Stars and Stripes Demystified – Audra Kubat Tackles Nation’s Divisive Legacy on ‘Gray Glory Parade’

Gray Glory Parade
Audra Kubat and Jessica Care Moore challenge the nation’s antiquated, divisive legacy on “Gray Glory Parade.”

Audra Kubat boldly brings the gray undertones of the red, white and blue to the surface.

The Detroit indie folk singer-songwriter brilliantly unravels the antiquated, divisive Confederate legacy, traditions and mindset that still permeate our racial, social and political fabric on her latest single, “Gray Glory Parade.”

“Originally, the song was called ‘The Next American Revolution,’ and it was so bold in a way. I was exploring other titles, and then it hit me this line, ‘Gray Glory Parade,’ and it had this really strong ring to it,” Kubat said.

“‘Gray glory’ is sort of the southern pride around the uniforms of the Civil War. The first lines of the song, ‘Sculpted and praised/A gray glory parade/Hollow men disgracing pedestals,’ show this pride and glory around a misunderstood history, like sort of a parading around. I thought it was a stronger title than the other one.”

Throughout “Gray Glory Parade,” Kubat thoughtfully unstitches each worn, destructive gray thread as luminous acoustic strums, reflective synth and tranquil bass provide newfound strength and hope. She reveals, “Our silence now is damaging/Time for a reckoning/A great awakening/The next American revolution.”

“The revolution is that we have to deal with a falling apart first. I’m ready for the fall-apart part to happen in a bigger way, and the scary thing is so many comforts and things that we’re used to will have to change to make the real change that is needed,” said Kubat, who started writing the track during a July 4, 2020 trip to Washington, D.C.

“There’s so much to address, and it’s going to be so painful for everyone. That’s why it’s taking so long, and it takes so much self-steadiness to be able to stand up and say, ‘My lifestyle is not only destroying other people’s lives, but the environment and social structure beyond that is so flawed, that it really must be taken out thread by thread.’”

Kubat continues removing each thread as she reflects, “Yet I’m quiet and listless/Do no more than bear witness/But it’s not enough as warm blood runs from broken bodies.”

“Prior to that trip, I had been trying to write a song in response to the things that were going on, and everything I wrote just seemed so flimsy. I couldn’t find the right words, and I also felt like it was a big undertaking to try to share what I was feeling and without it sounding uninformed and as an observer,” said Kubat, who also included lyrics from the national anthem throughout her track.

“I really didn’t know how to do that at the time, and it wasn’t coming. When my partner and I went to D.C., we were walking among the protests that were going on and sharing space with folks there. Going to the monuments and being a part of everything else that was going on along with the tourists and seeing the capital was an interesting juxtaposition.”

That juxtaposition inspired Kubat to think about the American flag unraveling and how that served as a timely metaphor for the nation’s growing racial, social and political tensions. She quickly wrote “Gray Glory Parade’s” first three verses, but struggled to find the last line.

“It took me a couple of weeks to come up with the line, ‘The silence is victory beckoning.’ If we don’t have to shout anymore about it, that’s us being victorious,” Kubat said.

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Detroit Songbook – Kate Hinote Trio Celebrates Original Tracks, Local Songwriter Covers on ‘Near’

Kate Hinote Trio-PromoPhoto (credit Kate Hinote Trio)
David Johnson, Kate Hinote and Matthew Parmenter include an exquisite collection of original and cover tracks on the Detroit-inspired “Near” album. Photo courtesy of Kate Hinote Trio

For their debut release, the Kate Hinote Trio beautifully assembles the ideal Detroit songbook.

The Motor City acoustic three-piece of Kate Hinote (vocals), David Johnson (acoustic guitar) and Matthew Parmenter (violin) carefully handpicked an exquisite collection of melodic, mesmerizing tracks from their own catalog as well as from other local songwriters for Near.

“When we were finalizing Near a couple of months ago, I told the guys, ‘One thing that’s going to be compelling about this album is the other songwriters’ contributions.’ Those songs are much different than how I would write or what Matthew Parmenter and I would write together,” said Hinote, who’s previously performed with The Blueflowers, Sound of Eleven and Ether Aura.

Throughout Near, the Kate Hinote Trio features 11 timeless, poignant tracks from The Blueflowers, Don Duprie and Alison Lewis, Emily Rose, Rogue Satellites’ Jaye Allen Thomas, Anthony Retka, Matthew Smith, Duende and Parmenter. Together, these eclectic songs share captivating, emotive tales that deeply explore internal struggles and personal relationships while traveling along a newfound path of self-discovery.

“I knew I wanted to have a Detroit songwriters’ album, and every song is so different because of their contributions. It gave the album some variety, and I’m just drawn to songs that have relationship elements. I think that’s the nature of everybody I included,” Hinote said.

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Inside Out – Audra Kubat Explores Life’s Dualities on ‘The Sliver & the Salve’

Audra Kubat will release her seventh album, “The Sliver & the Salve,” Friday via Whistle Pig Records. Photo by Allan Barnes

For Audra Kubat, life brings a series of dualities that challenge and change the soul.

Those dualities inspire her to create magical sonic epiphanies that instantly resonate with listeners on “The Sliver & the Salve,” a spectacular 10-track odyssey that drops Friday and looks inward and outward at the self, society and the cosmos.

“I feel like this album for me was recognizing that there were these dualities and sort of contradictions, these internal and external things going on. I wanted then to connect that also with the way we treat each other, treat ourselves and treat the earth,” said Kubat, a Detroit indie folk singer-songwriter.

“Those three ideas, the way we treat ourselves, the way we treat each other and the way we treat the land are what really define us. Our impact is limited, expounded or accentuated by our ability to be fully ourselves, to be gracious to others and to take care of the land.”

Throughout “The Sliver & the Salve,” Kubat brilliantly addresses relatable themes of inner strength, personal freedom and growth, tumultuous relationships, emotional upheavals and environmental stewardship.

Selections from ‘The Sliver & the Salve’

“The Sliver & the Salve” album artwork

As a follow-up to 2016’s acoustically-minded “Mended Vessel,” Kubat’s latest album via Whistle Pig Records showcases a carefully crafted batch of songs that evoke deep reflections against a backdrop of elegant instrumentation.

Each song highlights the challenges of everyday life experiences and the difficult choices people make to progress. The gorgeous opening track, “Some Comfort,” depicts the courageous mindset of a woman who escapes an abusive relationship and ponders a new life ahead.

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Title Track — New Michigan Nonprofit Hosts Launch Party Saturday at MusicTown Detroit

Seth Bernard has launched Title Track, a new Michigan-based nonprofit dedicated to clean water, racial equality and youth empowerment. Title Track will host a launch party Saturday at MusicTown Detroit.
A new Michigan-based nonprofit will unite activism with artistry Saturday in Detroit.

Title Track, a nonprofit dedicated to clean water, racial equality and youth empowerment, will host a launch party at MusicTown Detroit featuring local artists and speakers, including Seth Bernard; Audra Kubat; Juuni, aka Wayne Ramocan; Vespre; Amber Hasan; Nicole Lindsey and Baldomero Gonzales.

“It gives me great joy to have this Title Track launch party in Detroit where the roots of resistance run deep and the fruits of community resilience are delicious,” said Bernard, a Michigan singer-songwriter and activist who launched Title Track on Earth Day. “This bill is populated with artists, activists, organizers and changemakers, and we’re going to make a joyful noise bringing this new organization into the community.”

Through Title Track, Bernard offers a broad set of programming based on his lifetime of music making, community organizing and advocacy for the environment and social justice.

He’s helping the nonprofit lead a Clean Water Campaign for Michigan, sponsoring RiverQuest canoe trips on the Flint and Saginaw Rivers for Flint youth and hosting the first annual Earthwork Detroit Music Festival as well as the long-running Earthwork Harvest Gathering.

Saturday’s launch party will echo those causes and creative endeavors while spotlighting emerging indie folk, R&B, soul, pop and world-inspired sounds from the Motor City’s up-and-coming artists.

“Detroit is one of the greatest cities in the world. Home of Aretha, Dilla and Grace Lee Boggs. Epicenter of urban farmers, culture creators and movement builders,” Bernard said. “A soul that can’t be commodified, gentrified, disassociated or appropriated. Detroit is the city of tomorrow.”

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