The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    All the world feels the groove

    Family Groove Company will be bringing their “groove-informed jazz/rock” to The Cabin, playing three free shows at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

    Family Groove Company was formed when guitarist Adam Lewis and keyboardist Jordan Wilkow met bassist Janis Wallin and drummer Mattias Blanck while studying at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles in 2000.

    The fresh foursome experienced creative chemistry and began writing songs and performing at the Institute and local Hollywood venues, Wallin said. Soon after, the band recorded a demo and headed out on a tour of the California coast.

    In 2002, the band recorded its first full-length album, “Reachin,’ ” just before moving the band to the Midwest.

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    “We always technically consider the Chicago relocation to be the start of the band as it exists today,” Wallin said. “Since our first Midwest show in October 2002, we’ve really stepped it up in terms of our commitment and drive to make this thing work.”

    Family Groove Company is definitely working. With over 100 shows per year, the members are driving this funky stallion on their own. They are the band, as well as art director, travel agent, booking agent and accountant.

    “We like having control over the business, and I think the hard work builds character,” Wallin said.

    Having labeled themselves as “groove-informed jazz/rock,” they concentrate on staying true to their sound.

    “Our music reflects a great deal of attention and care for the groove,” Wilkow said. “We make a conscious effort to see that our rhythm section ideas hold up under scrutiny.”

    The band uses the groove as a foundation from which the remainder of the song grows.

    Developing a bass line or drum groove that complements the other instruments is the difficult step in the process, Wilkow said.

    “Family Groove Company had a unique sound, and the committee came to an agreement they would be a perfect ensemble professional performance,” Erica Borresen, University Activities Commission member and Cabin co-chairwoman said.

    Family Groove Company prides itself on its live shows and its exploration of self and the audience.

    “There’s pleasure and satisfaction on a very personal level as I explore melodic ideas in a solo, or hear a new tune come together for the first time,” Wilkow said.

    And on a broader level as well, when a truly moving exchange of energy, mutual appreciation and joy takes place between all those present.”

    Between shows, touring life for the band isn’t necessarily the rock n’ roll lifestyle. Along with the business side of the band to tend to, the band said there are many hours of driving, late nights, hauling gear and three-hour shows to play.

    “Touring life for us is far from the clich‚ glamour of fawning groupies, trashed hotel rooms and drugs and booze. But despite the hard work, life on the road is always a lot of fun,” Wallin said.

    Whether someone forgets to close the trailer doors or snowy roads send the car spinning into the median, Wallin said FGC remains dedicated to their passion for music.

    UW-Eau Claire students are ready for FGC to bring their jazz-inspired jams to The Cabin this weekend.

    “They sound like a modern version of 70s groove music,” senior FGC fan Teresa Larson said. “That music style combined with the lead singer’s voice is pretty fun to listen to.”

    In the future, FGC plans to endure the touring life as the band continues to reach new goals and new ears.

    “We’re eager to be reaching larger audiences,” Wilcow said. “I’ve been really happy with how our material has developed over the last couple years, and I can’t wait to see how it continues to evolve.”

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    All the world feels the groove