music

On today's show: Boondoggles.

We took a look back at some of Michigan's sorriest episodes in government spending.

And, we spoke with the members of the duo Midnight Faces, a Grand Rapids band taking a new approach to music from the '80's.

And, Dr. Amanda Lotz joined us in the studio to discuss the future of television now that services such as Netflix have become increasingly popular.

Also, a campaign has started to bring the summer 2014 X-Games to Detroit. We spoke with the guys responsible for starting the campaign about why they think Detroit should be chosen to host the event.

First on the show, with school out for the summer, state officials are already looking for ways to get more students to show up for classes in the fall. The state Department of Human Services wants to expand pilot programs that put more social workers in schools with high truancy rates.

At the same time, DHS has a new statewide policy that threatens to take away welfare benefits from families with kids who persistently miss school.

But, critics say that still means too few families are getting the support they need to avoid losing their cash assistance.

Michigan Public Radio's Jake Neher gave us the full report.

theharmonyhill.com

It was 2007 when then-Governor Jennifer Granholm launched Michigan's film incentive program.  It led to a burst of big-league movie makers coming here, making films like Ides of March, Real Steel, Red Dawn and OZ-The Great and Powerful. And that led to a growing group of Michigan workers building careers in the film industry, from casting to grips, assistant directing, extras, actors and more.

But Governor Rick Snyder made good on his promise to cap those film incentives, believing they were not a good investment of state dollars. And as many of the movie-makers pulled up stakes, the Michigan workers were forced to either follow them out of state or build new careers here.

Johannah Scarlet, Ray Moran and Aaron Mohr chose to search for a new opportunity and stay in Michigan. They have now switched gears from making movies to hosting live music events in the tiny village of Farwell in Clare County. Their new music venue is called Harmony Hill, and coming up this Saturday there will be a big outdoor music festival called "Oh Hill Yeah," featuring Michigan bands such as Frontier Ruckus.

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Building and strengthening ties all throughout Southeastern Michigan one song at a time - that's the mission of the Community Chorus of Detroit.

It has only been on the scene since 2010, but in that comparatively short time the chorus has attracted singers from over 35 zip codes. They converge on Detroit to bring choral music to audiences in that area.

The Community Chorus of Detroit’s Executive Director and Board President, Diane Linn and the Artistic Director and Conductor, Dr. Edward Maki-Schramm joined us in the studio.

Follow the link below to listen to two samples of their music.

http://www.communitychorusofdetroit.com/audio-video

Listen to the full interview above.

Photo courtesy of Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth

Every once and a while, our State of Opportunity team receives a story pitch from someone in the community who's trying to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth. This is one of those stories. It’s a piece about boys, girls, and the universal language of music.

Jessica Stilger / Berkley High School communications

When older generations die, there’s always the fear that we’ll lose their stories.

But in metro Detroit’s Jewish community, they’re trying to keep history alive…through music.

And they’re doing it thanks to Anne Frank, her chestnut tree, and a stressed-out high school orchestra in metro Detroit.

Specifically, the Berkley High School orchestra.

He once was a little known folk singer who had to make ends meet working construction. But after the Academy Award winning documentary "Searching for Sugar Man," Detroit's Sixto Rodriguez has stepped out of obscurity and into the spotlight. Wayne State University bestowed Rodriguez with an honorary degree yesterday.

user Monsieur Gordon / Flickr

We’re always glad to hear from Stateside listeners, to get your ideas and suggestions for stories we should share with everyone!

So, when we got an email from Lansing musician Ben Hassenger, asking us to take a closer look at the upcoming music festival he’s hosting this Friday and Saturday, we bit!

Especially when we discovered it’s a celebration of the ukulele - called "MIGHTY UKE DAY!"

What’s not to love?!

Ben Hassenger joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

His name is Matt Jones. He's 35 and he's based in Ypsilanti. He's been writing songs and performing around Michigan for the past 15 years. He has growing audience of fans and has received more critical acclaim.

And his story is one of overcoming personal demons and finding salvation in the thing he loves best: making music.

Matt joined us in the studio today to talk about his music.

Click the link above to hear Cyndy's conversation with Matt.

Matt also performed for our "Songs from Studio East" series. You can check out that performance here:

You can check out more of Matt's music here: http://mattjones.bandcamp.com/

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Ypsilanti's Matt Jones has been writing songs and performing around Michigan for the past 15 years. The 35-year-old has been receiving more critical acclaim and has a growing fan base. His story is one of overcoming personal demons and finding salvation in the thing he loves best: making music. 

Matt Jones and Misty Lyn Bergeron performed for us in Michigan Radio's Studio East.

Check it out here:

Of the many things made in Michigan that have become part of the fabric of American culture — the auto industry, Motown — punk rock is often overlooked. In 1967, years before The Sex Pistols performed incendiary anthems, Iggy Pop and his band The Stooges created an explosive new sound in Detroit that would influence generations of musicians.

Pantanal Center for Education and Research

Ethan Shirley and Alex Carney both hail from the University of Michigan and are co founders of the Pantanal Music Exchange.

Shirley founded the Pantanal Center for Education and Research is a non profit organization that focuses on science, technology and sustainable community development.

Last summer, Shirley and Carney were setting up some science and technology workshops at the Nazaré orphanage in rural Brazil when the director of the orphanage mentioned in passing that there was a room full of unused instruments.

Wikipedia

As the old saying goes, "everything old is new again."

Case in point, the cassette tape.

Those of us who were music consumers in the 70's and 80's remember those cassettes rattling around in your glove compartment.

They were so much smaller than those clunky eight-track tapes and no skipping or gunk on the needles like your vinyl records.

Many people went through the cassette era  making their own mixes, working from a dual-tape unit and sharing them with friends, family and significant others.

Then came the CD, into prominence in the mid to late 80s. It was great to be able to jump right to the spot you wanted -no more fast forward and rewind.

Soon after the CD, the mp3 became popular and that is when the cassette tape became, for all intents and purposes, extinct.

But recently, the cassette tape is being revived and a Michigan-based recording label called 'Already Dead Tapes' is right out in front of this revival.

The label is run from Kalamazoo by Sean Hartman along with his Chicago-based partner Joshua Tabbia.

Sean and Joshua have said they don't think of Already Dead Tapes as a business because it's a "passion project."

Here is a video of Already Dead Tapes via the Chicago AV Club:

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

We’ve all heard the term “comfort food”. Well how about some “comfort music”?
 
Red Tail Ring  is a duo from Kalamazoo serving up American roots music that harkens back to gentler days, and it’s music that soothes and wraps around you like a shawl.
 
Red Tail Ring is Michael Beauchamp and Laurel Premo and they join us here in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

bgsu.edu

This weekend an international heavy metal conference for academics and researchers is happening in Bowling Green, Ohio. It's called "The Heavy Metal & Popular Culture Conference," and organizers say it's the first of its kind in the U.S.

It will feature presentations by heavy metal scholars from around the world about race and gender in the genre, and about its growing popularity in places like Finland and Puerto Rico.

Preschool-age boy practicing writing his name at a table in a Head Start classroom.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Update 2:17 p.m.

“The Superintendent is receiving calls from arts groups all over the state saying, ‘Why are you cutting the arts?’” says district spokesman Bob Kolt. “But it’s just not true…we’re contracting out those services to community artists.”

Kolt says the district will bring in about 10-20 “contractors” to help elementary classroom teachers with art, music and gym instruction.

Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys

When you think of good bluegrass music and good bluegrass musicians, you might think of folks coming from the mountain hollows of West Virginia or Kentucky.

That is where bluegrass began - taking the music brought by Irish, Scottish and English settlers - maybe mixing in some elements of African-American music - and producing a wonderful American music.
 
But today we met some pretty incredible  musicians who can serve up some great bluegrass and lots of other styles of music.

They come from all corners of the Great Lakes State.

This is Bluegrass Michigan-style as served up by Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys.

Husband and wife Lindsay Lou and Joshua Rilko joined us in the studio today. Lindsay Lou is a singer/songwriter and Joshua plays mandolin and sings.
 

This indie-soul group is getting a lot of attention around the Michigan music scene. Their new album Tarantula Manson comes out this fall.

Listen to the full interview above to hear about Hernandez's path to becoming a singer-songwriter, band manager, and female force in the Detroit music scene.

The group performs at Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit on Friday, March 22nd. For more information visit their website. But, for now check out an acoustic performance from band members in Michigan Radio's Studio East.

khalidhanifi.com

Khalid Hanifi is a singer-songwriter who brings an unusual perspective to the songs and lyrics that he writes.

He's based in Ann Arbor, but as the son of an Afghan man who came from Kabul to the United States in 1956, Khalid has a foot in both worlds, and that informs his writing, from songs to his blog on the Huffington Post.
 
His latest CD is "A Brief Respite From Shooting Fish In A Barrel."

To hear the full interview, listen to the link above.

Paul Papadimitriou / Flickr

We talked with Marvin Gaye's little sister about a stage performance ("My Brother Marvin") on his life.

Take a listen to our conversation above.

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In a new single, young Ann Arbor rapper Prol'e declares that Ann Arbor is "the land of the talented," and he'd like you to put your hands up if you live in 'AceDeuce.'

(warning: explicit lyrics)

From Prol'e's Facebook page:

im a 19 year old rapper , started rapping in elementary school then started recording in middle school. learning from trial error , ive perfected my craft with the tools that i have to create and post great music .

Facebook

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Bill Ryan is one of the leading lights on the new music scene.

Ryan leads 'Billband' and is also a music educator at Grand Valley State University.

It has been nine years since the last CD release from Billband, but Ryan continues to make his mark on contemporary music with his teaching at GVSU, and with the GVSU New Music Ensemble.

He's put Grand Valley on the map for those who follow and love contemporary music.

And now, after nine years, Billband has a new release. It's called Towards Daybreak with emotive, postminimalist  new music.
 
Bill Ryan joined us from Allendale and Grand Valley State.

Hill Auditorium 100th anniversary

Feb 1, 2013
AndrewHorne / Wikimedia Commons

This Saturday, the University Musical Society at the U of M is celebrating a hundred years since the opening of Hill Auditorium.

The celebration will feature a premiere screening of a documentary about 100 Years of UMS Performances in Hill Auditorium that will teach visitors about history of Hill as a performance hall and as a landmark building in Ann Arbor.

Photo/Doug Coombe

Michigan-based Frontier Ruckus has a new CD, Eternity of Dimming out from Quite Scientific Records. The double album with 20 songs is “dense,” according to Matthew Milia, lead singer-guitarist for the band.

“They’re not two-minute-long pop songs with recurring choruses that people can latch on immediately to…but the people that do take the time to dig in and listen, seem to find themselves being rewarded… in ways that exceed the simply pop song,” he said.

Milia’s inspiration comes from his memories of growing up in metro Detroit. Banjo player David Jones calls the lyrics “obsessively suburban,” a kind of homage to the 90’s era.

The country folk-rock band  draws inspiration from Michigan, specifically from the geography and landscape of suburban Detroit, along with the complications of coming of age.

While some artists choose to move away to places like New York or Los Angeles to pursue a career in music, Jones says “It would be heart-breaking to leave Michigan," and adds there's an "overwhelming love and nostalgia for just being here."

Check out Frontier Ruckus performing songs from their new album. Matthew Milia, lead singer-guitarist; David Jones, banjo and vocals; Zach Nichols, trumpet, singing-saw, other instruments; and Ryan Etzcorn on percussion.

J Dilla at a drum set
Thomas Angermann / Creative Commons

A portion of the record collection belonging to Detroit artist J Dilla (James Yancey) is now for sale.

Since his death in 2006, the seminal hip-hop producer’s record collection had lain dormant in a storage unit maintained by his mother.

Now Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, is selling records from the collection through weekly Ebay auctions.

Troy Evans preaches at Edge Urban Fellowship in a rundown Grand Rapids, Mich., neighborhood known for prostitution. Inside what looks like an abandoned office building are walls covered by graffiti. There are tattooed people wearing baseball caps and jeans. Three 20-year-old men holding mics get ready to bust out some elaborate dance moves.

It may seem like a hip-hop show, but it's actually church.

Userl @Doug88888 / flickr

This week on Seeking Change, Christina Shockley talks with Kenny Hemler of Ben's Encore. It's an organization that aims to give kids in the Detroit area the tools they need to continue the Motor City's rich musical heritage.

It was created after the death of Ben Borowiak. Hemler talks about how the organization has impacted the Detroit area and about the life of Borowiak.

Jazz great Dave Brubeck dies at age 91

Dec 5, 2012
Heinrich Klaffs / flickr

In 1954, jazz went to college.

That's thanks to music legend Dave Brubeck.

He was looking for a way to bring jazz to a wider audience, and decided on a North American tour of colleges and universities.

One of those schools was the University of Michigan.

The tour resulted in the album Jazz Goes to College, with five of its seven tracks recorded in Ann Arbor. Here's one of the tracks recorded on the campus of the University of Michgian, The Song is You:

Stateside: Dana Falconberry's "Leelanau" soundscapes

Nov 26, 2012
Alicia Vega

Listening to Dana Falconberry's lush music, it becomes clear the artist draws inspiration from Michigan's western coast.

We spoke today with Falconberry about her latest record, "Leelanau," and the role that Michigan's landscapes play in her music.

"It's so beautiful up there, it's easy to be inspired by the land," said Falconberry.

With track titles like "Pictured Rocks" and "Sault Ste Marie," Falconberry's latest is in many ways a musical homage to a state beaming with beauty.

Listen to Falconberry's interview and music in our podcast.

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

The Marvelettes have been nominated for a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
billboard.com

Motown favorites, the Marvelettes, have been nominated for a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Starting out as a group of high school students in Inkster, the Marvelettes went on to give Motown its first number one single—the 1961 hit, “Please Mr. Postman.”

From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

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

Oakland County hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse is taking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to court.

A lawsuit filed in Flint federal district court on Tuesday contends the F.B.I. violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to turn over information that led the agency to classify fans of the group as a gang.

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