music

A music lover can likely pinpoint the moment a song or a lyric crashes its way into your young consciousness. And then things are never the same.

For writer Daniel Wolff, that moment happened in 1965, when he first heard Bob Dylan.

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.

 

Each month, Stateside checks in with John Sinkevics, the editor and publisher of Local Spins, a site that covers West Michigan’s music scene. Sinkevics discusses new artists, their backstories and what makes their music great.

Take one 385-pound piano, and strap it onto a tricycle. Add a piano player and then hit the road from Flint to Mackinaw City.

Plop that piano on a barge, tie it to your ankles, and then swim all the way to Mackinac Island. 

That's the gist of the memorable fundraiser Sprint for Flint that's taking place this weekend.

In 1969, the blues threw a party in Ann Arbor.

James Partridge, founder of the Ann Arbor Blues Society, calls that party “the first blues festival ever.”

Enough people came that it happened again, and again, and became the Ann Arbor Blues Festival, later re-christened the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival. Its last hurrah came in 2006.

But this year, musicians will breathe new life into that festival, as they work to reignite the energy that pulsed through the crowds so many years ago.

Looking for new music from the Detroit area that's perfect for the dog days of summer?

Khalid Bhatti​, executive editor of Detroit Music Magazine, has your back. So does Paul Young, the magazine's founder and publisher.

He’s been writing and singing about Michigan for a good many years, and on Tuesday night, Michigan will say thank you to Jay Stielstra.

Michigan Senator Rebekah Warren will present Stielstra with a state of Michigan legislative tribute for his contributions in conserving Michigan’s natural resources. She’ll do this during a show called “A Michigan Tribute to Jay Stielstra” at The Ark in Ann Arbor, where an all-star group of Michigan singers, musicians and actors will perform in his honor.

The Next Idea

If you’re old enough, you might remember Schoolhouse Rock, a series of musical films that helped kids learn.

Emmanuel Smith is “Mr. E in the D,” and he’s updating that concept by using hip-hop to teach kids math.

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.

When it comes to building love and connection between mother and baby, it’s hard to beat the ancient magic of a lullaby.

Those moments holding your baby, singing a lullaby, can live in a mother’s heart long after that baby is grown.

So imagine the extra power of a lullaby you write just for your baby. The Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project at the Flint School of Performing Arts helps young mothers do just that.

For over a hundred years, the Flint Scottish Pipe Band has celebrated the Scottish highlands in mid-Michigan. It is the oldest pipe band in the state of Michigan, and the eleventh oldest in the nation. 

Photo courtesy of Sarah Jarosz

 

Sarah Jarosz has come a long way from the Friday night bluegrass jams of her youth.

Jarosz has swapped her mandolin for a guitar and is now a Grammy-nominated artist. But before pursuing her career as a bluegrass musician, Jarosz enrolled at the New England Conservatory to study contemporary improvisation and learn about other styles of music.

2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO).

With the orchestra back on solid financial footing, the DSO is embarking on its first international tour in 16 years. This July, Maestro Leonard Slatkin will take the orchestra overseas for the first time since he took over as music director in 2008. The conductor and his 87 musicians will make stops in Japan and, for the first time, China.

 

Take fiddle and banjo tunes of the United States and mix them with the music and dance tunes of Sweden, and there you have Premo & Gustavsson.

Our Songs from Studio East series explores music that combines both contemporary and traditional music from around the world. Premo & Gustavsson fit that bill perfectly.

As part of Michigan Radio’s Songs from Studio East series we are exploring music that combines both contemporary and traditional music from around the world.

The West Michigan band “Cabildo" blends rock, folk, cumbia and ska. 

Julio Cano is from the Patagonia region of Chile. He's the lead singer of the eight member collective and he a guitarist. Cano draws inspiration from Latin American roots music like the ubiquitous cumbia style dance rhythm.

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.

Frank Slaughter has been hosting 'Repose' for nearly three decades. The show features new age, or zone music.
Daniel Wanschura

 

Frank Slaughter has been producing Repose for almost 30 years. It's a show that airs on Classical IPR and features new age music. 

Frank says during that time, the genre has evolved to the point where some people now call it zone music.

“I think they felt that new age was turning a lot of people off," he says. "Like a space cadet show or something.”

Regardless of what you call this kind of music, you have been able to hear it on Repose every Saturday night. But now, you can hear it every weeknight as well.

 

If you fancy yourself a lyricist, it's time to sharpen your pencil and start writing. 

The University of Michigan Men's Glee Club is on the hunt. They're seeking lyrics for an original new "Michigan song."

The song will be premiered next April, marking U of M's bicentennial. 

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.

Harbor Springs Area Historical Society

If you live Up North and you want to see big-name musicians live, you often have to drive to Grand Rapids or Detroit. That’s because it’s difficult – and expensive – to get popular artists to travel so far out of their way.

But 50 years ago, a small teen nightclub in Harbor Springs was drawing acts like the Beach Boys and Roy Orbison. Club Ponytail was a major hot spot for young people all over northern Michigan until it burned down in 1969.

Paul Erhard performs on his double bass, in the back porch of his home in Pierport, Michigan.
Daniel Wanschura

Have you ever wondered about the difference between the music of India, and the music of the West? 

Professor Paul Erhard has, and combines elements of each to form a unique blend of music that includes some jazz.

Paul Erhard is the Professor of Double Bass at the University of Colorado College of Music. He became interested in Indian music shortly after getting married in 1985. He and his wife visited India because they had an interest in the spirituality of the people.

Jake Robinson makes handmade guitars at his studio in Wellston.
Joyce Randall Senechal

Jake Robinson started playing guitar when he was about 11 years old. He thought he knew everything about guitars. But when he started building them, he realized how little he knew. Now, he’s a professional luthier – or guitar-maker. 

His workshop is in rural northwestern Michigan, and is surrounded by acres of tall pine trees.  

“I specifically focus on flat top acoustic guitars with steel strings,” says Jake. “I also do a fair amount of repair of all sorts of string instruments, from mandolins all the way up to guitars and banjos and electric guitars and things of that nature.” 


 

Pam Rossi has produced and hosted Over Easy on Detroit classic rock station WCSX for the last 12 years. The show brings local, national and international musicians into the studio to talk and perform.

Now, she’s sharing those great conversations with great musicians in her book, Conversations with Pam Rossi.

The Next Idea

Take a moment to think of all the music that's been born and bred in Detroit.

From Motown to techno, rock to hip hop and jazz, and all parts in-between, Detroit artists have made an impression around the world.

Yet, the city's done next to nothing to capitalize on its city's musical heritage. 

Our latest contributor to The Next Idea is leading an effort to change that, by getting Detroit to brand itself as a "music city" and build a downtown museum celebrating Southeast Michigan's rich musical heritage.

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