Lost Highway band members strive to live life to the fullestJesse Steberg has learned not to take things for granted. As the lead vocalist for the increasingly popular upper Midwest group Lost Highway, Steberg is a walking testament of living life to the fullest – even when the odds are not in your favor.
By: Stacy Bengs, The Republican Eagle
Jesse Steberg has learned not to take things for granted. As the lead vocalist for the increasingly popular upper Midwest group Lost Highway, Steberg is a walking testament of living life to the fullest – even when the odds are not in your favor.
Seven years ago, Steberg broke his neck while snowmobiling. The accident left the Wanamingo-native stunned and silenced.
“I started to gain everything back slowly,” Steberg recalls of his recover., “But it took two years to get my singing-voice back.”
An avid fan of music since his early days including time spent playing for a vocal group while in high school, Steberg knew — voice or no voice — he wanted to again be an active member of a band.
Fully recovered, he continued life with an ambitious eye for harmonious opportunities.
As if on cue, Steberg crossed paths with classmate Matt Schwake.
“I was looking to start a band and he said he learned how to play guitar,” Steberg said. “So I said bring it on over.”
Within week, the freshly formed group of comrades began to play and soon they uploaded videos of their acoustic performances recorded in a garage to YouTube.
The band was officially formed in 2009 and named after Hank William’s 1948 croon “Lost Highway” written by Leon Payne.
Current band members include Steberg on lead vocals; Matthew Schwake on rhythm guitar and vocals; Bronson Bergeson on lead guitar and vocals; Jake Galzi on banjo, guitar, harmonica, keys and vocals; Tim Paulson on bass and vocals and Aaron Seevers on drums.
Performing six to eight times per month, Steberg says the band is busier now than ever. From opening shows for national acts such as Hank Williams Jr., Clay Walker, and Josh Thompson to playing outdoor festivals We Fest and Country Fest in 2011, the country group has been collecting a growing group of fans from the Midwest.
As the band prepares for its first CD release at the end of May – members’ sights are set on expanding their fan base.
“When you play at home you can have a full house,” Steberg said. “But as you branch out and venture out farther and farther, no one knows you and you just have to rebuild.”
Lost Highway’s first album will showcase 10 songs written or co-written by the band with help from a Twin Cities-based producer and songwriter Dan Deurloo.
Referring to the upcoming release as a good stepping stone, Steberg hopes to make his band a full-time gig. Several of the band members work “normal” day jobs and the music fills the rest of their time. Stenberg owns a landscape business in the Zumbrota-Wanamingo area.
As Lost Highway continues to find performance venues, Steberg attributes their success to fans.
“I always thought I could have done this,” he said of being an entertainer. “But we have been lucky – this rural area with several small surrounding communities rally around you.”
“If the fans didn’t come to shows we wouldn’t look as good,” Steberg added with a laugh. “A lot of our success goes to the fans and liking what we do. In turn, we work harder with a lot of late nights practicing.”
Lost Highway continues to pack shows into their growing schedule. This summer already included Moondance Jammin Country Fest June 22-23 in Walker, Minn., and the local Goodhue County Volkfest June 8-9.
For Steberg, the performing lifestyle follows him on and off the road.
“I’m constantly listening to songs and trying to memorize lyrics,” he said. “I sleep, live and breathe it.”
For a more information on upcoming performances, go to www.losthighwaymn.com. You can also follow the band on Twitter and Facebook. The new album will be available at the end of May on their website.