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Interview:
Lansing singer-songwriter Jerry Sprague's finding his own voice
 

By GARY GRAFF
21st Century Media/Digital First Media, @GraffonMu

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Making music has been a family affair for East Lansing singer-songwriter Jerry Sprague.

It started with his father's Dixieland band and continued with Jerry & the Juveniles, the group he led with sons Jeremy and Joshua. Now he's performing with his three grandsons -- Isaac on guitar, Gabriel on bass and Samuel on drums -- and like any proud grandpa he promises that "these kids are really amazing."

"The way it all worked out, it's something I never, ever expected," says Sprague, 59, who just released a CD of original songs called "Summer State of Mind." "My sons are still performing, professional musicians, but they've gone off to do their own things, but I'm glad I can still be playing with their sons and keep that tradition going."

"Summer State of Mind," meanwhile, marks Sprague's first foray into original music after years of playing covers "for drunk college students" most of the time. "The music I wrote before wasn't very good," he notes with a laugh, but his songs for the CD, he says, "finally reached up to my standards."

"My son Jeremy is probably my biggest critic, and when he heard the songs as I was working on them he said, 'You've got to record these. These songs are amazing,' " Sprague says. "That was what spurred me on, because he doesn't like anything. I've always wanted to write this well but I never have, I don't know why it happened now, but I'm just happy it did."

Jerry Sprague performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15. Call (734) 761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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