Live music combined with the familiar smell of coffee transforms atmospheres and brings people together. Around 20 people gathered in the back of Hillsdale’s Rough Draft Friday night, to hear the sounds of local musicians Luke Woltanski and Dalton Sala.
Woltanski and Sala, both of whom are students at the college, played from 8 to 10 p.m. last weekend. Both have played at Rough Draft before as part of the coffee shop’s push to have live music every Friday night.
Woltanski played the keyboard, guitar, and sang while Sala accompanied on acoustic guitar. The audience appreciated the music, and applauded at the end of every jam.
Rachel Solomito ’17, the general manager of Rough Draft, said Woltanski is one of the more regular acts at the coffee shop.
“Having music is really pleasant, it adds a vibrant atmosphere. I think having live music here really fills up the space,” Jessica Chen, a student who attended the concert said.
Woltanski said people often describe his style of music as a mix of folk and jazz, with some blues influences, and that he strives to play music that is different. In addition to playing a number of common instruments, Woltanski also plays a Native American flute and Solomito said he has played the spoons in Rough Draft before.
“We didn’t know what to expect because we never know what people are going to play or sing,” Solomito said. “Luke is awesome. He brings some really unique sounds here.”
Woltanski and Sala have been playing music together ever since they met in Galloway two years ago, Sala said. The two composed an original song, “The Ballad of Sugar and Jr.,” which was published in the Detroit-based Big City Rhythm and Blues Magazine.
Woltanski said he will soon be releasing an album called “The Sketch of a Man,” which has several songs that feature Sala on guitar. After about an hour of playing on Friday, Sala took a break and let Woltanski play a solo set to promote his new album.
“While Luke brings charisma, folk-flavored progressions, and very narrative lyrics to the table, I contribute a somewhat quieter persona with more eclectic and technically-driven melodies,” Sala said. “It’s a strange combination in some ways, but that’s really what makes playing together so fun.”
Sala said Rough Draft was their favorite venue to play in town because they get to play in front of their friends and peers.
Woltanski was able to come up with another fringe benefit of playing in a coffeehouse.
“You get free coffee for playing, what more could you possibly ask for?” Woltanksi said.