Luke Woltanski & The Wore-Out Soles


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Luke Woltanski & The Wore-Out Soles
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Luke is a native of Plainwell, Michigan. During the summers he stays in Glen Arbor, Michigan, and during the fall and spring he goes to Hillsdale College. Music was an integral part of Luke’s life from a very young age, even from his years as a toddler. He would have to be put to sleep at night by none other than Bruce Springsteen. Very peculiar, but it worked, and Luke’s musical idols have certainly grown since then. He uses guitar styles similar to the likes of Michael Hedges and Gordon Lightfoot, and plays piano with inspiration from Bruce Hornsby and Billy Joel. His harmonica playing pulls from traditional blues as well as folk playing, and his Native American flute from the likes of Robert Mirabal.

Luke’s parents bought him a guitar when he was ten years old, and it sat for two years with hardly any playing. By the time he was thirteen, however, Luke had taught himself the basic chords of the guitar and was beginning to move on to individual notes. During Highschool, he took piano lessons for two years, but eventually left to pursue a less classical style featuring a more percussive playing of the notes. At almost the same time, he bought a Native American flute from a gentleman at an art fair in Kalamazoo, and was beginning to master it’s quirks. His mountain dulcimer was a recent addition to his arsenal of instruments, being only two years old, but Luke has been working with it and writing pieces for just dulcimer and for the dulcimer and other instruments.

His style of writing is very peculiar. “I don’t think that writing a song is there to just portray emotion – although that is important – but I like songs that take you on a journey, that tell a story. If you can’t be taken from one place to another, then the journey never happened, and in my eyes the song didn’t truly happen either. Or something like that… To those who are reading this (hey, you!) who ever want to write lyrics, I think you should keep one thing in mind: that no two songs are ever the same. The music has to be different between the two if you want to keep your music interesting, but the lyrics are another animal entirely. You can write love songs, but then you’ll have to tell another story at some point, because there’s so much more to life than just one thing. You don’t have to make the words rhyme, and you don’t have to be completely literal with everything you say. What you do have to do is bring your audience close, and then take them on a journey. One’s which you yourself have been on are always great, because the audience can often hear your honesty, but don’t be afraid to mix it up. Music is a creature on it’s own that changes and evolves, your lyricism should be the same.”

Blue and the Worn-Out Soles is the folk/jazz/blues group made up of Luke Woltanski, Paul Keenan, Michael Whitman, and Dalton Sala. The group plays music composed by Luke and Dalton, but their style is largely improvisational. Paul Keenan plays violin and adds a classical flair to the music as he duels Michael Whitman’s baritone saxophone. Together, they add a beat to the Soles’ music that drives the music forward and makes the tune dance. Dalton Sala plays upright bass, lead guitar, mandolin and cello. His expertise in music keeps the group rooted in jazz traditions, and his playing transfixes the listener with its intricacies. This fused with Luke’s folk and blues background is what makes up the sound of the Soles.

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