SLU student by day, lead singer by night

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In today’s world, if you are able to land your dream job or discover a job that you love so much it’s not considered work — you are one of the lucky few. SLU senior Ian Thompson was fortunate enough to find his calling, as a musician/ singer/ songwriter, during high school.

Like a true musician, sitting in a white tee, dark blue jeans and brown boots, he can recall the first moment that he realized his future included the music industry. One day, he turned on the television to a music channel, and Jeff Tweedy, the lead singer of WILCO, was singing and playing guitar for a crowd of people. Thompson vividly remembers that moment and thinking, “I wanted to do what he was doing. Watching him playing for 20,000 people, with just him and his guitar…it was so cool.”

Thompson is currently the lead vocals for his band, Mt. Ivan. Besides his gifted voice, Thompson also plays a vast amount of instruments, including: guitar, banjo, harmonica, piano, drums, ukulele, and says he “dabbles” with bass guitar. Despite his diverse musically-inclined talents, the majority of the songs for the band’s first album were written on the guitar.

The band officially formed last summer and consists of Thompson, Matt Schmitz (banjo) and Eric Ward (bass guitar). Ward and Thompson were the original two members— “before we were even a band, we were playing together,” Thompson said. Each member has his own individual taste, which Thompson appreciates. Schmitz enjoys classic folk, Ward prefers punk and Thompson digs experimental folk.

Describing the band’s sound, Thompson hesitated, “I don’t want to say it’s folk…folk can be anything.” He later referred to it as American folk, with instrumentation. “There is [definitely] a modern spin,” Thompson noted, as their recently released EP and upcoming album include traditional instruments with reverb and various vocal effects.

The band is about halfway done recording their first album. Thompson estimates the album, which features nine brand-new songs written by Thompson, will be released near the end of the year.  Currently, the band is working with a recording studio in Kansas City. While each of the band members is a serious musician, they don’t let themselves forget to have fun, and even partake in an occasional basketball game. “[We’re] just some dudes hanging out,” Thompson said.

Mt. Ivan’s EP, “Kansas City I,” includes eight tracks composed by Thompson over three years. Various guest musicians are featured on the album. Thompson’s favorite track is “Nothing More.” The EP is available for purchase and additional information can be found on the band’s Facebook page.

Thompson enjoys listening to a plethora of artists and bands, which caused him great difficulty when selecting his musical icons and inspirations. He immediately noted Bob Dylan, Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens and Jeff Tweedy, then took a few moments and added Jim James, The War on Drugs and Gregory Alan Isakov to the list.

Thompson is a double major in English and Secondary Education, but even with his education, he can’t imagine doing anything else besides playing and singing music. “I’m going to keep doing this forever.”