Angela Predhomme, Kathy Wieland and Judy Banker will perform as part of the “Songwriters in the Round” series and take listeners on an intimate musical journey filled with creative lyrics, catchy melodies and compelling stories.
“It’s a really cool venue because it’s a listening room, almost like a mini Ark, where people come and pay attention,” Predhomme said. “It’s very appropriate for us to tell stories about the songs, talk between the songs and really interact with the people.”
As part of the show, each singer-songwriter will perform her own material, provide insights into her music and collaborate with one another. Together, they’ll offer an invigorating blend of Americana, country, folk, soft rock and pop to uplift the musical spirit on a warm winter’s night.
“It’s fun to be able to share the stories behind our songs with people who care about them,” said Predhomme, who performs regularly at Crazy Wisdom. “I’ll be doing a lot of newer songs, and we may do a song together at the end.”
With a smooth, captivating voice, Predhomme sings from the soul and pens mellow, inspirational soft rock and pop tracks that gently tug at the heartstrings. While growing up in Plymouth, she learned how to play the piano at age nine and picked up guitar in her late 20s.
Last year, Predhomme released five new singles – “Beautiful Truth,” “Top of the Mountain,” “Hey Mr. Sunshine,” “Hidden Wings” and “Falling Home’’ – as a preview to her upcoming soft rock and pop-infused fifth album, “Love,” which will be released this spring and include a soulful collection of laid-back music with a feel-good vibe.
“For my past albums, I worked with a lot of other people producing the songs, but what I’m really proud about ‘Love’ is that I produced everything,” said Predhomme, who’s inspired by Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Sarah McLachlan and Norah Jones. “I finally got comfortable directing musicians and producing my own music. Everything was my vision, and I molded it exactly to what I wanted.”
“Teaching was great, and I’m still doing some stuff in that realm,” she said. “It’s really about freeing up all my time to pursue music and be available to travel.”
Always striving to grow as a composer, singer and musician, Predhomme analyzes music theory and is an active member of local and national songwriting groups. Her songs have been heard by millions through TV, film, public and college radio, and retail locations.
“There is a place in music for women doing mellow pop,” she said. “If people are going to hear my music, then I feel a responsibility to make them happy for three and a half minutes.”
A retired CPA turned folk singer-songwriter, Wieland penned her first song, “Good Cuppa Coffee,” a fun, upbeat 12-bar blues ode to java on an autoharp, for a Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering compilation album in the ‘90s. The tune also caught the attention of autoharp group in the U.K. due to its bluesy roots and inspiration.
After “Good Cuppa Coffee,” two other folksy Wieland tunes, “A Woman Who’s Aged” and “Alpena Colada,” soon followed. “Aged” addresses the stigma women face with aging while “Colada” celebrates drinking a tropical-inspired beverage on a cold Northern Michigan day.
Wieland formed Katseye, a folk music duo with Kathy Gravlin, and released two albums, “He Thinks I’m Good Lookin’” in 2005 and “Makin’ Lemonade” in 2013. While Katseye disbanded in 2014, Wieland has focused on her solo career and performed with Judy Insley, Bill Edwards, Maggie Ferguson and Predhomme.
Wieland’s latest release, “Momma Liked to Fish,” celebrates family, relationships and life’s everyday adventures, and features the classics, “Coffee,” “Aged” and “Colada.” Another family-inspired folk tune, “Uncle Steve,” pays homage to Wieland’s favorite uncle and her mother’s youngest brother.
“My brother Tim and I both love this home movie of Uncle Steve where he’s throwing kids up in the air, and then after a while, he’s running because they’re getting bigger,” said Wieland, who’s musical influences include her father and Joan Baez. “When we saw that video, we just cracked up.”
While growing up in Manitowoc, Wis., Banker developed an affinity for ‘60s folk music, learned how to play piano and started playing guitar while listening to Joan Baez. By the early ‘80s, she met her late husband John Sayler, a guitarist, pianist and dobroist, and started playing music with him at home in Ann Arbor.
Ten years ago, they teamed up with legendary folk singer-songwriter, Jay Stielstra, to form the Jay Stielstra Trio until Sayler passed away. After Stielstra retired the trio, Banker started writing her own music and explored a traditional roots sound akin to Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Gillian Welch, June Carter Cash and Emmylou Harris.
Banker channeled her grief into her debut album, “Without You,” in 2014 and dug deeply into the highly personal experience of human relationships, love and loss.
“There’s literally nowhere to go with your grief, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll write songs,’ and that was an outlet, a way to express my feelings,” said Banker, who still performs with Stielstra. “The first album for me was a wailing wall, and it was rough around the edges, but some good songs came out of it.”
“There’s one song I never perform much, it’s called ‘I Don’t Want to Get Over You,’ I love that one, it’s a quieter kind of song, but it feels very vintage to me,” said Banker, who also hosts open mic nights at Zou Zou’s Café in Chelsea with singer-songwriter Ed Dupas. “To me, it feels like added layers, and grief isn’t a line.”
For her next album, Banker has evolved into a country rock sound and partnered with Ben Sayler to produce it. While recording the album with David Roof at Rooftop Recording, she’s incorporating heavier electric guitars and drum beats with bandmates Anthony Pace, Alan Pagliere, Brian Williams and John Sperendi.
“I’ve asked my son Ben to produce it because he’s got such a great ear, he’s listened to my music since he was little, and he’s got all these ideas,” she said. “I have a basic sound, and all the guys will dive in and start playing. It’s like a big casserole with everybody playing, and then we have to trim back and come up with ideas.”
Saturday, Feb. 2
Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tearoom, 114 S. Main St. in Ann Arbor
Show: 8 p.m.