Locals Shoot Some Tunes

ambitious UWEC students start music video blog

Betty Nikia, photos by Leader-Telegram

LOCAL MUSIC SEEN IN LOCAL LOCATIONS. A still images from a performance by local band Feathe for The Valley, a music video blog that highlights local musicians in local places.

Jamie Yanda stands off-center in a long pile of rubble in downtown Eau Claire, strumming his acoustic guitar and screaming raw lyrics as loud as his voice will allow. The Chippewa River roils behind him as a group of preteens alternately croon with him and then heckle him. The frame jostles and wavers as it circles around and zooms in. This is the latest installment of one of Eau Claire’s most creative new projects – The Valley.

Thom Fountain has been following the Vincent Moon Takeaway Shows on La Blogotheque for about two years. He had been kicking around ideas after a post on the site called for filmmakers to create similar projects in their own cities. Fountain had been looking for a way to become more involved in the local music scene, and this seemed like a perfect segue.

Fountain writes, films, and does most of the editing for the project. He has also enlisted the help of friends and UW-Eau Claire students Liz Felder and Daniel Lee Ruff Smith for photographing and filming the events. Smith’s band, Paper George, was involved in one of the first shoots. Since Fountain and Smith are friends, it provided a good test run. “I think originally I had the notion that I’ll just film people I know, and we’ll see where it takes off,” says Fountain, “but already in the fifth segment I’m contacting people I’ve never talked to before and we’re getting good responses.”

Local band Feathe was featured in one of The Valley’s recent video posts. “It’s a really casual, easygoing atmosphere working with those kids,” says Johanne Swanson, who sings and plays accordion for the group. “You can tell that they are really excited about what they’re doing. It wasn’t awkward at all.” Alyssa Rieper, who sings and plays guitar for Feathe, adds, “The one drawback being part of a new project like that is the time consumption. Any new project takes some time.”

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