TRAVERSE CITY — For 14 years, Traverse City’s Soul Patch has created what it calls “conscious groove” music aimed at “uniting the masses on one common frequency” at its shows.
“We’d say, ‘We are a little rock, jam, reggae, funk and bluegrass mixed together,’ and people would say, ‘Cool,’ with a confused look on their faces,” said lead singer and rhythm guitarist Christopher “Wink” Winkelman.
“Many folks tell us we lighten their days and nights, lift them up when they’re feeling down or simply love what we do and feel the love radiating from the stage — which is always our goal, to unite the masses on one common frequency, where we are all one, moving and grooving, organic dance machine.”
Suffice to say, the band — Winkelman, lead guitarist/banjo player Adam T. Sleder, drummer Marc “Animal” Alderman, bassist Chris “CB” Belanger and trumpet player Stephen “Scooba Steve” Berg – brings an upbeat vibe to its live shows, exuding a lot of “love, positivity, consciousness and laughter” through performances of “rare” covers and original material.
The band will bring that approach to Traverse City’s Rare Bird Brewpub at 9 p.m. Saturday (May 20), and again the following weekend, at 8 p.m. May 27 at Workshop Brewing.
The origins of Soul Patch extend back to 2003 when Winkelman met Michigan mandolinist Mike “Mando” Peck at “a little hippie fest” and immediately hit it off, jamming for hours together. As much as he enjoyed the experience, Winkelman was set on being a solo act — until Peck convinced him otherwise.
“He was relentless with phone calls and voice mails, urging me to jam more with him — to which I replied, many thanks, but I am sticking with the solo thing for now. After two-and-a-half weeks of calls, I caved,” recalled Winkelman, 41, noting the Soul Patch duo played its first official gig at 2003’s inaugural Hoxeyville music festival.
Eventually, Soul Patch added other musicians to the fold and solidified its lineup, though Peck retired from the band in 2014 and later suffered a stroke.
“Without Mando, none of this would’ve happened, so we love him more than words,” said Winkelman, who paid homage to Peck in the bridge of Soul Patch’s song, “Happy Party,” which closes out the band’s full-length 2016 album, “Dirty Work.”
In addition to “Dirty Work,” Soul Patch’s discography includes a 2007 live album and 2011’s 15-track “Soul Patch is Neat.”
For Winkelman, Soul Patch represents a musical project that’s “always evolving,” a thoroughly independent, self-managed band of musicians between the ages of 35 and 45 who espouse “nothing but hard work, honesty, sweet conscious grooves and handshakes.”
“We are all Michigan boys,” he says of band members grew up in Cadillac,…