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By Libby Sterling | CCW Staff Writer
- There's no place like Home Skillet Festival - 071509 NEWS 2 Capital City Weekly By Libby Sterling | CCW Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of Ryan Lewis

Ben Haggerty aka Macklemore


Photo by Libby Sterling

Sid Eubanks aka Phonetic


Photo courtesy of Jason Quigley

Jack Ruby Presents

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Wednesday, July 15 - Larkspur Cafe

7 p.m. Teri Tibbett
7:15 p.m. Bellymeat
7:30 p.m. Strummin' Dog & Lee Asnin
8 p.m. Steve Arvey

Thursday, July 16 - Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi Community House

7 p.m. Vern Culp
7:10 p.m. Andrew Miller
7:25 p.m. Jed Delong
7:35 p.m. Steve Arvey
7:50 p.m. Sonny Smith
8:10 p.m. Breathe Owl Breathe

Friday, July 17 - ANB Hall

7 p.m. Half Smoked
7:20 p.m. Meathead
7:40 p.m. Indefinite Ettiquette
7:55 p.m. Phonetic
8 p.m. Macklemore

Saturday, July 18 - Harrigan Centennial Hall

7 p.m. Mark Verne
7:10 p.m. The Sugar Shakers
7:30 p.m. GEO
7:50 p.m. Silver Jackson
8 p.m. Jack Ruby Presents
8:20 p.m. Langhorne Slim

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Story last updated at 7/15/2009 - 11:33 am

- There's no place like Home Skillet Festival -

By Libby Sterling | CCW Staff Writer

SITKA - The fourth annual Home Skillet Festival takes place this week, with professional artists from around the country playing alongside local musicians, many of whom only take the stage once a year.

George Huff and Nicholas Galanin, founders of Home Skillet, started making music together several years ago during the summers in Sitka. During a winter web chat session while Galanin and Huff were abroad in New Zealand and England, respectively, the idea came up to start a Sitka-based record label. In 2004, Home Skillet Records was born.

"Both of us are doers," Huff said. "Both of us are idea people and we try to push creativity in whatever way we can."

Though Home Skillet has been a big hit, neither Galanin or Huff gain monetarily from the endeavor. Rather, they funnel all profits back into the project.

"It's expensive to do a festival in Sitka," Huff said. "It's a ton of work but it has been a really good experience."

In addition to Galanin, Huff credited Home Skillet Festival's success largely to the help of Ashia Lane and Todd Quackenbush as well as many others who have given of their time and resources to make the festival a Southeast destination.

Huff now lives and works in Portland, Ore., running a web design firm. His busy schedule leaves little time for music, but admits to still picking up his guitar every now and then. Huff calls himself a "closet musician," keeping his music to himself all but once a year. He will return to Sitka this year to make his annual appearance in the festival under the name GEO at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

***

During last year's Home Skillet Festival, rapper Ben Haggerty was introduced to barbequed black cod. He called it "the best fish I've ever had in my life" and he will return to Sitka again this year in hopes of more.

Now known by the name Macklemore, Haggerty has involved himself in music and performance from a young age while growing up in Seattle. He discovered hip-hop at age seven and began to seriously pursue it as a teenager. Since donning the name Macklemore at age 17, Haggerty has been writing rhymes with the goal of prompting audiences to laugh and dance, but also to think.

"People can learn from music just like reading a book or watching a film," Haggerty said. "First and foremost, I use music as an outlet for combating day-to-day struggles that I have. When I make music, it's to delve into the core of what makes me a human, what makes me unique in this human experience I'm having, deciphering the truth, getting to the most honest and pure point in myself and trying to communicate that in a language that a lot of people can relate to."

Haggerty sometimes shares the stage with other musicians including other vocalists and instrumentalists, but he plans to appear solo in Sitka at 8:15 p.m. on Friday. Learn more at myspace.com/macklemore.

***

As a performer, Sid Eubanks has the highest respect for his audience. A Sitka rapper under the name Phonetic, Eubanks strives for positive crowd reaction at his shows. He has performed at over 100 concerts, most recently opening for Cypress Hill's B Real in Juneau. But even if his audience were nonexistent, he would still be doing exactly what he's doing in the studio. His music is his therapy, and he doesn't hold back when he writes. He described his first album, "The Notebook," as "a bunch of pieces of myself on an album."

Eubanks has several recordings under his belt, but he still feels he hasn't created the perfect album, "the album where everything clicks in the creation process and turns out exactly how I imagine it." He has spent five years working on his second album. The years of effort prove his philosophy that being a hip-hop artist should be taken very seriously.

"When I'm dead and gone a long time from now, you can still listen to my music," Eubanks said. "It's like laying scripture."

Once he creates the album he can "hang his hat on," he says it may be his last. Until then, crowds in Alaska and beyond can continue to enjoy his high-energy performances and fine-tuned recordings. Phonetic will perform at 7:55 p.m. on Friday. "The Notebook" is available on iTunes or at homeskilletrecords.com. Learn more at myspace.com/phoneticfromak.

***

What do you get when you put a Sitkan, a Montanan, an Oregonian and a Southern Californian in a classroom together? Jack Ruby Presents. The quartet met a year and a half ago and are based in McMinnville, Ore. What started as a school-based group has now become a serious endeavor.

They describe their style as folk-inspired Americana, a product of listening to 1990s indie rock, folk rock and punk. Their live performance showcases original music that they have written in what guitarist and vocalist Jesse Hughey described as "a real group process." Other band members include Melissa Davaz, Christopher Hernandez and Aaron Owens. Davaz is a classically trained operatic vocalist and, according to Hughey, "if you give her any instrument and give her five minutes, she can play it." Hughey, Davaz and Hernandez trade off the lead in three-part harmonies while plucking and strumming various instruments, and Owens, the group's percussionist, keeps a sure and steady beat.

The group's debut album, "The Cardboard EP" is available on iTunes and emusic.com and may also be purchased at the festival. Learn more at myspace.com/jackrubypresents. See Jack Ruby Presents at 8 p.m. on Saturday.


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