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Hear music from a legend: Ortiz, former Monroes lead singer, performs tonight in Stockholm

Singer-songwriter Tony Ortiz is a rock'n'roll veteran continuing to please audiences with his vocals. See him perform live 7 p.m. today with his band, the Guns of Soul, at Widespot Performing Center in Stockholm.

Hear country, rock, ballad, honky-tonk and a gospel to groove your body and soul to. "He is incredibly talented and very articulate," said Kelli Tatum, creative director at Widespot.

Ortiz was formerly lead singer with the rock group the Monroes. The California-based band is best known for their catchy new-wave pop hit "What Do All the People Know."

"The song hit the charts in the spring of 1982 and it had its own life after that to this day," Ortiz said.

When the original band was searching for a replacement lead singer, the bass player remembered a man with vocals he had seen at an earlier audition. That man was Ortiz.

Ortiz was called and performed three songs for the band. By the end of the last song, the Monroes had found their man. "It was pure magic," he said of his experience with the band.

Ortiz knew from the very early age that performing music for people was going to be a driving force in his life.

He describes his first memories hearing the Beatles for the first time in 1963 and fell in love with that sound and all that energy.

"I was about 7 or 9 years old and I walked down to the local theater to watch the opening of 'Hard Days Night' there were hundreds of screaming young girls and even older women crying at the sight of the Beatles on the silver screen and I knew right then that was what I wanted to do with my life. I devoted my life to singing and trying to recreate that feeling of having an audience feel about my singing and my heart soul went into everything I did from then on."

When the Monroes dispersed, Ortiz moved to Minnesota to be closer to his children. It wasn't until three years ago that he decided to write and perform music again.

"The result is a mature sound that borrows from R&B, gospel and, of course, rock," Tatum added. "I have found his songwriting to have a lot of depth, and he's an absolutely killer vocalist. It's such a treat to be able to bring him to WideSpot -- we've never had a Top 40 artist before.

Tickets for the show $12, $8 for ages 12 and under. Wine, craft beer, soda and water are available at the WideSpot cash bar located inside the theater. Call Widespot at 715-307-8941 or visit online at or for more information.

At a glance ...

Who: Singer/songwriter Tony Ortiz and the Guns of Soul

When: 7 p.m. Saturday May 18

Where/: Widespot Performing Arts and Community Center, second story of N2030 Spring St., Stockholm

Cost: $12, $8 ages 12 and under

More info: 715-307-8941 or