Jared Pete Gile Kansas State Collegian

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Kansas State University

Local songwriter weaves college memories, emotions into lyrics

Published on Thursday, February 12, 2004  

Audrey Young
Kansas State Collegian

College defined. Road trips and new friends. Moral struggles and soul-seeking. Hearts connecting and hearts breaking.

Jared “Pete” Gile, a local singer/songwriter, weaves these college memoirs and many more into the lyrics of his music. His debut CD, “Modern Day Mountain Man,” contains 15 self-written songs.

“I’m a songwriter who happens to sing — not a singer who happens to write songs,” said Gile, a 2002 K-State graduate from Scandia, Kan. “Writing is therapy for me. Just to write my feelings sometimes can be a tremendous release.

“I look up to prolific and timeless writers like John Denver and Gordon Lightfoot — people who write from the heart and not for the money. When someone writes what they’re hurting or sad or happy about, that’s what makes the really great songs.”

Gile said he writes what he feels and doesn’t tailor his music to a specific audience.

Casey Richard, senior in milling science and management, said he appreciates that Gile writes his own tracks.

“It means more to me as a listener that he actually writes the songs and puts his own feelings in them instead of someone else’s. His music is easy for me to relate to,” Richard said.

One of Gile’s songs, “Back 40 Lover,” contains the line “working alongside your family might be the best part of all.”

“Because I was raised on a family farm, that line has real meaning for me,” Richard said. “There’s also a song, ‘Til I Find Myself,’ that every college student should be able to relate to.”

Gile performs his original music, as well as cover songs, at many gigs in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska and Missouri. Richard said he and his friends listen to Gile’s music in many different settings.

“We pop in his CD when we are sitting around playing cards. But it’s even better to hear him live. Most of my friends go to his concerts, so it’s a blast,” Richard said.

“I’ve seen two completely different spectrums. One Sunday night at Chance, the atmosphere was laid-back and mellow,” Richard said. “Complete opposite of that was a night at Fat’s with people partying, hollering and dancing around. I guess most of his shows are somewhere in between, because we like to hear his songs but also to have a good time.”

Gile said there are many different styles of music on his CD, and it is hard to lump them into one genre.

“I would call it alternative country or Americana. It’s pretty loose anymore as to what people call music. I like to leave it up to the crowd to decide,” Gile said.

Whatever the classification, he joins a growing movement centered around a group of musicians in the Texas and Oklahoma areas.

The market for this red-dirt music is growing rapidly in Kansas.

Matt Church, owner of Shotz, said Gile has very loyal fans and draws in a good crowd.

“Pete’s music is like storytelling. His fans understand and relate to what he is singing,” Church said.

Gile recently added a band to his solo acoustic act. The Pete Gile Band includes Gile as lead vocalist; Adam Alexander, lead guitar and harmony vocals; Alex Theisen, drums and percussion; Howard Reed, keyboard; and Nick Jefferson, bass.

The band’s Manhattan debut will be 9 p.m., Feb. 27, at Bobby T’s Bar & Deli.

“It was hard finding people who were dedicated to the music and were good, too,” Gile said. “I’m really digging the sound we have and looking forward to our debut.”

The band will focus on getting the current CD to the Texas and Oklahoma markets for the next couple of years, Gile said. After that, he hopes to record another album.

“Right now, I’m just enjoying what I’m doing,” Gile said. “I love having a crowd that actually listens and knows the words to my music rather than having me just be background noise for them to get drunk to.

“When the audience is connecting to and digging my music, that’s what makes me the happiest.”