Virtual Migration – Ann Arbor’s Ebird & Friends Holiday Show Lands Online Saturday

Saturday’s show will be streamed on Facebook and YouTube. Artwork courtesy of Erin Zindle

For Erin Zindle, this year’s Ebird & Friends Holiday Show will migrate to a new format.

The Ragbirds frontwoman and multi-instrumentalist will present the beloved Ann Arbor holiday show virtually Saturday through a free, one-night livestream performance via Facebook and YouTube.

“The pandemic has forced creative people to get extra creative if they want to continue making their art and sharing it with a world in isolation. This is the 13th year I’ve produced the Ebird & Friends Holiday Show, but it’s an entirely different experience in this virtual format. I’ve had to rethink it from the ground up with safety as a top priority,” Zindle said.

Formerly presented live at The Ark over four sold-out nights, this year’s online show will feature a mix of pre-recorded videos interspersed with live performances and virtual special guest cameos. To protect artists and crew members, Zindle implemented a number of rigorous safety protocols throughout the show’s development and production.

“We are filming the production in a large warehouse space where we’ve measured plenty of distance between us, and there is a large rolling door that we open regularly to air out the room. All the crew and artists are masked, with the only exception being the lead singers and horn players who remove their masks for the final video takes,” said Zindle, who teamed up with Allen Audio and Birdhouse Productions to record the show’s performances.

“We all isolated ourselves as much as possible prior to the event, and most have taken COVID tests to be extra cautious. I created a schedule where the featured artists show up by appointment to avoid overlap and reduce our exposure to each other. Like everyone else we have had to make a series of hard choices and sacrifices to keep ourselves and each other safe.”

In light this year’s pandemic challenges, the show will still retain its fun variety-style format and holiday setlist with a star-studded Michigan lineup of new and returning acts.

Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds, The Native Howl’s Alex Holycross, The Accidentals, The Sweet Water Warblers, Seth Bernard, Mark Lavengood, The Gasoline Gypsies, Madelyn Grant, The Crane Wives’ Emilee Petersmark, Shake Steady’s Sean Ike, Dave Boutette and Kristi Lynn Davis, Jen Sygit and others will grace the show’s virtual stage. Comedian Shelly Smith will emcee and introduce the artists from a separate stage set.

“When choosing artists I always try to keep diversity and flow in mind to create a dynamic show with a variety of styles represented. This year I chose artists that have already been involved in past shows and decided to repeat a few favorite songs we already knew,” said Zindle, who formed The Ragbirds in 2005.

“I knew we would not have much if any rehearsal time, and I wanted to simplify the amount of songs we had to learn. We did the new song arrangements via Zoom meetings and shared demo iPhone recordings so we could show up ready to roll the camera.”

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Friday Night Live – Dave Boutette, Kristi Lynn Davis Kick Off Farmington Civic Theater Winter Concert Series Jan. 11

Kristi Lynn Davis and Dave Boutette will play Friday night at the Farmington Civic Theater.

Dave Boutette and Kristi Lynn Davis will share their get-up-and-go tunes and folk-inspired harmonies with Farmington concertgoers Friday night.

The Dexter singer-songwriters will kick off the four-part “Friday Night Live” concert series at the Farmington Civic Theater, 33332 Grand River Ave. in Farmington, at 8 p.m. Friday with special guest Scott Martin.

A husband-and-wife folk music duo, Boutette and Davis will perform catchy acoustic anthems from “Easy as Pie,” their 2018 album, along with a slew of old favorites during their 90-minute set.

“We have a couple of new songs and one new cover,” Boutette said. “As it’s become a tradition, Kristi goes into my back catalog to find things we haven’t done before.”

Boutette’s celebrated songwriting paired with Davis’ lush harmonies is where attendees will find onstage magic at the Farmington Civic Theater.

Close, comforting and warm, Davis’ voice slips in easily beside Boutette’s creating a beautiful sound. Her stage presence and quick wit are a perfect match for Boutette’s songs.

Boutette and Davis discovered their musical magic while singing together on their back porch six years ago. Those at-home singing sessions quickly turned into a growing series of shows and festival dates.

Coincidentally, their musical partnership dates back 35 years when the pair starred in musicals together while attending high school in metro Detroit.

After graduation, they went their separate ways while Boutette played in the Detroit alternative rock band The Junk Monkeys and later became a folk music solo artist.

Davis became a singer-dancer, Radio City Rockette and author of the 2015 comic memoir, “Long Legs and Tall Tales.” She reunited with Boutette in 2012, and they married the following year.

Today, Boutette and Davis continue to perform as part of a strong singer-songwriter movement locally, statewide and throughout the Midwest at a variety of venues, especially listening rooms like the Farmington Civic Theater.

“I think it’s nice to have more of a listening room environment where people can really focus in on Dave’s lyrics, which are so clever, meaningful and heartfelt,” Davis said. “They make you feel good if you really listen to them. I’m glad that we get a chance to do that.”

Continue reading “Friday Night Live – Dave Boutette, Kristi Lynn Davis Kick Off Farmington Civic Theater Winter Concert Series Jan. 11”