Two Michigan-based duos will bring deeply-rooted music, innovative instrumental work and lush harmonies to The Ark for a Sunday show.
Shari Kane & Dave Steele and Red Tail Ring’s Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp-Cohen will co-headline the show and share a bevy of original folk music, traditional ballads and acoustic blues.
“We will do some of our own songs and play as a fourpiece with them,” Steele said. “They put a whole new dimension on what we play.”
For Sunday’s show, Kane & Steele will throw a four-handed acoustic party filled with street swing, stomp blues and mountain twang, including tracks from their 2015 album, “Feels Like Home.”
Together, the husband-and-wife acoustic blues duo recorded 12 covers from blues guitar legends Robert Johnson, Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Blake, Robert Lockwood Jr., and Mississippi John Hurt and two original songs, “If I Don’t Jump” and “The Last Day of Summer,” in their Ann Arbor area home studio.
“I didn’t know initially that Dave loved Blind Blake or Blind Willie McTell or all of these people who were like home to me,” said Kane, who originally met Steele in summer 1991. “When I saw him on the street busking at the art fair, really what I was saying was I didn’t know you loved the same music that I love. That’s become home for us, and that’s really where we come from.”
Their love of acoustic blues led Kane & Steele to a fruitful 30-year musical partnership after performing previously with Peter “Madcat” Ruth and Big Dave & the Ultrasonics. Steele’s smoky vocals, percussive rhythm and innovative lead lines blend magically with Kane’s crisp finger-picking style, rootsy leads and stinging slide work.
Like Kane & Steele, Premo and Beauchamp-Cohen will fuse new-time roots music with old-time sounds as Red Tail Ring at Sunday’s show. The Traverse City duo will perform intricate arrangements of original folk music and traditional ballads intertwined with banjos, fiddles, guitars, mandolins and jaw harps.
“There will be a lot of material from these two distinct acts. We love Shari and Dave so much, and we love listening to their music,” said Premo, who studied traditional Finnish music in Helsinki. “We’ll also have some material collaborating between the members in these two acts and maybe even one new song from a project of mine that’s some instrumental fiddle music that I’ll work with Shari on to present.”
Premo and Beauchamp-Cohen also will perform tracks from their 2016 album, “Fall Away Blues,” a splendid 12-track old-time country blues project that addresses special places, love and the environment. The duo also tackles gun violence in the banjo-flavored folk song, “Gibson Town,” and includes a melody inspired by Muddy Waters’ “Catfish Blues.”
“There’s a thread in the album of us trying to write with traditional forms. This is something that’s not new to our repertoire, but we did it in a way that was new for us,” said Beauchamp-Cohen, an Earthwork Music artist who formed Red Tail Ring with Premo in 2009. “We wanted to take some of the juju and power that we love from these old tunes and write stuff that was really important to us.”
As for Sunday’s double-headlining show, all four artists view The Ark as a premier venue for showcasing their eclectic musical talents. It’s a welcoming feeling to step back on stage together.
“It fits a lot of people, but everyone feels so close. I think that’s what makes it great to me,” Premo said. “Often, the room is so perfectly hushed that the artists can really concentrate and give their best.”
Shari Kane & Dave Steele and Red Tail Ring
Sunday, January 20
The Ark, 316 S. Main St. in Ann Arbor
Doors: 7 p.m., Show: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (general admission), $27 (reserved)