British Columbia’s singer/songwriter Mike Edel is touring mountain ranges across the western United States and Canada along with his friend and fellow musician Tyson Motsenbocker. One of the many stops on the “Marching Ranges Tour” includes Whitworth University. Motsenbocker graduated from Whitworth University in 2009 and majored in English and writing. Edel and Motsenbocker will be playing in the Hixson Union Building on Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. The inspiration behind the mountain-themed tour comes from a poem Edel read called “David” by Earle Birney. The poem recounts the story of two boys hiking in the Rockies. Coincidentally, Edel and Motsenbocker met while away at school in Europe in 2006, in the rocky terrain of the Austrian Alps.
“The idea for the tour is primarily based on the number of ranges we're going over during the tour, the Sierra Nevadas, Cascades and Rockies twice,” Motsenbocker said.
During tour performances both Edel and Motsenbocker play individual sets. Both musicians are recording artists and have their own separate albums. Other band members playing on the tour include bass player Josh Burns and drummer Gave Cortex.
“Mike plays guitar during my set and I play during his, so it’s two bands in one,” Motsenbocker said.
Edel has a self-titled EP as well as a full length album called “The Last of Our Mountains.” The gentle strumming of the guitar and clear vocals in the song “In Those Shoes” demonstrate Edel’s honest folk style, similar to Ben Gibbard and Fleet Foxes. The music video of the song posted on his website shows a raw recording of Edel walking down the street with his friends, who gather together in a house to have a jam session, clapping and stomping their feet to the rhythm of his guitar.
Motsenbocker’s style of music is similar to Edel’s. His first solo EP album is called “Until it Lands.” The album’s storytelling song lyrics fall in step with a unique combination of folk and pop. Motsenbocker dedicated “Until it Lands” to his mother, who was diagnosed with cancer last year; her picture is on the album’s cover.
“Basically the idea behind that was everyone believes that tragedy will pass you over, or that you're immune from it, until it lands on you or the ones you love,” Motsenbocker said.
Motsenbocker’s interest in music began when he started taking guitar lessons when he was 8 years old. His first musical performance was in 7th grade. He played the song “Wonderwall” by the rock band Oasis at his school’s assembly.
“I liked this girl, you see,” Motsenbocker said. “I stared at her the whole time I played the song. She became my girlfriend soon after that.”
Later in college, Motsenbocker played in a band with his friends called “Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.” The group performed at various local venues in Spokane including The Service Station, The Empyrean and the Bing Crosby Theater.
The “Marching Ranges Tour” makes its last stop in Santa Cruz, Calif., at Ponderosa Lodge on Nov. 4-7.
“We have 25 shows in just over a month, over 6,500 miles reaching from San Diego to Edmonton, Alberta,” Motsenbocker said.
Story By Brianna Anderson
Photo courtesy of Tyson Motsenbocker