Described by Scott Warren of The Rapidian as "Occupying a place all its own somewhere between county, folk, and rock, the music of Chain of Lakes shares a unifying sensibility similar to the work coming out of several of the rising stars on our West Michigan scene right now. Kyle Rasche has successfully captured that feeling, internalized it, distilled it down to its essential elements, and incorporated it into his own unique vision." Chain of Lakes is the moniker that Michigan songwriter Kyle Rasche assigned to his musical output shortly before releasing a debut self-titled album in 2009.  Following a string of collaborative projects including Four_Days, A Stowaway, and Rasche & Flynn, his solo debut featured hushed, harmony-driven songwriting, captured beautifully by Ann Arbor producer Jim Roll (Backseat Productions). 


The summer of 2010 included a solo festival performance at Missy's Farm Festival, where Rasche met Mat Churchill, a West Michigan musician and songwriter.  Churchill sat in on bass guitar for Chain of Lakes at the 2010 Jammie Awards and has been a mainstay on bass and vocals ever since. 2011 proved to be a productive time for Chain of Lakes, including a new batch of recordings produced by Grand Rapids producer Justin VanHaven of JVH Audio.  Collaborations with notable West Michigan players Nathan Kalish, Pat Weiland, and VanHaven himself provided an organic pulse heard on 2011's Kind of Quiet EP.   Awarded WYCE's Best Album - Short Form, Kind of Quiet established the band as a musical mainstay on the Midwest front.


In 2012 Rasche began an association with Shanghai beat engineer Yusuke Hama (aka Hamacide) with a whiskey-driven 4-track recording of one of Rasche's poems becoming their first collaborative effort. Featured on Hamacide's release Mighty Little Machine, the track "Statues, Psalms, and Wars" also saw a release on Japanese underground hip-hop label Oilworks as a remix by Prefuse 73.  Triumphing over the technical logistics of intercontinental collaboration, Rasche and Hama completed the album Jio and its yet-unreleased follow-up in just under a year.  Domestically, performances with the likes of Great Lake Swimmers, Frontier Ruckus, Matt Jones, Chris Bathgate, Benjamin Riley, Stover, and The Wallace Collective highlighted a 2012 that saw Rasche continue his steady output of new music for Chain of Lakes


The following winter’s chill was the setting for the recording of Softer Sticks, a 9-track LP recorded with Grand Rapids studio mogul Greg Baxter.  Enhanced by the addition of percussionist Phil Tomasello, guitarist and lap steeler Jordan Griffis, vocalist Dana Jackson, drummer Dustin Anderson, and violinist Jeffrey Niemeier, Chain of Lakes released Softer Sticks in the spring of 2013. Less than two months later, Revue Magazine named the band one of the "Top Ten To Watch" live acts in Western Michigan.    

-A. McLemore





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