Duluth is known for its eclectic array of musicians, and Gina Lee is certainly one of them. She started singing when she was a little girl, and has been singing and performing professionally since 1979. Lee has become a well-established musician/entertainer/songwriter. Gina was born in Arizona, raised on the West Coast and made the transition to Minnesota in 1988, after a divorce, and met family members she hadn’t seen before. It’s been her home since.
You could call her a one woman band since she plays a 12 string guitar and pre-records music on her keyboard, for a fuller sound. Gina played in rock and country bands in 1979 and the early 1980s, starting in North Dakota and then on to the West Coast.
Her day job as an accountant is taking all of her time and energy, since it’s tax season. But when that fun time of year is done, she performs regularly at local venues. Even while raising a family and becoming an accountant was important to her, she still continued to play on occasion.
Music became a way of life 6 years ago, when she began performing as a “one-woman” act. Lee has no specific musical influences, but enjoys playing originals, folk rock, rock, and country. While Lee appreciates all types of music, folk rock is notably her specialty.
When asked if she has a favorite song, she replied, “I don’t really have one. But people sure like ‘Jambalaya’!!”
Gina Lee has performed in a variety of establishments. Emily’ Lighthouse restaurant in Knife River (now closed, sadly), The Iron Mug in Morgan Park, RT Quinlan’s, Beaners, Amazing Grace, GB Schneider’s, Bent Paddle, Clyde Iron, Radio Waves Music Festival, Pizza Luce, Lake Avenue Cafe…. and the list goes on.
But Lee said, “I find the assisted living homes most rewarding and other venues when people are having fun and dancing!” Sounds like she is not only a gifted entertainer, but also a giving one!
EventPro has helped and encouraged local musicians and bands in forming an alliance geared toward networking and arranging gigs. Our local music and arts scene is flourishing and Lundeen Productions has had so much to do with that. Lee met Tracy Lundeen a few years ago at the Women’s Expo that she performed
and Rose Hoene, local music events promoter and coordinator, introduced them.
In our correspondence via email, I asked Gina a bit about her accomplishments. She replied, “I have played the Homegrown Music Festival and Radio Waves Music Festival in Grand Marais more than once. I have written, performed and produced two albums. I have
(so far) contributed 5 original songs to Christmas by the Lake CD. I have come very close to winning the theme song contest for Bentleyville…. but alas, did not!”
Find Gina Lee at ginalee.bandvista.com
When Bob Dylan left Hibbing, Minnesota in 1960 to venture out into the big world, Greg Tiburzi was born there. Seems like it was fate that another Iron Range musician came along to spread the gift of words and melodies.
Tiburzi listened to pop music on WEBC-am radio out of Duluth, and in Chisholm years ago, his grandmother sang on a station during the heyday of radio.
He found the drums to be his first instrument of choice. He began playing them in school bands and other groups. His very first band in 1978, called Open Fire, helped him work though his stage fright while singing and drumming. He continues to play drums for First
Lutheran church and other local groups.
Tiburzi began writing songs in the late 1970’s. He relays that his favorite song to play is an original called “Flow Again”. In his own words about that song: “It was written during a bout of powerful anxiety. The song is about hope, and it is a release for me each time I play it. Even though it is of a very personal nature, I feel it is a common feeling we all share.”
At times, a song can bring healing, not only to the listener, but for the artist at the helm.
Lately Tiburzi has focused on singing and playing acoustic guitar and harmonica at local establishments, nursing homes, private parties, and an occasional fundraiser. He enjoys performing many styles of music. His performances mainly feature his originals, pop music from each decade, rock, folk, country, and standards. And this is impressive–Tiburzi appreciates world music and often incorporates songs from other cultures into his sets.
If you’re curious to hear Greg Tiburzi’s music, once a month you’ll hear some Italian songs when he plays at Valentini’sVicino Lago (various Wednesdays) and Gannucci’s Italian Market (usually last Fridays). He also plays once a month at Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake (every third Tuesday) and Bulldog Pizza and Grill. Add to that list The Spirit Room, Breeze Inn, and much more. He has also taken the stage at the ever popular Duluth Homegrown Music Festival.
Musicians that I’m familiar with, (of which I’m one) strive to be
perfectionists at their craft. Tiburzi is no different, and shares this
regarding his performances:
“I strive to do justice to the song and perform it as the melody and lyrics call for. The song keeps me focused. The reward for me is in playing the song properly, whether for an audience of 100 or 1.”
When asked how he met Mr. Duluth..er…I mean… Tracy Lundeen, it was while Tiburzi performed at the Engwall’s Corn Maze about 6 years ago. He has also been on the Christmas by the Lake charitable CD, which is produced by Lundeen Productions. Tiburzi said, “Tracy is such a great asset to the local music scene.” As this writer views it, Greg Tiburzi deserves the distinction of being a wonderful asset, also.
Summing up what he feels about music and performing, he said, “I revere the healing quality of music, the ability to lift and better connect us to each other, our surroundings, and ourselves.” Well said, Greg.
Find Greg Tiburzi at gregtiburzi.bandcamp.com
I was born in a log cabin in….no seriously, I was born in St. Paul Minnesota—in a hospital — I am a child of the suburbs in the 60’s. We had lots of open fields and lakes around our house and I could swim by the time I was 5.
I was very active in sports and wanted to be Harmon
Killebrew when I grew up. People always seemed to be having me sing. At that point I really didn’t like that very much.
My dad played in a band and gigged every weekend at a supper club called McGuires in the northern Twin Cities area.
He always had music playing. Sinatra, Matt Monroe, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr among others. My mom gravitated to show tunes so I also heard Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins to name a few.
When I was about 10 years old, The Beatles showed up. My dad made sure we watched them on Ed Sullivan that night. That took me down the rock and roll path.
As time went by I pretty much stayed with rock and folk. Then about five to six years ago I heard my oldest son listening to Michael Buble. When I heard, him sing, it brought me back to the music I grew up with.
Imagine my surprise when I found I could actually sing those old standards of my youth. This has become great fun. I love it. I love the new arrangements. I only wish my dad had survived to hear me sing them.
Rickey Lee is a crooner for any occasion. He is heavily influenced by the music his parents played while he was growing up. This includes the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Rickey was born and raised in the Twin Cities but moved to Duluth with his wife in the mid 1980’s.