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Songs from Studio East: The Crane Wives

Aug 26, 2015

(From left to right) Emilee Petersmark, Ben Zito, Dan Rickabus and Kate Pillsbury of The Crane Wives perform at Michigan Radio
Credit Benjamin Foote

The band members of The Crane Wives quit their day jobs this year and are making the jump from being a West Michigan band, to trying to make their mark on the national music scene. Their new album, Coyote Stories, is being released August 29.

The folk/rock band touts itself as being a “female-fronted” band. Singers/songwriters and guitarists, Kate Pillsbury and Emilee Petersmark write the songs. Both Pillsbury and Petersmark started off as solo artists in Grand Rapids, but realized they could create music that was so much stronger when they worked together.

“It’s so much more fun when it’s collaborative than being competitive and on top of that we are able to inspire each other instead of discourage each other,” Pillsbury says.

The Crane Wives just wrapped up a successful, month-long cross country tour. But Pillsbury says relying just on music for an income can be hard sometimes.

“In places where you’ve never been you can be paid $100 for a night and you split it between four people and that’s not even enough to cover gas to get there, let alone a hotel if you need a hotel room or food for the day,” she says.

Pillsbury says one of the songs on Coyote Stories deals with that financial sacrifice in order to pursue a passion. She says the song, “The Hand That Feeds” is a homage to the American worker. 

Pillsbury says her parents’ generation grew up with a focus on security and having a steady job. She says, “But then they did that and the economy kind of collapsed a little bit so now they are saying to us, ‘You have to do something you love because there’s no guarantee that even if you try to be safe that you are going to succeed.’”

Pillsbury says her generation (Millennial) approaches careers differently now.

“We try to find careers that inspire us because we know that we might to go college and get a job, but that job might only pay $10 an hour and if you are going to be broke anyway, you might as well be doing something that you love,” Pillsbury says.

The Crane Wives will be performing across the state in the coming days and weeks. Their tour schedule can be found on their website