WALKER -- An encounter with Halie O'Ryan -- even on the telephone -- brings to mind a hurried lap around a wildfire.
This is a girl who loves to talk, folks, and she's turned her verbal talents into promoting independent rock-and-rollers on the Internet.
Once an on-air personality with KLIZ-Radio in Brainerd, O'Ryan is collaborating with the founders of Moondance Jam to produce and distribute a bi-weekly net-radio show.
Halie O'Ryan poses with Joan Jett during Moondance Jam last summer. O'Ryan's band Part of the Tribe won the people's choice award in the "battle of the bands" at last summer's Jam. (Photo courtesy of Paul Nye)
"Halie O on the Go" features taped interviews with undiscovered independent rockers and cuts from their latest CDs. The show can be accessed by computer by dialing into the Jam's official Web site, www.moondancejam.com.
"I wanted to create a network for musicians who are not owned by record labels," O'Ryan said in a telephone interview this week. "My whole goal is to help them gain some confidence by getting their work on the air."
The net-radio idea has been simmering in O'Ryan's mind for a long time, she said, but the opportunity to get it into production arose at last year's Jam in rural Walker.
In her other life, O'Ryan's the pistol-personality who leads Part of the Tribe, the rock and roll band that got together just in time to win the people's choice award in the "battle of the bands" at July's Jam.
Chad Baker, bass guitarist from Brainerd, joined Part of the Tribe as it prepared for Moondance Jam last July. The band is preparing to release its first CD in June, with all original songs. Here, Baker performs in Minneapolis for New Year's 2000.
Known far and wide as Halie O, the lead singer and her mates seized the audience with knuckle-cracking rock and roll and the spinnaker of O'Ryan's silver tongue.
Employed by KLIZ-Radio at the time, O'Ryan lost her job in an on-stage squabble with others from the station, but she landed on her feet a few minutes later with a commitment from the Jam's founder, Bill Bieloh, to help her start the Internet show.
Bieloh appears on each program -- about 30 have been taped -- giving away Moondance Jam tickets to listeners who win a riddle contest. Five of the shows are available at the Web site, including the most recent with rising bluesman Ross William Perry.
Drummer Russ Rosenbalm is an original member of Part of the Tribe, which was reassembled last July in time for Moondance Jam. The band will appear at this year's Jam for two shows on the Main Stage.
Born in California, raised in Hawaii, O'Ryan has spent a lifetime on the rock and roll circuit, much of it in the island countries and territories of the Pacific Rim, where Part of the Tribe got its start.
O'Ryan and drummer Russ Rosenbalm reassembled the group with two area musicians -- Peter Hans on lead guitar and Chad Baker on bass -- in the weeks prior to last year's Jam.
"We didn't even enter the battle of the bands, but we got in because another band dropped out at the last minute," O'Ryan said. "We just wanted to show up and play, so winning (the contest) was very much a shocker."
The performance, along with O'Ryan's persistence, opened the way for the deal with Moondance, which covers most of the net-radio show's production costs, the singer said.
In the weeks that followed, O'Ryan bought a Web-TV at Wal-Mart for Internet access, then posted a message on www.indiegirls.com soliciting independent bands worldwide to apply for appearance on "Halie O on the Go."
More than 200 groups responded and the program had the material it needed to get under way, she said.
Today, O'Ryan and the band is sequestering in northern California in preparation for release of its first CD, all Part of the Tribe originals, the singer said.
She tapes her interviews by telephone, then sends a cassette and her guest's latest CD to a production house in Walker, where it's all loaded onto the Web site for playback at command by users.
O'Ryan said the Web site gets about 130,000 hits a week, triggering radio syndication interest already among radio stations in Florida, California and Minnesota.
Best of all, she's always looking for new independent bands, who can contact her via e-mail from the Web site. A computer must be equipped with appropriate software in order to hear the show, but it can be downloaded at the site.
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