If you were in town for Algoma’s Shanty Days celebration, you may have seen Levi Zeitler running around Crescent Beach with a clipboard in his hand making sure the Battle on the Beach volleyball tournament was running smoothly. What you may not know is that Levi is also an accomplished musician and will be opening for the final Algoma Summer Concerts in the Park of 2017 featuring Dead Horses on August 31, 2017, at Heritage Park.
In this interview, Levi shares with us what groups influence his sound, how he got his start and his excitement about opening for Dead Horses.
Describe your sound.
My sound is basically whatever I can play comfortably while not messing up too bad. (laughs) I’m not much of a lead guitar guy, I stick to playing rhythm. Overall, I would describe my sound as pretty much Folk and Irish.
Who are your influences?
My cd collection is vast and covers many, many genres. I can listen to Ice Cube, Hank Williams, NOFX, The Dubliners, and Dave Brubeck all during the same drive to the Northwoods. I am influenced by a lot of people and bands I’ve grown to love. Lately, it has been The Liver Killers, Age of Fable, The Chocolateers, and Dead Horses. As far as the music I play, I lean towards the sounds of Trampled By Turtles, Old Crow Medicine Show, Flogging Molly, and The Pogues.
Tell us about your journey to performing solo.
When I started playing music, I had no intentions on performing for an audience. Music is my release. It is a way for me to calm down and relax, to find happiness in sad moments in my life, and to feel challenged. About 5 years ago is when I really started picking up my guitar. After playing alone at home for a few years, I met up with an Irish gent by the name of Gerry Sloan. He invited me to his Irish session group in Green Bay one evening. I had no idea what to expect but I came to find out that it was a great place to perform with other musicians and gain confidence in my playability. They all really pushed me to get out there and play.
I gained my first gig while sitting on my front porch picking my banjo. I know, it sounds like a scene from Deliverance, but not the case. (laughs) My neighbor asked me to accompany her at her presentation at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest in 2016. We had a blast and have been talking about going back there next year.
In June of this year, I was asked to play my first solo show at Emy J’s in Stevens Point. Being my first show, I was nervous. But playing for my friends and family was like singing in church, nobody is going to “boo!” you.
So, this will only be my second gig. I’m glad people won’t be charged to hear me play. (laughs)
You grew up in this area, will people be surprised when they attend the concert?
Although I was born here in Algoma, I was actually raised on a small dairy farm up in Rosiere and attended Southern Door School District. I didn’t know anyone from Algoma at the time. While in middle school, my family moved to the small Northwoods town of Mercer, WI and graduated high school there. So, coming back to the area and moving to Algoma in 2006 kind of makes me a transplant. Now living here for 11 years and becoming more involved in the community, I’m proud to call Algoma “home”.
Are you ready to open for the Dead Horses, winner of the Wisconsin Area Music Industry “Album of the Year” recipients?
Well… Let’s not talk about that, I’m already nervous enough! (laughs) When I was asked to fill in as an opener for the summer concert series, I never gave it a thought about who was headlining. I did know Dead Horses were coming and once I put the two together my jaw dropped and I couldn’t stop smiling. I am so excited and honored to have the opportunity to be in this position. I feel that my set list will flow into their Folk/Americana genre. To answer your question, NO! I will never be ready to open for Dead Horses! (more laughs)
The final concert of the 2017 season is scheduled for Thursday, August 31, 2017. Levi will open at 6 p.m. Dead Horses will take the stage at 7.
Bring a chair or a blanket and enjoy an evening by the lakeshore. The concerts are free and carry-ins are welcome.