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Detroit Lakes police chief releasing his third album next week

DETROIT LAKES - Tim Eggebraaten fans, get ready - the Detroit Lakes police chief and popular local musician is set to release his third album. The title is "Working the Beat."...

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Looking forward to the future, Tim Eggebraaten sees himself continuing with music well beyond his law enforcement career. Forum News Service

DETROIT LAKES - Tim Eggebraaten fans, get ready - the Detroit Lakes police chief and popular local musician is set to release his third album. The title is “Working the Beat.”

“It’s basically a mixture of the different songs that I would play at a live event,” said Eggebraaten, who decided to make the 10-song CD based on requests he would get from people around the area.

“I’d get people come up to me after a show and ask me if I had any CDs, but I didn’t really because the first two (CDs he cut) don’t really reflect what I do at the shows,” said Eggebraaten, who is known for his one-man-band performances of some of the most popular and beloved songs spanning every decade from the 1950s to today.

Eggebraaten does have one song on the new CD he wrote, and this one he made personal. He not only recruited some high school Laker singers to sing the chorus at the end of it, but it also features some individuals close to his heart.

“I wrote it about a friend who had passed away, and her family is actually on it, too,” said Eggebraaten of the song “Love Life, Be Brave.” “I’m very proud of it; I think it turned out well.”

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“Working the Beat” came to life in the Minneapolis studio that Eggebraaten’s friend and former bandmate Jim Langemo owns. (Not to be confused with a Detroit Lakes man with the same name.) Jim Langemo of Minneapolis is in a popular Twin Cities band called Jimmi and the Band of Souls.

“So I borrowed his bass player and Jim himself, then hired a drummer - they really gave it a big band feel,” said Eggebraaten, who typically just has his guitar.

Homegrown talent

Growing up in Fisher, Minn., Tim Eggebraaten always knew he loved music.

“I was in all the choirs in high school,” he said, adding that his first band formed from a quartet he had been singing in for high school choir competitions.

“Just for fun we started singing ‘Runaround Sue’ and some other fun songs and ended up forming a little band called The Reminiscents,” said Eggebraaten, who says the group performed at a couple of local fairs.

But it was on his way to Winnipeg, Canada, for a choir trip when he remembers his music effecting someone. They had stopped in the small town of Hallock, Minn., to do a concert; Eggebraaten and his fellas from the quartet broke out some Hawaiian shirts and started singing “Runaround Sue.”

“And there was this adult, female teacher there who started squealing and was just excited,” said Eggebraaten. “I don’t know if she just really liked it or maybe her name was Sue, I don’t know,” he laughed. “But I just remember thinking, this is really cool.”

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Eggebraaten built on his musical talents in college when he learned how to play the guitar. He’d play church services and joined a band. It’s in that band that he got to know his longtime buddy Jim Langemo.

After Eggebraaten finished college and began his career as a law enforcement officer in Detroit Lakes, his life as a musician was more or less put on the backburner - until 15 years ago. That’s when Eggebraaten and his neighbors hired a musician for their block party.

“And afterwards I thought, ‘why are we paying money for this when I can do it?’” said Eggebraaten, who then bought some equipment, dusted off his guitar, cleared his throat and began his local career in music.

“I did some birthday parties and things like that, which I hope nobody has video of because I’m sure it was horrible,” he laughed.

When Eggebraaten was transferred from his nighttime shift as a cop to the day shift, his schedule opened up for more gigs.

“It just started snowballing,” said Eggebraaten, who proved to be one of the most requested musicians around.

“I’d do everything from nursing homes to backyard parties, retirement parties, corporate functions, the bars… a little bit of everything,” said Eggebraaten, who ended up cutting his first album nine years ago (also with Jim Langemo) called “From Within,” which features reflective, laid back music.

That led to a second album by Eggebraaten and Langemo, which they inadvertently cut in Langemo’s studio.

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“It was just us getting together as friends; I’d pick a song and he’d go, and we just kind of went back and forth doing some stuff that we never intended to be an album,” said Eggebraaten. The album ended up pretty raw.

“You can hear us kind of giggling in the background,” he said. But a few months later, Langemo called Eggebraaten and told him he’d been working on putting their session into an album, and that it sounded pretty good. They named it the Blue Wren Session.

One of the songs on the album called “Drift Away” has been downloaded tens of thousands of times across iTunes, Spotify and other streamers.

“We still get notifications from iTunes or whatever telling us that somebody in Michigan or Australia or China somewhere downloaded our song,” said Eggebraaten, who thinks that’s “kind of crazy” since there are so many songs titled “Drift Away” that it doesn’t even pop up on iTunes unless somebody specifically searches his or Langemo’s name.

He says they make very little money from those downloads, but he says it’s “still fun to know different people around the world are downloading” his songs.

Careers in harmony

When Eggebraaten was being named chief of police for Detroit Lakes roughly five years ago, he was asked if he thought his musical career would be a conflict of interest with his job as chief, since he would, at times, be performing in bars.

“But I’ve had a lot of great feedback - it hasn’t been a negative thing,” he said. “I think it actually provides an opportunity for people to approach me and start a conversation in a way they don’t when I’m in uniform,” said Eggebraaten. “It kind of breaks down the boundaries and has been way better than I thought it would ever be.”

In fact, Eggebraaten says there have been times when he’s been performing in a bar when somebody walks in who he has recently arrested.

“They might come in and see me, recognize me, and they’re kind of taken aback at first,” said Eggebraaten. “But then they’ll sit down, listen to a song or two and maybe start to forget that they hate me and that I ruined their life.”

In instances like this, music has served as a common ground bridge for him and the citizens he’s dealt with legally.

“We’ll start talking about music, and they know that if I meet them the next day, I’ll hold them accountable and do my job, but they see the human side of things and that I’m not some robocop,” said Eggebraaten. “It’s been lucky that the two (careers) have jived together this well.”

In fact, it’s possible that music has helped make Eggebraaten an even better police officer, as the off-duty passion has provided a much-needed outlet for an on-duty life that can be incredibly stressful and negative.

“I don’t know if I started getting back into music with that in mind, but it’s certainly been a huge release for me,” he said, adding that he’s able to have fun with it during family outings as well.

“My wife comes to my shows when she can, but I wouldn’t necessarily call her groupie or particularly musical,” said Eggebraaten. “But our oldest kid is a good singer and guitar player, our youngest is a good singer and piano player, and our middle kid can play the radio like nobody’s business,” he laughed.

Looking forward to the future, Eggebraaten sees himself continuing with music well beyond his law enforcement career. And while he isn’t looking to “move to Nashville or anything,” he is looking forward to simply enjoying the niche he’s created right here in this area.

“If I retire, I would love to do a nursing home circuit,” he said, knowing fully well there isn’t a lot of money in that. It’s the pure joy and smiles he sees there that makes it all worth it.

“I danced at Emmanuel with this little lady who said to me afterwards, ‘How does it feel to dance with a 103-year-old girl?’ and I just loved it; there she was just shakin’ it,” said Eggebraaten. “At that point, I thought, ‘Kenny Chesney, you got nothin’ on me, man.’ Yeah, I’ll be doing this until I can’t do it anymore.”

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By Paula Quam, Forum News Service

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He is releasing his third CD next week. A party will be held at the Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes on Thursday, Dec. 10, from 7 to 9 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

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