music

Orbit logo
Rob St. Mary

  Orbit Magazine was a staple in the Southeast Michigan area for its coverage of local music and art. In honor of it’s 25th birthday, Orbit is the subject of a new coffee-table book, Re-Entry: The Orbit Magazine Anthology.

The author, Rob St. Mary, is a Macomb County native who now works as a radio reporter for Aspen Public Radio.

Shervin Lainez

 

Tony Lucca has had long and fruitful show business career, from becoming a finalist on the second season of NBC’s “The Voice,” to his early start as a Mouseketeer in the 1990 season of The Mickey Mouse Club.

The Waterford native talked to us about how his Michigan roots have influenced his music and what he has planned for his show Saturday at the Magic Stick in Detroit.

Listen to our conversation with Lucca below. 


  Today on Stateside:

  • MLive Capitol reporter Jonathon Oosting talks about a request that has been submitted for a Christmas Nativity scene on government property.
     
  • Cadillac is moving its headquarters, along with its 140 employees, to New York City. Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes tells us what’s behind the move.
     
  • Ken Estelle, CEO of Feed American West Michigan, joins us to talk about the challenges of getting fresh food to food banks during the winter months and what you can do to help.
     
  • Finalist on the second season of NBC’s “The Voice” and former Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club, Tony Lucca discusses his experiences as a performer and how his Michigan identity has influenced his music.
     
  • Sheryl Gay Stone, author of a recent piece for the New York Times, talks to us about the challenges new Congressional members face in transitioning to D.C.
     
  • Jack Lessenberry and Todd Spangler examine what we can expect from Michigan’s five new members of Congress.
     
  • The Henry Ford Hospital recently designed a new hospital gown that preserves patient modesty, incorporates new fabric and uses color coding to help staff identify patient conditions. We talk to designer Michael Forbes about what inspired the changes.

*Listen to the full program above 

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Matt Jones is a singer/songwriter from Ypsilanti. He’s also a big Civil War nerd. The Civil War inspired many of the songs on his latest album, called "The Deep Enders."

Today on Stateside, Matt Jones on how the history of the Civil War influences his work.

Tune in at 3 p.m. to hear Jones on the show.

One big influence, he notes, is the relationship between Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson. When General Jackson died in 1863, General Lee was forced to think about how he was going to fill that hole in his life. Jones’ song, "Bountymen," explores this theme of losing someone or something and not knowing how you’re going to replace it.

"The Darkest Things," another song from "The Deep Enders," was the first song Jones wrote for the album.

Jones says this song stems as much from his own personal struggles as well as the Civil War.

Today on Stateside: 

  • A new report from Public Sector Consultants projects Michigan will lose enough energy production for one million people in 2016. We look at what this means for Michigan residents. 

  • Chris Cook, chief restaurant and wine critic at Hour Detroit Magazine joins us to discuss how American eating and cooking went through a drastic change post-World War II. 

  • How much has the American family changed? Researchers at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research have been digging into this for a report called The New American Family: All Are Welcome and You Don't Even Have To Get Married. We talk with U of M professor of Sociology, Pamela Smock. 

  • Automakers are on track to sell 16.5 million cars and trucks for 2014. Michelle Krebs of AutoTrader.com joins us to talk about the future of long-term loans and leases that are being sold to buyers. 

  • More than half of all hospital deaths are caused by sepsis. Dr. Jack Iwashyna, research scientist at the Ann Arbor-VA Healthcare System, and Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, join us to explain what exactly sepsis is and the challenges it poses. 

Detroit's Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas made their television debut on David Letterman last night.

The band, which hails from southwest Detroit, performed their song "Sorry I Stole Your Man" from their album "Secret Evil."

The group was well received, and at the end of the performance Letterman said, "Wow, that's tremendous! That's it, no more calls! We have a winner ladies and gentleman, right here! Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas!" 

You can watch their performance here: 

Frontier Ruckus Portrait
Sean Cook

Michigan's own Frontier Ruckus have made their mark in the re-emergent folk-rock world that has allowed them to tour nationally and internationally.

Today the band releases its newest album - Sitcom Afterlife.

Emily Fox talked to band members Zach Nichols and Matthew Milia about some of their favorite moments of their musical career. Recent highlights include playing festivals such as Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, along with touring Europe six times. 

Frontier Ruckus' sound has changed over the years. Their earlier albums had an intimate, raw, acoustic sound. Their latest album sounds more produced and throws in some electronic instrumentation. Their roots still show though, often with lyrics and references that invoke nostalgic imagery of growing up in Michigan.

*Listen to our conversation with Frontier Ruckus above.

Matt Hallowell / Flickr

 

 

Nearly two decades ago, the Verve Pipe's big hit "The Freshman" swept radio stations across the country. Now the band is out with a new album and will soon play concerts in Michigan. Stateside’s Emily Fox sat down with The Verve Pipe’s lead singer, Brian Vander Ark, to talk about how the band has rebranded itself over the years.

Emily Leong / Flickr

The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle gave a sneak preview to a new arts venue in Lansing.

Dylan Rogers is the director and front man of the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle. It's a 15-piece band made up of 11 musicians including banjo and accordion players, as well as actors, shadow puppeteers, dancers and chorus girls in flapper dresses .

The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle held their CD release show this weekend in what will eventually be the Robin Theater in REO Town.

Chris Bathgate
User: Chris Bathgate / facebook

Michigan does not seem to have a shortage of indie folk musicians and bands. 

Stateside's Emily Fox sat down with one folk musician who's back on the scene after a two-year hiatus from the stage.

Chris Bathgate is an Ann Arbor-area musician who spent a long time traveling the state and the country playing his music. Sometimes he comes with a full band with percussion and electric base and fiddle backing him up. Sometimes it's just him with guitar, a loop machine, and snare drum. 

mconnors / morgueFile

Is there anyone who hasn't scanned the radio dial on a long road trip and endured noisy static,  angry talk shows, and music that disappoints  in a desperate search for a classic rock station?

But who knew the classic rock concept was born in Michigan almost 30 years ago?

Fred Jacobs, an Oakland County-based radio consultant, was part of that birth in 1985. He said WMMQ in Charlotte, Michigan, was the first classic rock station, and the format quickly spread across the country.

Jacobs said he was inspired by complaints from listeners who couldn't find the music they had grown up with and loved. 

Jacobs said classic rock is not the same as "golden oldies." It is about the golden age of rock – music people will still be listening to in 100 years. 

Jacobs said classic rock started with music from the 60s and 70s and musicians like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Eric Clapton. 

But he said it's all about the music of your youth that you never get tired of hearing.  And as generations move on, classic rock has added 80s and even more recent music to its roster.

Vulfpeck

We’ve heard it before. The music industry is changing.

But the band Vulfpeck is challenging the music industry with silence.

Vulfpeck is a funk band that got its start at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

They are in the middle of a cross-country tour.

They aren’t charging admission, they aren’t paying out of pocket.

Their tour is completely funded from an album they put up on the online music steaming service Spotify – an album that was completely silent.

Music artists Calvin Harris (left), Lana del Rey (right).
Carlos Delgado - wikimedia commons / Beatriz Alvani - Flickr

How do we know this?

Well, we don’t, but Spotify does.

The Swedish streaming music service released data on “How Students Listen” naming  the “Top 40 Musical Universities in America."

The report is an obvious way to attract attention to itself (and get more subscribers), but the data released is interesting in that it shows what these online services know about certain populations.

Both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan are named in their “Top 40” List.

Iggy and The Stooges performing in a concert in London, England
User: Aurelien Guichard / Flickr

​It's no secret that Michigan has turned out some powerful figures in the world of pop music. Musicians and artists whose influence rocketed out of Michigan and spread around the world.

A great example of this is in the United Kingdom. Many artists there were influenced by the R&B and Motown music: The Beatles, the Stones, the Who, and so many more.

Chris Hawkins is a music journalist and host on BBC6 music. He says Michigan artists and their music have had big impact in the UK.

"There's something joyous about the sound of Motown. The lyrics often a little more complicated ... It was like nothing we've ever experienced here before ... It made artists huge starts, and we adopted those stars here in many ways," says Hawkins.

Moving through the decades from the Motown glory days, Hawkins says artists and songs from Michigan have sparked unique responses in the UK and drew enthusiastic fans.

"Madonna's Vogue ... I remember the little bar I used to go to in the small town where I grew up, everyone was voguing," says Hawkins.

* Listen to our conversation with Chris Hawkins above.

Anders Beck (left) and Paul Hoffman
User: Greensky Bluegrass / facebook

During the summertime, music festivals take over forests and fields all across the state. 

Greensky Bluegrass is very familiar on Michigan's music scene. But the Kalamazoo-based band is also gaining national attention. 

"If Sorrows Swim," the latest album from Greensky Bluegrass, is released today. Stateside's Emily Fox recently sat down with two members of the band, mandolin player Paul Hoffman and dobro player Anders Beck. 

The title of Greensky Bluegrass' newest album was inspired after their mandolin player spent a little too much time listening to This American Life while on the road touring.

"Somewhere in the interview, there was a discussion like, what if we can't drown our sorrows ... And if just occurred to me as a very prolific thing. Isolated as the album title, if sorrows swim, it leaves the answer unknown. What if sorrows swim, then it's for you to decide what the answer might be," says Hoffman.

* Listen to the full story above.

Racine Boat Manufacturing Company Plant, Muskegon, MI
Flickr user Wystan/creative commons

It’s probably pretty stressful being a high school principal, for all kinds of reasons.

But Eric Alburtus, principal of Portage Central High School, spends a big chunk of his time worrying about the arts. He’s specifically worried about the kind of human beings our schools are producing, when kids must fulfill heavy requirements in math and science, yet they barely have a chance to study music, choir, theater, or the visual arts.

(For a more complete look at the state’s requirements, click here.)

Alburtus says arts classes give kids a chance to discover new worlds and different ways of thinking and creating.

Liz Larin Performing with Bump.
Peter Schorn / Flickr

Oakland County-based singer-songwriter and producer Liz Larin is coming to the Ark in Ann Arbor on August 3. She joins us today on Stateside to talk about her new CD “Hurricane.”

Larin started with a band in the 1980s and evolved from there as an artist. She plays almost all of the instruments and sings all of the vocals on her record. She even creates the visual images seen when she plays on stage. She said since the 80s, she has become more confident in her musical instincts.

“I hone the songs until the idea is as clear as possible and as visual as possible,” Larin said. “I want the listener to be able to listen to it and picture something – to the right of them, to the left of them – and what is actually going on while they are moving through the music.”

She says "Hurricane" has a narrative arc - a hero’s journey.

“It starts with the idea that everything that you thought about yourself and about the world, it just doesn’t fit anymore,” Larin said. “And you realize you have to go and find yourself and you have to find out what reality is for you.”

Larin said the title track “Hurricane” is the feeling of change. The track “Super Hero” is the story of a parent and a parent’s love for a child.

Wikimedia Commons

"Baroque on Beaver" is a classic music festival held on Beaver Island running from July 25 to August 3.

Anne Glendon heads the Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association.

She said there will be about 50 musicians at the festival. Most of them have lived in Michigan or have strong ties to the island.  The concerts are held in different venues on the island. There is a variety of music playing as well, such as chamber music, jazz, and baroque, of course.

“It’s quirky, just like the island and we wouldn’t have it any other way, and also it’s, we think, pretty top rate music,” Glendon said.

Check out the performance list here.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos and identified by their grease facepaint, have been accused by the F.B.I. of gang activity.
Jen Sadler / flickr

DETROIT - A judge has dismissed a lawsuit aimed at scrubbing an FBI report that describes fans of the rap-metal duo Insane Clown Posse as a loosely organized gang.

Detroit federal Judge Robert Cleland says the government isn't responsible for acts by local police agencies that use the 2011 report.

Fans of Insane Clown Posse are known as Juggalos. The FBI report labels the Juggalos as a "loosely organized hybrid gang," although that description isn't part of the most recent national report on gangs.

Juggalos say their reputations have suffered because they have jewelry or tattoos with the group's symbol, a man running with a hatchet.

The lawsuit was dismissed last week. The Insane Clown Posse is Joseph Bruce, known as Violent J, and Joseph Utsler, known as Shaggy 2 Dope.

U of M School of Music, Theater and Dance Professor Scott Piper (U-M SMTD) and pianist Michael Carpenter at Stamps Auditorium, performing 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'
Courtesy of Mark Clague

It’s one of the most stirring and glorious melodies ever sung – and it can be one of the easiest tunes to sing badly.

But did you know that our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” started out as an English club song? And it has officially been the national anthem for less than a century?

Mark Clague is a musicologist with the University of Michigan. He’s been working on a project, “Poets and Patriots: A Tuneful History of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’” 

Today, he shared some of that history with us.

* Listen to the full interview above. 

This segment originally aired on February 12, 2014.

montage of screen grabs from robcantor's YouTube page

Update: Rob Cantor has posted a new video showing how he faked every one of the 29 celebrity impressions, using the voices of 11 different impressionists. I'm a fool.   

How's your work day going? Productive? Ready for a break? Good. 

Rob Cantor is a Los Angeles-based musician who grew up in Michigan.

You might know him as the guy in the yellow tie from Tally Hall, a band that formed while Cantor and his band mates attended the University of Michigan in 2002.

Tally Hall took a run at stardom after signing with Atlantic Records. They had some appearances on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and, as the band's Wikipedia page claims, Tally Hall continues to have a "relatively significant cult following."

More recently, Tally Hall's band members have been working on solo projects, and Cantor is promoting a new solo album.

That brings us to the crazy video Cantor posted today.

Michelle Chamuel fan page / Facebook

His name is Arjun Singh. He's a 24-year-old student at the University of Michigan.

Singh has teamed up with former U of M student Michelle Chamuel to produce an extended-play recording called "The Drift."

And if that name and voice ring a bell, they should.  Chamuel came in second on season four of "The Voice."

With virtually no promotion, the EP hit No. 2 on the iTunes electronic charts.

And the title track of "The Drift" features more Michigan talent, including rapper Isaac Castor of Saline High School. Castor and Arjun Singh joined us today.

 Listen to the full interview above.
 * This segment originally aired on February 18, 2014.

You get a taste of a bigger story as people mention the songs that saved their lives, such as this one - Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams.
User: Klaus Hiltscher / flickr

Today we’re starting a new series about music. We’re calling it "What’s the Song That Saved Your Life?"

Stateside’s Kyle Norris asked a lot of people that question. She found that sometimes they have an immediate answer. And other people really have to think about it.  Kyle talked with folks at a bowling alley in Wayne, Michigan, and shares their responses.

*Listen to full interview above.

All this week we’re going to hear from people who say one song saved their life. And we want to hear from you. Do you have a song that saved your life? Tell us the story! Call us and let us know at 248-962-3806. And you can also use #song-saved-me on twitter. Stateside's Kyle Norris produced our series, and she may even use your story on the air.

Wikimedia

The Associated Press is reporting this afternoon that Detroit native and Wayne State University alum Casey Kasem is in critical condition with an infected bedsore at a Washington state hospital.  St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor says the 82-year-old Kasem is receiving care for a serious pressure ulcer he had when he was admitted Sunday.  Michigan Radio’s Mike Perini has been thinking about the impact the former radio host has had on the current radio host. 

I loved numbers when I was a kid, and I loved music.

Songs and numbers made everything better: songs made me happy and sad and filled my head with delightful tunes. Numbers looked cool, they were reassuringly orderly, and they were fun to count.

In 1975, when I was ten years old, I found out that there was a radio show that put numbers and music TOGETHER—Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40”—and I was a goner.

It was immediately clear I would have to give over my life to the show each Sunday.

Griots and musicians from six villages came to record with Community Voice International in Sare Bidji, Senegal.
Community Voice International

The music of the Keur Daouda Cisse village in Senegal has been recorded for Community Voice International.

They are just one of 10 communities that has been recorded for the organization. It's an Ann Arbor-based group that records music by people who live in struggling villages in Senegal and turns the recordings into profits that go directly back to the community.

The Founder and Executive Director of Community Voice International, David Bleckley, joined us today.

*Listen to the full show above.

"The Jit" in action.
Detroit OG's / YouTube

It's called The Detroit Jit. It’s a dance style that started as a street dance in Detroit in the 1970s by three brothers who were known as The Jitterbugs.

And now the Jit and The Jitterbugs are the subject of a documentary that will be screened Friday at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Haleem Rasul is the founder of the dance group HardCore Detroit, and the producer of the film "The Jitterbugs: Pioneers of The Jit.”

Here's the trailer:

We welcomed Haleem Rasul to the program today, and one of the founders of The Jitterbugs, Tracy McGhee.

*Listen to the interview above.

Casey Clark was a disk jockey at WJR radio Detroit during the mid-1950s.
1966 edition of Music City News / Facebook

When you think of music that's made in Detroit, you certainly think of Motown. There's R&B, gospel, jazz, rock, rap – and there is country.

The Motor City has a rich history of country & western and bluegrass musicians, along with clubs, showrooms, and radio stations that got that music out to an eager public.

Craig Maki tells their story in his new book, "Detroit Country Music: Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies,” and he joined us today.

This segment was edited by Crissy Zamarron with Mercedes Mejia. 

*Listen to our interview above.

What stories should we tell about the arts?

That's a question we sometimes ask on our Facebook page. Jason Towler suggested we profile Ypsilanti music teacher Crystal Harding and he had a good reason to suggest her.

Harding was Towler's music teacher back in 1988, when Towler was a first-grader at Erickson Elementary School.  Harding is all about having a good time through music, singing, and dancing. Here she is in action:

Harding made a big impression on the shy young man, and that's what this story is about.

Gilmore Festival posters.
Gilmore Festival / Facebook

Even though life took him in a somewhat different direction, Irving S. Gilmore has turned Kalamazoo into a place that truly celebrates piano music.

The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival is in full swing and runs till May 10.

Dan Gustin, the director of the Gilmore, joined us today.

*Listen to the full interview above.

GVSU play one of their "Music in Our Parks" selections.
GVSU / YouTube

After two years of planning, the New Music Ensemble at Grand Valley State University is launching a new project. It’s called “Music in Our Parks.”

The project shows us how nature and landscape affect the process of making music. Here's a video promoting their effort:

Bill Ryan is the director of Grand Valley State University’s New Music Ensemble. He was joined on our program by one of the members of the New Music Ensemble, percussionist and senior music performance major, Josh Dreyer.

*Listen to the interview above.

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