Echoes – Mid-Michigan Artists Reimagine 23 Tom Petty Classics for Double Tribute Album

Twenty-three Mid-Michigan artists pay homage to Tom Petty on the new double tribute album, “Echoes.”

Eighteen months ago, Andy Reed and JD Dominowski heard a distant “echo” in the sprawling fields of Mid-Michigan.

That “echo” eagerly beckoned the Bay City singer-songwriters to pay homage to the late Tom Petty, who passed away in October 2017, and his musical legacy. The two friends quickly answered the call – a double tribute album of local artists reimagining Petty hits, fan favorites and deep cuts.

“We’re re-singing his songs, and we’re an echo of his music now. That’s all he has now are echoes of his music. It’s us carrying the torch a little bit and saying here’s what Tom Petty means to us. Here’s an echo of what he gave us, and we’re translating it in our own way,” said Reed, who produced, recorded, engineered and mixed the project at Reed Recording Company.

Last week, Reed, Dominowski and 21 other Michigan artists dropped their compelling tribute project, Echoes: Remembering the Music of Tom Petty, via all streaming platforms. The album also doubles as a fundraiser for All Music is Power (AMP), a Bay City nonprofit that provides live music for K-12 special needs students in the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District.

“We thought, ‘Well, let’s make this for a good cause,’ and I started this nonprofit with Donny Brown, who’s also on the record, and I don’t play the live stuff anymore, but Donny still does, and he goes to different special education centers and plays a live concert for them,” Reed said.

“It’s basically music for all the right reasons. This is not something that we want to make money on ourselves. We just want this to be making music for another good thing.”

A Refugee Who Learns to Fly

JD Dominowski provides a countrified rendition of “Refugee” on “Echoes.”

Along with his Michigan music compadres, Reed beautifully interprets a kaleidoscope of Petty catalog “echoes” throughout the 23-track project. The first response includes Dominowski’s striking Americana rendition of the 1979 Damn the Torpedoes classic, “Refugee,” which exquisitely blends vibrant acoustic strums, vivid piano, piercing electric guitar, thumping bass and intermittent tambourine strikes.

Dominowski’s countrified Springsteen-like vocals breathe new life into one of Petty’s most iconic Heartbreaker tracks as he sings, “Somewhere, somehow, somebody/Must have kicked you around some/Who knows, maybe you were kidnapped/Tied up, taken away, and held for ransom.”

Continue reading “Echoes – Mid-Michigan Artists Reimagine 23 Tom Petty Classics for Double Tribute Album”

Reality Check – 310AM’s Nate Erickson Gets ‘Real to Reel’ on New Revelatory Single

Nate Erickson has released three singles since launching his 310AM solo project last fall.

310AM shows every relationship needs a serious reality check.

The Ypsilanti indie rock singer-songwriter and guitarist confronts this personal challenge in his latest kinetic, revelatory single, “Real to Reel,” which dropped last week via all streaming platforms.

While only two minutes long, “Real to Reel” hauntingly unites the frantic, glistening instrumentation of Two Door Cinema Club with the lush, lingering harmonies of Local Natives.

Vivacious, swift guitars, rolling drums and spirited bass propel 310AM, aka Nate Erickson, toward an overdue conversation, as he emotionally reflects, “The loose ends and disarray/Relay both fear and regret/You ask if you can stay/We both know the answer you’ll get.”

“To me, this song was a way to reflect on how separation can affect a relationship. ‘Real to Reel’ is one of those songs that just came out of nowhere. All the guitar parts and melodies came to me real quickly in a way that I find impossible to recreate intentionally. I hope people find it as cathartic to listen to as it was for me to write,” said Erickson, who wrote, recorded and mixed the track himself.

“Real to Reel” single artwork

Erickson also vividly depicts the succinct “Real to Reel” struggle through a refreshing Marian Obando animated video, which chronicles the relational scuffles of Millennials living in the city. Frustrated couples and friends navigate urban life and ride a double-decker bus in search of answers.

“I found her work through a band called Dead Rituals, and she did a music video for their song ‘Closer’ that I really enjoyed. I’ve wanted to do an animated video for a while, and some of my favorite music videos are animated – ‘Paranoid Android’ by Radiohead and ‘Open Passageways’ by All Them Witches. I reached out to Marian to see if she would be interested in working together and loved the ideas she had for the project,” he said.

As a newly-timed solo project, Erickson has released a trio of striking 310AM singles since November, including the dreamy, atmospheric guitar-driven track, “Paint Me Red,” and the escalating, divisionary anthem, “Expectations of a Failed Equation.”

In August, Erickson departed the indie rock trio After Hours Radio, which released two EPs, built a strong regional following and launched a well-respected, do-it-yourself (DIY) basement venue, The Late Station, in Ypsilanti.

Through 310AM, Erickson seamlessly combines Midwest indie rock with propulsive pop-punk emo sensibilities and seeks inspiration from Taking Back Sunday, My Chemical Romance and Jimmy Eat World. His growing catalog of tracks also creates a sense of nostalgia for the emo-alt glory days of the early-2000s.

With a modern outlook on a nostalgic sound, Erickson continues to write and record new 310AM tracks and collaborate on demos with Mark Bosch, vocalist-guitarist for the Ann Arbor indie rock quartet Stop Watch.

“I have rough demos for four or five 310AM songs now that I would love to put together into a new EP this year. I feel that my writing is getting stronger with each track, and this next EP will take the 310AM sound in a really cool direction. Hopefully, I can use this time of isolation to make some progress on those,” Erickson said.

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.

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

Running Down a Dream – Nashville’s Jeremy Ivey Makes Blind Pig Debut Saturday

Jeremy Ivey will open for Ian Noe at The Blind Pig tomorrow night. Photo by Cal & Aly

As the everyday person’s troubadour, Jeremy Ivey will share thoughtful tales of the nation’s turbulent political climate mixed with personal diaspora and societal struggles at The Blind Pig tomorrow night.

The Nashville, Tenn., singer-songwriter will make his live debut at the legendary Ann Arbor rock club and open for Ian Noe, a Beattyville, Ky., singer-songwriter.

“It will be me and a harmonica and a guitar, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been on enough hectic production tours that I’m ready to be by myself for a little bit,” said Ivey, who kicked off his tour Sept. 12 at Nashville’s AMERICANAFEST. “I’ll definitely play some songs from the record, but I’ve already recorded a second record and have the third one already written.”

Interpreting ‘The Dream and the Dreamer’

For his intimate Saturday night set, the prolific Ivey will feature homespun, deeply introspective tracks from his brilliant nine-track debut, “The Dream and the Dreamer,” which dropped earlier this month on Anti-Records.

Recorded in a small Nashville home studio with producer and wife Margo Price, Ivey’s album beautifully weaves elements of classic folk and gently-frayed psychedelia with Southern rock and Americana pop-tinged sensibilities. Price encouraged Ivey to write and record a batch of his own songs during a brief tour break.

“I co-write a lot with her, but I had been writing stuff that I was pretty sure she wasn’t going to sing. It only took me a couple of weeks, maybe a month tops, to write the whole thing,” said Ivey, who initially played with Price in the country-soul group Buffalo Cover as well as Secret Handshake.

“Everyone always says you take your whole life to write your first album, and I’ve been writing since I was 15, so that’s not necessarily true for me. I went in to record, it was supposed be demos, and it turned out pretty good. Anti had heard them, and then it all started to happen. I never really planned for it to be a record.”

Continue reading “Running Down a Dream – Nashville’s Jeremy Ivey Makes Blind Pig Debut Saturday”

Knock, Knock – The Sneeks Drop New ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ EP Today

The Sneeks have released their fun-filled “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door” EP today.

For The Sneeks, opportunity knocks with a new five-song EP.

The East Lansing alt rock quartet has delivered their latest release, “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door,” today via streaming services as a fun, breezy follow-up to their eight-track 2017 debut album, “Sneek Attack.”

Through “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door,” Niko Matsamakis (vocals, guitar), Kevin Neumann (vocals, bass), Alex Olivero (vocals, guitar) and Houston Smith (drums) create a laid-back summer sound filled with shimmery Mac DeMarco-inspired guitars and wrapped in personal tales of fleeting relationships.

It’s the musical alter ego to “Sneek Attack,” which follows a “rad rock and troll” sound born out of the band’s Michigan State University (MSU) party days and garage punk rock shows with Twin Peaks at The Loft in Lansing.

“The different approach for ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ is definitely the songwriting and recording style,” Matsamakis said. “We recorded it in my house upstairs in four different rooms at the same time, and we tracked it all together. Houston was in one bedroom, I was in another, Kevin was in the other bedroom and Alex was in the bathroom.”

Neumann and Olivero also contributed tracks to the “Sneekin’ Out the Back Door” while Matsamakis wrote the material for “Sneek Attack” – his personal journey through post-breakup single life.

“We used some different effects on our guitars that we don’t normally use, and some of those ‘Sneek Attack’ sounds are harder in general, but ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ is definitely a softer sound,” Matsamakis said. “I wrote a few of the songs, showed them to Kevin, and Kevin put his touch on them, and then vice versa. I would say Kevin’s songs are definitely the softer ones.”

Continue reading “Knock, Knock – The Sneeks Drop New ‘Sneekin’ Out the Back Door’ EP Today”

Olivia Millerschin Performs Holiday Show Tonight in Howell, Hosts ‘Cactus on a Ledge’ Book Signing in Saline Saturday

Olivia Millerschin performs at the Detroit Mason Temple’s Chapel theater in November.

Olivia Millerschin will perform a holiday-themed show in Howell tonight and sign copies of her new children’s book, “Cactus on a Ledge,” in Saline Saturday afternoon at McPherson Local.

The Auburn Hills indie folk singer-songwriter will share her renditions of holiday and jazz standards while playing selections from her own catalog at 7 p.m. tonight inside the Howell Opera House, 123 W. Grand River in Howell.

Built in 1881, the Howell Opera House is a historic landmark in the city’s downtown, and the iconic venue’s first floor was renovated in 2006 for live shows and events.

For her Howell show, Millerschin will be joined by musicians James Pyne (trombone), Brian Riley (guitar) and Bob Mervak (keys).

“I have a couple of original songs and others that have been done by some of my favorite artists that are lesser known,” said Millerschin, who’s performed at the Howell Opera House twice before. “We’ll have some holiday classics by The Carpenters, and then we’ll play some of my own stuff.”

Olivia Millerschin’s “Cactus on a Ledge” book

Millerschin also will celebrate the release of her new children’s book, “Cactus on a Ledge,” with a free signing, meet and greet, and performance at McPherson Local, 105 N. Ann Arbor St. in Saline, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Guests will be able to purchase the book at the gift shop.

“This is the first official store that’s going to be carrying the book, and it’s owned by these incredible people,” Millerschin said. “It’s all Michigan made products, so we just thought, ‘What better place is there to do this?’”

Millerschin didn’t initially plan to write a children’s book. Instead, she wrote an introspective ballad of the same name about a cactus who wants to become a tree, but soon realizes it’s cooler to be herself. After writing the song, family, friends and fans encouraged Millerschin to turn it into a children’s book.

She teamed up with a Matter of Fiction Publishing and artist Kathrin Honesta to compile and illustrate the book, which also includes a companion CD of the “Cactus on a Ledge” song. Honesta also did the cover art for Millerschin’s critically-acclaimed 2016 album, “Look Both Ways.”

To promote the book and song, Millerschin plans to visit local independent book stores, libraries and elementary schools in the coming months. The book will be sold in local shops, at shows and through Millerschin’s website.

“I just wanted to have something really organic and show the people who have supported me from the beginning first,” she said. “I sold almost an entire box of books at The Scarab Club in Detroit last Saturday during Noel Night.”

In addition to her upcoming book tour, Millerschin plans to record and release a live album soon.

“I’ve had a lot of frustration with making new music, and I’ve always had trouble with getting the right production down,” she said. “I’m at a point where we should just sing live with the full band, get right in the studio and release it that way. We’re going to be releasing a lot of new stuff, but just the live versions of it.”

The End – Black Sabbath Tour Returns to the Beginning before Bidding Adieu

Editor’s Note: My husband Brian writes his first Stratton Setlist blog post about Black Sabbath’s final Detroit area show in Clarkston, Mich. Wednesday night.

Black Sabbath displays “The End” tour logo.

“Is it the end, my friend?” sang Ozzy Osbourne during the opening song of Black Sabbath’s final show in metro Detroit.

Sadly, it was the end, but it’s hard to say goodbye, especially to old friends. Six years ago, I had to say goodbye to Ronnie James Dio, and last year, I most likely said goodbye to Rush. And now it was time to say goodbye to Black Sabbath.

I’ve been a fan of Black Sabbath since middle school. My brother had introduced me to Led Zeppelin and Rush, and I loved them both, but Black Sabbath was the first band I had claimed as my own.

They felt like a secret that my friends and I shared, and we had fun exploring and debating the different lineups. Was Ozzy era Sabbath better, or the Dio material? What about the Tony Martin incarnation of the band?

The truth was I loved all the lineups. Black Sabbath was like a saga that kept going on and changing over time, and they never disappointed.

Continue reading “The End – Black Sabbath Tour Returns to the Beginning before Bidding Adieu”