Sage Advice – The Steve Taylor Three Finds the Right Balance on ‘Travel Light’ Album

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The Steve Taylor Three’s Carey Waver, Steve Taylor and Bryan Frink share gratitude, wisdom and honesty on “Travel Light.” Photo – Daniel Roth

Steve Taylor follows a valuable piece of advice from his father.

The Lake Orion Americana singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist carries an optimal load of “supplies” through life’s peaks and valleys with bandmates Bryan Frink (bass, guitar, keys, vocals) and Carey Weaver (drums, percussion, vocals) on The Steve Taylor Three’s insightful new album, Travel Light, out Friday.

“Once a year, my dad and I would go hike the Appalachian Trail in the Appalachian Mountains. He would always talk about how you had to bring everything with you because you’re going to be up in the mountains,” Taylor said.

“You’d have to carry all your water, and you don’t realize how heavy water is until you carry it with you all day. The idea is you only bring what you need. I thought the whole idea of camping and hiking and having to carry everything in your bag is a great metaphor for life.”

Inside The Steve Taylor Three’s Travel Light “bag” resides a comforting assortment of gratitude, wisdom and honesty across 11 transformative tracks. Each one introduces a past, present or future destination along an unpredictable journey filled with heartwarming experiences.

“The older we get, the more reflection there is. I seem to be writing a lot of songs now about the passage of time and what it means. That wasn’t the case when we were younger,” said Taylor, who last released Earn Every Scar with his bandmates in March 2020.

“The simplicity of that phrase, ‘It Doesn’t Take Long,’ I try to take that title or that refrain and just come at it from family, relationships and everything. You realize when you get to close to 50 … I’m going to turn 49 here in a couple weeks and Bryan and Carey have already turned 50. You think, ‘Wow, 50.’ When we were younger, we thought people who were 30 were old.”

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Travel Guide – Eric Ripper’s Life Adventures Elicit Dreamy, Ambient Pop-Rock Music

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Eric Ripper seeks musical inspiration from his ongoing travels. Photo – Kris Herrmann

Eric Ripper naturally follows his sense of adventure.

The Northville acoustic singer-songwriter drives cross-country, visits campsites and boards cruise ships to seek inspiration for his growing catalog of dreamy, ambient pop-rock music.

“This past summer I went to Utah, and I wanted the whole experience of just driving across the country. I knew it would be inspirational for me, and then I worked at a resort just entertaining people and playing covers and originals five days a week,” Ripper said.

“I wrote a few new songs while I was out there, and that’s kind of what I wanted … to be out there experiencing life.”

Ripper thoughtfully depicts his travels, experiences and reflections across three recent releases, including an atmospheric covers album, an outdoorsy instrumental project and a transformational anthology.

“For Classic Covers, I kept noticing how I was staying in the classic rock genre, and I decided to stick with it and kept the songs in that era. I also wanted to experiment with the sounds that I created and discovered with Lost in a Perfect Camping Trip. I wasn’t ready to write new original stuff yet,” he said.

“I like the instrumental album because I’m self-conscious about my voice like all singers are. I wanted to have some fun and not focus on writing lyrics. I was just gonna jam out and play with a different sound. And Story Notes is definitely a coming-of-age album … it’s different topics and different parts of my life.”

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Due West – Desmond Jones Explores Vibrant Americana Landscape on ‘Why Not?’

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Desmond Jones opts for a cohesive Americana sound on “Why Not?” Photo – Purchase Productions

Desmond Jones boldly explores the sunny, vast terrain of the undiscovered countryside.

The Grand Rapids jam quintet of John Nowak (drums, vocals), Isaac Berkowitz (guitar, vocals), Chris Bota (guitar, vocals), Taylor Watson (bass) and George Falk (sax, vocals) proudly ventures through blazing deserts, rolling hilltops and sprawling mountains on their latest Americana-infused album, Why Not?

“We’re lucky it fell together in a cohesive way because some of the songs were written almost 10 years ago. Others were written two years ago or right before we started recording the album,” Nowak said.

“We tried to collect them in a way that made thematic sense, even though we didn’t write them all together with the intention of releasing a concept album.”

As a refreshing, countrified conceptual immersion and stylistic detour from their funky, glam-jam sound, Desmond Jones’ Why Not? glides through 15 insightful, majestic tracks filled with nomadic adventures, lovelorn moments and bucolic musings.

The addition of warm, folky instrumentation – pedal steel guitars, fiddles, banjos, Dobros and mandolins – and rich four-part harmonies allow the band’s newfangled Americana sound to travel beyond the Midwestern landscape.

“A lot the songs we’ve been performing for over eight years now, and the Americana sound and songwriting style have always been a part of our live show and our catalog. We just never had the opportunity to record a lot of it or package it in that way,” said Nowak about the band’s third album.

“Once we started writing more songs that were a verse-chorus structure and a singer-songwriter style, they started to add up. We realized we had enough material to put it all together in one album, so that it wouldn’t feel as disjointed if we had put some of this stuff together with our funky or more progressive songs.”

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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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In the Round – Livonia’s Brian Perrone Joins Tonight’s Songwriter Showcase at Parliament Room, Releases New ‘Dog with Ball’ EP

Brian Perrone performs tonight at The Parliament Room at Otus Supply in Ferndale.

At tonight’s “Singers in the Round” Songwriter Showcase, Brian Perrone will debut tracks from his new “Dog with Ball” EP in a live, intimate acoustic setting in Ferndale.

He will perform at The Parliament Room at Otus Supply, 345 E. 9 Mile Road, starting at 7 p.m. with Tom Butwin, Shiny Penny and JonPaul Wallace.

“It’s such a neat experience because every person is clearly different, so you might have somebody playing blues, somebody playing folk. I feel really honored and blessed to have an opportunity to take the stage with the three people I’ll be playing with,” said Perrone, a Livonia singer-songwriter.

“I get to do four songs, and I’m going to do at least one from ‘All Growns Up,” and then I’m going to do two from ‘Dog with Ball.’ My fourth one is either going to be this brand new one I just wrote or another one from ‘All Growns Up.’”

Today also marks another significant musical milestone for Perrone – the release of “Dog with Ball,” a new five-song EP with stripped-down, piano-based tracks that chronicle changing relationships, personal growth and inner reflections. It’s a warm, dreamy follow-up to his 2014 jazzy debut, “All Growns Up.”

Perrone collaborated with a host of talented, established Detroit area musicians on “Dog with Ball,” including Ypsilanti producer and guitarist Steve Somers, Re-Cure and Ethos guitarist and Siamese bassist Eric Cojacari, bassist Ronnie Smith, guitarist James Peltier and Honey Monsoon vocalist and guitarist Ana Gomulka.

“I think I’m gravitating toward more rock, that’s where I’m really rooted, and I love acoustic simple stripped-down basic songwriting,” said Perrone, who features his bulldog Sookie on the EP’s cover. “I love the singer-songwriter movement that’s going on.”

Continue reading “In the Round – Livonia’s Brian Perrone Joins Tonight’s Songwriter Showcase at Parliament Room, Releases New ‘Dog with Ball’ EP”