Central Michigan musician uses country music to process difficulty

Central Michigan musician uses country music to process difficulty

BIG RAPIDS — Geoff Elias is a country musician with quite the story to tell.

Originally from Lake Isabella, Elias graduated from Chippewa Hills. Now living in Mecosta, he has taken to staying home with his kids and spending a lot of time on music.

After losing his house and wife, Elias’ mental state began to decline before being involved in a high-speed chase and spending time in jail. He also was a heavy drinker. 

Elias now spends his time putting his heart and soul into his songs, and uses them to process his breakup, trouble with the law, and other difficult situations he’s been through.

“I bonded out of jail and just started writing. Had to have a way to express myself, you know,” Elias said.

He now plays at open mic nights at places like the Sawmill Saloon and The Thirsty Llama with his girlfriend and kids and also loves seeing people react to his original songs.

According to Elias, people recognized his talent for music before he began to take it seriously and use it as an outlet.

“Everybody that ever saw me touch a guitar before and just play other people’s songs, they were just like, ‘dude, that’s you, that’s what you need to do,’” he said.

Now 10 months clean, he said he has 12 original songs he’s confident in, and has been playing 30-minute sets at open mics around Mecosta County to get his name out there.

He said he played an original song, called “Forget It All,” which is like a ballad, and someone asked him if he was playing a song by Bob Dylan.

“And I was like, ‘No, that was original,’ the whole place just went up. I about started crying,” he said.

According to his girlfriend, Teresa Hoover, Elias’ mood will shift when he’s sad at home, and starts to play guitar.

“If things are bothering him or he’s having a bad day, that’s his go-to. He picks up his guitar and he just jams and it just shifts,” she said.

Hoover also noted how comfortable and happy Elias seems to be on stage.

“I’ve seen him thrive on stage. He gets up there and he is in his moment. I don’t know how else to explain it,” she said.

Elias loves making people dance with his music, and Hoover recalled her favorite time watching this happen at The Thirsty Llama.

“He was doing a cover, and these little old ladies got out there and just started dancing. And he just lit up. Forever that will be ingrained in my head because it was just amazing to watch,” she said.

Despite music being his calling, Elias still gets nerves leading up to his performances.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s nerve-wracking. Usually the whole ride, my stomach’s in knots and I want to turn around and I’m like, no, just get up there and do it,” he said.

Elias hopes to use music to live up to his potential and live a happy life, leaving his checkered past behind.

“Stopping progression is all I’ve ever done to myself and I’m ready to progress and just move forward. Get past all this, live a happy life and use music as a tool if nothing else,” he said.

Looking forward, Elias is looking to meet other musicians, put together his album, and get his music out there more so people like him, who have been through something similar, will be able to relate to it.

Catch Elias playing at the Sawmill Saloon open mic and others around West Michigan.