I’ve been a fan of Rachel Brooke for over a decade now, in fact I discovered the “Queen of Underground Country,” from Grayling, not long before Troy Graham brought her to the Children’s Museum in 2012. In 2016, when I was the Executive Director for the Historic Vista Theater in Negaunee we brought in “Tiger-Bear Jon,” aka Rachel’s father Barry Van Guilder, and the family band which consisted of Rachel and her brother Andy (I believe – my memory may be shaky) to play a promotional Ho-down for the production Oklahoma. Though that show was unfortunately under-attended those that did got a show, especially when Rachel took the lead.
To say I was very excited when Rachel contacted me a couple months ago to help find some U.P. gigs as she was booked for the Mountain Top: Music-Ski-Snowboard Boogie at Indianhead in Wakefield. Sadly, only the Ore Dock bit, but we couldn’t be more excited. Also, a quick thank you to the Marquette Area Blues Society as members ensured Rachel and the band would have a nice place to stay. Anyway, I was very happy to catch up with my friend officially:
So it’s been a little over 5 years since you’ve played this venue, and that was under VERY different circumstances, and 10 years since you’ve played original material in Marquette. Though we’ve spoken since, again my condolences on the passing of your father, watching the family band play at the Oklahoma Ho-Down in ’16 was definitely a highlight. – Bear
Obviously a bit of time has past, so let’s start with what you’ve been up to the past few years, what did you do over the pandemic?
I released a record over the pandemic! We finished it when things were really getting bad, and then prepared for a fall release hoping that things would be better by then…..Since then I’ve been writing a lot of new tunes, and touring with the band.
I mean, I know A LOT happened between 2012’s “A Killer’s Dream” and the 2020 release, including a collaborative full length with Lonesome Wyatt and the Modern Mal releases, so I’m gonna gues that “writing a lot of new tunes” means you have something in the tank and we’re not waiting 8 years between full lengths?
Oh yes, we are heading into the studio to track a new release at the end of the month. I’m pretty happy about how the band is sounding I really just want to capture this moment…
Then this seems like a GREAT moment to FINALLY have you in Marquette with a full band. Changing gears a little, how has motherhood changed the way you approach your career? How has that changed as your son gotten older, school, etc?
Well I’m always trying to find balance, I feel guilty a lot. I try my best to be a good mother, and also to focus on my career. It’s tough to balance because I have to find time to write and be creative and also be there for my son. But I have to say, I also love it. I think We are doing a good job. He’s a very smart and special boy.
I’m sure, I mean, it sure seems to me that he’s got a hell of a foundation he’s getting to build on. Anyhow, of course, I can’t wait to see you on Saturday, and wish I could blast out west for the Friday show. Anything you wanna tell MMS readers that I’ve left out?
I just want to invite everyone to come out and see us! We have a lot of fun at our shows, and try and put on a great night for everyone. We love making connections with folks and meeting new people, so we hope to see you there
Rachel Brooke will be appearing at the Ore Dock Brewing Company at 8 pm on Saturday March, 19. THERE IS NO COVER!!! Seriously folks, you aren’t going to get opportunities to see Rachel for free for much longer…