For Daring Detour, the new year arrives at a long-awaited destination.
The Ann Arbor acoustic Americana duo of Kathi Dvorin (vocals) and DeVeaux Gauger (guitar) marks the return of their intimate live music performances after a pandemic-induced hiatus.
“We decided to put Daring Detour on hold early in the pandemic. Part of that was due to closing venues, and part was our general emotional state with all the upheaval going on at the time,” Gauger said.
“We tried writing virtually and that didn’t work out, so we agreed not to force the creative process and would pick it up when we both felt comfortable.”
With comfort now on their side, Daring Detour will share their emotive originals and covers Thursday at Ypsi Alehouse in Ypsilanti. It will be their second live show since December.
“Playing at the Ypsi Alehouse was a wonderful experience. We had quite a few friends show up despite it being on a weekday evening and lingering COVID concerns,” Gauger said. “All the rehearsal time and mentally being on the same page showed as the music flowed, and we told some stories in between songs.”
During their two-hour set, Daring Detour will perform poignant renditions of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Almost Home” and “I Feel Lucky.” They’ll also share an unnamed Taylor Swift cover.
“We draw cover material from decades of artists, much of it out of our generation. We wanted to expand our repertoire to include some more upbeat songs and have some fun in between the more introspective tunes,” said Gauger, who’s inspired by Harry Chapin, James Taylor and Jim Croce.
“It’s highly possible that Ted Badgerow, Alehouse owner and brewer, will make an appearance. I played there solo the week before Halloween, and Ted joined me for a couple of songs playing flute, harmonica and some backing vocals.”
The Road to Daring Detour
Outside of their live shows, Daring Detour recently released a new original track called “Road to You,” which blends glistening acoustic guitars with heartfelt vocals. It beautifully serves as a touching reminder about missing loved ones while being on the road.
Dvorin passionately sings, “When we’re apart/Writing stories on our own/Might be in Detroit/Might be the great unknown/Down the highway/I feel your pull to get me home/Darkness falling/A hundred miles to go/Driving down the road to you/A beacon in the night/Your light guiding my way home/On the road to you.”
“For me personally, it’s having the courage to believe that I have good stories to tell from my life’s journey. So many great songs are rooted in overcoming extreme hardship. Although I’ve had some of that, in general, I’ve had a wonderful life,” said Gauger, who co-wrote the track with Dvorin.
“I finally realized that much of this is my positive mindset to get past challenges, and there is value in telling those kinds of stories. What are the little things we can find a way to do on a daily basis that serve others and contribute to positive progress? And share those experiences in songs.”
Last year, Daring Detour recorded and released a series of compelling live covers, including tracks from Brandi Carlile (“That Wasn’t Me”), Tift Merritt (“Good Hearted Man”), Serena Ryder (“All For Love”), Patty Griffin (“Forgiveness” and “Poor Man’s House”), and Mimi Harris (“Miss You”).
“‘Miss You’ is by Mimi Harris, a local artist who I would really love to find. That record probably came out over 20 years ago, and the band was called Mimi & the Snakes. She was just a fantastic blues singer with all original material,” Gauger said.
“The album, Paradise, was this story of one woman’s journey of struggle and triumph. There’s sad stuff on there; there’s gritty stuff. ‘Miss You’ is the only acoustic song on there.”
After performing in different bands and solo projects for several years, Gauger opted to focus on acoustic-based music. In 2018, he sorted through some old cassettes and rediscovered an old live recording with Dvorin from a house show.
“Kathi and I worked at Zingerman’s together more than 20 years ago. We did a show for co-workers at a house, and I listened to it, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she was so good. I wonder if she’s still in town,’” said Gauger, who started playing 12-string guitar as a teen.
“I searched for her online and found a work contact. I called her up out of the blue one day, and it didn’t click at first. She was like, ‘Wait, what?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know if you remember me,’ and she was like, ‘Oh, DeVeaux!’ And all these memories came back.’”
At the time, Dvorin pondered returning to music, especially since her children were grown. Once Dvorin and Gauger reunited, they instantly clicked and started performing together in fall 2018. They’ve been slowly building a repertoire, doing live shows, and writing and recording music over the past three years.
“We’ve started dabbling in some writing, and I think she’s got some really good ideas and life experiences. I’m better at melodies, the music and the arranging,” Gauger said.
“We’re trying to pick covers where she’s really channeling the emotion of it, and she finds a personal connection to these songs. I think that’s what makes it effective, and it’s been a sheer joy, and I look forward to every rehearsal.”
Since 2020, Daring Detour has added several live performance videos to their YouTube channel. They’re also continuing to grow their original material and cautiously booking more live shows in the wake of the Omicron variant.
“We’re starting 2022 with these specific goals – writing original songs, performing live and eventually recording our original material. So far, we’ve completed two songs and will keep that momentum going as the year progresses,” said Gauger, who also has two more shows with Dvorin at Ypsi Alehouse in February.
“The plan is to write and record enough for an EP, which will most likely see a release near the end of this year.”
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20
Ypsi Alehouse, 124 Pearl St. in Ypsilanti