On Stage

(PHOTO BY ELLIE BOGUE)

Two-piece cruising

Blues duo's reputation is growing

By Michele DeVinney
It is fairly common to hear tales of friends who introduce each other to a future spouse. But when a future wife introduced her friend to her future husband, what resulted was a musical marriage that led to recording and international touring. What resulted was Left Lane Cruiser.

That fortuitous merging of minds came seven years ago when Brenn Beck’s Northrop High School classmate suggested he try playing with her boyfriend, Joe Evans. Both were interested in the blues — Beck as a drummer, Evans on guitar — and they hit it off immediately. Each fancied a different style of blues, but it didn’t take long until they were on the same wavelength.

“We both grew up with music,” Evans said. “Brenn was into traditional Chicago blues while I followed the northern Mississippi style. Chicago blues is more technical while Mississippi blues is kind of sloppy.”

“He introduced me to the music I like. I just didn’t know it yet,” Beck said.

They immediately began writing music that first day and were playing shows together within a few weeks. Their ascent was steady and continuous, with Left Lane Cruiser quickly establishing themselves not only in Fort Wayne — which was obviously their immediate goal — but in venues around the country and now around the world. With four CD releases to their credit, including this year’s “Junkyard Speed Ball” (available locally at Wooden Nickel), their reputation has continued to grow. Although the band itself grew for a time, they’ve settled happily into remaining a duo.

“We were right on the cusp of the wave of two-piece bands,” says Evans. “I think at the time White Stripes was the only two-piece band out there, and we thought maybe we should bring in a bass player. He was great, a really talented guy, but I think we came to realize that we didn’t need a bass player. We want to be a two-piece, and he understood that he was better suited to other projects.”

“And being a two-piece has just been easier,” adds Beck. “Better paycheck, easier traveling.”

Travel has become a significant consideration. By 2008 and the release of their second album, “Bring Yo’ Ass to the Table,” the duo was already signed to Alive Records. Their first trip abroad took them to Europe in 2008. This winter they visit Australia for the first time for a tour which takes them to all corners of the country.

The pair has also added fatherhood to their shared experiences, with Beck’s daughter arriving in late 2010 and Evans’s son joining the fray just three months later. Not as coincidental as it may seem.

“We figured if we were going to make this work, it was better if we were going through the same things at the same time,” said Beck. “Our wives have been best friends since middle school, so it’s worked out well for all of us.”

Posted: Thu, 09/15/2011 - 1:01 pm
Last updated: Wed, 05/23/2012 - 3:12 pm