A Tale of 2 Albums – Kathy Wieland, John Rinn Host Joint Release Show Saturday at Trinity House Theatre

Kathy Wieland will celebrate the release of her album, “Momma Liked to Fish,” with John Rinn Saturday at Trinity House Theatre. Photo by Judy Insley

Kathy Wieland and John Rinn will share heartwarming melodies of life, love and laughter Saturday night at Livonia’s Trinity House Theatre.

The metro Detroit folk singer-songwriters will celebrate the release of their latest poignant albums, “Momma Liked to Fish” and “Sweet Summer Moon,” at the intimate 90-seat venue. Wieland and Rinn will take turns performing songs and supporting one another with instrumentals and harmonies throughout their joint set.

“John and I are both members of Songwriters Anonymous, and our CDs came out about the same time. We also know each other from doing open mics, especially at BaseLine Folklore Society. We have not performed together before so this will be an adventure for both of us,” Wieland said.

For Wieland, Saturday night’s on-stage adventure also will include singer-songwriters Sara Melton Keller, Beverly Meyer, Robin Monterosso and Linden Thoburn as special guests on backup harmonies throughout her set.

Together, they’ll combine their soaring vocals on four of Wieland’s tracks from “Momma Liked to Fish” – “A Little Whiskey,” “Prayer the Devil Answered,” “Makin’ Lemonade” and “A Woman Who’s Aged” before an eager singalong crowd.

“Trinity House Theatre is a place I feel really comfortable, and it’s a great place to be a performer or a listener. I attend the monthly Songwriters Anonymous meetings there and have made so many wonderful friends through this venue,” said Wieland, who’s from Ann Arbor.

Kathy Wieland

“Momma Liked to Fish” album artwork by Mary Ann Matthews

Wieland collaborates with a host of talented musical friends on 2018’s “Momma Liked to Fish,” a 12-track folksy expedition filled with joyful tales about family, beverages, relationships, self-reflection and age-related angst. Along with David Roof, Kathy Gravlin and others, she beautifully combines emotion and humor while vigorously plucking away on autoharp, acoustic guitar and banjo.

The album’s playful title track reminisces about Wieland’s mother, Frances Taffe, and her cat Smokey briefly escaping chaotic family life to go fishing. A gorgeous pairing of fiddle and autoharp transport listeners back to Wieland’s childhood and her mother’s love of angling – “Momma scaled and gut the fish/She never minded that/Is it any wonder that her best friend was a cat/Dinner was delish/Momma liked to fish.”

“‘Momma Liked to Fish’ is a collection of the songs that I’m most proud of, and half the songs were written when I was a member of a band called Katseye, which disbanded in 2012. The rest have been written over the past three or four years, and it took about six months from start to finish to do the recording,” said Wieland, who features a painting of Taffe and Smokey fishing by Mary Ann Matthews on the album’s cover.

Wieland also reflects lovingly back on her childhood during, “Uncle Steve,” a banjo-laden tribute to her mother’s youngest brother and his love of tossing nieces and nephews in the air – “We were chubby, we were lean/Uncle Steve was never mean/How high we flew was the measure/We were birds of different feathers.”

“I feel like it immortalizes them just a little. People tell me about their uncles who threw them up in the air when they were little, and everyone laughs at the idea of my mom rowing out of reach when she needed her space,” said Wieland about her two family-related tracks.

A retired CPA turned folk singer-songwriter, Wieland wrote her first song, “Good Cuppa Coffee,” a 12-bar blues ode to java on autoharp for a Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering compilation album in the ‘90s. The tune also caught the attention of a U.K.-based autoharp group due to its bluesy roots and inspiration.

Wieland later formed Katseye, a folk music duo with Gravlin, and released two albums, “He Thinks I’m Good Lookin’” (2005) and “Makin’ Lemonade” (2013). After Katseye disbanded, Wieland started her solo career and performed regularly with Judy Insley, Bill Edwards, Maggie Ferguson and Angela Predhomme.

Wieland will perform at Trinity House Theatre again Feb. 21 as part of a Songwriters Anonymous Showcase with Dan Cafferty, Sigrid Christiansen, Lauren Crane, John Finan and several others. The show will benefit the theatre and celebrate an active community of songwriters who meet monthly in southeast Michigan to share their music.

After her Trinity House Theatre performances, Wieland will head to Glendale, Ariz., for two shows, including the Beaded Lizard on Feb. 26 and the Glendale Folk and Heritage Festival on Feb. 29. She’ll also host a workshop during the festival for attending artists and musicians and focus on writing new material.

“I don’t have any plans for a new release currently. I keep writing because I enjoy it, and I do have another song I am thinking about recording as a single. I’ll play it on Saturday and see how it flies,” Wieland said.

John Rinn 

John Rinn

As a metro Detroit singer-songwriter, John Rinn eloquently addresses lost youth and love throughout his 14-track album, “Sweet Summer Moon,” which dropped in 2018.

The beautiful title track whisks listeners away to the carefree summer days of being a teen, driving around town and falling in love. Haunting acoustic guitar and harmonica recall the excitement and discovery of a passionate young romance – “Sweet summer moon/We were rolling in the grass/Sweet summer moon/The time was gone too fast.”

Another stunning track, “A Run for Your Heart,” features mesmerizing acoustic and slide guitar with delicately brushed drums to tell an enchanting love story – “Across the table in the candlelight, you’re hesitating as you drink your wine/Your hair’s soft, your eyes are bright/But you’re lookin’ at my face tonight like a poker player tryin’ to read my mind/You’re scared you’re falling in love too fast/Falling in love before I do/But don’t worry darlin’ my heart is racin’ too.”

“I do not know that there is an overall inspiration for the album. Many of the songs are sweet in a certain sense, although not all of them,” Rinn said. “Some of the songs are many years old other while others are more recent. Mainly, I wanted to put some of my best songs in this collection.”

Rinn recorded “Sweet Summer Moon” with Waterford singer-songwriter Dan Hazlett at Home Street Studios and will share nine of the album’s tracks Saturday.

“For various reasons, it took me over a year to record it. I had several other musicians join me to play bass, lead guitar, percussion and vocal harmony,” Rinn said. “I am continuing to write new songs, but I do not have current plans to record a new album even though I do have sufficient material to do it.”

After Saturday’s album release show, Rinn will perform as part of a songwriters showcase at the Downriver Council for the Arts in Wyandotte on May 9.

Show details:

Kathy Wieland and John Rinn Album Release Show

8 p.m. Saturday

Trinity House Theatre, 38840 Six Mile Road in Livonia

Tickets: $15

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