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Colin Lake and Wellbottom blues

Wellbottom band members, from left to right: Kevin Marcotte, Jason Stewart, Colin Lake, Redi Jedi and Bryan Appel. - Contributed photo
Wellbottom band members, from left to right: Kevin Marcotte, Jason Stewart, Colin Lake, Redi Jedi and Bryan Appel.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Colin Lake took up the lap-slide guitar five years ago. Now, he has a band called Wellbottom and two CDs to his credit. The second CD, blues-style “Bullet,” was recently released online and will be available in stores next month.

“I hope that listeners notice that the words are different than what most other bands are doing these days,” said Lake, who grew up on Mercer Island and graduated from Mercer Island High School in 1999. “I’d like to bring what I feel is quality roots music like blues, funk and old-school R&B back into the forefront for listeners who have never been exposed to it before.”

And so far, he has done just that. The listeners who show up at Wellbottom gigs are a cross-section of young and old, friends and strangers, blues aficionados and amateurs.

“People recognize that it’s unique and it’s got a feel. I’d like to bring roots music into the forefront of people’s thinking but also to let them know that it’s alive, and we’re doing it,” said Lake.

The CD’s name, “Bullet,” represents the band’s energy. Lake likened it to the process of lighting gunpowder and firing a bullet.

“We’re a band that kind of feeds a lot off each other, each other’s energy and the energy of the audience, so our music is really alive,” he explained. “I figured after a bad gig, when we played flat and the energy wasn’t there — you light the gunpowder and it’s loose. Under the right circumstances, we can be a really high-energy, high-level band. I think the album captures that.”

Wellbottom emerged in 2006 and includes band members Kevin Marcotte (bass guitar), Jason Stewart (drums), Redi Jedi (DJ, turntables) and Bryan Appel (guitar, producer). The name “Wellbottom” refers to the sound of playing from the bottom of a well, the cheapest whiskey available and a “low-down feel” among the band members, said Lake.

They sing about women, being “on top of the world” and having “nothing left to lose.”

Lake wrote eight of the CD’s 12 songs.

“Writing has always been kind of a private process for me. I’m constantly assessing myself — what’s going on with me, in my mind. A lot of these songs are introspective — me taking a look at spots in my life as I go through different phases, coming to terms with things I do and what I’ve done that have made me who I am,” said Lake.

Wellbottom released “Bullet” under an independent label, which was a pioneering venture for Lake. The CD was recorded during a weekend in the mountains near Leavenworth, Wash.

“I basically made my own label,” he said. “It has been a big learning process — you learn how to deal with different aspects of the business as you go. You know what you’ve got to do, but you don’t know how to do it until you’ve done it.”

Going independent involves coordinating one’s own tracks, tours and radio broadcasts, as well as CD production. And for Lake, the work has paid off. He placed first in the 2007 Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition in Telluride, Colo., perhaps his most notable achievement. His three-song performance won the crowd over and earned him a spot on the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival mainstage, opening for the well-known Chubby Carrier and Keb Mo’.

Currently a resident of Bend, Ore., Lake devotes most of his time to music and his band. He works part-time, coaching middle school and high school lacrosse through the Rhino Lacrosse organization. He also plays lacrosse — his sport at Mercer Island High School — during his spare time, in addition to sailing and traveling.

Colin Lake and Wellbottom will perform in Seattle at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, at the Conor Byrne Pub. “Bullet” is now available at www.cdbaby.com and in concert. For more information, visit www.colinlake.com.

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