Together, Ana Gomulka (music, lyrics, vocals, guitar and keys), Taylor Greenshields (drums and percussion), Ian Griffiths (bass and vocals), Andrea Holther-Cruz (keys and vocals) and Leo James Willer (live painting) are introducing their talents to a growing Motor City audience.
Gomulka attributes the band’s smooth sound to their longtime love of past and present jazz, soul and funk singers and musicians, including Esperanza Spalding, Sharon Jones, Kneebody and Hiatus Kaiyote.
“When we first started this band, I don’t think any of us were like let’s make jazzy music. When I was young, I grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan because that’s what my parents played,” she said. “So when I sang people would be like, ‘Oh you sound like Sarah Vaughan or something like that.’ I was like, ‘Oh, I wasn’t even trying to sound like her.’ I think that’s where our jazzy sound comes from. It’s just what comes out.”
It also served as the first headlining show for Plymouth, Mich.-based folk rocker Adventures with Vultures, also known as Matt Sauter, who released his debut EP, “Junction,” in October on Original 1265 Recordings.
Sauter’s down-home and fun-loving stage presence instantly connected with the crowd during his 45-minute set, which included the folk rock gems “Okay Guy,” “Skies of Gold” and “I Found a Dreamer” as well as a new track, “Hell or High Water.”
“So many of you f*ckers came to the show tonight. I can’t believe it,” said Sauter, who’s also a student at the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME). “We used to play at coffee shops in Plymouth, Michigan, and all you guys came here, and we really appreciate it.”
Chris DuPont believes the right live album includes an eclectic mix of original and cover songs recorded in a venue and a studio.
The Ypsilanti, Mich., folk singer-songwriter melded these two sounds together for his new live album, “Live in A2,” which dropped May 19.
The 12-track live album features six songs recorded during a June 4, 2016 show at The Ark and another six recorded during a studio session at Solid Sound in Ann Arbor, Mich. Each side of the LP represents a different live feel for listeners.
Side A incorporates the intimacy and energy associated with hearing DuPont perform his classic tunes – “Evergreen Waltz,” “Winterfox” and four others – in the 400-seat acoustic and folk music venue known as The Ark.
“I hope it’s a fun listen,” said DuPont while traveling back from a May 12 show in Denver. “I hope that it gives people the type of energy and affirmation that they might get at a live show because for better or worse I really strive for polish.”
For Amir “Lady Heat” Young, each day begins with a series of small decisions.
Those small decisions result in larger choices that ultimately shape the future.
“When you wake up, you have a choice. When you do your homework, you have a choice. When you don’t, those things add up,” she said. “At the end of the day, I try to illustrate that your everyday choices take you down a path that leads either closer to or further from your dreams.”
Lady Heat is ready to ask that question to 68 Ypsilanti, Mich. high school students during the third installment of The Poppin’ College Tour at the University of Michigan’s East Hall on Friday.
Launched by Lady Heat in 2014, The Poppin’ College Tour is an educational program designed to encourage disadvantaged and at-risk youth ages 13-19 to attend college and make positive life choices.
This stunning seven-track album from the self-proclaimed “prog-bluegrass locomotive” fueled by Billy Kirst (vocals and guitar), Kyle Rhodes (vocals and mandolin), Jordan Adema (violin) and Ryan Shea (bass and vocals) pulls listeners along a personal journey while they ride in “psych-folk” boxcars filled with frustration, nostalgia, love and self-discovery.
The journey begins with the energetic title track and captures the frustration of living in an era when “…instead of seeing everyone as sisters and brothers/They started pointing fingers at one another.”
While the lyrics brilliantly capture anger and blame, the band’s acoustic guitar, violin, mandolin and bass harmoniously meld together and instrumentally portray a sense of hope for the future.
That hope is carried through to “Madison,” which features Kirst’s and Rhodes’ lush harmonies coupled with nostalgic lyrics and the fast-paced sonic partnership of Adema’s violin and Rhodes’ mandolin.
Editor’s Note: My husband Brian writes his third post for The Stratton Setlist about the Oct. 12 Loreena McKennitt show at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Mich.
On Christmas morning in 1994, I opened a gift from my parents that had the unmistakable shape of a CD. As I tore off the wrapping paper, revealing the cover, I was greeted by a woman with a harp, wearing vaguely antiquated clothing, standing on a hill overlooking a lake. It turned out to be “Parallel Dreams” by Loreena McKennitt, an album by an artist I had never heard of.
My dad had heard about Loreena McKennitt on public radio driving home from work one night. He knew that I was interested in Enya and other Celtic and New Age music, so he thought I’d be interested in her as well.
After looking at the hazy album art, I turned the CD over and read through the song titles – “Samain Night,” “Standing Stones,” and “Ancient Pines” among others. They certainly sounded interesting.
I quickly glanced down and typed the words, “Get Real,” into my cell phone.
Not long after I finished, I felt instant pressure being applied to the back of my phone.
“What the …?” I thought to myself.
I looked up and saw the clear heel of Caroline Polachek’s white plastic boot tapping my phone.
The Chairlift frontwoman nonverbally scolded me for being in the phone zone and not watching her band’s performance of “Get Real” on Monday at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Mich. I was standing at the front right corner of the stage, so I should’ve known I wasn’t anonymous.