Leanna Collins, Owner & Entertainment Director
From bringing in renowned jazz musicians to scouting and hosting local Michigan bands and artists to performing herself, Leanna is the heart and soul of Torch Lake Cafe’s live music scene.
Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Leanna’s love and innate talent for music became apparent in her early childhood piano lessons. From there, she went on to become a talented guitar and vocalist performing both as a soloist and in ensembles throughout her formidable career in music.
Torch Lake and the Torch Lake Cafe play a large role in Leanna’s life; after moving into her family’s Torch Lake cabin at the age of 15, Leanna took a position cooking in what is now the Torch Lake Cafe kitchen, while building her music career performing at beloved local musical venues like Molly Malone’s. Throughout her career ranging from Mackinaw Island to the Cayman Islands, Leanna has worked with Shel Silverstein, sang with Rod Stewart, warmed up the Thompson Twins and Rory Block, sang with big bands and choirs,performed at festivals, weddings and appeared on radio and television programs.
Leanna lived and worked in Key West, Florida, for many years, and is overjoyed to be home in Torch Lake, turning the light back on at the corner of M88 and US-31. She is passionately dedicated to creating dynamic music events and loves nothing more than playing at the restaurant both with her band,
Larry McCray’s heart and soul are in the blues. Of that, there’s no question. It’s been 25 years — award-winning ones at that — of scalding-hot and tasteful blues from the Arkansas-born, Michigan-based singer, guitarist, bandleader, songwriter and heir apparent to a lineage that includes personal influences and heroes such as B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King, all of whom he’s had the chance to meet and play with. McCray’s eight albums have blended reverence for that tradition with his own soulful spin on the form, and those achievements have been noted with an Orville H. Gibson Male Blues Guitarist of the Year award as well as the Top Guitarist prize in International Blues Matters’ 2014 writer’s poll.
Jabo Bihlman & Rick Evans
Jeff ‘Jabo’ (Jay-bo) Bihlman is an Emmy award-winning guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer. His music has appeared on FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC and CMT on shows like “The Good Guys”, “All My Children”, “Burn Notice” and “Sons of Anarchy” on TNT.
The Real ingredients
A Northern Michigan band hailing from Petoskey Michigan. The band is comprised of Sean Miller and Traven Michaels, two lifelong friends. Sean Miller: guitar, piano, percussion, backup vocals. Traven Michaels: saxophone, percussion, vocals.
Chris Bickley is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy. He was the director of jazz at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City in 1979 & 2015 and at Central Michigan University in 1986. Chris has performed and toured with many renowned artists such as Kenny Rogers, Mel Torme, Woody Herman, The Four Tops, and The Temptations. Chris currently lives in Elk Rapids, Michigan and is the leader of the Bay Area Big Band and Chairman / Co-Founder of the Bay Area Music Foundation which offers music scholarships, educational programs, music outreach, and musical instruments for gifted and underprivileged students, “CHANGING CHILDREN’S LIVES THROUGH MUSIC”.
Strobelight Honey hails from Northwest Michigan and melds the timeless groove of old school Funk and Soul with the modern swagger of current R&B, Neo-Soul, and rock. Inspired by the great studio rhythm sections and boasting three strong vocalists, SLH prides themselves in their super tight instrumentation and full vocal harmonies.
Strobelight Honey is: Justin Palmer – keyboards/vocals, Denny Richards – bass/vocals, Mike Youker – guitar/vocals, Larry Hammond – drums/percussion.
Chris Smith is a Michigan/Chicago-based musician who has been performing around the Midwest for the last 6 years. He is a native to northern Michigan and is currently back in the area after spending the last few years in Chicago. His musical influences stem from artists such as the Beatles, Jeff Buckley, Sufjan Stevens, Damien Rice, Iron & Wine, Bon Iver, and Martin Sexton. Chris currently plays frequently throughout the greater Grand Traverse region as a solo act and with his trio, Broom Closet Boys. Aside from being an artist and performer, Chris has dedicated several years of touring the world as an ambassador of arts education in schools and communities around the globe with the non-profit organization, The Young Americans.
Doc is a well-known pianist and singer who regularly plays at Joe Muer’s in Detroit. We are very excited to have him playing at the Torch Lake Cafe!
Local band Shady Hill can be seen at the Torch Lake Cafe.
Skipper has been professionally drumming since high school daze in pre-casino Atlantic City, NJ. After stints in NYC, and Santa Cruz, Calif., he permanently established a music base of operations in Key West, since the 80’s. Now, 35 years later, he is still vigorously ‘percussing’ for shows, concerts, special events, a big band, dance classes, & endless small club combos. Adept in all music styles, and leaning into a colors/texture approach to rhythm accompaniment, this Drummer Boy is THRILLED to be having music adventures, this summer in N. Michigan(!), with his old slaymate and Strummer Girl, Miz Leanna Collins Hettinger, at her Torch Lake Cafe.
Bob Webb plays his bag of well-polished favorites… classic tunes from Billie Holiday, 60’s pop, Beatles, Motown and more… delivered in a quiet, easy style. Bob plays select nights at the Torch Lake Cafe.