The Dexter singer-songwriters will kick off the four-part “Friday Night Live” concert series at the Farmington Civic Theater, 33332 Grand River Ave. in Farmington, at 8 p.m. Friday with special guest Scott Martin.
A husband-and-wife folk music duo, Boutette and Davis will perform catchy acoustic anthems from “Easy as Pie,” their 2018 album, along with a slew of old favorites during their 90-minute set.
“We have a couple of new songs and one new cover,” Boutette said. “As it’s become a tradition, Kristi goes into my back catalog to find things we haven’t done before.”
Boutette’s celebrated songwriting paired with Davis’ lush harmonies is where attendees will find onstage magic at the Farmington Civic Theater.
Close, comforting and warm, Davis’ voice slips in easily beside Boutette’s creating a beautiful sound. Her stage presence and quick wit are a perfect match for Boutette’s songs.
Boutette and Davis discovered their musical magic while singing together on their back porch six years ago. Those at-home singing sessions quickly turned into a growing series of shows and festival dates.
Coincidentally, their musical partnership dates back 35 years when the pair starred in musicals together while attending high school in metro Detroit.
After graduation, they went their separate ways while Boutette played in the Detroit alternative rock band The Junk Monkeys and later became a folk music solo artist.
Davis became a singer-dancer, Radio City Rockette and author of the 2015 comic memoir, “Long Legs and Tall Tales.” She reunited with Boutette in 2012, and they married the following year.
Today, Boutette and Davis continue to perform as part of a strong singer-songwriter movement locally, statewide and throughout the Midwest at a variety of venues, especially listening rooms like the Farmington Civic Theater.
“I think it’s nice to have more of a listening room environment where people can really focus in on Dave’s lyrics, which are so clever, meaningful and heartfelt,” Davis said. “They make you feel good if you really listen to them. I’m glad that we get a chance to do that.”
Origins of a New Metro Detroit Listening Room
Birchler, a musician who runs Go2Guy Productions and curates Farmington’s Rhythmz in Riley Park summer concert series, frequently watched movies at the theater and discovered its potential as a live music venue.
“I loved it in there because the sound is always so clear, you can always hear the dialogue really well, and you can hear the soundtrack of the movie because the room doesn’t have any extra reverb or stuff that muddies up the mix,” he said.
“I looked at the space, and the way it’s set up, and saw the little stage in front of the screen and realized it would be an awesome place for live music because I’m a performer, and I can tell the feel of a room.”
Birchler approached Freeman, Farmington Civic Theater general manager, about hosting a fall and winter concert series in the upstairs 130-seat theater.
Together, Birchler and Freeman, who met each other while working at Rhythmz in Riley Park, wanted to offer a live concert experience on Friday nights and expand the theater’s offering beyond movies in downtown Farmington.
For the “Friday Night Live” series, they opted for four concerts in the winter and three in the fall. To prepare for each show, Birchler books performances and handles sound while Freeman oversees promotion and venue needs.
“It’s an alternative for people, and we focus on singer-songwriters, which makes it a little bit different as well,” said Freeman, who previously worked radio and TV broadcasting before overseeing the theater in 2010. “We have entertainers who combine their stage presence with storytelling, the music and the singing all together, and that makes for a nicer package.”
Next Up for ‘Friday Night Live’
The theater will offer three additional shows during the winter edition of “Friday Night Live,” including:
April 5 – Nashtown Songwriters Round with Wil Nance, Mark Barnowski and Rob Taube
Birchler encourages new and returning concertgoers to become part of the “Friday Night Live” experience and discover the talented singer-songwriters who represent an eclectic array of heartwarming acoustic folk, country, rock and pop music.
“We’re glad we can put some singer-songwriters up there who have something to say and are doing it on a fairly stripped-down level so the emotional content of it is much more at the forefront, not buried in a bunch of production tricks,” he said. “The human voice is the most expressive instrument there is.”
Friday Night Live – Dave Boutette and Kristi Lynn Davis with special guest Scott Martin
Friday at the Farmington Civic Theater, 33332 Grand Rive Ave. in Farmington
Doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m.
Tickets $15 and event info