Jeff Scott Launches ‘LIVE!’ 2020 Winter Concert Series Jan. 17 at Farmington Civic Theater

Jeff Scott will headline the first show of the “LIVE!” winter concert series at the Farmington Civic Theater. Photo courtesy of Jeff Scott

Two years ago, Jeff Scott experienced a musical epiphany in the Big Easy.

The Royal Oak singer-songwriter strolled through Jackson Square and retraced his steps from a previous New Orleans visit two decades earlier.

That trip down memory lane transported Scott back to performing with The Big Picture, a Detroit-based pop sextet. At the time, Scott and his bandmates opened for The Neville Brothers at the iconic New Orleans Jazz Fest.

“I was sensing at the time that I could never recapture the way that I felt when I was younger and in that position with that band. It started to rain exactly as it had the first time we showed up there, and I was standing in exactly the same place,” Scott said.

“I thought for the purposes of this album I was retreading and going back to where I had originally been musically and most successful professionally. That was a good way to start it. I’m attempting to reclaim something, maybe I’m not going to hit it, but the pursuit of it is deeply fulfilling and emotional.”

Scott shares his splendid journey of sonic self-discovery on “Nola,” the opening track of his third album, “Nola to New York,” which dropped in 2018.

It also will give listeners a preview of his Jan. 17 headlining show at the Farmington Civic Theater to kick off the “LIVE!” 2020 winter concert series with special guest Bobby Pennock.

Along with longtime bandmates Tony Jaworowski (piano, keys), Duane Allen Harlick (electric guitar, background vocals), Dave Hendrickson (electric and upright bass) and Dan McCann (drums, percussion), Scott will perform an eclectic mix of pop, folk, soul and jazz favorites from “Nola to New York” as well as his previous releases.

“I hope that they will be moved musically. That’s always my intent. I’ve always wanted to make beautiful music with a big ‘B.’ It can be up-tempo, it can be down-tempo, it can be a ballad, it can be a lot of different things,” Scott said. “That’s always the end goal for me. A lot of people come to the shows because they appreciate the lyrics, which I spend a lot of time on.”

Formerly known as “Friday Night Live” at the Farmington Civic Theater, the newly renamed “LIVE!” 2020 concert series also will feature Bones Maki and the Blue Water Boys with Rochelle Clark (Feb. 21), Olivia Millerschin with Adam Liebman (March 20) and the Nashtown Songwriters Round (April 23).

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Farewell AF – Wilson Hosts ‘Thank You, Goodnight’ Shows Saturday at The Crofoot

Wilson will perform their final three shows Saturday night at The Crofoot.

Wilson will take their final bow of fuckery Saturday night in Pontiac.

The Detroit multi-genre quartet will host three farewell banger shows filled with debauchery and shenanigans for longtime, hardcore fans at The Crofoot.

“The shows will be closure for us and everyone who’s been involved. It will be emotional, but relieving at the same time,” said Jason Spencer, Wilson’s co-founder and guitarist. “We’ve always been transparent with our fans, that’s always been important to me, but all in all, the fans have been polite and supportive.”

Along with bandmates Chad Nicefield (vocals), James Lascu (bass) and Matt Puhy (drums), Spencer announced Wilson’s indefinite hiatus and “Thank You, Goodnight” farewell shows Nov. 6 via the band’s Facebook page. After a decade filled with in-your-face rock, hip-hop and all things ‘90s, the band will celebrate an explosive era three different ways:

1.  A “Wilson’s House of Fuckery” 4:30 p.m. pre-party in The Crofoot’s Vernors Room with band conversations and a past, present and future walk-through as well as a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the Lighthouse of Oakland County and MusiCares.

2. A 6 p.m. performance of “Tasty Nasty” and “Right to Rise” in their entirety on The Crofoot Ballroom stage. The Messenger Birds, Red Stone Souls and Ladysse will provide support.

3. A 10 p.m. performance of “Full Blast Fuckery” in its entirety on The Pike Room stage. Strange Magic will provide support.

Each show will encompass part of Wilson’s history at their “hometown” venue and allow devoted fans to engage one last time with these genre-bending titans. In a sense, it will be like viewing the exhilarating and exhausting journey through each band member’s eyes.

“The Vernors Room pre-party will consist of props/outfits from old videos, stage props and a bunch of visual aspects. Our fans have always loved the gimmicky parts of the band, so we figured this could be a fun way to obtain items for their Wilson collections … no joke, we have fans who have made entire rooms out of Wilson items,” Spencer said.

“The Ballroom will be a standard Wilson headliner with some visual aspects. But the final show in The Pike Room will be the most intense show because it’s the type of room that has played a big part in our history. You know, punk-rock club style … just wild.”

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Mind Meld – Billy Brandt, Sarana VerLin Fuse Musical Intuition Thursday at 20 Front Street

Billy Brandt and Sarana VerLin will perform Thursday night at 20 Front Street in Lake Orion.

Billy Brandt and Sarana VerLin know how to read musical minds.

The folk rock duo will demonstrate their sonic superpowers live Thursday night before an intimate crowd at Lake Orion’s 20 Front Street. It will be their first time captivating fans there together.

“Billy and I have a ‘Vulcan mind meld’ on stage where we can follow each other effortlessly and know what direction to go in when we go off-piste and improvise instrumentally,” said VerLin, a U.K.-based singer-songwriter, violinist and multi-instrumentalist. “When we play and write together, we rub against and wear away each other’s rough edges to get a sound blend that neither of us gets on our own.”

The enchanting pair will share timeless tales from their latest release, “Are You Listening?” – a magical 10-track odyssey that includes Shakespearean characters, ghosts, emperors, dystopian worlds and whales. Magical acoustic guitars, violins and mandolins whisk listeners away to a stunning sonic world beautifully constructed in their minds.

“‘Are You Listening?’ took about two years to complete. When I was here in Detroit a few years ago, I said we should go in the studio to record. We had a few songs that had not been recorded yet so we started with those,” said VerLin, who originally hails from Trenton.

“Billy had written a song called ‘Sailing Away,’ and coincidentally and separately, I had written a song called ‘Sailing Away.’ A completely different feel but in a similar key, so we combined them into a two-part song.”

Released in 2018 via Drum Dancer Records, “Are You Listening?” also unearths another folk rock treasure, “I Wish I Knew,” which includes a splendid picking arrangement of a melody Brandt wrote and envisioned as part of a monotone vocal accompaniment.

Back in July 2011, VerLin wrote the lyrics during a trip to Chamberlain’s Ole Forest Inn in Curtis, but couldn’t pair it will the right melody. Six years later, Brandt’s guitar melody formed the perfect marriage for the song.

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Bluegrass Roots – Mark Lavengood Cultivates Homegrown Dobro Sound Locally, Nationally

Mark Lavengood will perform at “The Ebird & Friends Holiday Show” tonight through Saturday at The Ark.

Mark Lavengood will bring warm down-home holiday sounds to Ann Arbor this weekend.

The Grand Rapids bluegrass roots vocalist and multi-instrumentalist will join a star-studded lineup of Michigan artists and musicians for the 12th annual “The Ebird & Friends Holiday Show” tonight, Friday and Saturday at The Ark.

Hosted by Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds, the variety-style show will also feature Alex Holycross (The Native Howl), Graham Parsons (The Go Rounds), Carolyn Striho, Anne Heaton, Brad Phillips, Jen Sygit, Jessica McCumons (Jessica Delle) and members from The Macpodz, The Appleseed Collective and Jive Colossus.

“I’ve done it two other years. I love Erin so much, that production is one of the most pro things I think I’ve been a part of, and it’s just always a good time, and I’m always honored to be invited back,” Lavengood said. “I get to lead some, and I get to back other people who play the instruments. It’s just a great hang, the community comes out in droves, and there really isn’t a show like it anywhere.”

As an established touring artist and musician, Lavengood regularly shares his resonant energy with spirited crowds from Michigan to Colorado. He eloquently combines folk, bluegrass and Americana with bandmates Justin Avdek (bass), Dutcher Snedeker (keys), Justin Wierenga (guitar) and Loren Kranz (drums) on stage and in the studio for a growing catalog of bluegrass roots singles and albums.

With an expansive musical palate, Lavengood adds delectable instrumental flavors of dobro, steel guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, drums and percussion to assemble an appetizing eclectic sound for fans nationwide.

“I’m fleshing out a lot of songs that I been sitting on over the years, and I love playing the music, but at the same time, I like getting the ideas out and then bringing a band into the studio and tracking it that way,” Lavengood said. “There’s a lot of magic you get when you have a bunch of different minds in one space serving a song together.”

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Dream Ticket – Tetra Music Project Hosts FutureDream 3 Dec. 21 at Detroit’s Tangent Gallery

Tetra Music Project will host FutureDream 3 and feature emerging EDM, hip-hop and rock artists on two stages.

Kim Tetra Wiesner will bring the sparkle and soundtrack of spring to Detroit three months early.

The Ypsilanti electronic, chillwave and world bass vocalist-guitarist, aka Tetra Music Project, will host an indoor visual art and live music garden party Dec. 21 at Tangent Gallery. It will be an exhilarating visual and auditory experience to awaken the mind, body and spirit during the winter solstice.

Known as FutureDream 3, the atmospheric festival will feature emerging EDM, hip-hop and rock artists on two stages, including Tetra Music Project, Pandora Love, Gyp$y, Y-Not, Dancemyth, Dos Lopez, Approachable Minorities, Mynah, Neural Patterns and Jena Irene Asciutto.

It also will showcase visionary floral sculptor Anthony Flowers Ward as well as a special performance from Botanical Burlesque and a magical imagination playspace by Astral Matter Experience. Additional FutureDream 3 support will come from Unique Groove Entertainment, Silky Grooves and 3D Planted.

“Instead of trying to set up a bunch of shows throughout the year, I really just focus on the one big, extravagant performance, and I like to have it be this really art-centered display of people who I personally find are very talented and dedicated to what they do,” Wiesner said.

“I like to give everybody a decent amount of time to perform and make it worth their while. I curate the event in a way that I can get behind, and I have people who have a good attitude and a good vibe about them.”

Outside of art and music, FutureDream 3 will donate festival proceeds to the St. Clair Butterfly Foundation, an Auburn Hills nonprofit that uses creative arts, mindfulness and mentorship programs to help youth overcome trauma.

“If I’m putting an event together, usually it has some sort of cause involved, and we may or may not make a whole lot of money to donate or contribute, but we focus on it, make a little bit and say, ‘Well hey, we did our best,’” Wiesner said.

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Rope Together – Pretty Tied Up Unleashes Deep GNR Cuts Saturday at Taylor’s Road Rangers

Pretty Tied Up Guns N’ Roses tribute band will headline a Saturday show at Road Rangers in Taylor. Photo by LUX Artist Management

Five hard rock musicians will rope in bangers from Guns N’ Roses Saturday night.

Pretty Tied Up, a Michigan-Kentucky GNR tribute band, will unleash their favorite Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff and Matt renditions as part of a headlining set at Road Rangers in Taylor.

“Let’s just say everything from ‘Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide’ up until ‘Spaghetti Incident’ is going to be on the table,” said Brandon Fields, aka Slash. “That’s the good thing about being in a tribute to Guns is that they’ve got such a deep catalog. We might have some special guests jamming with us as well.”

Fields will jam with bandmates Kevin Shannon (Axl Rose), Kyle Mikolajczyk (Izzy Stradlin), Dustin Witt (Duff McKagan) and Garrett Ramsden (Matt Sorum) for one of their final 2019 appearances in metro Detroit.

He formed the project earlier this year with Mikolajczyk and Ramsden after their previous GNR tribute band, Uzi Suicide, went on hiatus.

“Guns N’ Roses is my favorite band of all time. These are songs I’ve always wanted to play live and couldn’t necessarily pull off in my other projects,” Fields said. “I made the Facebook page before the band lineup was even finished, and Kyle instantly shot me a message asking what was up with it.”

After teaming up with Mikolajczyk and Ramsden, Fields invited longtime best friend and multi-instrumentalist Witt to join the lineup as well as hard rock vocalist Shannon. The quintet quickly blew up the hard rock music scene in Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee with growing roster of live dates.

“Obviously, whoever is doing Axl’s job is going to have the main attraction in my opinion, so you’ve got to have somebody who’s going to put on a show. Kevin does a good job. Kyle, Dustin and Garrett do an awesome job of holding the rhythm section down as well. Garrett is an absolute monster behind the kit, and I don’t think there’s anybody who would be a better fit for us,” said Fields, who lives in Lexington, Ky., and named the band after a GNR “Use Your Illusion IItrack.

“Dustin’s a very smart musician and has been my partner in crime for a few years since he joined my solo band. You never have to worry about him messing up. Kyle plays everything he needs at the right time. He’s in like 10 different bands, and you definitely don’t get to a point like that being an amateur.”

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The Pineapple Thief Makes Metro Detroit Live Debut Saturday, Frontman Bruce Soord Releases New Solo Album

Bruce Soord and The Pineapple Thief will make their first metro Detroit live appearance Saturday at The Crofoot in Pontiac. Photo by Steve Brown

The Pineapple Thief will steal the spotlight Saturday night in metro Detroit.

The British prog rock quartet will make their long-awaited Motor City live debut at The Crofoot in Pontiac as part of a 22-date North American tour.

Bruce Soord (guitars, vocals), Steve Kitch (keys), Jon Sykes (bass, backing vocals) and Gavin Harrison (drums, percussion) have embarked on their first North American tour in support of 2018’s “Dissolution,” a splendid nine-track album via Kscope Records that poetically chronicles the impact of social media on people’s lives and society.

“Over the last four years since ‘Your Wilderness’ came out, the band’s just gotten bigger, and we were playing to more people. The modern band is quite weird because you get so much data to analyze, so you look at your Spotify listeners, where your Facebook people are coming from, and you can see where people are,” said Soord, who formed the band in 1999.

“We knew the USA was the big market for us. Obviously, it’s a very big place, so it’s difficult, but we knew that Germany, the U.K., and the USA were the three big territories that are into The Pineapple Thief. Since we’ve been selling more records, we were able to afford to do it.”

Continue reading “The Pineapple Thief Makes Metro Detroit Live Debut Saturday, Frontman Bruce Soord Releases New Solo Album”