HOUGHTON - A transformative experience at a concentration camp in Germany led local musician Bruce Rundman to release his newest album, an emotional concept album titled "Never Again."
Composed of 11 songs, the double album - containing acoustic and electric versions of each song - is five years in the making, as Rundman's first visit to Dachau occurred in 2007.
"I'd heard all the stories and I'd read my history books and watched films on (Dachau), but it didn't really become fully real for me until I stepped foot in the place."
It took two years of content bouncing around in his head to put music and lyrics to those emotions. Then in summer 2009, Rundman visited one of his friends in Germany who had recently had surgery, and ended up writing all 11 songs for the album.
"There was a little bit of revision in the fall of 2009, but not much, and then I started the actual recording process in the winter of 2010," Rundman said.
Utilizing some family members, Rundman recorded one of the albums with full band arrangements - a heavier rock album featuring electric guitar, keyboard, bass and drums - and the other as an intimate acoustic experience.
"I recorded everything with one guitar and voice like it had been originally written," Rundman said. "It's important to have those song (versions) too. The real idea was to let people hear the words and express the music."
After three years of recording and mixing, Rundman is ready to let people hear and experience his moving visit.
"All songs stem from something that happened that day, or something I thought about it, or offshoots based on what happened during that visit," he said. "That's generally how I deal with emotion and thoughts; if they're strong enough, they'll come out in a song.
"It's just my own perspective and emotion from that day and visit," he continued. "I'm not trying to speak for any group of people ... or trying to represent anything historically accurate."
There will be a release party for "Never Again" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the McArdle Theater on Michigan Technological University's campus in Houghton. The album is a shift in content for Rundman, whose live show usually consists of him joking around and generally having a good time. Rundman warns those expecting a typical show from him Wednesday will be disappointed.
"I want everybody to know what they're in for," he said. "This is a much different deal, with intense content and an emotional song experience."
Rundman will play acoustic and electric guitar and sing at the show, with his wife on keyboards and his son on drums. The album will be on sale at the show, with a portion of the profits going to either the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site or the National Holocaust Museum. "Never Again" is also available on brucerundman.com and should be up on iTunes in the next month or so.