Cloud Cult at the Black Cat Saturday

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Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

Craig Minowa, lead singer and founder of Cloud Cult, is incredibly laid back about his band's success.

It's not that Minowa takes the group or its fans for granted. It's just that he and his wife and bandmate, Connie Minowa, consider the band part of a full life, not their entire life.

"Today we will go out and gather sap and in two days we will be in NYC," said Craig Minowa with a laugh from his Wisconsin home right before the current tour started. "We get a pretty extreme contrast. Spending time with the land helps remind us of the importance of roots and nature."

Onstage
Cloud Cult
» Where: Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW
» When: 9 p.m. Saturday
» Info: $16; 877-725-8849; ticketalternative.com

Minowa started Cloud Cult as a solo recording project almost 20 years ago and only began to tour when industry insiders prodded him to do so. But the band operates very much under Minowa's terms as evidenced by the number of record label offers he has rejected through the years.

Indeed the Minowas devote much of their lives to green projects including developing the first 100 percent post-consumer-recycled CD packaging in the U.S., working to plant literally thousands of trees and developing wind turbines as revenue generators for Native American reservations.

In a very real way, Minowa's life inspires his music.

Much has been said about the 2002 death of the couple's then-2-year old son, Kaidin. Minowa wrote some 100 songs after the tragedy and that turned the story of the tragedy into a positive.

"We have been really fortunate to have a really beautiful following of people that have been very open about their personal stories and struggles," he said. "The shows [and music overall] really put positive energy out into the world."

Indeed, Minowa wrote the band's latest album, "Love," in very much the same spirit.

"I think the past albums really worked through the grieving process and exploring why we are here," he said. "The 'Love' album ... focuses on that we are here, in the present moment, and how we should interpret that. The whole album really focuses on self betterment."

Spending time, especially late at night with the couple's young daughter, gave Minowa plenty of time to mull such issues. And as the family makes its way out on tour, it just underscores the values about which he writes.

"That really helps with the balance," he said of touring with the entire family as often as possible. "We don't get so caught up in the music and the fan end of things. We are with the kids, do sound check and then put the kids to bed. Then we become performers."

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