These days, Bill Edwards views love as the soundtrack of his life.
The Ann Arbor country singer-songwriter eloquently chronicles his evolving thoughts about love on his latest album, “Sounds Like Love,” which dropped in October on Regaltone Records.
“A year ago I decided I wanted to do an album of love songs. It seems like the times we’re going through right now we can use as much love as we can get,” Edwards said. “They’re not all songs that say ‘I love you.’ Some are about the complications and the darker side of some love relationships. I think they’re at least loosely related to the concept of love.”
“Sounds Like Love” features 13 stellar tracks highlighting the ups and downs of love from different perspectives and moments in time – new love, lost love, lifelong love, past love and unrequited love. On each track, Edwards gently moves listeners from one soundbite of love to the next along a fascinating emotional path that includes paint, hurricanes and boxcars.
“I write about a song a week, and it’s just my creative outlet. I had accumulated quite a number of songs to choose from, and I just picked those 13 for the record,” he said. “I’ve long wanted to do an album all by myself in my own home studio, and I’ve accumulated an embarrassing amount of recording gear.”
Editor’s Note: This is repost of an earlier interview with Danika Holmes and Jeb Hart of Danika & The Jeb. Tonight, they’ll be performing at Ann Arbor’s Black Crystal Cafe.
A Nashville acoustic pop and Americana duo, Danika Holmes and Jeb Hart, aka Danika & The Jeb, bring a dynamic, uplifting and fun sound that includes a combination of artfully written songs and powerful musical phrasing.
Together, Danika & The Jeb have performed more than 1,200 shows in the U.S., U.K. and Europe since forming in 2010. They’ve also opened for Lyle Lovett, Dierks Bentley, Phil Vassar and Tracy Lawrence.
Holmes believes that a well-written song can embody all emotions of the human existence, and she articulates that beautifully with her slightly raspy, yet warm voice and truthful lyrics.
“I learned how to play the guitar from Jeb. It’s been so fun playing together all these years now because our musical style has grown together,” said Holmes, who grew up listening to church music. “As a vocalist, every artist wishes they had a guitar player like Jeb, someone who knows when to hang back and knows when to step up to the front of the stage and give a killer solo as well.”
Grand-nephew to country artist Clyde Moody, Hart can craft a story with six strings. Despite a car accident that left him unable to play for several years, Hart’s determination to overcome prevailed.
“I started on sax when I was nine and then on guitar at 14. When I was young, I’d go to work with my mom and was told to be quiet,” Hart said. “I’d hang out next to her desk with a pair of headphones on and record mixed tapes from the radio onto this little boombox she bought me.”
The duo’s latest project, “Day #2349, Danika & The Jeb – Live at Campbell Steele Gallery,” is a live double album that was recorded in Marion, Iowa last year. They recorded it 2,349 days after the release of their first album, “Second Chances,” in 2010. Their latest studio album, “Balance, Vol. 1” was released in 2014.
“Our goal was to capture one of our 1,200 live performances in a way that made people feel like they were right there listening to it,” Holmes said. “We didn’t want it to be a ‘best of’ album where you get the best version of 20 live shows. Our double-disc album is a complete show, beginning to end.”
Danika & The Jeb will capture that same live spirit during their performance tonight at Ann Arbor’s Black Crystal Cafe.
“We never tell exactly what we are preparing, but we choose our set from about six hours of rehearsed material,” Holmes said. “We like to read our audience and the other writers we’ll be playing for and with.”
Later this year, Danika & The Jeb will launch a Patreon page to share more live adventures with their fans. Each month, they will release two pieces of content that will include audio or live video projects. Danika & The Jeb also will be playing 80 more shows throughout the U.S. and Europe this year.
The Auburn Hills indie folk singer-songwriter will play for 400 people at The Chapel, a historic theater located inside the Detroit Masonic Temple that’s designed as a smaller scale replica of Westminster Abbey.
It’s symbolic of the original abbey where the knights of the round table likely gathered before they went to battle. “They actually have a stained-glass window, and they’ve had it blocked off because it was for knighting, but they just broke down the blocked off part, and now you can see the light,” said Millerschin, who teamed up with Fusion Shows to select the iconic theater for Saturday’s show. “The stones in the chapel room are rounded on the edges because they wanted it to look like knights had been walking on them.”
During Saturday’s show, Millerschin will breathe new life into the historic venue and perform a set of timeless heartfelt songs from her critically-acclaimed 2016 album, “Look Both Ways.” She’ll also debut seven or eight new songs and feature special guest performances from Ann Arbor folk singer-songwriter Chris DuPont and Nashville pop singer-songwriter Jilian Linklater.
“I’ve got tons of new music, and I’ve been so focused on the children’s book that I haven’t recorded it. It will be cool to debut it live in front of people and see what they think of it,” said Millerschin, who grew up in Rochester as a classically trained opera singer and started writing songs at age 13.
“Chris is one of my favorites, and he’s an incredible artist. As for Jilian, I played a show in Nashville with her the last time I was there, so I decided to throw her on this gig. I think people are going to like both of them.”
All artists are given the same song title, but must write their own lyrics and music as well as determine the genre. Tonight’s song is called “Best Guess,” said Gerald Wayne “G.W.” Staton, who’s owned and operated the 44-seat Black Crystal Studio since 2007.
“I gave the artists an example of something I wrote just to show them what they might do with it. Two of them have written me and said, ‘I’m deep in the rabbit hole,’ but they’re challenged by it,” he said. “Artists always say they needed that challenge, and they needed something thrown at them to get out of a rut.”
During “For Song Sake,” audience members will rate each song from one to five based on lyrics, melody and likability. The winning songwriter will receive a prize, which could include cash, an instrument, a short trip or another item.
Staton and his Black Crystal Studio crew will record each artist’s performance of “Best Guess” and air the recording during an upcoming “For Song Sake” session on Ann Arbor Radio, one of the venue’s two online radio stations. Each artist will receive a copy of the recording.
“I’ve got four dates for ‘For Song Sake’ lined up for next year, one a quarter,” Staton said. “The audience was what impressed me. People came out that I wouldn’t have guessed would come, but they were interested in hearing about songwriting.”