Fontanelle native Luke Stuzman, now of rural Madison County, wants his shows to testify that original music is alive and well here in Iowa.
Stuzman is excited to be a part of the second edition of the Warren Cultural Center’s Underground Concert Series, Friday, Nov. 18, featuring indie/folk genre bands, in the basement of the historic Greenfield venue.
Beginning at 7 p.m. will be opener Triple Elvis, a Des Moines-based rock trio that draws influences from alternative rock, most-punk, folk and modern indie-pop. Then at 8 p.m., Joytrip takes the stage — an electric-folk indie band making music in Iowa City. Stutzman takes the stage at 9 p.m. The night will be capped by Songbird Bean from Elk Run Heights, who has been singing alternative/folk music for over 20 years.
“I haven’t played back [toward home] for a long time, so I’m excited to get back there,” said Stutzman, a 1989 Bridgewater-Fontanelle graduate, in a phone interview last week. “I didn’t know The Underground was there. Growing up in Fontanelle, I remember scooping the loop in Greenfield and that building being there, so it’ll be great. I’m pretty excited to get back and play there.”
Despite the nervousness he experienced playing in front of people for the first time, Stutzman quickly learned how to do it and has enjoyed performing very much. His older brother, Chad, is also a performing musician. His other brother, Shawn, is a professional rodeo clown.
“When I went out on my own again I was sick of playing the same old songs everyone’s heard a million times, like ‘Brown Eyed Girl,’ ‘Margaritaville,’ and that sort of stuff. I said if I was going to go out and play again it was going to be music that I like, not the same old stuff — and my own stuff,” Stutzman said. “I’ve got a hybrid guitar so I can play acoustically and electrically. I can get a lot of different sounds and blend them so it’s a little more unique that just a guy with an acoustic guitar.”
Last week, Stutzman was excited to be traveling to Nashville to work on his first professionally-recorded and produced album. He hopes it will be released within the next few months. Any recordings he has to this point in his playing career have been self-recorded.
Stutzman has about 12 songs that he’s written that he’s most proud of, and he thinks eight might make it onto this album.
He really started focusing again on writing his own music during the pandemic when there wasn’t much else to do.
“I have a little shop where I do woodworking. I would take my guitar down and say I’m not coming back up until I’ve got a song written,” Stutzman said. “Some of the best writing is when it’s personal or about trials and tribulations. That’s what a lot of my songs are about.”
Stutzman’s primary goal is for his songs to resonate with somebody at his shows. Whether or not they get the same message from them that he was writing about is something he says doesn’t matter so much to him.
“I don’t think you hear a lot about original musicians in Iowa, but there are a lot of talented writers here,” Stutzman said. “I know people go out and want to hear songs they’ve heard before and be entertained, but I also think there’s some good music coming out of Iowa right now and I hope they enjoy hearing them as much as I enjoy playing them.”
Luke Stutzman Music can be found online on Facebook and at his website, www.lukestutzman.com.
Tickets for this 12-and-over show are $5 at the door. The WCC Underground is an ADA compliant facility.