Crisp Tastes and Tunes – Ypsilanti’s 2nd Annual West Cross Cider Festival Drafts Michigan Cider Makers, Local Eateries and Emerging Music Acts

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Crisp tastes and tunes will fill the vibrant fall air Saturday at Ypsilanti’s West Cross Cider Festival.

The second annual hard cider festival will feature 10 Michigan-crafted hard ciders, a host of delectable West Cross food offerings and five emerging Ypsi-based music artists to celebrate an autumn afternoon in the city.

Hard cider and mead fans will experience a bushel of sweet, tasty brews from Farmhaus, Northville Cider, Sierra Rose, Blake’s, Virtue, Pux, Fourth Coast, St. Ambrose and Cherry Creek as well as local favorites Bløm Meadworks, Unity Vibration and 734 Brewing Company.

“This is their time to fall in love with more than one favorite and connect with the representatives of each brand,” said Julie Palmer, West Cross Cider Festival event organizer. “With names like Ballyhoo, Traffic Jam, Skinny Dip and Absynthe Botanical, it will become immediately clear that cider is as diverse as the maker behind it.”

Palmer and the West Cross Cider Festival team partnered with the Michigan Cider Association and beverage distributors to bring new and returning cider producers to the growing event, which is located at the intersection of College Place and West Cross.

“Because Michigan is at the top of our nation’s apple-producing states, we’ve got so much to offer,” Palmer said. “One only needs to scratch the surface to find many Michigan ciders in most stores.”

Festival attendees will be able to purchase cider tasting wristbands for $25 in advance online. The first 500 purchases also will include souvenir tasting mugs for hardcore cider aficionados to personally enjoy the festival’s brews with food from Wurst Bar, Tower Inn, Veg-O-Rama and other local eateries.

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For Song Sake – Motor City Artists Debut New ‘Best Guess’ Track for Tonight’s Black Crystal Studio Songwriting Challenge

Jeff Scott will perform tonight at Black Crystal Studio as part of the “For Song Sake” songwriting challenge.

Four metro Detroit area artists will demonstrate their songwriting prowess tonight at Ann Arbor’s most intimate and private music venue.

Jeff Scott, Brooke Ratliff, Kelsey Detering and Mike Gentry will participate in “For Song Sake,” a creative challenge in which songwriters compose a new tune over six weeks and debut it before a live audience at Black Crystal Studio. Songwriters apply to participate in the challenge.

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.”

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Musical Feast – Pond Jam Festivalgoers Experience First Taste of Mercury Salad Sandwich’s Savory Acoustic Funk over Labor Day Weekend

Mercury Salad Sandwich’s Kyle Kipp, Dan “Ozzie” Andrews, Kurt Bonnell and Brooke Ratliff

 

Rapid City, Mich. – Pond Jam festivalgoers will feast on Mercury Salad Sandwich this Labor Day weekend.

They’ll heavily ingest the tasty “acoustic funk” tunes of the burgeoning folk rock and Americana quartet from Ypsilanti, Mich., during their 4:30 p.m. Sunday set on the Pond Jam Second Stage.

It’s also the first time northern Michiganders will sink their teeth into Mercury Salad Sandwich’s delectable music, said Brooke Ratliff, the band’s vocalist, guitarist and percussionist.

“Some of our fave local bands, like Dragon Wagon and Fangs and Twang, are regulars at Pond Jam. There’s a notorious video from Pond Jam of Fangs and Twang playing their jamming song, ‘Big Foot,’ while people in Yeti costumes dance,” she said. “It just seemed like a great time, so we sent them some music, and they let us in.”

A private event, the fifth annual Pond Jam will boast more than 60 bands on four stages today through Sunday at a family’s Rapid City wilderness getaway located about 20 miles east of Traverse City, Mich.

Pond Jam festivalgoers will see an eclectic set from Ratliff and her three Mercury Salad Sandwich bandmates, Kurt Bonnell (acoustic and electric guitar), Dan “Ozzie” Andrews (acoustic and electric bass) and Kyle Kipp (drums and guitar).

“We are playing our folk rock and acoustic funk tunes and debuting one mellow original called ‘The Road,’” Ratliff said. “We are Mazzy Star fans, and the song is our tribute to them.”

Continue reading “Musical Feast – Pond Jam Festivalgoers Experience First Taste of Mercury Salad Sandwich’s Savory Acoustic Funk over Labor Day Weekend”