Brotherly Love – The Rupple Brothers Host Third Handmade Music Festival Oct. 7-8 in Chesaning

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For The Rupple Brothers, a local music festival provides the optimal balance of creativity and community at the grassroots level.

The Chesaning, Michigan psych-folk sibling duo of Cole Rupple and Evan Rupple weave those elements together at their homegrown Handmade Music Festival, which runs Oct. 7-8 at Showboat Park.

“Some of our very first festivals in 2016 and 2017 were Farm Fest, Pond Jam and Dunesville. These festivals have a beautiful grassroots message,” said Cole Rupple, who started Handmade in 2018.

“They have taught us that if you book it, they will come. If you have a little stage, some electricity and some of the favorite bands that we all love, then that’s all you need to make things happen.”

For their third festival, The Rupple Brothers will recapture that magic with a stacked music lineup of bluegrass, psych-folk, Americana, soul and jam artists.

Sixteen artists will perform on two stages with funk-rock band Distant Stars headlining Friday night and prog-funk-jazz quartet Chirp headlining Saturday night.

Other featured artists include Fay Burns, Cosmic Knot, Monte Pride, Nicholas James, Ma Baker, Act Casual, Stormy Chromer and The Rupple Brothers.

“We love Chirp, we love Monte Pride … there are a few friends we can’t get by without, and so we actually only have about 10 slots,” said Cole Rupple.

“We like to do singer-songwriters during the day, and then we work up to the full-band stuff at night … those are our two vibes. We just hope that everyone can see and appreciate all the beautiful Michigan talent that we have.”

In addition to talent, festivalgoers will enjoy food trucks along with craft and music vendors at Showboat Park’s scenic riverside.

“It’s an absolutely gorgeous location right along the Shiawassee River with maple trees all throughout. There’s a beautiful village campground nestled back in the trees,” said Cole Rupple, who co-runs the festival with older brother Evan Rupple, mother Shelly Rupple-English and sister Savannah Rupple.

“Truly, my favorite part is bringing all these amazing bands and all my incredible friends together and all that they do to my little hometown. We want to show [everyone] the beauty that we get to see on the road every weekend.”

Outside of the festival, The Rupple Brothers perform live regularly throughout Michigan and share tracks from their growing catalog. In 2018, the duo released their emotive, 10-track debut album, The Rupple Brothers and Company.

“The tracks were kind of just cobbled together, but our overarching theme would definitely be the first song, ‘Sadtown,’ and that’s our brother-love song,” said Cole Rupple, who formed the duo with Evan Rupple in 2015.

“My best friend passed away when I was a senior in high school, and that song has been consoling me. That’s our whole kinda vibe, that’s our whole kinda message … ‘Sadtown’ is the most evocative of that vibe.”

The Rupple Brothers will carry that vibe forward on their next album, which is currently underway. The duo wants to collaborate with a Michigan-based producer to shape the album’s overall sound.

“We had a pretty prolific period at the start of The Rupple Brothers, so we are backlogged to the gills. We honestly have about two or three albums’ worth of material. I would like this second album to be a double concept album, and I would like for it to be called Rivers,” said Cole Rupple, who’s inspired by The Avett Brothers, The Beatles and Elliott Smith.

“I would like to do a ‘River of Life’ side and a ‘River of Death’ side with lighter songs on the first side and the heavier, more intense songs on the second side. Everything is written, and everything is arranged … we just gotta get in there and lay it down.”

Show details:

Handmade Music Festival

4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8

Showboat Park, 805 S. Front Street in Chesaning, Michigan

Tickets: $30-$60

Anesthetized – A Good Sign Welcomes Romantic Indifference on New ‘Numb’ Single

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A Good Sign takes control of her emotions on “Numb.” Artwork – Jesselle

A Good Sign quickly anesthetizes strong emotions from a past relationship.

The Ann Arbor, Michigan electro-pop singer-songwriter welcomes instant romantic indifference on her latest atmospheric single, “Numb.”

“‘Numb’ is that feeling of when you’re in a relationship with someone who has manipulated your feelings a lot,” said Kierstin Jackson, aka A Good Sign.

“You have these heart-wrenching feelings over and over, and then you’re just at a point where you’re numb to it. You no longer have control over your emotions.”

Throughout “Numb,” A Good Sign regains that self-control as exuberant synth, wistful bass and intrepid electronic percussion provide a jolt of confidence.

She sings, “High off of your touch / Or shattered by your silence / I used to stay fucked up / On your spiritual violence / But now I’m breaking up with / The ropes that I got tied with.”

“It’s a freeing feeling in a way because that person doesn’t have control over you anymore,” Jackson said. “That was a relationship recently I experienced where there a lot of ups and downs. My heart was fully in it, and then it ate away at things until there was nothing there.”

To bring “Numb” to life, A Good Sign collaborated with engineer-producer Jezreel Santos at Ypsilanti’s Traxside Recording Studio.

“It’s EDM-y, but lighthearted … I love sad lyrics and a happy beat,” Jackson said. “[Jezreel] is so talented; I can make a sound at him, and he can do that on any instrument.”

Continue reading Anesthetized – A Good Sign Welcomes Romantic Indifference on New ‘Numb’ Single

The Great Escape – Kruel Summer Trades Stress for Bliss on ‘Another Night’ Single

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Kruel Summer searches for happiness on “Another Night.” Artwork courtesy of Kruel Summer

Kruel Summer hatches an instant, emotional escape plan on “Another Night.”

The San Jose, California indie rock-reggae quartet of Clev Stiles (lead vocals, electric guitar), Ben Dimmit (lead guitar, backing vocals), Shane Billings (drums) and Chris Reed (bass, keys, backing vocals) fervently abandons prolonged stress for instant bliss on their latest all-weather single.

“I was dealing with a major life impact when I was working on ‘Another Night.’ I felt stressed, anxious and uneasy not knowing what came next,” Stiles said. “I wanted the song to have the reverse effect … a sort of mood booster or escape to forget about [what] I was dealing with.”

Rolling waves of electric guitar, bass, keys and drums refresh Stiles as he sings, “We talk about / Running around all day / Swore to your father / Now I’m standing in the light / You know I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“[It’s] an attempt to overturn any negative feelings of worry and stress to bring energy and happiness … an uplifting, feel-good summer song,” Stiles said.

“It’s sort of hard to not instantly get in a good mood after listening to it. The actual story is about me spending time with my girl in the city on the beach just escaping the stress and letting that love and company soak away the anxiety.”

Kruel Summer also escapes worries on the forthright breakup anthem, “Just Too Broken,” which dropped in May.

Soothing electric guitar and tranquil bass release the emotional floodgates as Stiles sings, “And if I didn’t know better I would love you / Be stitched up together like you want to / But that’s a little surreal to deal / I’m better off living off what I feel.”

“I feel like everyone in one time or another has felt ‘Just Too Broken.’ You’re just tired, exhausted and drained in trying to keep a relationship, connection or anything going … that feeling like you’re putting more effort into it than a significant other,” Stiles said.

“But it doesn’t necessarily need to be about a person or a relationship. It could be about anything you’re struggling with – a job, a habit or a personal roadblock. It’s that sense of giving up and trying to keep something going when it’s simply not working.”

Continue reading “The Great Escape – Kruel Summer Trades Stress for Bliss on ‘Another Night’ Single”

My Brave Face – Ken Newman Uncovers Societal Fears on ‘What Am I Afraid Of?’ Album

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Ken Newman’s “What Am I Afraid Of?” album features purposeful lyrics, vigorous instrumentation and massive rock soundscapes. Photo – Jayms Ramirez

Ken Newman boldly tackles society’s deepest and darkest fears on What Am I Afraid Of?

The San Francisco indie-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist deftly uncovers and deciphers a multitude of emotional traumas, violent conflicts, racial injustices and political tensions on his insightful debut album.

“It was gonna be called ‘Dreaming of Guns’ based on that one song. At some point, somebody else recommended another title, and I tried that for a little while, but that didn’t quite resonate,” Newman said.

“And then Scott (Mickelson) and I were talking about it, and I said, ‘What if I just called it What Am I Afraid Of? ’ Then, the two of us went, ‘Oh my God, of course, that’s what everything’s about.’”

For Newman, “everything” serves as an umbrella of personal and societal challenges ranging from everyday anxieties to teen suicide to homelessness to gun violence. The album’s 11 gripping tracks provide a poignant wake-up call for the nation to strongly unite, take action and instill change.

“The thing about this album is essentially the same paradigm that’s kind of dictated my entire life,” he said. “I don’t exactly know what’s happening until I look in the rear-view mirror and go, ‘That happened.’”

Continue reading My Brave Face – Ken Newman Uncovers Societal Fears on ‘What Am I Afraid Of?’ Album

Ripple Effect – Eric Ripper Finds Growth and Love on New ‘Wavelength’ Album

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Eric Ripper features exploratory lyrics, radiant acoustic guitars and ambient soundscapes on his new album. Artwork – Dean Ripper

Filled with emotion and adventure, Eric Ripper rides the wave of new possibilities.

The Ferndale, Michigan acoustic pop-rock singer-songwriter boldly journeys through the peaks and valleys of growth, love and aspiration on his latest revelatory album, Wavelength.

“I traveled out to Utah to start this project, worked on it while I was out there and continued it after coming back. I’ve seen many beautiful things and spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts,” Ripper said.

“Those thoughts come together when you finally sit down with a guitar in hand. I’ve learned that I need time to write and need to explore myself if I am to continue writing and producing music.”

With self-discovery top of mind, Ripper soars alongside Wavelength’s exploratory lyrics, radiant acoustic guitars and ambient soundscapes. The album’s nine contemplative tracks instantly invite listeners to accompany Ripper on his introspective, cathartic odyssey.

“Traveling is a big part of my inspiration as well as having good and bad life experiences. All elements toward this album have been therapeutic: writing, producing, recording and releasing – all of it,” he said.

“I feel as if I’m sharing a big side of me with others on this release, and I just hope people can hear the work and dedication put into it. Everyone is growing as a person … they all have their own direction. I’m riding this wavelength, and I hope others can hear their purpose and find themselves.”

Continue reading “Ripple Effect – Eric Ripper Finds Growth and Love on New ‘Wavelength’ Album”

Southern Gothic – The Prickly Pair’s ‘The Long Parade’ Single Celebrates Tennessee Williams and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

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The Prickly Pair channels the heartbreak and betrayal of “A Streetcar Named Desire” on “The Long Parade.” Photo – Caity Krone & Artwork – Spencer Shapeero

For The Prickly Pair, a pandemic-induced film immersion provided an instant gateway to 1950s-era New Orleans.

The Nashville, Tennessee alt-country duo of Mason Summit (vocals, guitars, keys) and Irene Greene (vocals) landed in the throes of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and penned their latest Southern Gothic single, “The Long Parade,” as an ode to Tennessee Williams.

“We actually wrote that song for a Tennessee Williams tribute my mom was putting on as part of her literary series, Library Girl,” said Summit about the 1951 film based on Williams’ 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

“We often get inspired by dialogue or visuals in movies, and we were taking notes while watching the film adaptation of ‘Streetcar.’”

Throughout “The Long Parade,” The Prickly Pair become entangled in the heartbreak and betrayal of Blanche, Stanley, Stella and Mitch. Twangy lap steel, nonchalant acoustic guitar, strolling bass, somber keys, steady drums and glistening cymbals plead for serenity and closure.

Summit and Greene sing, “Pearls before swine/Pull the wool over my eyes/‘Cause I can’t tell the truth/From my own lies.”

“It’s more of an attempt to capture the overall vibe, but I think people see themselves in these characters,” Summit said. “I hope people can relate to the song in a similar way. I personally find the chorus very cathartic to play.”

Continue reading Southern Gothic – The Prickly Pair’s ‘The Long Parade’ Single Celebrates Tennessee Williams and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

Sonic Youth – Allye Gaietto Reconciles Past Expectations on New ‘Hoping for More’ Album

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Allye Gaietto revisits her past self on “Hoping for More.” Photo – Rolando Ybarra

Allye Gaietto candidly shares an internal monologue with her younger self.

The Detroit indie folk-pop singer-songwriter and pianist reconciles past expectations, relationships and interactions on her perceptive new album, Hoping for More, which drops Aug. 26.

“It’s so much discovering of who you are, what your beliefs are and where you stand on all sorts of different things. I think, for a lot of us, our identity is about who’s around us and how we interact with people and how they see us,” said Gaietto about previous life experiences in her early 20s.

“I think for this record there are a lot of things … like I had my first serious relationship and then got dumped for the first time, and that’s one of the songs on the album. That was huge for me.”

With Hoping for More, Gaietto provides a huge release of deeply buried emotions that still feel tender and raw. Whether encountering relief, heartache or courage, she beautifully documents those experiences through contemplative lyrics, haunting melodies and lush instrumentation.

“It’s this funny contrast of me trying to reconcile like, ‘What do you think about me? What do I think about you? How do we feel about each other?’ with friendships, romantic relationships and parent relationships,” said Gaietto, who also released the single, “I Guess I Don’t,” earlier this year.

“After the album was finished, the new stuff I’ve been writing … sometimes I have to put myself back in that early 20s, new relationship mindset because it’s a goldmine for feelings and content.”

Continue reading “Sonic Youth – Allye Gaietto Reconciles Past Expectations on New ‘Hoping for More’ Album”

Solo Journey – Olivia Van Goor and William Bennett Advocate for Self-Love on ‘My Lonely Heart’ Single

Olivia Van Goor and William Bennett immediately welcome lonely souls.

The metro Detroit jazz vocalist and jazz pianist relish the importance of self-love on their latest cathartic single, “My Lonely Heart.”

“I think we all have experienced poor timing with relationships or life in general. I definitely drew inspiration from the feeling of being in between healing and having to say no to take care of myself,” said Van Goor, who co-wrote the track with Bennett.

“Will had given me the working title, ‘My Lonely Heart,’ and I knew I could either take it literally and write about being sad or try to put an alternate meaning. The second option was more enticing, and because I like a challenge, I came up with a positive spin on being lonely.”

Throughout “My Lonely Heart,” Van Goor strongly upholds the positive side of being single while Bennett responds with wistful piano.

She sings, “But for now it’s spared from needing repairs, my lonely heart/Do not try to sway, my mind has been made up/How can I give love from my own empty cup?/Love feels like a trick, I can’t take the risk/I’ll keep my lonely heart.”

“I hope it helps people not feel alone in the struggle of wanting to jump into something exciting, but knowing that it’s best to wait until you’re ready,” Van Goor said.

Van Goor and Bennett sought inspiration for the track after learning the 1937 Billie Holiday-Teddy Wilson classic, “Foolin’ Myself,” during the pandemic lockdown. With creativity flowing, they penned “My Lonely Heart” and took it to producer-engineer Josef Deas at Ann Arbor’s Big Sky Recording.

“Will showed me a tune he wrote inspired by that style, and it became ‘My Lonely Heart,’” she said. “Josef totally got what we were going for and even added some effects that gave it a full, warm vintage feel.”

To accompany “My Lonely Heart’s” release, Van Goor and Bennett shared a new live performance video filmed at Big Sky Recording. Director Becca Messner captured the duo bringing an intimate club-style feel to the track.

“Becca had made a video I was in for the Miss Paula Quintet last winter for the tune, ‘Baby’s First Christmas,’” Van Goor said. “I loved how that turned out, and she got the idea perfect.”

In fact, Van Goor and Bennett will share another perfect performance of “My Lonely Heart” and other material at two upcoming live shows in Ann Arbor: Aug. 25 downtown and Aug. 26 at the Blue LLama for Bennett’s birthday.

“August 25 will be very fun playing outside downtown Ann Arbor, which was organized my Matthew Altruda. I think the audiences in Ann Arbor appreciate a variety of music, and that helps our efforts,” Van Goor said.

“(August 26) will be very special because Will is going to be bandleading. I’m looking forward to it, and I don’t get to be a ‘sidewoman’ very much. We will be joined by University of Michigan grad Reuben Stump on bass and Ann Arbor guitarist Jake Reichbart.”

Show details:

Olivia Van Goor & William Bennett: Downtown Ann Arbor

Thursday, Aug. 25 | 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Free performance

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William Bennett Birthday Show

Friday, Aug. 26 | 7 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Blue LLama Jazz Club, 314 S. Main St. in Ann Arbor

Tickets: $15-$75

Travel Light – Linden Thoburn Emits Hopeful Tales on New ‘When the Sun Comes Shining Through’ Album

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Linden Thoburn creates a spring-like feel on “When the Sun Comes Shining Through.” Photo courtesy of Linden Thoburn

Linden Thoburn beautifully shines a light on the road less traveled.

The Brighton, Michigan country-folk singer-songwriter and guitarist shares hopeful tales of navigating life’s seasonal changes on her adventurous new album, When the Sun Comes Shining Through.

“There’s a lot of movement, and there’s a lot of leaving one state and going into another state. I write from listening to life and listening to myself, and that’s just what was there,” Thoburn said.

“It’s somebody who’s able to look back and be here, yet still be able to bring some perspective, hopefulness and realism, too. The journey continues, and if you’re really going to live this life and be here, you have to be awake to the journey.”

On When the Sun Comes Shining Through, Thoburn deeply embraces a pictorial journey filled with lonesome AM radio, cherry red vans, summer berries, Mississippi tributaries, bright wings and Avalon forests. Each radiant track leaves a lasting imprint on the heart and soul of bygone eras and unread chapters.

“A lot of 2022 has been getting this album ready to launch … and I keep thinking COVID is over, and the sun comes shining through, and then COVID keeps coming back,” she said with a laugh. “This album is like leaving COVID, and it’s like going from winter and heading into spring.”

Continue reading Travel Light – Linden Thoburn Emits Hopeful Tales on New ‘When the Sun Comes Shining Through’ Album

Second Stage – Fundamental Sound Co. Returns with Fun Fest ‘22 Aug. 6 in Ypsilanti

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Taylor Greenshields believes things are better the second time around.

The Ypsilanti audio engineer, producer and drummer is expanding this year’s Fun Fest ‘22 to include more activities and vendors along with some new artists. The second annual daylong music festival will take place Saturday, Aug. 6 at Frog Island Park.

“I think the first year of the festival is always the hardest. We got the first year out of the way, so this year we can work out any kinks and now people kind of know what to expect,” said Greenshields, who owns and operates the Ypsilanti-based recording studio, Fundamental Sound Co.

The festival will feature an all-star roster of local artists, including new guests The Macpodz, Stormy Chromer, Ki5 and Estar Cohen along with returning performers Dani Darling, Ma Baker and Al Bettis and a secret set featuring some familiar faces.

“This year’s artist selections were based on artists I worked with regularly in the live sound realm or in the studio. I didn’t want to have a complete repeat from last year’s lineup, but I still wanted to have a few of my favorite artists/friends to be involved,” Greenshields said.

“I am honored to have Dani, Al and the Baker boys back in the lineup this year. Honestly, these are bands I just selfishly love, and I am lucky enough to work with them again this year. I think as their second time playing Fun Fest they will know what to expect and bring the vibes!”

In addition to live music, Fun Fest ’22 will include more than 15 local vendors, ranging from Brennan The Bronze to Normal Coffee Co. to Top Dog, offering art, food and drinks. Beats, Brews and Points of View podcast hosts Emmanuel “E-Man” Bates and Neil Richter also will serve as festival emcees.

“This year, it has grown by having some extra activities, like we’re going to have a bounce house for the kids, have food vendors and other activities available in the soccer field. It’s basically just me putting all this stuff together,” Greenshields said.

Greenshields started Fun Fest last year after wanting to showcase local artists he engineers and records through Fundamental Sound Co. studio and stage projects. He’s currently working with Ma Baker on their first studio album, Na Bonsai on their debut EP and Dani Darling on her new single.

“I have been planning big things for Fundamental Sound Co.’s future. Some are bigger than others, and some are more realistic than others. I am just out here planting seeds and watering these ideas until they eventually start to grow really solid roots,” said Greenshields, who opened his studio in 2018.

“Maybe you’ll start to see them pop out of the ground sooner than later. This festival was one of those ideas years and years ago, and now it’s finally becoming a reality, which is crazy to me.”

Outside of other artists’ projects, Greenshields continues to run live sound for local shows with D.Cipher, a Detroit music mastermind collective, every Wednesday at Dequindre Cut and every Thursday at Detroit City Distillery. He’s also interested in recording his own album soon.

“This year, I have been lucky to be booked and busy all summer long. I have been honored to work with D.Cipher … they are amazing and book some of the dopest artists in the area,” he said.

“As far as personal projects, I have been kicking around the idea of recording a solo record. I love working on other people’s music, but sometimes I can get too far away from who I am as an artist. I think it’s time to make some of my own stuff again.”

Show details:

Fun Fest ‘22

Saturday, Aug. 6 | 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Frog Island Park, 699 Rice St. in Ypsilanti

Tickets: $20 (suggested donation)