Old Soul Society

An interview with Singer/Songwriter Derek Ramnarace from Old Soul Society
by Mike Huberty
June 2018

Old Soul Society

Old Soul Society

Blending sincere Folk with energetic Americana, singer-songwriter Derek Ramnarace and OLD SOUL SOCIETY can easily remind you of COUNTING CROWS one minute and THE BAND the next. Flanked by Ben Rohde on drums, Andrew Steeno on bass, Mark Davini on keys, Joe Gantzer on guitar, and WHEELHOUSE’s badass Kenny Leiser on violin and guitar, Ramnarace has assembled a killer lineup for his Baraboo-based band. Derek has been putting together the Ragged Roots festival in Wisconsin Dells for years and he took the Between The Waves festival lead duties after the tragic passing of his friend, Luke Jourgensen. OLD SOUL SOCIETY will be performing at the Between The Waves music festival on June 16th at the High Noon Saloon outdoor stage at 6pm, and BTW founder Roy Elkins has even lauded them as “Gregg Allman playing with Eric Clapton”! We talked with Derek about the band and his involvement with the festival to preview the show and the big event.

MI: What’s behind the name of OLD SOUL SOCIETY?
DR: I have been called an old soul by so many people over the years so that part felt natural and early on, at this band’s inception,  I had been working with a few other people who had also experienced complications and speed bumps on the road of life. So, when the name popped into my head, I just felt like it fit us well and it sort of painted a picture of the “something deeper” that we were going for. I had hoped it would prepare people for something that would not be your normal “bar crowd” type of show.

MI: Where should people start with your music?
DR: That’s a tough one because we have been exploring a lot of different realms lately but I would say probably “Carolina” off of our current release The Farmhouse Sessions.

I had recently moved back to my hometown after living in many different places and touring around the country and I went out one night to reconnected with several people who I had I grown up with. I was surprised that many of them felt that their lives could be different if they could just get out of Baraboo. Mind you, this is a town which gave birth to acts like PHOX, Daniel and the Lion/ Canyon Spells, Boom Forest, Hooch, Mike Droho, Know Boundaries, Sarah Saturday and some other nationally/ internationally touring outfits.

So the idea that these people believed that their soul’s aspirations were unattainable because they felt trapped or whatever, was just really confusing to me. They had so much evidence of people, that they went to school with, who proved that their own happiness was not geographically dependent nor does any location holds a boundary on you.

Long story short, I was annoyed and perplexed by this trend in thinking so I left the bar and went home where I just so happened to have my freshly restring guitar sitting out. I started plucking on it and strummed out some chords and ended up spitting out “Carolina” in a matter of minutes. It’s really much more of a reflection than a response  to the experience though. I’ve been to all of the places that I talk about in the song and have found peace at each of those places. Because I took it there with me.

Or if you want the simple answer, we will lay down our own special homegrown blend of Rootsy Americana Jam Rock.

MI: How did you get involved in the Between The Waves festival?
DR: I had worked and collaborated with Luke Jorgensen for years on projects such as my festival “Ragged Roots” and his festival “Whiskeyonsin Family Reunion” which had kind of evolved into Between The Waves Festival last year. We would often bounce ideas off of each other or discuss logistics and quiz each on backend details of producing events. The day after his passing we were set to have a meeting to discuss BTW and some of his ideas for creating a really solid showcase of some of Madison’s top acts as well as some of Madison’s top venues, etc… Being that I have prior experience with organizing a successful and growing festival myself and that I had some insights into what Luke had already started working on and was set to take on a role within the planning committee, I think it just worked out.

It’s an incredible team that Roy has put together and while it has been hard to sit in his seat at times, it has also been an extreme honor to be able to be able to work with this team and to work towards keeping Luke’s vision for the festival portion of BTW intact.

MI: What’s your show there going to be like?
DR: We’ve gotten a lot more jammy with our sound over the last year but it’s safe to say that you will see and hear songs that were written from the heart performed by a collection of musicians that trust each other’s instincts and listen to each other onstage to create an unspoken dialogue. It’s a loose affair that we hope will make people feel at ease to let loose and join in with the energy of the room.

MI: What do you think that BTW means for Madison and Wisconsin musicians?
DR: Well, I really hope that ALL of the musicians, agent, owners, producers, etc that read this will take the opportunity to attend as many of the panels at the conference as they can.

There really is an incredible amount of knowledge to be gained at BTW for independent musicians, venue owners, producers, agents, engineers, etc to be able to sustain a career in this industry. The more we connect our energies and direct our intentions, the more we strengthen the entire fabric of our scene.

The more individual success that we each have, the more overall success those that are part of our community will enjoy as well.

MI: Any last words?
DR: Make sure you check out Ragged Roots Music & Arts Festival on July 12-15, 2018 at Edge O Dells Resort in Wisconsin Dells for some of the BEST independent music that the Midwest has to offer!

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