Bits 'n' Pieces: Vancouver man tours with trio

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The Yesberger Band began as a jazz trio, but soon the pop influences its members had grown up with took hold.

“It’s pop music with a jazz approach,” said Spencer Stewart, a Vancouver native who plays bass and sings harmonies for the band.

Stewart now lives in Boston and attends Berklee College of Music. The Yesberger Band features Stewart and two other Berklee students: Devon Yesberger and Gabriel Smith.

Last fall, the group released its first album, “The Bad Weather EP.” It includes a cover of the Beatles’ song “Blackbird.”

“We do a totally different version of it,” said Stewart, 20, who graduated from Mountain View High School in 2009.

Band members recently toured the Midwest, where they opened for The Temptations.

“We sold a lot of CDs, and people had us sign autographs, so it was a real rock-star experience for us,” Stewart said.

Now they’re on a West Coast tour, and the band got to open for Bobby McFerrin and The Yellowjackets for two Oregon shows.

“The Bad Weather EP” is available online through iTunes, CDBaby, VibeDeck and Amazon. For more information about the band, go to http://www.yesberger.com.

Novelist draws on life as basis for mystery

Vancouver author Esther Schrader didn’t have to look far to find a wealth of information about the heroine in her two most recent novels.

Like Schrader, the main character in her Ginger Akana adventure series is an insurance investigator.

Schrader, 76, worked for State Farm as an investigator for most of her career. After she retired from the company she went back to her first love, writing, she said.

“Moloka’i Ashes: A Ginger Akana Adventure,” is her fifth novel, and second in the Ginger Akana series. The first in the series was “Desperate Straits: A Ginger Akana Adventure.”

The new book is set on the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Moloka’i. Akana is half-Hawaiian and runs an insurance agency called Akana Confidential.

“Her assignment is to investigate a coffee warehouse that burns down,” Schrader said. “And it turns out to be arson.”

What follows is a tale of murder, kidnapping and “other bad things,” she added.

She also admitted the work isn’t entirely fictional — although all the names and places have been changed.

“I borrowed a little piece from real life for the book,” she said. “There was an incident of theft, but I won’t give any more details.”

Schrader moved to Vancouver in 2000 and lives with her husband, Jack Schrader, an artist.

The book is published by Fine Tooth Press and is available from major retailers or through Schrader’s website, http://www.schradercreative.com.

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Courtney Sherwood 360-735-4561, or e-mail features@columbian.com.