Exclusive Online Profile: Sturgeon Mill

Lawrence band stands apart from the alterna-crowd.

Sturgeon Mill isn't running with the rest of the local, alternative pack. With a sound fueled by an appreciation of such "classic" rockers as Led Zeppelin, U2, Pink Floyd, the Doors and R.E.M., the band manages to sound utterly fresh, and not like some rehash of vintage arena rock.

The powerful presence and compelling lyrics provided by singer/songwriter Lonnie Fisher, is the center around which the band coalesces, and under which the band builds a solid rhythmic and harmonic foundation. Greater than the sum of it's musical parts, Sturgeon Mill eschews showcase soloing for the kind of extended, intricate arrangements that focus on the collective groove and group interplay over gratuitous flash.

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Michael Newman/J-W Photo

Sturgeon Mill, opening for Californians, the Mother Hips, at the Bottleneck last Sunday night. From left to right, Adam Hess,Dan Hansen, Lonnie Fisher, Chris Nunez and Rob Dixon.

Upon this kaleidoscopic vortex of music, Fisher's wailing, chiding, shamanistic persona obviates the need for extended soloing. Fisher is abetted by fellow songwriter, vocalist, keyboard, theramin, and acoustic guitar player Rob Dixon, guitarist Adam Hess, bassist Dan Hansen and drummer Chris Nunez.

The band in its current form has been together two and a half years, and has one self-produced CD, "Ripples in the Upside Down Pond" in distribution. The band is currently working on demos at Red House Studios and plans a fall release of an EP of several newer songs.

Live the band takes the opportunity to really extend itself. The song "Ghosts" has been timed at upwards of 30 minutes. New material like Dixon's ethereal "Cevale" hint at Sturgeon Mill's subtler side, while "New Bum Blues" launches like "Highway 61" era Dylan, it has a bright, poppy veneer that balances against the roadhouse feel of the arrangement.

While Sturgeon Mill averages about a gig a week in Lawrence, they also spend a fair amount of time playing out of town, having played dates ranging from Colorado, to Oklahoma, Misourri and Arkansas. Their next Lawrence date is June 14th at the Jazzhaus with Columbia, MO band Shaman's Harvest opening.

You can visit the Sturgeon Mill Web site at http://www.sturgeon-mill.com.

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