Southern poet loves Dakotas

Laura Lucas

Laura Lucas

“Bradley Hathaway is gnarly. His show is super awesome,” said Alex Gutzmer of Lake Preston.

Part way into The Dang Dang Tour, Bradley Hathaway stopped in Brookings on March 23.

Hathaway played at the Days Inn and was preceded by two local bands. The first to play was The Leeway. This three-person band consists of Kyle Haaseth, a freshman graphic design major, Ryan Steenson, a sophomore biology major and Jonny Claeys, a freshman general studies major. The band was formed a week before the show and had five songs prepared.

“Nature is my inspiration,” said Claeys, who plays the keyboard and sings. “We are a power pop progressive jam band.”

The band said they would be recording soon and were “very honored to play with Bradley Hathaway.”

Next up was Dawning By Day. This four-man band consists of John Olivier, Joe Olivier, Dave Vanderbush and Tyler Hennagir. They describe their music as “straight up rock n’ roll with just a bit of an edge.” The boys plan on doing a ten-day tour this summer with shows in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa. They are also doing two music festivals in Iowa.

Last to play was Hathaway and his band. It currently consists of stand-up bassist and celloist Ric Alessio, electric bassist Matthew Nanes, drummer Joel Timen and keyboardist and electric guitarist Karl Wulf.

Hathaway lives in Alma, Ark., and toured 200 days a year for the past four years. According to his Web site, he attended the University of Arkansas, majoring in philosophy and minoring in religious studies. However, after a year and a half, he left to pursue writing.

His writing is inspired by “all the things of life, good, bad, pretty, ugly,” and his favorite musician and thinker is Johnny Cash. “Bradley Hathaway has good messages in his songs,” said Alex Sellers, of Brookings.

Hathaway said, “It [my music] is folky rock, experimental poetic.”

His second album and book, which came out in October, are titled The Thing that Poets Write About and The Thing that Singers Sing About. The album features 14 songs and poems and the book has 80 pages with an accompanying DVD. According to his Web site, “Bradley is not a singer, he is a soul, and his new collection is all heart. With songs of lost love, pain, desire and loneliness”.

When Hathaway got started, he toured in a 1988 Ford across the country. He has been all over the United States, Canada and Europe in that truck. He now has a 15-passenger van and is going to Africa for ten days and one show.

“I’m excited to play here. The people in the Dakotas are fun, kind and amazing. I’ve also played Lifelight the past two years,” Hathaway said. “Fargo is my favorite place to play,” he added.

A wide range of ages showed up for the show. Laurel Adkins, who helped coordinate the show, said, “I’m every excited and enthusiastic about the show and what this means for Brookings and our community.”