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Joe Hertler's eclectic new album is a thank you letter to Michigan

Feb 17, 2015

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers
Credit Courtesy of Joe Hertler

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers are releasing their latest album, Terra Incognita, today. The eccentric six-piece band from Lansing and Kalamazoo often perform wearing fur coats and Hawaiian shirts, and front man Joe Hertler likes to sport rainbow angel wings or the state flag as a cape.

Their songs often reflect this eclectic style, with influence from indie rock, dance pop, funk, soul, and even doo-wop.

The band was recently picked up by Universal Music Group subsidiary Bad Mascot Records. Bassist and album producer Kevin Pritchard describes the label as the best of both the old and new record label model.

Pritchard says it connects college campuses and students interested in music, giving bands a network of contacts in different local music scenes. But being under the Universal umbrella gives the band reach, getting radio airplay, and spots at festivals.

The album is being released for sale today, and on the streaming service Spotify. Many artists have spoken out about their dislike of the service, citing its low pay.

But Pritchard says, "When it comes down to it you don't do this because you want to get paid. Yeah it's great if you can support yourself in the end, but you do this because you have something that you think is special and hopefully people will actually get something out of it when they listen to it."

The new album, like much of the band's music, is strongly influenced by its Michigan roots.

Frontman Joe Hertler describes the song "Hometown" as "sort of like a thank you letter to the state of Michigan and the places that I grew up."

Fans from around the state have shown strong support. "It's just a great feeling to see the state join on this adventure with you," said Hertler.

--Katrina Shafer, Michigan Radio Newsroom