Olivia Millerschin will travel back in time Saturday night.
The Auburn Hills indie folk singer-songwriter will play for 400 people at The Chapel, a historic theater located inside the Detroit Masonic Temple that’s designed as a smaller scale replica of Westminster Abbey.
It’s symbolic of the original abbey where the knights of the round table likely gathered before they went to battle. “They actually have a stained-glass window, and they’ve had it blocked off because it was for knighting, but they just broke down the blocked off part, and now you can see the light,” said Millerschin, who teamed up with Fusion Shows to select the iconic theater for Saturday’s show. “The stones in the chapel room are rounded on the edges because they wanted it to look like knights had been walking on them.”
During Saturday’s show, Millerschin will breathe new life into the historic venue and perform a set of timeless heartfelt songs from her critically-acclaimed 2016 album, “Look Both Ways.” She’ll also debut seven or eight new songs and feature special guest performances from Ann Arbor folk singer-songwriter Chris DuPont and Nashville pop singer-songwriter Jilian Linklater.
“I’ve got tons of new music, and I’ve been so focused on the children’s book that I haven’t recorded it. It will be cool to debut it live in front of people and see what they think of it,” said Millerschin, who grew up in Rochester as a classically trained opera singer and started writing songs at age 13.
“Chris is one of my favorites, and he’s an incredible artist. As for Jilian, I played a show in Nashville with her the last time I was there, so I decided to throw her on this gig. I think people are going to like both of them.”
[/caption]As part of her set, Millerschin will share one her newest songs, an introspective ballad called “Cactus on a Ledge,” which also doubles as the title of her new children’s book. Millerschin wrote the song about a cactus who wants to become a tree, but later realizes it’s cooler to be herself.
“I was trying to write a song after I had lost one of my best friends, but I didn’t want to talk about it at the time, so I ended up writing ‘Cactus on a Ledge’ by total accident,” Millerschin said. “I started playing this song out just to see what people would think of it, and some people told me that I needed to make it into a movie or a book.”
Millerschin will release the book later this month with a CD of the song through A Matter of Fiction Publishing and feature illustrations from Kathrin Honesta, who also did the cover art for “Look Both Ways.”
Another sonic gem in Millerschin’s Saturday set will include “BrickStory,” which was inspired by a Detroit-based startup of the same name that’s committed to preserving and sharing the stories and images of every American home. The song will be featured in the upcoming pilot for the show, “BrickStory – American Neighborhoods,” to showcase Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.
To support Millerschin’s Saturday show, the BrickStory.com team is donating $5 per ticket from the remaining ticket sales to support Working Homes/Working Families, a Mitch Albom charity that refurbishes empty homes in Detroit for families who lack adequate housing.
[/caption]Millerschin also will revisit songs from her second full-length album, “Look Both Ways.” The beautifully crafted album gently tugs at the heartstrings with clever lyrics, haunting melodies and colorful folk, pop and soul elements.
Produced in Brooklyn and Detroit, the album mirrors the grit and hopefulness of both cities and reflects her quest to “look both ways” as she relishes the good while proceeding with caution in a complex music industry and world.
“For the record itself, I wrote like a hundred songs because I write all the time. I just write ideas, and I get these hooks,” said Millerschin, who’s inspired by Ingrid Michaelson, Carole King and James Taylor. “It’s a little bit more serious than any of my previous stuff, and we didn’t realize that until after when I was listening to it.”
While Millerschin is proud of her previous musical work, she’s thrilled to share her latest material through an upcoming five-song EP next spring. The new material will land somewhere in between a light-hearted and serious artistic tone.
“I like making records, but I need to take time to get the music right,” Millerschin said. “Everyone wants a live record, so we’re talking about going back to Black Crystal Café sometime soon. It’s the best sound, just a good feel.”
Olivia Millerschin with special guests Chris DuPont and Jilian Linklater
7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3
The Chapel at Detroit Masonic Temple
500 Temple St. in Detroit