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Michigan music

Lauren Duski
Facebook.com

 

You just never know when life has a great big surprise waiting just around the corner for you.

Just when you think it’s time to put your music dream on the shelf and go to dental school, you get a call from producers of NBC's The Voice, asking you to audition for the TV singing competition.

That’s how Gaylord’s Lauren Duski wound up with Blake Shelton as her mentor, ultimately landing in second place on the 2017 season of The Voice and getting her big break. 

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

Her stage name is Stephie James, but friends and family here in Michigan know her best as Stephanie Hamood.

The Nashville based singer-songwriter got her start playing gigs at a coffee shop her family opened near Detroit. 

Now, after years of touring with big name bands, James is getting ready to release her debut album later this year.

Cameron Mizell / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

New and exciting artists are cropping up around West Michigan. There are even a few moving from abroad to join the lively music scene there.

Editor and publisher of Local Spins, John Sinkevics returned to Stateside to discuss the latest music trends being crafted and performed in West Michigan.

Listen above to hear more.

the band nessa
Nessa

Let’s talk about Celtic music. Nessa, a Southeast Michigan band, re-imagines the ballads and dance tunes of the old Celtic world, bringing in a wide range of musical styles.

The ensemble is led by Kelly McDermott, who plays the flute and sings. She joined Stateside to talk about her musical influences, Celtic fusion, and the release of her new EP, Travel Walk to Celtica, produced by Brian Bill.

Three female Mariachis
Anahli Jazhmin / Courtesy of Mariachi Femenil Detroit

If you close your eyes and picture a Mariachi band, you might see something like this -- sombreros, ornate black suits, stringed instruments -- all worn and played by mustachioed men.

A group called Mariachi Femenil Detroit is working hard to broaden that image and bring gender equality to the genre.

When Anna Burch moved to Detroit, she didn’t set out to make a record.

Now, she’s out with her debut solo album, Quit the Curse.

A West Michigan native, Burch got her start singing in the folk-rock band Frontier Ruckus, and more recently co-fronting in the group Failed Flowers.  

"2 Cool 2 Care" is the single that launched the new record, which explores the complexities of moving to a new town and navigating new relationships.

Photo courtesy of Solis family

Martin Huron Solis Jr. is the first Michigan resident to be inducted into the Tejano ROOTS Hall of Fame Museum in Alice, Texas.

Solis was born in San Antonio in 1929 and began playing the guitar at age six. 

Michael Hacala

Fans of singer-songwriter Jill Jack know she's been a mainstay of Detroit’s music scene for over two decades.

Back in October, she released her 12th full length album These Days, a nod to the Jackson Browne tune.

At the 2017 Detroit Music Awards, Jack was recognized for Outstanding Americana Artist/Group, Outstanding Americana Vocalist and Outstanding Jazz Recording for "Pure Imagination."

Joey Schultz

Finding inspiration for writing and making music can be a challenge for songwriters. But, for Brandon and Bethany Foote it's the place they call home that fuels their imagination.

The duo known as Gifts or Creatures is out with their third full-length album, Fair Mitten (New Songs of the Historic Great Lakes Basin).

Their music celebrates the rich history and beauty of the upper Midwest.   

David James Swanson

Michigan singer-songwriter Joshua Davis released a new studio album, The Way Back Home, on Oct. 13.

The album comes some two and a half years after NBC’s The Voice introduced the rest of America to Davis, who had already built a strong fan base throughout his home state.

Davis joined Stateside to talk about his music and his inspirations.

Psychedelic Eyes Photography

Desmond Jones, the funk/rock/jazz fusion band is releasing its debut album on October 10.

After meeting in college at Michigan State University and playing gigs around the Lansing area, the five-piece band has settled in Grand Rapids.

I spoke with drummer John Nowak and guitarist Chris Bota about their eclectic musical diversity. 

Thomas / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

John Sinkevics, editor and publisher of Local Spins, which covers west Michigan’s music scene, said his listening suggestions for the month were made with a somewhat higher purpose than normal after yesterday’s events: the largest mass shooting in American history at a Las Vegas country music festival called the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

A music teacher fluent in the language of small children

Sep 11, 2017
Vera Davis

Violin teachers usually earn their reputations through the fame and virtuosity of their students. But every virtuoso has to start somewhere, and those early lessons have their own challenges.

Wendy Azrak is a teacher whose genius is showcased in a less grandiose, but arguably more difficult accomplishment: She can get a three-year-old to stand still.


State Police records, RG 90-240, housed in the Archives of Michigan

It was nearly fifty years ago when Michigan music lovers attended a Woodstock-like music festival in south-central Michigan. But not everyone was happy about it.

The Michigan History Center’s Mark Harvey joined Stateside today dig into the story surrounding the Goose Lake Music Festival.

a piano
Adrian Lim / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

It's time for our monthly check-in on the music scene on the west side of the state.

John Sinkevics is the editor and publisher of LocalSpins.com, where he highlights up-and-coming artists and music happenings in the area. This time, we’re putting the spotlight on three West Michigan bands.

a pair of headphones
CHRISJTAYLOR.CA / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Summer has been full of music festivals in Michigan, many of them showcasing regional and local Michigan artists.

Local Spins Editor and Publisher John Sinkevics told Stateside about groups in West Michigan. He explored an indie rock group’s new EP, a jazz organ trio’s Beatles cover songs, and Jim Shaneberger’s blues rock band.

John Holk & the Sequins in performance
Stateside Staff

It’s might not be a musical genre you’re familiar with,  but "psychedelic country rock" is how front man and founder John Holkeboer likes to describe John Holk & the Sequins.

The honky-tonk inspiration was all about timing. Around the time Holkeboer gathered a group of talented musicians to play together, he was was dabbling in “country-sounding stuff.” But today’s sound emerged organically, he says, over the course of two full-length albums. Their latest is “Where You Going?” released in 2016.

a pair of headphones
chrisjtaylor.ca / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

West Michigan is turning out many talented artists and many styles of music these days.

Editor and publisher John Sinkevics has been covering West Michigan’s music scene on his Local Spins website to share music he felt wasn’t getting covered enough by local publications.  

Courtesy of Theo Katzman

 


Theo Katzman is coming back to Ann Arbor for a one night open air concert featuring a few of the area’s beloved musicians. While Katzman is still the drummer and guitarist with the funk/fusion band Vulfpeck, he’s been promoting his latest solo album, "Heartbreak Hits."

Courtesy of Lester Monts

Michigan boasts an exceptionally rich mix of folk, ethnic and immigrant music, and it goes back centuries.

Music professor Lester Monts wanted to capture that rich tapestry, so he spearheaded the Michigan Musical Heritage Project.

John Hanson

 

It’s holiday music for people who maybe aren’t really feeling the holiday spirit.

May Erlewine is getting ready to drop her new EP The Little Things with a tour of winter dance parties all around the state.

The EP’s full of holiday music that works for everyone, but is especially good for anyone who’s having a hard time grooving with the “tidings of comfort and joy” of traditional holiday tunes.

Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

Being a musician can be tough. It can be brutal.

Apart from trying to create—and then build an audience for what you're creating—there's the side of the music scene that can be ugly: Intense competition. Not getting support or inspiration.

The music business has long been dominated by men—especially on the business and production sides. Which means, all too often, that women have even bigger mountains to climb.

Vial told us his new album was recorded over the course of three days in a cabin in northern Michigan.
Jay Jylkka

 


It isn’t often you hear of an aspiring musician being encouraged to give up their day job - you know, the one that pays - and plunge head first into that musical career.

But Ann Arbor-based singer-songwriter Mike Vial was given that push as sort of a wedding gift from his wife Natalie Burg. She told him she wouldn’t marry him unless he quit his job as a teacher to follow his musical dreams.

That was five years ago. Since then, Vial has played hundreds of gigs across the United States and Canada.

Now he’s out with his fourth release: A World That’s Bigger.