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Maiden Rock natives Bruce Hecksel and Julie Patchouli have performed as a musical duo for the last 10 years. Submitted photo

Maiden Rock couple release holiday CD

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Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

The pair, who has lived in Maiden Rock for the last five years, has played together as a duo for the last 10.

"It's so much fun, as it's our profession, but yet, it's fun just to sit down and play to unwind," Patchouli explained.

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The pair has combined to release their latest album, titled "Winter Solstice," under the group name Terra Guitarra, which they used to record instrumental projects. It's the second CD they've released under the Terra Guitarra name after the debut album was released last May.

Winter Solstice is the duo's first holiday CD, which Patchouli explained turned into a labor of love for Hecksel.

"He is obsessed with Christmas music," Patchouli said. "Bruce grew up as a pastor's kid in Minnesota, where classical and choral Christmas music were very prevalent. Since his parents have passed away, he wanted to play music that was important to his father.

"This was a very important project for him."

Hecksel completed the 11-song CD in about a four-day span last month. Patchouli said he would spend all day in the couple's recording studio, located in their home, until 1 a.m., more often than not.

"He's amazing on the guitar," she said.

Included on the CD are such traditional Christmas favorites as "Silent Night," "O Holy Night" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem," along with songs such as "Greensleeves" and "Jeg Er So Glaad", which Patchouli said is a traditional Norwegian carol that has a familiar melody for all.

Copies of Winter Solstice can be found in Pierce County locations such as the Bittersweet Bakery in Plum City, Swan Song Gallery in Maiden Rock, and nearby spots as the Accola Gallery in Durand, The Abode in Stockholm, the Best of Times Bookstore, Kiki's Simple Abundance and the RWAA Art Depot in Red Wing.

Terra Guitarra is only one-half of the duo's musical exploits. For vocals and lyrics, they use the name Patchouli, for which they've released nine albums.

Patchouli is known for "fast forward folk," according to its Web site. Patchouli is the lyricist and lead vocalist, while Hecksel's primary instrument is the acoustic guitar. At the same time, the duo is also well versed on the bass guitar, violin, percussion, drums, piano and trombone.

Throughout their history, Patchouli and Hecksel have performed more than 1,600 times. Two future performances to promote Winter Solstice include Dec. 26 at the Blue Moon in Red Wing and Jan. 2, 2009, at Jimmy's Pub in the St. James Hotel, Red Wing.

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