Evolving as an entertainer – from fishing lures and rods to guitars and rhymes
I began writing for newspapers, magazines and newsletters in the mid-1970s when I was an avid scuba diver and saw there was little in the current publications regarding Upper Midwestern freshwater diving destinations. It was a niche that needed filling, so I gave it a shot.
After I moved from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Minnetonka, Minn., in 1981, I noticed another niche that deserved scrutiny. The fishing world in Minnesota solidly favored walleyes and panfish. Being from Iowa I could see that bass and northern pike needed some attention. With that in mind, I dusted off the old IBM Selectric typewriter, started shooting loads of photos, and pitched my ideas to the editors of fishing publications.
For more than 30 years I have been creating images, writing stories, highlighting my experiences on television and radio programs, and – in this day of social media – sharing on Facebook and blogging on websites.
My travels have taken me to many different countries in search of the finest fishing and hunting locations, and I have been to all 50 states for my work. Calling it “my work” is a bit of a misnomer given every day I thank God for blessing me with this amazing career. Calling it work when you love what you do sometimes generates laughs from those who think I hunt and fish from dusk to dawn.
In reality I am a storyteller. I’ve spent many long hours in front of the keyboard describing my discoveries in a way that will resonate with readers and heighten their appreciation for the outdoors. On radio segments, my goal is to inform and entertain. Entertain in both senses of the word – to provide amusement or enjoyment and to give attention or consideration to an idea or approach. At my core I am an entertainer.
Which is what led me to my latest project.
In the early 1970s I took up the guitar. Within a year I started a bluegrass band, The Riverbottom Ramblers, with two friends. They are still performing in Iowa today.
When I moved to Minnesota I said farewell to the band but kept up with the music, just me and my guitar playing covers of obscure songs with the occasional hit tossed in. I’ve always loved performing and took every advantage to play for an audience when I could.
Five years ago, on my 40th wedding anniversary, I decided to write a song for my wife as an anniversary gift and play it for her on Napili Beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui. She loved it, thankfully, and I realized I really loved writing music. Recognizing the emotion that only a song can evoke, along with experiencing the joy and satisfaction in creating a song, I began to craft more original music and today perform these compositions around the world.
This led me to Nashville in June to record a dozen of my original tunes with some of the finest musicians in the world. Internationally renowned finger-picking champion Tim Thompson, a Minnesota native who moved to Nashville more than 25 years ago, produced the album at his Hidden Giant Studio, and his son Myles, also an internationally recognized violin and mandolin virtuoso, provided accompaniment to the songs on those instruments.
We recently released this new album of originals, and I would invite all who have enjoyed my outdoor communications over the years to check it out. The title of the album is, “Another Crack in the Windshield,” and it’s available for streaming or download on iTunes, Spotify, and CD Baby. You can also keep up on my touring schedule by visiting my website: www.lesmonster.com. If you search a name for the new recordings, use “Lesmonster.”
I hope you enjoy the tunes and feel free to share your thoughts on my Facebook page – Lesmonster Music.