There's no shortage of musicians who got their start in Michigan: Madonna, Iggy Pop and The White Stripes come to mind. Problem is, they left the state to make it big.
Emily Fox reports there's a movement to try to encourage musicians and bands to stay in Michigan. On today's Artpod, we look at how local "music collectives" are hoping to keep homegrown talent in the state.
Today's Artpod is all about nostalgia...Michigan-focused nostalgia, of course.
Rock Around the Clock
Did you know that 50 years ago this week, "Runaway" by Del Shannon was the #1 song in the U.S.? Don't worry, neither did I. But Michigan Radio's Mike Perini did! He's the station's resident music head. Turns out Del Shannon was born in Grand Rapids, and he grew up in nearby Coopersville. "Runaway" was the first rock 'n' roll song by a West Michigan-born artist to hit the top.
Mike talks to me in the first half of the podcast about some other classic rock 'n' roll songs written by Michigan artists, including the always popular "Rock Around the Clock," by Bill Haley.
Let's play ball!
A new play pays tribute to long-time Tigers baseball announcer Ernie Harwell. The play is called "Ernie" and it was written by best-selling author Mitch Albom. The play looks back at Harwell's life and includes vintage footage of the Hall of Fame announcer.
On the podcast I talk to Will David Young, the veteran Michigan actor who plays Ernie:
""It must be something in the water." - Paul Tinkerhess.
Last Sunday, I walked around a neighborhood in Ann Arbor's west side and witnessed a new music phenomenon - the Water Hill Music Festival - where neighbors played music from their front porches, backyards, and garages.
The idea for the festival came from Paul Tinkerhess, a local business owner and musician.
"The concept is simple," Tinkerhess said. "On the afternoon of Sunday, May 1st, everyone in the neighborhood who either is a musician or wants to pretend to be a musician is encouraged to step out onto their front porch and play music. That's it. Or half of it. The other half is that we are inviting all the other neighbors, and the rest of the world, to wander through the neighborhood that afternoon and enjoy something like a music festival with a lot of stages."
The neighborhood in Ann Arbor's west side, dubbed "Water Hill" by Tinkerhess, if filled with musical talent.
I caught a small fraction of the festival, and made this video:
On Sunday, May 1 from 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., musicians who live in the city's Water Hill district will sit out on their front porch or lawn, and put on a show. It's called the Water Hill Music Fest, and more than 50 house in the neighborhood will participate.