music

Benjamin Foote

The debut album by Grand Rapids indie rock and soul band Vox Vidorra explores race, inequality, love and religion.

Molly Bouwsma-Schultz is Vox Vidorra’s lead singer and lyricist. 

Detroit native Steffanie Christi’an is a musician and writer. She has collaborated with some of the top producers in New York City, including Big Proof of D12 and Emanuel (Eman) Kiriakou.

FLICKR USER HEINRICH KLAFFS / FLICKR / Yusef Lateef visualized his music in his drawings, said Alhena Katsof, curator of "Yusef Lateef: Towards the Unknown."

Yusef Lateef – a master musician, composer, writer and artist – died in 2013. However, his history lives on in Detroit, the city where he came of age musically and otherwise. He went on to become one of the first artists to combine jazz with world music.

This Friday, an exhibition called Yusef Lateef: Towards the Unknown will open in the Trinosophes art space on Gratiot in Detroit. It will run through May 10. 

Rebecca Mazzei, co-owner of Trinosophes, thinks the exhibition will be important for all people to see – whether they’re familiar with Lateef’s work or not. She said the exhibit will speak to “why he was so important to the city and why the city was so important to him,” though she added that he also brought some “important cultural movements to the national scene as well.”

madonna on stage illuminated by spotlights
Flickr user M Prince Photography / Flickr

In a recent interview, Madonna called the people of her hometown Rochester Hills "basic, provincial-thinking people."

Mayor Bryan Barnett decided her statement went too far, so he crafted an open letter response that's now being shared all over the Internet.

Flickr user Lotus Carroll / Flickr

The South by Southwest conference taking place in Austin, Texas right now showcases some of the most creative, leading-edge thinkers, musicians, writers and artists.

Joe Voss with Creative Many Michigan, previously known as ArtServe Michigan, wants to make sure Michigan's creativity is on display there. The organization's mission is to develop creative people, places and an economy that will boost the state.

Chuck Anderson / Courtesy of The Oblivion Project

The Oblivion Project is dedicated to performing the music of Astor Piazzolla, the late Argentine composer who is regarded as a "godfather" of Tango Nuevo.

The group is appearing throughout the Midwest, including a performance at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor on March 14, this coming Saturday night.

Cellist, band leader and Ann Arbor native Derek Snyder describes Tango Nuevo, saying, "It expands and goes in a lot more directions than traditional dance tango."

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s summer resort towns like Traverse City, Mackinac and Petoskey live and die by the summer tourist season. Things slow way down in the winter. The streets are a lot quieter, the traffic is gone and many businesses close up shop. But for artists who live in the resort town of Harbor Spring year round, the boom and bust cycle of the seasons is a blessing in disguise.


Courtesy of Joe Hertler

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers are releasing their latest album, Terra Incognita, today. The eccentric six-piece band from Lansing and Kalamazoo often perform wearing fur coats and Hawaiian shirts, and front man Joe Hertler likes to sport rainbow angel wings or the state flag as a cape.

a portrait of the band with instruments
Courtesy of Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys

Michigan natives Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys are spreading the love of music this Valentine's Day. Their latest album Ionia will be released on Saturday.

The album was recorded in the then-home of Lindsay Lou and her husband, who is the mandolin player for the band. Since then the band has moved to Nashville.

Lou says the move was motivated by stories they heard from friends about the music community there. While Michigan has many gifted young people that inspire creativity and collaboration, Lou says they're often spread throughout the state. She says Nashville provides more of a central community of musicians to feed off of each other's artistic energy.

Michelle Chamuel's latest album, "Face the Fire," is out today. Chamuel was previously the lead singer of Michigan-based band Ella Riot, and more recently Chamuel gained fame as runner-up on season four of "The Voice."

DANA NYSON / BANDCAMP

After a life of loving music, Grand Rapids graphic designer Dana Nyson has released his very first EP. It’s called “So Far.”

Nyson decided to pursue his passion at 50 years old, when he signed up for music lessons with teacher James Hughes, one of the owners at Triumph Music Academy in Grand Rapids.

But he had one big problem to overcome: Playing in front of his teacher, James.

www.discogs.com

Detroit is the birthplace of techno music. Its creator is Juan Atkins, known as the “godfather of techno,” and after more than three decades in the scene, he’s still performing and making new music. Stateside’s Emily Fox spoke with Atkins about the legacy of Detroit techno. Atkins' latest album, under the name “Model 500” is out today. It’s called “Digital Solutions.”

Abigail Stauffer has a new album out this week called Where I'm Going. There's an album release show on Thursday at the Ark, in Ann Arbor.  

Bill Workinger / Voice of America

One of the world's most extensive and valuable collections of African music has come to the University of Michigan.

Third Coast Kings

The Third Coast Kings is a seven member funk and soul band from Ann Arbor.

Sean Ike is the front man of the band. When he’s on stage, he commands your attention. You will almost always see him jumping and dancing around his microphone, dressed in a brightly colored suit, shooting deep stares to the audience and occasionally wiping the sweat that drips off his shaved head with a hand towel he keeps nearby.  

“If you give us five or six songs, if you are at least not tapping your foot, they should check your pulse or we’re doing it wrong,” Ike says.

Not only do the Third Coast Kings draw people to the dance floor across Michigan, they also have a large following in Japan.

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.

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.

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