The Bootstrap Boys Perform Holiday Set

The Bootstrap Boys head to the Grand Rapids Public Library for Music in the Stacks.
The Bootstrap Boys head to the Grand Rapids Public Library for Music in the Stacks.

With Music in the Stacks 2017 coming to a close, The Bootstrap Boys will perform a special holiday set as the final act of the year on Dec. 21 at the downtown Grand Rapids Public Library. GR|MAG had the opportunity to speak with the country quartet’s frontman, Jake Stilson, to find out what the band’s been up to and what’s to come in the new year.

GR|MAG: How will playing Music in the Stacks compare to other shows you guys have played?

Jake Stilson: We really enjoy the rare occasion that we get to play in a quieter space like a library. It’s a pretty perfect venue for a listening crowd. We play a lot of late nights in honky-tonks and bars where we have to compete with the noise of the room; this is something completely different.

GR|MAG: With your stage act, what challenges or opportunities do you see with playing in the Grand Rapids Public Library?

JS: We’re no strangers to small spaces, we all travel in an RV after all, so we can adapt pretty easily to just about any space. We’ve been working on some alternative string band style arrangements of our songs recently, so it will be interesting to perform that in a quieter space like the library.

GR|MAG: Since performing the Wheatland Music Festival, what have The Bootstrap Boys been up to?

JS: We’ve been trying to figure out how we can live at Wheatland forever. We had a magical time. Since then, we’ve been playing around as many different places as we can. We’ve been in Manistee, Kalamazoo, Thompsonville, Marne, Lowell, Bellaire and even squeezed in a couple of shows here in Grand Rapids, most notably our double feature set at Founders Brewing Company in October. We are putting the finishing touches on a live recording of that show to be released before the end of this year.

GR|MAG: Tell us about some of the other shows scheduled from now until the end of the year.

JS: We will be doing some traveling to close out 2017. We’re closing out the year way up north in Minocqua, Wisconsin with a two-night run at Minocqua Brewing Co. on Dec. 29 and 30.

GR|MAG: Is there any new music in the making? If so, how is different from previous work?

JS: Yes, we are currently working with Rick Johnson at Cold War Studios, putting the finishing touches on a brand new three-song EP. We’ve recently added steel guitar and banjo, which has really helped evolve our sound.

As I mentioned before, Christian Kremo and Morgan Haner were kind enough to record our doubleheader set at Founders Brewing Co. and we’re working with Matt Ten Clay, at Amber Lit Audio, and Ian Gorman, at La Luna Sound & Recording, to polish that up for release.

GR|MAG: What’s next for The Bootstrap Boys?

JS: We’re scheduled to do quite a lot of traveling in 2018. Our goal is to play in as many cities as possible next year, so we’ll be spending a lot of our time out of Grand Rapids. We really fell in love with music festivals this year, not just Wheatland, but we also had truly magical experiences at Buses by the Beach and Cowpie Music Festival, so we’re filling our summer with as many festivals as possible. Since the beginning of the band, we’ve always had a goal to travel as much as possible and have as much fun as possible. We’re well on our way to making that happen again in 2018.

GR|MAG: What else do you want GR|MAG readers to know?

JS: We’re so grateful for the support we’ve received over the last couple of years from this city. We will always try to do our hometown proud no matter where we are.

Don’t miss our Music in the Stacks performance. We’re doing a special Christmas set you’ll only get to hear this time of year. We’ll have Bootstrap merchandise for all your gifting needs.

*Photo courtesy of The Bootstrap Boys

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