The Back Issues - 2003 News



Percussion Ensemble Holiday CD release
It's been over two years in the making but it is now on a FedEX plane on its way to Fargo-Moorhead just in time for Sunday's concert - the eagerly-awaited Christmas CD by the Concordia Percussion Ensemble and Marimba Choir directed by Dr. David P. Eyler, "Christmas Favorites"!

Recorded on location (by Mike Coates of Raptor Studios) at Concordia College in four separate sessions throughout 2001-2003, this beautiful holiday album features Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite as well as sparkling arrangements of many other favorites including "March of the Toys," "Carol of the Bells," "Greensleeves" and many more. At just over 60 minutes of beloved songs of the season, this will surely become one of your favorite Christmas recordings.

Don't miss the spectacular annual Christmas concert (and CD release event) by this popular ensemble - they always pack the fieldhouse! If you haven't been to a Concordia Percussion Ensemble concert before, you really shouldn't miss this one - imagine an entire choir of marimbas, xylophones and vibes on stage plus drums, bells, chimes and every percussion instrument you can imagine!


Christmas Concert and CD Release Event
Sunday, December 14 - 3:00 pm
Concordia College
Memorial Auditorium - free admission






Margot Wagner at the 400 Bar Wednesdays in December and January!
Just returned from her trip out west to perform at the NACA West Conference in Portland, Oregon, singer-songwriter Margot Wagner will be performing at the 400 Bar in Minneapolis (near the U of M Dinkytown area at Cedar Avenue/Riverside) the first three Wednesdays in December (3rd, 10th, 17th) and also Wednesdays in January. Check her calendar for more upcoming dates near you!





Mike Coates joins Concordia College music faculty
Mike Coates has been hired to teach classical guitar at Concordia College in Moorhead MN. Renowned throughout the nation for its outstanding music department, Concordia boasts the region's largest contingent of excellent performers on its faculty. Mike has performed in faculty recital and on recordings with several department colleagues including flutist Debora Harris, saxophonist/bassoonist Russ Peterson, baritone Peter Halverson, and more to come. Mike and Raptor Studios also works closely with the department in many of its live performances (including providing live sound for its recent Homecoming Show) and department recordings (including a departmental sampler CD and two CD releases by the Concordia Percussion Ensemble and Marimba Choir).



Burnside and Peppermint to distribute Brennen Leigh CDs
Barking Dog Records is happy to announce that bluegrass/americana artist Brennen Leigh and her duo partner, brother Seth Hulbert, have been picked up by national retail distributor Burnside Distribution and Midwestern acoustic distribution/promotion company Peppermint. As Peppermint artists, they join company with other national touring artists including Storyhill, Stuart Davis, Brenda Weiler, Anne Heaton, Peter Mayer and others. After a summer performing throughout the upper Midwest, they are back in their new home of Austin, TX, performing throughout the state in support of their Barking Dog Records release "Lonesome, Wild & Blue" and an Austin-based label (Gospel According to Austin) live CD release, "Turn Your Radio On." Check back often for updates on their touring calendar!



New review for collector CDs!
Before Concordia College, before Raptor Studios and Barking Dog Records, before the decade on the faculty of Moorhead State University's music industry program, Mike Coates was known throughout the Midwest as the guiding artistic force (and guitarist tour-de-force) behind the progressive art-rock band ASIA and its predecessor, WhiteWing. The two albums released by the band (ASIA in 1979 and Armed to the Teeth in 1980) are now sought-after collectors' items throughout the world by progressive rock aficionados. Here's just a bit of what Glory Daze e-zine had to say in its recent review:

"It's difficult for me to define the band's sound as they don't sound derivative of anyone in particular and I find myself grappling with the many superlatives that spring to mind. A crude analogy I guess would be progressive hard rock with symphonic tendencies. Indeed many of the songs on both albums are lengthy workouts characterised by fantastic lead and harmony vocals from singers Michael English and Larry Galbraith and a virtuoso performance on guitar from Mike Coates. To cap it all, the lyrics are both thought provoking and soul searching at the same time." Read this and more reviews on the ASIA reviews page - and if you're interested, the entire saga on the WhiteWing/ASIA page...



Raptor Studios records Raven Darkcloud debut
Raven Darkcloud, a 32-year-old singer-songwriter originally from North Chicago, has recorded his debut CD at Raptor Studios. Produced by Mike Coates, the six-song disc, titled "Crazy Crazy World," includes five original songs and one cover, the Lennon/McCartney classic "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." The disc captures Raven's "organic folk rock" style which takes inspiration from classic rock and transforms it into his intense, street-influenced style of acoustic solo live performance. Catch Raven in performance around the Fargo-Moorhead area at venues including Babb's Coffeehouse, Red Bear Tavern, Fargo Cork and Bertrosa's Chicago-style Deli.

Susan Ekberg opens Energy Center

Raptor Studios client Susan Ekberg has opened a new facility in downtown Fargo. Located on the sixth floor of the historic Black Building in downtown Fargo on Broadway, The Energy Center is a facility for ongoing classes, workshops, trainings, and gatherings. Individual services are also offered, including Reiki, Energy Work, Intuitive Consulting, Past Life Work, Animal Communication, Reflexology, Emotional Freedom Technique and Intuitive Reading Parties. Practitioners include Reiki Masters Susan Ekberg, Vickie Smith and Patti Swetland. Workshops, classes and gatherings are hosted by various guests including Christeen McLain, Annette Rugolo, Troy Parkinson and others. Also on site is The Energy Store, which offers a collection of unique and beautiful products, including Young Living Essential Oils, Tahitian Noni Juice, hand-crafted jewelry, original artwork, books, CDs and tapes for sale. Visit their new website, designed and maintained by Linda Coates of Raptor Studios.


Raptor Studios goes hard disk

   After eight years of faithful service from our wonderful Tascam digital DA-78 and DA-88 decks, we are now moving into the hard disk world with our new Mackie HDR24/96 24-track hard disk recorder!

Our recording clients will enjoy the same wonderful sound and production quality that has gained Raptor Studios its reputation and critical acclaim, and producer/owner Mike Coates will enjoy the greater ease and speed of editing! And our trusty digital Tascam decks will still be on hand for backup, archiving and remote recording.


Family fun at Cass County Summerfest

There's nothing like a small town summer festival for remembering everything that is right about summer in the Midwest - and the Cass County Summerfest in Casselton, just 20 miles west of Fargo, is as good as it gets. Lots of food and fun - Saturday's activities include an outdoor concert featuring Barking Dog Records artists Deb Jenkins Trio and Brennen Leigh (pictured L at last year's Summerfest). Brennen and her brother Seth will be joined for this gig by Martin Vigesaa on dobro, pedal steel and flattop guitar, and Bill Law on bass. Raptor Studios producer/engineer Mike Coates will be on hand running sound with his PA equipment. Come on out to Casselton on Saturday, July 12 and hear Deb Jenkins from 1:30 - 2:30 and Brennen Leigh from 3:00 - 6:00 pm.


Gig spread the word!

Barking Dog Records artists will be busy this summer--catch a performance and tell your friends! Links are provided to each artist's calendar page:

Margot Wagner will be heading west (Washington, Montana, Wyoming) again in July after performances throughout Minnesota in June...

Brennen Leigh is back in the Fargo area after taking Texas by storm - watch for gigs in BOTH regions this summer...

Deb Jenkins has moved the date and location of her annual folk festival - it will now be held in early September at various venues throughout Fargo! Check her website for all the info...

Russ Peterson will be performing at the World Saxophone Congress in Minneapolis which takes place July 6-13. Check out his TWO amazing reviews in Gramophone magazine here...

Lisa Briggs, who recorded her Barking Dog Records debut CD in 1996 before moving to Nashville, will be coming back home to Detroit Lakes for a special performance on June 6 with her partner Shane Lamb and band "Bliss" at the beautifully restored Holmes Theatre as well as several other performances in the Twin Cities and Fargo area - check their calendar page for all the info!


Barking Dog Records releases are getting great press!

It's been a great year for our CD releases, according to critics from Texas to London! From rave reviews in Gramophone magazine to a nomination for Texas vocalist of the year, Barking Dog Records artists are piling up the kudos. Here's just a sampling:


RUSS PETERSON - classical saxophone release "American Breath"

It's the classical version of "on the cover of the Rolling Stone"...a rave review in what is billed as "the world's best classical music magazine"! Just out in the February issue, here is what reviewer Laurence Vittes had to say about Barking Dog Records artist Russell Peterson's classical saxophone release, American Breath:

"While many high-profile composers self-consciously use non-classical influences to talk a good accessibility game, the three composers on this new release starring the excellent saxophonist Russell Peterson speak directly to a wide audience by organically incorporating conservative jazz idioms without compromising their works' integrity as substantial, through-composed music....Peterson's own 16-minute Concerto, featuring Spanish rhythms and a lovely second-movement duet with vibraphone, is an effective vehicle for his striking command of color and dynamics. Schneider is a full-blooded partner in the chamber music, and the Tri-College Percussion Ensemble [a Raptor Studios recording client!] is outstanding in the Concerto. The highly-charged sound is riveting, while the liner notes by the three composers are invaluable."

Russ actually received TWO rave reviews in Gramophone--just one month apart! Two of his major compositions, Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra and Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra, were recorded and produced by Mike Coates at Raptor Studios and released by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony.

Read these reviews in their entirety and more on Russ Peterson's press & reviews page.


BRENNEN LEIGH - roots/bluegrass/americana release "Lonesome, Wild & Blue"

Within just five months of moving to Texas, Brennen Leigh was nominated for "My Texas Music's" Texas Female Vocalist of the Year! Brennen and her brother/duo partner have been performing nonstop and are already breaking into some of Austin's most famous venues, including the Broken Spoke and Poodie's. Here's an excerpt of what "My Texas Music" had to say:

"Brennen Leigh is standing on the welcome mat of the house of stardom, knocking feverishly at the door, and it's about to give way. This not-yet-20-year-old transplanted Texan comes to us from the upper Midwest, and has landed with both feet in San Marcos, almost a bullseye shot into Texas. Performing with brother, Seth, Brennen Leigh has begun to make a name for herself in the Lone Star State. The mandolin-picking Leigh has unleashed her debut offering, Lonesome, Wild and Blue (Barking Dog Records). The opening cut is a Brennen Leigh composition and is indicative of this artist's solid bluegrass talent. It doesn't stop there...The highlight of this disc is Leigh's vocal purity, donning an early Dottie West quality without the years of wear and tear. Seth Hulbert's co-writes, harmony and lead vocals, and guitar work are another reason this disc flows so well. Brother and sister co-produce with Mike Coates, who also mixes and masters this project. It's orchestrated and arranged as well as anything I've heard lately, and is a pure treasure to listen to from start to finish. With Country, Roots, Bluegrass, and a twang that is more Dallas than Dakota, more Frio than Fargo, Brennen Leigh is a welcome addition to Texas music. No true Texas music fan would pass up this CD."

Read this review in its entirety and more on Brennen Leigh's press & reviews page.


MARGOT WAGNER - acoustic contemporary folk release "Firefly"

Since relocating to the Twin Cities, singer-songwriter Margot Wagner has been busy performing and promoting her second CD release, "Firefly." She was signed by Hello Booking agency in Minneapolis (for college market representation) and has performed in colleges, galleries and coffeehouses throughout the Midwest, from Chicago to Montana. She has also been getting wonderful CD reviews in the press -- here's an excerpt from the Hamline University Oracle:

"The relatively isolated community of Fargo, North Dakota was placed on the musical map several years ago when a blues guitarist named Johnny Lang elevated himself above the local scene and into stardom. The following years, however, brought nothing but bitten tongues from those who once described the city as a musical Mecca. But in the past year those tongues have risen from silence, praising a newfound champion in 19 year-old Margot Wagner...From the opening chord of the last track, "The Birds in Paris," to the final note, Wagner achieved, at least to this listener, the ultimate goal for any musician. The song froze my thoughts and drew me close the first time I heard it, as I was driving home one night. I listened, captivated, from the opening acoustic rhythm to the introduction of an orchestrated string section. From there, the introspectively tinged lyrics captured a lush, landscape, imitatively highlighting each raindrop. I heard her passing thoughts and lingering regrets between each note. That night I drove circles around my block, listening, before finally stopping and stepping out into the evening rain, feeling a distinct connection, and also "wondering if it's the same rain all over the whole world." "The Birds in Paris" alone makes the album, but it, like Margot Wagner, is worth more than a single listen."

Read this review in its entirety and more on Margot Wagner's press & reviews page.



HARRIS-COATES DUO - classical guitar & flute release "The White Peacock"

The Harris-Coates Duo's third classical flute/guitar CD release, "The White Peacock," has been getting wonderful reviews from classical music publications in the US, Canada and England, as well as kudos from the composers as well. "All in all, a splendid and enjoyable collection of miniatures that are all well worth hearing, especially in such immaculate performances. Excellent recording..." is from Belgian reviewer Hubert Culot, writing for the British Music Web UK.

This is what the March/April edition of the American Record Guide had to say:

"This is the third--and most unusual--recital that the Harris-Coates flute and guitar duo has released on Barking Dog Records, an independent label owned and operated by Mike Coates. The duo's first two recordings consist of standard flute and guitar repertoire and classical transcriptions. They tackle more difficult and lengthy repertoire on this release. The three-movement piece by Salvador Brotons is the most impressive. They perform this difficult work with a much wider range of expression than other pieces on the recording. The best transcription here is "The White Peacock" by Charles Griffes. He wrote the piece for piano in 1915, and arranged it for the ballet in 1919. Coates's transcription includes bassoon and sounds idiomatic. The recording quality is excellent, except in this piece, where the bassoon sounds too far away.

I commend the duo for working to expand the flute-and-guitar repertoire. Both players have
an appealing strength in their sounds. They give a solid performance and sound best
playing pieces that challenge themselves and their audiences."

Read this and more on the Harris-Coates press & reviews page.


Current News Page
Back Issues - 2004 | Back Issues - 2003 | Back Issues - 2002 | Back Issues - 2001 |
Back Issues - 2000 | Back Issues - 1999 | Back Issues - 1998 | Back Issues - 1997

What's New
Barking Dog Records - Label Artists & Recordings
Raptor Recording Studios and Client List
Buy CDs online
Merchandise - t-shirts, books, etc.

Site Index
Send us e-mail!