be inspired by other people, you know, keeps yeah, kind of developing and exploring new territory musically.
Brent Hanifl 02:17
You come through these different iterations throughout La Crosse you know, from Horseshoes and Hand Grenades to the High Hawks. You know, I’ve seen both of those, who is Rucksack Revolution? How did it come about?
Adam Greuel 02:28
Well, Rucksack Revolution is myself and Sarah Voswinkel, who’s known as the front woman for Dead Horses. And Sarah and I became friends very early on in our musical careers, Dead Horses and Horseshoes developed at roughly the same time. And so we would see each other out and I was really, really inspired by her songwriting. And just the energy that she puts out there. I just thought she was a really interesting person. And we started hanging out. And literally, the first moment we played together was at my old college house and in Stevens Point. And that first night, we hung out and played, there was a certain magic, a really freewheeling feeling playing together, it just came naturally. And we both recognize this kind of special energy that we had where, you know, there was almost like a telepathic connection at times where we could get into each other’s heads, both musically and as friends. And we’re like, whoa, this is kind of crazy, I haven’t had this before. And that’s kind of what birthed the idea of Rucksack Revolution just basically getting together and getting to share some space and make some music together.
Brent Hanifl 03:46
The name was pulled from Jack Kerouac, correct?
Adam Greuel 03:49
Brent Hanifl 03:51
Are you a fan of Jack Kerouac, the author or you know?
Adam Greuel 03:54
Yeah definitely. Definitely. I mean, Sarah, even more so. But you know, we found that passage, which I won’t try to recite right now and you’re butchering it. But it’s just this beautiful, beautiful quote. In fact, I should try to pull it up quick and just just read it for you. It’s, “I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution. Thousands, or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of them Zen lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason. And also by being kind and also by strange, unexpected acts. Keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures.” And you know that’s just such a cool, it’s just such a cool paragraph. Can’t remember, I think Sarah might have found it. And then we just read that and we’re like, wow, that’s just like, you know, it kind of is what we’re to some degree what we’re doing, you know, as traveling musicians traveling across the country and trying to maybe inspire people in their lives that not to create music that we create, but just to be who they are and bring what they can to the to the world around them.
Brent Hanifl 05:26
Kind of has some parallels, I think, to some of the music I’ve listened to of you guys. You know, I’m listening, I was watching a live from I think it’s Birch Barn, you know, a virtual-
Adam Greuel 05:36
Brent Hanifl 05:36
-stream you did. You guys are kind of doing each other’s songs or doing some of your own work? And it’s kind of like it goes from happy to completely, you know, mournful in some ways. Yeah, that line from you know, Dharma Bombs. You know, it’s kind of similar a sense of, there’s the concept of, you know, getting out and being free. And like you said, a traveling musician, but also, there’s complete sadness and loneliness that comes along with that author and his stories as well.
Adam Greuel 05:37
Yeah, 100%. I mean, that’s the beauty of Rucksack Revolution, for me, personally, is getting to do these songs that perhaps are inspired by one another songwriting style, like we’re going to come out with this album soon, which, you know, we’re coming to La Crosse as part of an album release tour. On that record is some tunes that literally, we were thinking of the other person, and their musical style, or maybe something they said, and we wrote these songs, and they became tunes that we both play together. And you know, Sarah and I, to kind of elaborate on what you’re saying, about, you know, the beauty and bliss and also the challenges of, of certainly being on the road, but also life. One thing that I’ve always really appreciated about Sarah’s songwriting is that she’s not really afraid to go anywhere. I love that she can wear her feelings in her heart on her sleeve, and put those songs out there. We played together last night, actually. And it was just so cool. It’s like our relationship has evolved. They feels like for so long now. I mean, we’re like, really, really close friends. And it’s just crazy, because we don’t play together that often. But when we walk on stage, it’s like we played the last two weeks straight, you know, it just feels so easy and effortless and, and I really, really love that part of it. Kind of explained it there for people unfamiliar with the band, you know, you have a show coming up at the Main February 17th. You also have Dan Sebranek and John Smith, who everybody oves in this area. Incredible, incredible musicians and people. I just I love both of those guys.
Brent Hanifl 07:59
So what can people expect? You know, from you guys?
Adam Greuel 08:02
I mean you know, we do some songs that we wrote kind of together, or that one of us wrote for Rucksack. We occasionally do like, a Dead Horses song or, or a Horseshoes song. A couple just select covers from people who love songwriters who we love. But I think the special part about Rucksack is just the way Sarah and I interact with this natural chemistry. There’s you, we used to not sing nearly as much harmony together as we do now. And these days, it’s tempting to sing the whole damn song in harmony with one another just as we can. It’s easy and it’s fun. And we actually have started doing that on some songs. But yeah, I think people can expect like a hopefully a relaxing evening. I mean, cripes, we need that right now more than ever, we need to come into a space and feel a sense of relaxation. And maybe you know, music is such a sweet conduit for allowing you to feel things that maybe you’re repressing because in your day to day life, you can’t you know, you can’t express them, you got to kind of keep your head down and plow through plow through life, you know. And giving ourselves the opportunity to take a breath and feel the things we need to feel at a show is really important to me and I appreciate music’s capability to facilitate that. And I know that John Smith, Dan Sebranek, they write beautiful songs and they’re just such a great conduit to that sentiment as well.
Brent Hanifl 09:47
We connected with you, its got to be I don’t know close to a year ago, maybe I think we’re talking about the High Hawks experience then, when weren’t we were in the intensity of coming out of the pandemic. How has that changed? Have you adapted a little bit? You know, how is touring, recording?
Adam Greuel 10:05
Well, it’s somewhere between an opportunity and a total shit show. You know, I think we’ve had to adapt as musicians, we’ve had to work our way through these cobwebs. And you know that there’s been the live streams that have really helped. And I know that a lot of folks have told me that that ended up being really helpful for them and getting through these kind of weird days. You know, personally, I started doing more songwriting and pumped out a couple solo albums. And, you know, it’s like, as troubling as it is to not be able to do large shows. Like for instance, Horseshoes, we had to cancel New Year’s Eve, at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, which was a hard pill to swallow for sure. It does give you a certain different opportunity to not be out playing constantly gives you the opportunity to maybe chill out and not busy yourself and have to, you know, process these things in your mind that maybe you don’t take the time to process. Or not just that, but also like activities that end up on the back burner, because we’re hustling and bustling, trying to make ends meet. And in a really bizarre industry. You know, I should also say, I’m very grateful to be a musician, but part of the nature of being a musician, and doing what you love, is having to hustle, you know, having to really get yourself out there. So this slowdown, the great pause, if you will, was in a lot of ways healthy for me and my mental state. And I know a lot of my peers have been sharing that sentiment. So it’s allowed for some growth that maybe needed to happen.
Brent Hanifl 12:00
In a very small way relating to going camping for about seven days, and you’re tired, you’re dirty. I couldn’t imagine being somebody who’s doing that 150 days out of the year, you know, even if you’re in a van, I get tired, you know? Oh, so what’s next, you referenced an album potentially, or an EP or some songs potentially coming out for that?
Adam Greuel 12:19
Well, Sarah and I, during the pandemic we went, ha during as if it’s done. But you know, in the middle of this thing, we went to Pachyderm Recording Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, which is this really cool recording studio not terribly far from La Crosse.
Brent Hanifl 12:39
What’s it like working in a studio like that? I mean, just like the legends that have walked those halls that are still alive and still, you know, passed.
Adam Greuel 12:47
There’s some energy for sure. Some vibes, I mean, that studio as you possibly know, Nirvana recorded there, and Andrew Bird and all kinds of really incredible musicians. And it’s like, you know, I’m not sure exactly what it is, I’m feeling when I’m there. But it’s good. And, you know, there’s, it’s in this place called Pine Glen, and more what I feel like I feel there is really old energy. You know, I think it was a Native American site that they frequent, frequently used, and it has a certain energy there. And like I said, it’s good. And, you know, I tried to remember to have kind of a respectful mindset, when you go to a place like that, where you can feel that energy and, and try to think about, you know, the, the people that have come through a place like that long before I existed or was even a you know, it was even a possibility of existing, you know, and there’s special energy there for sure. But Sarah and I went there, and we had a really wonderful time putting together these songs and trying to in some cases, really trying to, to birth them in the recording studio, some we didn’t had never played or they were just an idea. And so we went in there and we just went for it. And what turned out was something we’re both really excited for. I think there’s 10 tracks. We’re releasing that the Friday before the show there at the Main in La Crosse. So yeah, it’s really cool. I mean, Sarah is just a beautiful singer. She’s one of my favorites sincerely in the entire country. And yeah, I’m proud of the music we made for sure.
Brent Hanifl 14:44
Crazy, that’s cool. That’s gonna be 10 songs. Come on. Is there any song on there in particular that you’re proud of? Or just had a feeling of you know, this is it or anything?
Adam Greuel 14:54
Now, the whole thing is just cool. It really is. I mean, of course I’m fond of Sarah’s songs. But there’s some ones on there that I’ve been meaning to get out and share with the world for a long time and Sarah encouraged some of those songs to be on there. Yeah, you know there’s a song called Winona. Actually when referencing a time were back when the Root Note existed. Me and Russell for Horseshoes played a show there. And it ended kind of early and Sarah was over at Eds No Name Bar in Winona, which always was a later night. And we got done with the show in La Crosse and drove across the river to Winona there and ended up watching her and just feeling felt super inspired by her songwriting and ended up writing that song that night. And that songs on there. That’s the second track. So you know, they all have stories. They all have their they’re all little unique time capsules, every song you know, sometimes it’s hard for me to tell what songs are better than the next. Because to me, they’re just like things that happened. Feelings that felt ideas, that happened and all that kind of stuff.
Brent Hanifl 16:47
Adam Greuel 16:48
Brent Hanifl 16:50
So people can check you out February 17th. Dan Sebranek and John Smith are opening and it’s gonna be a great show at the Main?
Adam Greuel 16:58
Yeah, so if people want to find out more, they just go to Rucksack Revolution, Wisconsin on Facebook.
Brent Hanifl 17:04
So any other spot they can find stuff yet?
Adam Greuel 17:06
You know it’s really the easiest way to keep in touch with both Rucksack Revolution and our careers as solo individuals and with that Horses and Horseshoes. So just follow us on the as individuals on Facebook or on the Instagram. And you know, certainly the band’s Horseshoes and Dead Horses to you. You know, it’s a lot of stuff to facilitate if you’re going to make a website and be managing all these pages and we’re you know, there’s a point where you end up managing your online career more than you end up managing your damn you know, songbook.
Brent Hanifl 17:43
Yeah, get out, get fishing, right.
Adam Greuel 17:45
That’s, you guys certainly need to do that. I’m gonna keep sane even if you have a chance at keeping sane.
Amy Gabay 17:55
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook at La Crosse Local. Find out more about us at lacrosselocal.com and you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.
About La Crosse Local
La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.
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