Dance to new Von Strantz EP while baking
I’ve been acquainted with Jess Strantz for nearly ten years now and have been delighted to listen to her musical evolution. She’s always been deeply committed to her craft and has experimented courageously, creating better and more impactful music every year of the 20 years she’s been a musician. She’s already knocking our socks off with rich, soulful tunes – just think what another 10 years of brilliant musical endeavor will bring. I look forward to enjoying it all.
Although I generally write about food, today we’re talking about Von Strantz, a South Bend, IN-based band made up of Jess Strantz and Kelsey Horton (and sometimes a whole slew of others). The band will release its third of a series of movements it has been working on since early this year on January 13. “Narratives Chapter III: 1818” includes the final four songs of the three-part Narratives album. You can listen to “1818,” which the band released on December 29, to get a little taste of what you can expect from the full release.
Described as folk ‘n roll, Von Strantz utilizes a variety of instruments including cello, violin, viola, upright bass, piano, synths, acoustic guitars, electric guitar, mandolin, drums and electric bass to tell simple, relatable tales with complex harmonies and dynamic vocals. The website describes the musical genre as similar “to the tradition of Over the Rhine and the sacredness of The Vespers; the instrumentals stir the soul much like Mumford and Sons.” And Jess says some of her greatest musical influences have been Elton John, Over The Rhine, Radiohead, Chopin, Beethoven & Aaron Sprinkle.
I can’t claim to be in the musical know, but I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to experience “Narratives Chapter III: 1818” a little early. I was quite taken with the moving songs, literally moving to the music and humming along to striking, familiar, emotion-evoking, minor themes. I felt enveloped by the sound and can’t wait to hear these songs performed live.
I asked Jess what she wants listeners to experience. She said, “I want our listeners to find their place in the stories we are creating through our music. I want the music to take them to a place not only in their mind, but in their heart. I want people to believe our music, I want them to feel my heart, my joy, my pain, my anger, my triumph and failure.”
The music certainly took me places, and I think you would be hard pressed not to get caught up in the sound.
Jess describes creating “Narratives Chapter III: 1818″ as one of the best and most fun records she’s ever made. She defines the entire “Narratives” album as “a collection of songs and stories that have been woven together from past experiences of not only our lives, but also of the people in our community.” She added, “With each chapter (EP) we wanted to give a different sound and feel, so some of the songs have a country feel to them, while others are more pop, and a few singer-songwriter, and even a little blues and jazz!”
You can pre-order “Narratives Chapter III: 1818” on iTunes now or wait until the album is released on January 13 to purchase it from nearly any online music store including Amazon Google Play, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Reverbnation and xbox live.
Dance Von Strantz Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe by Jess Strantz
- 2 bananas
- 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
- 3/4 cup agave
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 1/2 dry oatmeal
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chocolate (no milk chocolate)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a food processor or blender mix bananas, apple sauce, agave, and vanilla.
- In large mixing bowl stir together flour, oats, cinnamon & baking soda.
- Gradually add dry ingredients into banana mixture.
- Stir in the dried fruit and chocolate.
- Scoop out dough and flatten on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.
- Bake 12-15 minutes.