Rise Above – Theandric Examines the Challenges of Mortality on ‘Flight Among The Tombs’

Theandric
Theandric’s Bill Bogue, Paul Tiseo and Aaron Wienczak provide an insightful route to self-awareness and personal enlightenment on “Flight Among the Tombs.” Photo – Robert Bruce Photograohy

Theandric majestically soars above the shadow of death.

The Detroit heavy metal trio of Paul Tiseo (vocals, bass, keys, guitars), Bill Bogue (guitars) and Aaron Wienczak (guitars) powerfully glides toward the beacon of life on their new supercharged EP, Flight Among the Tombs.

“Literature and poetry were a big inspiration for me. That was connected to the same time of when we all had to go home in March 2020. Life suddenly breaks, we’re all at home … it was a scary time. One silver lining for me was having that time and space to start reading again,” said Tiseo, who’s also inspired by Iron Maiden.

“I found this poet named Anthony Hecht, and I came across one of his poems that really struck me as powerful. He wrote this book of poems called ‘Flight Among the Tombs,’ and that’s where the title comes from. He wrote a series of poems that were different reflections on the person of death.”

Throughout Flight Among the Tombs, Theandric thoughtfully examines mortality amidst the challenging forces of choice, conflict, condemnation and pride. All four tracks provide an insightful route to self-awareness and personal enlightenment.

“To me, it also meant we’re flying among the tombs … we’re not dead yet, we’re alive. With the pandemic and what was happening, it was like every day we were confronted with death and sickness,” said Tiseo, who wrote the EP’s four tracks. “I wanted to think about how we’re gonna rise above this difficult time. We won’t deny that death is real, but it’s important to live.”

Continue reading “Rise Above – Theandric Examines the Challenges of Mortality on ‘Flight Among The Tombs’”

From the Heart – Adam Plomaritas and Kylee Phillips Co-Headline Saturday’s Trinity House Show

AP & KP Facebook Event Banner

Two Michigan singer-songwriters will inject some heart and soul into metro Detroit Saturday.

Adam Plomaritas and Kylee Phillips will share emotive selections during their co-headlining Feb. 12 show at Livonia’s Trinity House Theatre. Both sets will melt away the wintry blues and provide a warm, spring-like welcome.

Ahead of Saturday’s soulful show, The Stratton Setlist chatted with Plomaritas and Phillips about their current inspirations, live sets and musical plans for 2022.

TSS: How has your 2022 been so far? What’s been inspiring you these days as an artist, songwriter and musician?

AP: 2022 has been off to a good start, all things considered. I started it off playing a Caribbean cruise for a week. Since then, I’ve been in the studio a bit and coaching high schoolers for the singing competition, Future Stars, in Ann Arbor. I’ll be the musical director for the show, which happens later in February.

What inspires me generally in songwriting are my wife and three sons. It’s also the struggle of being a professional musician and all of the trappings of fighting through insecurity and enjoying your own and others’ art, and being jealous of their success and reveling in it at the same time as they’re often my friends.

Two things I’ve taken in that have affected me greatly in the past year – The Ken Burns documentary on the history of country music and the “Cocaine & Rhinestones” podcast by Tyler Mahan Coe. Some processing of those will surely spill out onto the stage at Trinity House.

KP: I’ve been experiencing a lot of personal challenges and upheaval, but also so much growth and hope as of late. I’ve been more grateful than ever for the outlet that songwriting is to me. During this season, it’s felt more like a necessity than a choice.

Continue reading “From the Heart – Adam Plomaritas and Kylee Phillips Co-Headline Saturday’s Trinity House Show”

Perfectly Imperfect – Rin Tarsy Celebrates Life’s Contradictions on ‘Paradox’

Rin Tarsy 1
Rin Tarsy embarks on an emotional and spiritual quest of self-discovery on “Paradox.” Photo – Justin Snavely

For Rin Tarsy, life is filled with beautiful contradictions and imperfections.

The Grand Rapids folk singer-songwriter and guitarist embraces authenticity, yet re-examines her purpose on the aptly titled album, Paradox.

“For a while, people would ask, ‘What’s the theme of Paradox?’ And for a while, I didn’t know. Finally, it dawned on me one time when I was listening through all the tracks – it’s about self-trust and self-discovery,” said Tarsy, who grew up in Portland and started singing in church.

“I hope all these songs make sense together, and I really like them, but I wasn’t sure if they did. It’s comforting and scary at the same time. Are these thoughts ever gonna go away? Am I always gonna be questioning everything? Maybe I will.”

Tarsy’s lingering questions slowly spark an emotional and spiritual quest of self-discovery on Paradox that spans several years. Each poetic track celebrates intuition and explores emotion.

“The first songs I wrote for this album – ‘Stay,’ ‘Dear Heart’ and ‘Suitcase’ – were in the summer of 2016 after I got back from Africa. It was the first time I had examined who I was when I took away all of the pursuits that I had and the things I had wanted to go after,” said Tarsy, who visited Tanzania, Zambia and Namibia.

“At the time, I had asked myself, ‘Who am I if those things don’t go exactly the way I want? Or if my idealisms of what they could be don’t match up with the reality of what they actually are?’”

Continue reading “Perfectly Imperfect – Rin Tarsy Celebrates Life’s Contradictions on ‘Paradox’”

In Perspective – Tom Alter Channels Society’s Creative Voices on ‘Poetry and Protest’

image_2
Tom Alter explores the complex nature of the human experience on “Poetry and Protest.” Courtesy photo

Tom Alter deeply examines art and life from different perspectives.

The Fraser indie folk singer-songwriter and guitarist candidly depicts the thoughts, feelings and challenges of society’s creative voices on his latest insightful album, Poetry and Protest.

“I realized that so much of what I was writing about were things based on what I had read or had come from memories that had stayed with me for a long time and made me want to write about them. That’s the poetry side of it,” said Alter, who produced, mixed and mastered his own album.

“And the protest side blends in with that because a lot of the poetry is coming out and speaking to important matters. The last song I wrote for this was (the title track), and that was after thinking about this collection of songs. I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of somebody who has a very different experience from me.”

Alter’s Poetry and Protest provides an enlightening narrative filled with bold tales about humanity, sacrifice, loss and compassion. It seamlessly ventures from the vast emptiness of space to the sparsely populated shores of Hudson Bay to the tightly packed streets of Hamtramck.

“The Poetry and Protest idea came from me being out on a walk and thinking about this collection of songs that I was putting together and realizing where the influences for them came from,” said Alter about his sixth album.

“There’s a song, ‘Four Blue Horses,’ that is directly from a Mary Oliver poem, and it comes from Franz Marc’s Blue Horses. She wrote a poem about that series of paintings, and she got so personally involved in the paintings. I just thought, ‘I want to write about this; it was as simple as that.’”

Continue reading “In Perspective – Tom Alter Channels Society’s Creative Voices on ‘Poetry and Protest’”

En Route – Daring Detour Returns to Live Music Thursday at Ypsi Alehouse

K&D
Daring Detour’s Kathi Dvorin and DeVeaux Gauger perform at a house show. Photo – Richard Greene

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.”

Continue reading “En Route – Daring Detour Returns to Live Music Thursday at Ypsi Alehouse”

Creative Conscience – Chirp Follows Funky Musical Instincts on ‘Solo’

IMG_9097
Chirp pauses during a recording session at Willis Sound. Photo – Joe Sleep

Chirp proudly follows their funky musical instincts.

The Ann Arbor prog-funk-jazz jam quartet of Jay Frydenlund (guitar, vocals), Brian Long (bass, vocals), Sam Naples (guitar, vocals) and Gastón Reggio (drums) listens to their collective creative conscience on their fervent new single, “Solo.”

“Vulfpeck and Cory Wong were a massive influence on the approach to this tune and the rest of the upcoming record. The old school, funky vibe they bring to their songwriting and playing has been a big influence on all of us,” Frydenlund said. “I’m not sure this song would have happened without a steady amount of Vulf in my listening diet. Or at least it would have come out through a very different lens.”

By peering through that groovy “Solo” lens, Chirp fans will encounter a group of lively musicians entrenched in jubilant electric guitars, shimmering keys and synths, pulsating bass, confident drums and ticking cymbals.

In tandem, Frydenlund soulfully sings, “And we all know you can shred the 32nds/But I wanna hear something from your soul/So take your time to find the truth inside you/And let it go.”

“Sam’s melodic lead guitar through the song adds a lot of texture and warms up the tune quite a bit, and he also complements Kevin (Gastonguay’s) solo toward the end of the song really nicely. Brian’s self-written bassline is really catchy throughout, to the point of being singable.” Frydenlund said.

“Both of them killed it on the smooth backup vocals. The different feels Gastón moves throughout are seamless, which is easier said than done on a tune like ‘Solo,’ where we’ve got a lot of dramatic change from section to section feel-wise and tempo-wise.”

Continue reading “Creative Conscience – Chirp Follows Funky Musical Instincts on ‘Solo’”

Guitar-Driven Destination – MC Roads Brings Bluesy Alt-Rock to The Token Lounge Saturday 

MC Roads - Press Shot
MC Roads combines blues and alt-rock for powerful guitar-driven sound.

MC Roads thoughtfully travels along a bluesy, alt-rock-fueled highway.

That highway unfolds a promising itinerary of guitar-driven destinations throughout the Motor City, including a Jan. 8 headlining set at The Token Lounge in Westland.

“To me, this is the magical part. I look for souls, and that’s what wisdom has taught me. I look for good people who want to work together like a family, and that’s when the magic starts,” said Mike Cross, MC Roads’ lead vocalist-guitarist and Sponge founding guitarist. “The songs are there, but the band comes in and embellishes it and makes it that bluesy alt-rock, guitar-driven sound.”

Along with Cross, MC Roads bandmates Bobby Guskovict (guitar, background vocals), KK Scofield (background vocals) and Dearl Poore (drums) will fuse that magical sound before a live audience Saturday. They’ll be sharing the stage with Stompbox and The Analog Dogs as part of a special show to benefit Detroit Dog Rescue.

“We’ve been working up the set, and there’s going to be some surprises. All of the tracks from No Nostalgia will show up in the set, and we have some new music that we’re excited to get out there in front of people,” Cross said.

“And we even have some covers. You never know, there might even be a song from my previous band in the set. It should be a good time with Stompbox and The Analog Dogs.”

Continue reading “Guitar-Driven Destination – MC Roads Brings Bluesy Alt-Rock to The Token Lounge Saturday “

Organic Growth – Dirt Room Cultivates Experimental Sound through Live Shows and Releases

Dirt Room 1a
Dirt Room will bring their burgeoning sound to Small’s in Hamtramck. Photo – Mykel Andre

With new blood, Dirt Room continually thrives on organic growth.

The Detroit experimental collective of Samuel “SJ” Sprague (vocals, bass), Patrick Norton (guitar, Octatrack), Nate Zonnevylle (synth) and Duncan MacKillop (drums) will cultivate their burgeoning sound through a series of upcoming Nice Place Presents live shows, including Feb. 4 at Small’s in Hamtramck.

“This is a completely new lineup for Dirt Room, but the synergy is there. Their musicianship and enthusiasm inspire me to keep going,” said Sprague, who co-founded the band in 2016.

“Pat has been an absolute rock for me over the past few years. Their ambition and work ethic astounds me, and the music we write together is truly a blessing in my life. Duncan and Nate are the young bloods in the group. They’ve been super enthusiastic about the new music we’re playing together and working really hard to make something special.”

For the Hamtramck show, Dirt Room will share the stage with emerging Detroit acts Who Boy, Rob Apollo and Mykel Andre.

“We’re very fortunate to be playing with such talented local artists, especially after being undercover for so long,” Sprague said. “I’ve known the Who Boy group as well as Mykel Andre for a few years now, so being able to put a show together with these guys is definitely special.”

Continue reading “Organic Growth – Dirt Room Cultivates Experimental Sound through Live Shows and Releases”

Zip Code Tour – Bill Edwards Revisits Princeton, Illinois Childhood Days on ‘61356’

Bill Edwards 1
Bill Edwards revisits his Princeton, Illinois childhood days on “61356.”

Bill Edwards intricately designs a nostalgic roadmap to childhood.

The Ann Arbor Americana singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist revisits his carefree days of growing up in rural Princeton, Illinois on his reminiscent new album, 61356, via Regaltone Records.

“I was eight when we moved there, and I was 13 when we left. Most of my childhood memories are from there. I don’t remember a whole lot before that, but I remember a ton about Princeton,” said Edwards, who lived there from 1960-1965 and named the album after the town’s zip code.

“It was a great place to be a kid. And sort of like I say in the first song, you’re just so unaware of what’s going on in the larger world beyond your handlebars. There was so much to explore, and you could just ride your bike anywhere you wanted to go.”

In his 61356 mind’s eye, Edwards pedals to hardware stores, community pools, patchwork fields, county fairs, neighborhood homes and other memorable locales. He quickly transports listeners to a pastoral era filled with vivid tales, multiple perspectives and complicated relationships.

“I just kept writing away, and some of the new ideas kept coming to me. Some of them are reminiscences and others are completely made up with different characters. All of them though involve some personal connection, like the one from the point of view of the farmer,” Edwards said.

“My parents went out of town one time, and they had us kids stay with this farm family for a weekend. We got to see pigs being born in the middle of the night, and we got to learn something about farm life a little bit.”

Continue reading “Zip Code Tour – Bill Edwards Revisits Princeton, Illinois Childhood Days on ‘61356’”

Sky High – After Blue Embraces New Possibilities on ‘Far Above and Far Away’

259728129_274922047925029_923667346201085555_n
Tom Alter and Katie Williamson discard painful feelings of the past and surge toward the radiant promise of the future on “Far Above and Far Away.”

Brimming with atmospheric soundscapes and curative tales, After Blue provides a calming, aerial pathway to new possibilities.

The metro Detroit indie folk duo of Katie Williamson (vocals, piano) and Tom Alter (vocals, guitar) instantly soothes and invigorates weary, lost souls on their enchanting new album, Far Above and Far Away.

“I think the first song, ‘Armada,’ was written prior to the pandemic, and I read an article in the paper about the town and what they did to build the garden. And Katie and I finished that one off together in her old house. I think that song kinda set the stage for the rest,” said Alter, who formed After Blue with Williamson in 2016.

Throughout their latest release, After Blue gracefully discards the painful feelings of the past and surges toward the radiant promise of the future. Each mesmerizing track allows listeners to rediscover their sense of spirituality and inner peace within an azure-filled dreamscape.

“I think ‘Charlotte’ was the next one that was written … but it is about persistence. There’s a line in there where it says, ‘I promise that bruises heal,’ and that’s the core of that song,” Alter said.

Continue reading “Sky High – After Blue Embraces New Possibilities on ‘Far Above and Far Away’”