Midwest Sounds – Wiltsie’s Nov. 27 Festival Showcases and Supports Local Artists

Wiltsie's show
The Real Dan Minard, Aaron Markovitz and Jackie Pappas perform at Wiltsie’s. The three singer-songwriters also are part of the Midwest Sounds festival lineup. Photo – Brandon Still

Wiltsie’s thoughtfully highlights the artistic brilliance of independent Michigan artists.

The intimate Clarkston listening room will spotlight and support local singer-songwriters during their inaugural Midwest Sounds festival on Nov. 27 at Bay Court Park’s Brady Lodge.

“Festivals have a whole ‘nother dynamic and atmosphere, and I think we’ll get a different crowd in to see these musicians and artists. The goal is for them to get more recognition and acknowledgement for what they’re doing while being able to pay them,” said Jackie Pappas, an Americana singer-songwriter who co-runs Wiltsie’s with Brandon Still and Paul Angelini.

Midwest Sounds will feature a star-studded lineup of Americana, folk, country and rock artists, including The Real Dan Minard, Sean Miller, Emily Rose and Pappas, as well as a young songwriters round.

Meanwhile, the newly formed Americana quartet of Jason Dennie, Aaron Markovitz, Keith Billik and Scott Kendall – also known as Through the Thicket – will headline the daylong festival.

“It’s all about giving back to the musicians, getting more of a crowd in and shining a light on everyone because they work so hard and are so talented,” said Pappas, who’s also partnered with Oxford’s HomeGrown Brewing Co. and Fenton’s D&W’s Street Eatery for refreshing festival craft brews and food.

In addition, festival ticket proceeds will support a new Wiltsie’s grant and mentorship program for independent musicians. As a newly established nonprofit housed in Main Street MI’s historic co-working space, Wiltsie’s will help one artist each month with recordings, videos, photos and music distribution.

“We want to help get them on their feet and give them that first nudge, so they can have a great portfolio to move forward and send their stuff to some venues. If they really like what we’re doing, then they’ll come back and have the funds to hopefully continue with us,” Pappas said.

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Wash Over – Lilly MacPhee Provides Comforting Relief on ‘Waves’ Single

Lilly MacPhee instantly provides a comforting, emotional release for the brokenhearted.

The Brighton indie folk singer-songwriter beautifully soothes and relieves grief-stricken souls on her tender, thoughtful latest single, “Waves,” which serves as a heartfelt tribute to her late uncle Ron.

“For me, songwriting is helpful as an outlet. I saw my family going through the grieving process, so I wrote the chorus really quickly and instantly felt better. I wrote that song within a half-hour after I had the idea for it,” said MacPhee, who lost her uncle to COVID-19 in December.

Throughout “Waves,” MacPhee openly shares her personal sorrow amidst a calming, acoustic-centered folk symphony. Somber, glistening guitar, heavenly strings and contemplative piano soar as grief slowly washes over her.

She elegantly sings, “Can we pause this moment/Freeze for a second/Not make any decisions with mixed emotions/As the waters rise, I try to find/A way to breathe/Full speed it hits me.”

“My family just loved it. At one point, we had gone to visit my aunt and cousins. I had a recording of it on my phone, and I had them listen to it. My aunt was so teary, and she said it really explained the grieving process,” MacPhee said.

While “Waves” boldly captures the raw honesty of MacPhee’s grief, it also reminds listeners to cherish their loved ones and focus on the present.

“Sometimes we need to sit back and really appreciate the small moments, whether it’s having a cup of coffee or going for a drive with someone. Time just goes so fast, and sometimes we forget that. I try to live in the present and not worry too much about the future,” MacPhee said.

As a DIY artist and musician, MacPhee recorded, produced, mixed and mastered “Waves” in her home studio earlier this year. She also released an intimate acoustic video for the track, which features a poignant, memorable live performance.

“That was the first song I recorded and released at home. During the pandemic, I invested in recording equipment and slowly built my own home studio. I thought, ‘I have all this stuff here, so why not give this a go?’” she said.

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