Remote Start – Detroit Artists Release Quarantine-Inspired Rendition of ‘Chelsea Hotel No. 2’ via Old Main Records

Three Detroit artists beautifully preserve the romantic soul of a fallen New York love story.

Emma Guzman, Christian Ohly and Quasi-Bullfight’s Malcolm McNitt breathe new indie folk-pop life into Leonard Cohen’s 1974 one-that-got-away classic, “Chelsea Hotel No. 2,” as part of an Old Main Records-exclusive collaboration released via social media. It’s akin to Laura Marling collaborating with Pinegrove.

Together, the trio’s nostalgic, heartfelt and upbeat rendition features dreamy, swift acoustic strums, pulsating bass, effervescent handclaps, jingling tambourine, glistening horns and whistling theremin as Guzman soulfully sings, “I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel/You were famous, your heart was a legend/You told me again you preferred handsome men/But for me you would make an exception.”

“Old Main Records grouped the three of us together, and we went through a list of songs until we agreed upon ‘Chelsea Hotel No. 2.’ I was the one to throw it out there, as I had recently started covering it, and it’s an amazing tune,” Guzman said.

“I’ve enjoyed Cohen’s music since I was younger, and his songwriting has such a rich, dark charm to it. His emotions reach below the surface, and that’s what inspires me most about his writing,” Guzman said.

Back in the spring, Guzman, Ohly and McNitt each responded to an Old Main Records call for a special quarantine-inspired artist collaboration. The plan included stimulating local artist creativity and partnership amid a new, unfamiliar socially distanced world absent of live music.

After the artists responded, Old Main Records, a Wayne State University student-run record label and organization, realized these three were a magical force. In a sense, it was a dream collaboration for a trio of emerging, complementary singer-songwriters.

“We felt we could do something to help artists meet and collaborate at the same time. We had recording engineers and graphic artists as well as our own platform to help promote these artists. We first gathered the artists to meet all together on Zoom,” said Chris Simpson, Old Main Records president and a Wayne State University student.

“Once the artists got to know each other and their music, they had to meet online to come up with a song to record. The artists picked the track based on their own recommendations of pitching each other ideas. It was a very organic process.”

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‘Home’ – Rochester’s Christian Ohly to Open for Seth Glier Tonight at 20 Front Street

Indie folk singer-songwriter Christian Ohly

Christian Ohly will bring his Americana-influenced indie folk to Lake Orion’s 20 Front Street tonight.

He will open for critically-acclaimed folk singer-songwriter Seth Glier and play tracks from his 2017 self-titled debut EP. Andrew Harness will join Ohly on guitar and piano while Megan McKay will provide vocals.

“We’re going to do some new songs, some old songs, and we’re going to do a cover as well,” said Ohly, who originally hails from Rochester and currently attends the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. “It’s going to be pretty moving, so I’m really looking forward to it. A little bit of everything.”

Ohly released his heartfelt six-song self-titled debut EP last October and included an emotionally-charged, introspective package of musical tales focused on relationships, loss and growth.

“There’s a lot of songs about my family on there. I wanted to do more of an acoustic folk sound, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a whole band,” he said. “It was a cool start, and I’m glad some people like it. I’m excited for the next stuff I put out there.”

Ohly EP artwork

Ohly penned the EP’s tracks on an acoustic guitar in his Jackson College dorm room and teamed up with producer John Katona to add drums and beats. He’s especially proud of “Home” and “Thursday Night.”

“‘Home’ is probably my favorite because that’s had the most success. I feel like it turned out the way that I pictured it the most,” said Ohly, who’s influenced by his older musical brothers as well as The Head and the Heart, The Avett Brothers, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel.

“‘Thursday Night’ is the other one that I like a lot because it’s probably the most unique, and based off other music blogs I’ve spoken to, they agree with me. That’s actually the producer’s favorite song.”

Ohly is writing new material and getting ready to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also plans to play some local shows with his Hilo-based band and will eventually return to metro Detroit to record his next project.

“I think I’ll have a single out this spring. I really want to make sure that the next EP or album that I release is kind of the way I want it rather than the previous EP, where I had to play the drums and throw a lot of stuff together over a year,” he said. “For the next EP or album, I’d really like to have a band that knows each part, so they can go into the studio and record in a couple of days because we’ve already practiced and played shows previously.”

Show details:

Seth Glier with Christian Ohly

20 Front Street in Lake Orion

8 p.m. tonight

Tickets and event info