Girdwood singer-songwriter, Jon Dykstra, releases solo CD
Julie St. Louis/Turnagain Times
Girdwood singer-songwriter, Jon Dykstra.
By Julie St. Louis
Turnagain Times Correspondent
Through the years, local singer-songwriter, Jon Dykstra, has worked a seasonal resource management technician, international touring musician, and substitute teacher.
However, the one constant since he was a teenager has been playing and writing music. So it seemed only natural that one day Dykstra would release a solo CD, aptly titled “Through the Years” and released on April 27.
“I’ve been playing in bands since high school,” said Dykstra, now 39. He grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but has lived and worked in Alaska since 1994. Married with two children, Dykstra no longer tours across the United States and foreign lands, but plays music whenever possible, and often in Girdwood.
Dykstra’s day job is teaching third grade at Lake Otis Elementary in Anchorage.
“Having a steady income helps maintain the passion for music that’s sometimes lost when it’s your only source of income, said Dykstra.
When not teaching or spending time with family, Dykstra can be found singing and playing his guitar solo at the Sitzmark and Maxine’s as a member of the band Sticky Wicket, or in smaller groups made up of members of various local bands that play in Girdwood, Hope, Indian and Anchorage.
As for why he decided to record a solo CD at this point, Dykstra says it’s something he’s been thinking about for awhile, and the timing just finally seemed right.
While this is his first solo work, it is not the first time Dykstra’s music has been recorded. His first Alaskan band, Yukon Ryder, produced several CDs to sell. This is the band with which Dykstra toured Alaska, the Lower 48 and the Netherlands.
The producer of Yukon Ryder’s CDs is Allen Nielsen at Kat Tracks Studios in Anchorage. Nielsen and Dykstra have remained friends since the band broke up in 2001. Over the past year they talked about doing something together again. To produce the CD, and get back into the recording Scene, Nielson updated his studio recording equipment while Dykstra rounded up local musician friends. The culmination of this effort is an eclectic set of songs that represent much of his adult musical career.
“There’s country, rock and folk music on here,” said Dykstra. He said the title song was written 10 years ago for his wife Julia, also a musician, but that it also sums up all that this body of work represents.
Dykstra pulled former band members from Girdwood and other parts of Alaska, and even one who moved Outside to be a part of this effort.
“It’s really so much easier now to record music and get it out there,” said Dykstra. One musician e-mailed his music to Nielsen. Several others went into the studio when convenient for them, and without Dykstra, to record their music. Much of it was then skillfully mixed together by Nielsen, including parts of past live performances. Girdwood resident, Jay Bell of Prince William Sound studio, engineered three tracks on the CD as well.
“Through the Years” is available on-line at Itunes.com, Amazon.com and ReverbNation.com. More than a dozen local musicians played a part in the CD, and many came out to play sets with Dykstra at the CD release party held April 29 at Maxine’s. Some of the familiar Girdwood participants were James Glover, Andy Mullen, Tony Restivo, Jacob Reavis, and Julia Dykstra, as well as up-and-coming young artist, Sarah Bartholomew, 14, who can be heard playing violin on track 7.
Songs can be previewed and purchased straight from the internet. Traditional hard copy CDs are available too in Girdwood at GRRdwood Pets & Green Goods, the Crow Creek Mercantile, and the Grind.
Once school’s out for the summer, Dykstra plans to distribute copies in Anchorage, and do a bit of touring locally to promote his music and new CD.