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A First from Past

longtime musician finally fronting his own trio

Tyler Jennings Henderson, photos by Andrea Paulseth

BLAST FROM THE PAST.  Larry Past’s weekly solo gig at From the Vine Wine Room eventually led to the creation of the Larry Past Trio, the first group the longtime musician has fronted himself.
BLAST FROM THE PAST. Larry Past’s weekly solo gig at From the Vine Wine Room eventually led to the creation of the Larry Past Trio, the first group the longtime musician has fronted himself.

After being a longtime staple in the Eau Claire folk music scene, Larry Past has finally released an EP as a front man: The LP 3 EP.

Past, a radiation oncologist with Mayo Clinic Health System, has been playing guitar and singing for as long as he can remember. “I’ve been doing it for a long time, started when I was a teenager, and I’m not very young at this point,” he laughed.

A native of the Twin Cities, Past has been in the Chippewa Valley for the past eight years. During that time, he’s mostly been performing as half of a duo with his good friend Al Julson. After Julson had a hard time fitting the music into his schedule, Past took on a weekly solo gig at a local wine bar, From the Vine. “I never was a front man,” he said. “I avoided that when I could. When Al had to take a hiatus from playing, I became a front man.”

He was later joined by bassist Bentley Harder, and the two began working on the five tunes that ended up on The LP 3 EP. (If you didn’t guess, “LP 3” is short for Larry Past Trio.) For the recording, they added guitarist John Nietz to play electric guitar and Adam Nussbaum to play drums. The tracks were recorded last June through Pine Hollow Audio.

Still playing that gig at the wine bar, Past realized that he was feeling better about his leading role in the musical endeavor. “You just learn to be very comfortable in front of people and singing,” he said. “And if the songs are coming from your heart, you’re really putting yourself out there.”

“You just learn to be very comfortable in front of people and singing. And if the songs are coming from your heart, you’re really putting yourself out there.” – Local music vet Larry Past on finally being a front man in his project, The Larry Past Trio

Soon after recording those tracks, John LeBrun started playing drums with Past and Harder, and The Larry Past Trio was formed. After listening to the recorded tracks and working on the songs even more with the addition of LeBrun, Past decided to make some adjustments, re-recording the basic tracks for the four songs and leaving one as it was originally laid down. The tracks also feature vocalists Marjorie Craemer and Dan Zerr (Second Hand Hearts) and percussionist John Strei, all of whom frequently sit in with LP3 at From the Vine. Nietz added electric guitar to the four new tracks and Evan Middlesworth, owner of Pine Hollow Audio, did backing vocals and percussion on one of the tracks.

Since the recording of The LP3 EP, the personnel has settled into Past handling guitar and vocals, LeBrun on drums, Jerry O’Brien on bass and vocals, and Al Julson on guitar and vocals when time permits.

Past will be playing Saturday, May 24, at the Rush River Folk Festival at Vino in the Valley in Maiden Rock. Check out his EP at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/LarryPast or on iTunes.