Weather Forecast


Brainerd musicians produce first CD

Music is in Craig Engelhart’s and Joe McGown’s blood.

The two Brainerd residents played on and off for years and currently play together in the band Kings Ransom. For years the two friends have wanted to work on a CD together with some of their favorite original songs. That dream came true late last year.

The duo produced its first CD entitled “Time Flies When You’re having Fun!” Songs on the CD include “Take Her Home,” “Learn to Live Without You,” “Perm-A-Grin” and “Can We Live on Love?”

“One of the reasons I quit Silent Partner (a band Engelhart started that played together for 18 years) was to write songs for this CD,” said Engelhart. “It started to happen a year ago. We both have had ideas for a long time and we had new ideas. It was a learning curve putting the CD together as programing it was half the battle, but we got it done.”

When asked to describe the music on the CD, Engelhart said the music is “all over the spectrum.” He said there is some rock, country, Beach Boys/Jimmy Buffett type music and some jazz.

Engelhart’s musical ability was first demonstrated at a young age, as he was the youngest of four siblings in a musical family. He said he was expected to perform and sing while still a youngster. Engelhart had an extensive gospel background and received formal vocal training and performed with area choirs. His interest in rock-n-roll began early and by the age of 17, he was playing in rock‘n’roll outfits from the upper Midwest to Florida. He was a member of The Wild Rice Band for 10 years and during that time the band released a single and two albums and appeared on the NNT show, “Be A Star.”

Engelhart later helped form Silent Partner, a band that released one CD and appeared at Moondance Jam for nine consecutive years. He is a founding member of Kings Ransom, a band that continues to play regularly.

Engelhart’s musical interests have been a blend of melodic and vocal groups, obscure artists and well-known rock groups. He has also been influenced by vocalists from the Big Band era, Motown artists and rock‘n’roll artists from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

McGown started playing guitar and singing early in life. His family had an old upright piano, which he learned to play on his own. Early on, McGown was exposed to artists and bands who influenced his musical development — The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Jim Croce and Steely Dan.

McGown moved to Los Angeles in the early ‘80s to pursue a career in the music business. He gigged with several bands in the Los Angeles area and toured up and down the west coast for a number of years. While in Los Angeles, McGown also developed a solo show playing guitar, keyboards and singing. He continues to perform in bands and as a solo musician.

Engelhart and McGown plan to work on a second CD. Their current CD can be purchased at various businesses in the Brainerd lakes area including Bridge of Harmony, Crow Wing Food Co-op, Northeast Liquor, The Gallery, Olde Open Window and Highway 25 Liquor, all in Brainerd; and Crosby-Ironton Courier.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at