You are here:   Press
  |  Login

News & Events

Release Date: January 6th, 2012


2012 Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

From the Macabras in Burlington to Northwest Iowa’s Chevelles, from Mike Langley in Sioux City to Molly Nova in Cedar Falls; outstanding musicians, promoters, ballrooms, radio stations and more will be inducted into the Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association (IRRMA) Hall of Fame on Labor Day Weekend 2012.

Bands to be inducted include: Split Second Band and Night Flight of Des Moines; the Macabras of Burlington; Endless Summer of New Hampton, The Chevelles from the Iowa Great Lakes Region; and The Embers from Sioux City.

Individual performers include: Mike Langley of Sioux City, Shane Von Holdt of Sac City, Rich Casciato of Des Moines.


This year's Out of State honoree is the incomparable Tommy Roe.

Molly Nova (Krause) of Waterloo enters the Hall of Fame in the Women Who Rock category. Jim Oatts of Des Moines will receive the Matousek Family Lifetime Achievement Award. Recipients of the IRRMA Lifetime Achievement Award include Sandy Manuel of Maquoketa and Dewey Leopold of Lakefield, Minnesota .

Nob Hill Ballroom in Decorah and Teen Town on the Iowa State Fair grounds will be honored in the ballroom category. Support Person of the Year is Naomi Senn of Spirit Lake .

KFMC Radio of Fairmont, Minnesota is recognized in the radio station division and disc jockey Mylan Ray, now residing in Pipestone, Minnesota will be inducted in the disc jockey category. The media inductee for 2012 is Dick Cole of Waterloo. Big G Enterprises/Rick Geisler enters the prestigious class in the booking agent/promoter category. The music store to be honored this year is Kephart’s Music Centers of Decorah and several other Eastern Iowa locations.

The 2012 Spirit Awards for those who continue to promote and honor rock and roll will be presented to Rockestra of Sioux City, KICD Radio of Spencer and Bob Yeske of Okoboji.

The IRRMA Hall of Fame Induction Spectacular is a two-day event on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 1st and 2nd in Arnolds Park, Iowa.


Songs of the Emerald Isle tease winter reprieve

by Sam Burrish, The Sioux City Journal/Weekender, March 2011

langleySongs of the Emerald Isle will celebrate a heritage shared by many here, and tease imagery of springtime during this week’s cold snap.

For local singer-songwriter Mike Langley, Thursday’s show brings a mix of traditional Irish tunes and some originals. Among them, one chronicles a never-ending journey, and another finds beauty in cemetery lilacs.

The takeaway? Finding good company and unlikely ties among strangers.

Admittedly, the surname Langley isn’t Irish — not even a little. A Brit found his way into the family tree at one point, but the Sioux City musician says his blood runs green.

That ancestry is what prompted a 20-day overseas trip last summer with his partner, Mary Kay, who also has deep Irish roots.

A few leads from family elders suggested distant relatives might turn up — somewhere. So Langley and Mary Kay left, with sights on the villages dotting the pastoral countryside. They touched down in Shannon on the island’s western side, and headed north to Galway and then Ballina among many stops.

As the story goes, luck was on his side; enough luck to find “a needle in a haystack.”

“They weren’t surprised by the concept, just surprised it happened to them,” Langley said of the family he encountered in the northwestern district of County Mayo, which stretches inland from sheer cliffs at the Atlantic coastline.

It turns out a distant relative named Seamus Weir is a local government representative there. And he’s also into genealogical research.

“They knew a branch of the family had gone off (to the U.S.) and wondered about them,” said Langley, who also dons garb as the roving minstrel at the Sioux City Riverssance Festival. Tours of old homestead ruins and cemeteries followed. And, of course, sharing of family photos.

Then, as musicians do, Langley found songs among the stories and experiences. (Hear recordings on his Facebook page, and watch a Journal studio recording.)

“I’ve always played Irish music and loved it. I grew up playing folk, bluegrass and Appalachian music,” Langley said. Traditional Irish music “is one of the originals of all that. Music from the British Isle eventually settled in Appalachia.”

Langley has performed other themed shows at Western Iowa Tech Community College, based on The Beatles, Neil Young and other famous catalogs.

He shares the Irish songs in a free performance at WIT, organized by The Institute for Lifelong Learning and funded by a Kind World Foundation grant.

Take traditional Irish song “The Land of the Dinky Stool,” in which many verses chronicle a journey.

“Never ending,” Langley adds with a laugh. He then recalls the welcoming pub scenes and regulars who asked about his beat-up guitar, insisting he play.

An early verse is about waking into an old Irish pub with glass-top bar. Wooden stools sit a foot off the ground, people gather with acoustic instruments, picking guitars and mandolins. Amplifiers are taboo.

“That blew my mind. Then we began singing,” Langley said.

There’s also “Star of the County Down,” an old Irish standard. His version tells of the trip and folks met. That includes the relatives who turned out to be cousins connected by a great-grandfather on Mary Kay’s side.

Then come songs the trip inspired, including one about lilacs blooming in Sioux City’s Calvary Cemetery near Langley’s home. The imagery sings to springtime, and spiritual uplifting in a place of death.

Langley penned some of the songs in Ireland and others back home. The sounds gelled, resulting in his recent CD recording “Cheers, Love.”

The collection of songs will likely grow after revisiting Ireland’s County Mayo again this summer, where Langley has scheduled performances as he further explores a celebrated heritage.

The details

What: A Night of Irish Music with Mike Langley

When: Thursday, March 10; 7 p.m.

Where: The Cargill Auditorium at Western Iowa Tech Community College.

(Use entrance 14, parking lot 4.)

Cost: Free


 Mike and Jack Langley on the cover of BUZZ Magazine - August 24th, 2010












 ...and on the back cover...




Festival rich with values


Published on Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bookmark and Share

Guitar man Jack Langley sang, “Don't let go of the younger days.”

I suppose that is the notion that drives an old-enough-to-know-better person to hook up his camping rig and travel hundreds of expensive miles to experience once again the music of a time that the wind slowly blows away.

The guitar man goes on, “Change will always change the ways it used to be.” Indeed. With each passing year, that change means it takes a bit more determination to slow a wind that is trying to make that corner chair in front of a TV look attractive to an older person.

My wife, Joan, and I traveled to LeMars, Iowa, to take part in the National Traditional Country Music Association festival. For us it was a 10-day camping, performing and playing music event. This festival is the place to experience some of the best players and singers of BG country songs that the heartland of America and Canada has to offer.

BG songs? ... Before Garth.

A number of the performers at this festival also write their own lyrics. A most amazing part of all of this is wondering why some of the talent displayed did not make it to the big time. The unforgiving passage of time has a profound way of trapping some of the best singers and players in the regional honky-tonks and service clubs.

Several times during this festival, I backed a superb father-son duo from Sioux City: the aforementioned Jack Langley and his son, Mike. During a main stage appearance, Jack, who had just received an award for his writing ability, sang, “Take me back to '99,” a song about life before the death of his oldest son. “Take me back to 99 ... Leave me there until the end of time.” Tears were flowing in the audience. Mike emotionally played and sang with his dad.

The whole of our performance was so good, so tight, that I got that goose bump thing and a feeling of exhilaration that a thousand words cannot describe. Once again, I experienced the very reason why a music festival is so meaningful and worth the struggle and expense.

Folks, I hope to convey a message with this column, but I must set it up first.

I was supposed to play my acoustic bass for a group on the main stage, and right after that stage I had to back someone with my accordion on a different stage. To facilitate that, I thought it would be best to take my accordion to the other stage before this event. I left my bass on its cart outside the main stage building while I hurriedly took my accordion to the other site.

It was a windy day. Long story short: The wind took my bass to the concrete. The scrolled peg box at the top of the instrument was broken entirely off the instrument. I eventually got the broken bass back to my vehicle.

Jack Langley heard about my mishap and came to me and said, “Don't worry about this. I'm going to take your bass home with me tonight and you'll be playing it again tomorrow.” I begged him to enjoy his Friday evening and I would get it repaired in Aberdeen. He insisted that he would make the repairs that very night.

I'm sure he worked the entire evening. By 11 Saturday morning, he was back to LeMars. The bass repairs were superb. I offered payment.

Here is the message I promised: He absolutely would not take a dime. I'll say this with absolute confidence: Jack's goodwill for his fellow man is a great example of what a majority of heartland people would do for their neighbor.

Surely it too happens throughout our nation, but how blessed we are to live in Midwestern America, where this kind of attitude abounds.

Perk Washenberger, Aberdeen, is a retired real estate broker and business owner. He is currently involved in musically entertaining people in senior living and care centers and at other community events. His column appears occasionally on the Viewpoints Page. Write to him at the American News, P.O. Box 4430, Aberdeen, S.D., 57402, or e-mail



Singer/songwriter Mike Langley follows in his father's footsteps

by Jesse Claeys from Weekender/Siouxland.Net

The old saying "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" couldn't be more appropriate when referring to singer/songwriter Mike Langley.

With 7 CDs to his credit and hundreds of original songs, Mike has been performing full-time for nearly 20 years in front of audiences in 10 different countries.

But no matter how far he strays from his hometown, he always returned to Sioux City. After all, he's got family here and family is forever.

"There is no way I could put into words how much influence my dad has had on my music," Mike said. "It's just immeasurable. My first memory is of my dad playing guitar to me as I fell asleep. I knew what certain chords sounded like before I could talk."

Every Wednesday, music fans can find Mike plucking away at his guitar in a dark corner of Marty's Tap. Mike's show is a popular weekly set (now going on it's fifth year) at the Court Street watering hole, and makes up the bulk of the over 100 gigs he plays in town a year.

It's Mike's music that draws fans to his gigs. His folk rock music seems at times to replace trips to the psychiatrist office. It's raw and real. It's how Mike vents.

"It helps me cry, it helps me be happy, helps me see beauty. And a reason for living," Mike said of his music.

Mike's father, Jack, a man who has survived the music industry for nearly half a century, seems to use the same songwriting system.

"Mike's music, it's introspective. I think my music is introverted too. It's the world as I see it. I usually write a song a week, sometimes a couple a day. Every song you love individually for what it says. You love them in their own way, kind of like kids."

It was Jack and his wife, Sheila, who first turned Mike onto music. It was Jack who got Mike his first gig when the 5th-grader was sent to show as a substitute for Jack's band, which was double-booked.

"I wanted to expose my children to music," Jack said, "but I really didn't encourage them, except maybe by example. I just let them do what they wanted to and they followed music."

Jack, who turns 67 next summer, is now stepping away from performing a bit, but always has time to join his son on stage. Music fans can see the father and song team together on New Year's Eve at Theo's.

"It's very special when I'm playing with Mike," Jack said. "He is very gifted. I taught him all I knew, but I think he learned a little on his own."

"Any gig with my dad is another link on the chain of thousands of gigs ever since I was a boy," Mike said. "It's quite a feeling to play with him. We can draw from thousands of songs."

Those songs can be found on the handful of albums the men have worked on together. Their recording career together started when Mike was a teen.

"A fun one was the 'European Reunion Tour.' My dad came to visit me while I was in Vienna, Austria, and my friend gave me a couple days studio time and we recorded a double album."

The latest collaboration was the 2004 release "Harleys in Heaven" under the name The Langleys. It seems these two musicians just can't put their pens down.

Jack can count about 200 songs to his writing credit. He keeps about 125 of them in his repertoire. His lifetime of work was enough to earn him the Danny Matousek Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in September of 2005.

"I was pretty shocked. I accepted the award in front of a huge crowd," Jack said.

Mike can count between 300 and 500 songs to his writing credit, most tucked away in notebooks and recorded on a pile of cassette tapes.

"I thought it was about time he got it," Mike said of Jack's award as his son four-year-old son Jonas interrupted, clamoring for his father's attention.

Jonas is one of Mike's two children, the other 1-year-old Lucy. Maybe it will be up to them to keep the Langley music tradition alive.

"They both are fascinated by guitars. I don't know if they'll become musicians, but I imagine being surrounded by music will have some effect on their lives."