Active Duty – Major Murphy Plays Easter Weekend Shows to Grow Eastside Musical Troops

Major Murphy’s Jacki Warren, Jacob Bullard and Brian “Bud” Voortman will play shows Friday and Sunday in Hamtramck and Lansing.

For Major Murphy, Easter weekend means active duty on Michigan’s east side.

The Grand Rapids nostalgic rock trio will perform eastside shows Friday and Sunday to grow their musical troops in Hamtramck and Lansing.

Friday’s show will take place at Ghost Light Hamtramck with Carriers and Katy Kirby while Sunday’s show will occur as part of the Capital City Film Festival at Mac’s Bar with Lily Talmers & Monte Pride and Composetheway.

“We haven’t played at Ghost Light before, but we’re excited to play there and in Hamtramck for the first time. We’ll be able to get some new ‘Lafayette’ EP stuff into our set as well as songs from our ‘No. 1’ album,” said Jacob Bullard, Major Murphy’s vocalist and guitarist. “In Lansing, there’s going to be bands playing all weekend, and it’s in conjunction with the film fest.”

Bullard will join bandmates Jacki Warren (bass) and Brian “Bud” Voortman (drums) to share their 1970s-inspired radio rock with Hamtramck and Lansing crowds. They’ll perform hypnotic, mellow tracks from their latest EP, “Lafayette,” which dropped in February on Winspear, and last year’s full-length debut, “No. 1” as well as a cover of The Beatles “Revolver” classic, “She Said She Said.”

Recorded as demos in Bullard’s Grand Rapids-based house on Lafayette Avenue, the “Lafayette” EP features six songs that chronicle the creative evolution of Major Murphy from a stripped-down solo project to a three-piece rock band.

“I think it’s an extension or a companion to ‘No. 1,’ and we wanted to share stuff that we felt was interesting,” said Bullard, who formed Major Murphy with Warren and Voortman in 2015. “If people listened to ‘No. 1,’ then they might find ‘Lafayette’ extra fun because it’s where the songs started, and it gives them a behind-the-scenes perspective.”

Lafayette EP

For three tracks on “Lafayette,” each band member plants a promising sonic seed for the growth of “No. 1.” Bullard writes about an open-hearted expression that’s nostalgic and forward-thinking on “Come By Sunday” while Warren provides enchanting harmonies on “When I Go Out.” Meanwhile, Voortman jams for the first time on the initial demo for “No. 1.”

“They were recorded well before we went to Russian Recording, and they were mostly for my own benefit of being able to sketch the songs out,” said Bullard, who’s inspired by The Beatles, Paul McCartney and Wings, and Patti Smith. “I anticipated being able to record them again since they were very lo-fi, and the production was done in my bedroom.”

By 2017, Major Murphy ventured to Russian Recording in Bloomington, Ind., to record 10 nostalgic tracks for “No. 1.” The album’s jangly guitars, shimmering riffs, synth grooves, and dreamy, commanding vocals gently hook and draw listeners into a vintage, yacht rock world.

Together, Major Murphy hones a retro sound filled with harmonic structures, melodic progressions and emotional shifts that rely heavily on concert-like, energetic recordings. A year after “No 1.’s” release, the album stills sounds as refreshing and inspiring as its initial spin.

“I feel really proud of that record, and that’s never happened before. When I’ve made music in the past, I think about how we could have done this differently,” Bullard said. “I think this album is different because we were collaborative by working with Mike Bridavsky at Russian, and we brought in Ben and Aaron in addition to Bud and Jackie.”

With “No. 1” and “Lafayette” under their belt, Major Murphy will return to Russian Recording in July to record their next album. They also plan to release a new single soon.

“I’m super excited to put this next record together and share it with people,” Bullard said. “I’ve written the new songs precisely with all of us in mind and with the knowledge of what a dynamic life is like along with the strengths and weaknesses of that. It feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve been able to put out some new music.”

Show Details:

Major Murphy with Carriers and Katy Kirby

9 p.m. Friday

Ghost Light Hamtramck

2314 Caniff in Hamtramck

Tickets: $8

Major Murphy with Lily Talmers & Monte Pride and Composetheway

7 p.m. Sunday

Mac’s Bar

2700 E. Michigan Ave. in Lansing

Tickets: $10

Ypsilanti’s Foster Records Supports Local Music Scene, Hosts Friday Ch’i Machines and Baby Fangs Show at Hamtramck’s Korner Bar

Foster Records’ Nate Zuellig, Griffin Schultz, Jerry Heiss and Matt Wagner at 734 Brewing Co. in Ypsilanti.

Four Ypsilanti friends are fostering creativity and collaboration in metro Detroit’s burgeoning music scene.

Known as Foster Records, Nate Zuellig (Ch’i Machines), Griffin Schultz (Baby Fangs), Jerry Heiss (Jeremiah Mack & the Shark Attack) and Matt Wagner (promotion) bring an eclectic mix of groovy rocktronica, experimental pop and acoustic alternative rock to Washtenaw County and the Motor City through their own record label.

In early 2017, they formed the homegrown Ypsilanti-based label to focus on artist development and management, music, multimedia production and promotion. While working together, Zuellig, Schultz, Heiss and Wagner realized the collective value of combining their music, artistry and industry expertise.

“Foster Records was born over cups of coffee when we realized the path to success was spreading us too thin, and we started the label because we were booking shows by ourselves,” said Zuellig, Foster Records co-founder. “We started combining our talents and then recruiting the talented among us. Together, we elevate each other’s musical vision and know that no one creates alone.”

As a unit, the group recently released their first “Foster Records” sampler album, which includes two tracks by Zuellig, two tracks by Schultz, a collaboration between Zuellig and Schultz, and two tracks by Heiss. The album serves as a strong example of Foster Records’ emerging diverse artistry and musical approach.

“We have a team now with Griffin doing graphic design and communications, including posters and promos, he’s got the eye,” said Zuellig, who hails from Ypsilanti and shares a home studio with Schultz. “Jerry does video and web design while I’m doing the booking now, and Matt oversees public relations and promotion for us as artists.”

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