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This episode features the first interview with Lee Osler in decades.

Lee Osler is a musician who has lived in Ypsilanti since he was two years old and is most well known for his 1983 local hit, “Back to Ypsilanti,” released on his own label, Mustache Records. He started singing in fifth grade and has performed in parades, auditoriums, festivals, and cabarets.

In Part 1, hear about Mr. Osler’s childhood growing up in Ypsilanti, his early life in music in schools and in earlier groups like the Soulful Soulmates, Masterpiece, and the Three Masters of Soul. We’ll learn about the local music scene when Mr. Osler was in his teens and twenties, the beginnings of the legendary Black Arts Festival, and the state of downtown Ypsilanti in the early eighties.

In Part 2, we’ll learn about the development of the Back to Ypsilanti song from Mr. Osler. We’ll learn about Lee Osler & the Ypsi City Band and how it connected to fundraising to restore the Rutherford Pool in Recreation Park. We’ll learn about other songs composed by Mr. Osler, including songs for other cities, his musical life after the success of Back to Ypsilanti, and his musical family.

This episode is being brought to you in partnership with the Local Music Show, a radio program that has been running for at least 15 years, and which airs on WCBN-FM Ann Arbor, a student and community run radio station in Ann Arbor.

Podcast speakers:

Lee Osler

Lee Osler is a musician who has lived in Ypsilanti since he was two years old and is most well known for his 1983 local hit, “Back to Ypsilanti,” released on his own label, Mustache Records. He has performed in many bands including the Soulful Soulmates, Masterpiece, Three Masters of Soul, and Lee Osler & the Ypsi City Band.

Shelley Salant

Shelley Salant is a long time host of the Local Music Show, Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti / Detroit music scene stalwart, and music interviewer extraordinaire, both on the Local Music Show, as well as in publications including the Detroit Metro Times. She has performed in many bands including XV, Rebel Kind, and Swimsuit.

More about the WCBN Local Music Show
The Local Music Show happens every Wednesday from 9-11pm on WCBN-FM Ann Arbor at 88.3 FM and at wcbn.org online. In pre-pandemic times, almost every week we hosted local musicians from a variety of genres for live in-studio performances. We play music by all local artists from Southeastern Michigan’s past, present and future.
 
Archives of 12+ years of live in studio performances are here.

Recording Ypsi Stories with Lee Osler at Ziggy’s.

Click to see a Soulful Soulmates performance listing in the Ann Arbor Sun (courtesy of the Ann Arbor District Library).

Click to read an event calendar listing in the Ann Arbor Sun with photos of performers from a concert, including two members of the Soulful Soulmates (courtesy of the Ann Arbor District Library).

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