Familiar faces return to Ames for winter music festival

Photo courtesy of Bleujack

Tanner Owens

The 8th annual Ames Winter Classic will return to the Maintenance Shop on Friday, bringing with it some familiar faces.

The music festival, organized by the Student Union Board (SUB) and hosted at the intimate Memorial Union venue, has a strong lineup for this year’s free show.

Des Moines-based musician Lizzy Poppyseed will take the stage to perform her unique combination of folk, soul and rock. Poppyseed has performed in Ames previously, most recently at the Maximum Ames Music Festival in September 2018.

Aerospace engineering professor Cameron Rayburn, known musically as SLICE the Celestial Sorcerer, will also lend his talents to the show. Bleujack, another Ames staple, will perform their blend of hip-hop and folk music.

Poppyseed is a native Iowan raised in Wadena, located about two and a half hours away from Ames. Her debut album, “Stone Ground,” features soulful piano reminiscent of the band Train, along with a powerful voice that shares similarities with Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard.

Poppyseed also attended Iowa State, where she participated in many M-Shop events, making her no stranger to the Iowa State music scene.

“When I went to ISU, I spent a lot of time at open mics and did Cyclone Idol in the M-Shop,” Poppyseed said. “I’m excited to be back in that space and perform my own music. I’m also excited to share the stage with SLICE again. We played a house show together last year and he’s so great.”

Rayburn grew up in the Chicago rap scene, always tinkering with lyrics and perfecting his brand of rap. Throughout his college years, Rayburn also created his own radio show. The show aired on Saturday nights and garnered attention from an international audience, as well as popular rappers at the time.

“I did it out of my home,” Rayburn said. “It was cool, I’d have people from Germany contacting [me] — DJ’s from there. I had hip-hop legends like MC Lyte once randomly email me and said ‘Hey, you want some drops for your show?’ and then she recorded a few drops for my show to introduce me.”

At the time, Rayburn went only as SLICE. The “celestial sorcerer” element of Rayburn’s moniker stems from his recent exploration into producing. Rayburn’s Facebook page for his music describes the name as “one entity, split personality.”

Following a hard drive crash that erased roughly 90 percent of Rayburn’s music, the music of SLICE took a backseat to starting a career in aerospace engineering. In recent years, however, the rap artist has began reconnecting with old friends and producing music again. His album, “In Psyche Low Media Brown,” released in 2017 and contains a vast 57-minute playlist.

Another Ames regular will be performing at Friday’s show, capping off the night. Bleujack, the solo project-turned-full band is headed by Ames native Jordan Voigt.

Other members of the band include Dave Atchison, Greg Oziemkowski and Satchel Bruna. Voigt’s gravelly voice combined with his band’s instrumental affinity makes for a truly unique listening experience.

Voigt has been experimenting with his sound for about nine years and has released one album titled “Bleujack.” The band is also credited on seven songs on the album “I Love Most of You,” sharing credit with the band, Black Dog Lip Smile.

Bleujack strays from the traditional folk sound, opting instead to experiment with a variety of genres to form a truly unique style of music.

“I take a lot of inspiration from hip-hop,” Bleujack said. “We have the bluesy, folksy sound but I take a lot of inspiration from hip-hop in my music.”

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for the event, with performances starting at 8 p.m. The festival is free to the public.