A songsmith with heart

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Evergreen resident's album celebrates togetherness

By Beth Potter

“The Final Scene” album and the Yellow Plate Hotel Band have been a labor of love for several Evergreen residents — but especially for lead singer and guitarist Jason Koski.

Both the band and the album were born at the Muddy Buck Café in Evergreen, where Koski met many of his musician friends. Koski came up with the band’s name while working with vocalist Lacey Capel at the Muddy Buck. (Capel now works and lives in Port Townsend, Wash.) Koski’s bandmate, bass player Gary Loffler, came from another Muddy Buck friendship.

It may make sense, then, that the acoustic folk/country album is about love and togetherness and family — not in a “hippie way” but in a “community way,” Koski said.

“(The album) is an example of coming together, and to realize the importance of the people and things around you that really matter, and to find purpose in that,” Koski said.

Koski plans to play 200 gigs this year to promote the album, including a scheduled Saturday, May 10, CD launch party at the Muddy Buck. The album is starting to get air play at some college radio stations, too, he said. (To listen to songs on the album, visit www.yellowplatehotel.com.)

The sense of community among musicians is palpable on Thursday “open mic” nights at the Muddy Buck, said Diane Florschuetz, who owns and runs the place with husband Alan. Musicians often make new alliances on the spot, before jamming in front of a packed room of listeners from all over, not just Evergreen, Diane Florschuetz said.

“We’ve made it really easy to come in and be a community together,” Florschuetz said. “It’s like setting up in somebody’s living room or around a campfire.”

Mark Stefaniw, another Evergreen resident, met Koski at the Muddy Buck. Stefaniw recorded some bass tracks and plays accordion for songs on the album. Evergreen resident Marty Hallberg is another vocalist. Fiddler Guy Tittes, who lives in Evergreen in the summer and Key West, Fla., in the winter, also recorded some tracks on the album.

Koski credits his friends for helping to shape the album, since it’s a departure from his background as a rock musician.

“Best Damn Soldiers,” the most-played song on the album, tells the story of Koski’s love for his daughter Madisyn. And Madisyn also will be featured on an upcoming music video that Koski plans to shoot to support the album.

Koski is working hard to promote himself and the album, said Eric Swanson, who digitally mastered the final recording for Koski at Sacred Heart Studio in Duluth, Minn. While it’s tough to get noticed in the music business, Koski is on the right track, Swanson said.

“There are a lot of people trying to be out there and stake a claim. It’s a tough thing to do, but more power to (Jason Koski),” Swanson said.