Five singer-songwriters will bring their Nashville sound to Detroit Friday night.
Wil Nance, Danika Holmes, Jeb Hart, Rob Taube and Mark Barnowski will share their Americana, country, folk and pop sounds through the Nashtown Songwriters Round at the Farmington Civic Theater as part of the “Friday Night Live” concert series.
As the final show in the concert series’ winter season, “Nashtown” will allow the singer-songwriters to mix elements of Music City with Motown through their live performances and musical storytelling.
“It’s going to be a great show at the Nashtown Songwriters Round,” Wil Nance said. “I hope people will be moved, laugh and cry some, have a good time and hear some great stories behind the songs.”
The Plymouth singer-songwriter, aka Matt Sauter, combines his down-to-earth indie folk rock roots with lush new alt-rock growth on his latest single, “Back to Normal,” which drops today.
Akin to Kings of Leon and Mumford and Sons, Sauter’s catchy 4.5-minute single features his signature raspy vocals backed by brightly-toned guitars and pulsating drum beats. “Back to Normal’s” clever lyrics include an infectious play on words ranging from “cooking dishes” to “growing lawns” to “breaking fences” to “painting songs.”
“It’s a concept song, first it was kind of like a joke, I was writing it and trying to sing everything backwards,” said Sauter, who wrote the track while attending the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME). “The chord progressions are churchy and powerful, and once we got a full band with it, it became this super, big and powerful song, and we’ve been playing it live for a year now, and it’s one of our fan favorites.”
That live fan favorite also features the talents of Dan Sauter (bass), Jon Staten (drums) and Jimmy Showers (guitar), who now serve as official band members for Adventures with Vultures. He also worked with Jake Rye of Social Recording Company in Adrian to produce and mix the track.
“We go in there with Jake, we plug in, and we play our shit loud,” said Sauter, who originally started as a hip-hop artist and honed his drumming skills while growing up in Plymouth. “We’re going for an early 2000s indie alt rock sound with these new songs.”
Originally, Adventures with Vultures started as an emerging indie folk solo act for Sauter, who released his brilliant, introspective four-song debut EP, “Junction,” in 2017 through Original 1265 Recordings, an independent label owned by CND America, DIME’s parent company.
Sauter expanded the project into a full band after playing a growing roster of live dates in Michigan and going on his first national headlining tour last year. He’s also transitioned from being part of Original 1265 Recordings to becoming an independent, do-it-yourself (DIY) artist.
As a DIY artist, Sauter recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to help support releasing new music as well as an upcoming tour. To date, he’s raised nearly $2,000, thanks to his burgeoning fan base, and sponsoring additional casino bus and golf outing fundraisers.
“Being a DIY artist is more community-based, and it feels more organic,” he said. “With the support of our fans, we’re going to release a new single every three months for the next year.”
As a next step, the band will release a new video soon for “Back to Normal” and return to the studio in April to record their next single.
Adventures with Vultures also will perform a series of upcoming live shows, including April 13 at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with LVRS and Jackamo, April 26 at New Way Bar as part of Ferndale Spring Fever and May 24 at Mac’s Bar in Lansing with Joshua Powell.
“We’re going to keep course, we’re going to do our thing, but we want to be part of SXSW’s Michigan House next year,” Sauter said. “We’re going to keep the name growing, and people keep telling us to come back down to Nashville and Milwaukee. Every year, more and more keeps happening, and as long as we stay on our path, we’ll be pretty fucking happy.”
“Saint Andrew’s is a great venue, and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” said Cocco, who originally hails from Sterling Heights. “It’s a fun homecoming for me, and what I like about RAW is that it’s not just about music. I’ve always thought of Science for Sociopaths since its conception as a multimedia project. For each project that I’ve done, I’ve worked very closely with an artist.”
Hosted by RAW Detroit, an international artist collective, Reflect will be the first show Cocco has played in the Motor City since relocating to the Bay area in September. She will reunite with Detroit bandmates Neil Eby (guitar), Alex Marshall (bass) and J Durrell Gibbs (drums) for her set.
“I’m bowled over by their willingness to play with me,” Cocco said. “I’m going to do some of the favorites from ‘Love & Life,’ and then I’m going to do a new song, ‘Where I Belong,’ that I’m going to release right before the show.”
“Where I Belong” will be Cocco’s first new Science for Sociopaths single since releasing her double EP “Love & Life” in June and the first of 10 new tunes she’ll be sharing throughout 2019 to her Patreon supporters. All 10 tracks will be released as part of an official album later this year.
“It’s a love song, just like ‘Love & Life,’ which I felt was very aptly named. My music compulsions are divided between philosophical shit that I’m figuring out in my brain for myself with how life works with boundaries and then my romantic life,” said Cocco, who’s influenced by Carole King, Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow. “I’m a very romantic person, it sort of overflows, and it’s always about half and half.”
Cocco recorded the untitled pop-rock project with Benjamin Warsaw, a Nashville-based producer and sound engineer, over four days in Ohio. She also worked with Warsaw on “Love & Life,” her heartfelt nine-song ode to the trials and tribulations of life and love.
Throughout 2018, Cocco released a new Science for Sociopaths song each week through Patreon, an online platform that allows artists to receive funds directly from their fans.
“It was a very prolific year for me,” she said. “I think I grew a lot as a musician, but this year I’m trying to dedicate more time and resources to getting the music I already have in front of more people.”
“It’s a really cool venue because it’s a listening room, almost like a mini Ark, where people come and pay attention,” Predhomme said. “It’s very appropriate for us to tell stories about the songs, talk between the songs and really interact with the people.”
As part of the show, each singer-songwriter will perform her own material, provide insights into her music and collaborate with one another. Together, they’ll offer an invigorating blend of Americana, country, folk, soft rock and pop to uplift the musical spirit on a warm winter’s night.
“It’s fun to be able to share the stories behind our songs with people who care about them,” said Predhomme, who performs regularly at Crazy Wisdom. “I’ll be doing a lot of newer songs, and we may do a song together at the end.”
He will open for critically-acclaimed folk singer-songwriter Seth Glier and play tracks from his 2017 self-titled debut EP. Andrew Harness will join Ohly on guitar and piano while Megan McKay will provide vocals.
“We’re going to do some new songs, some old songs, and we’re going to do a cover as well,” said Ohly, who originally hails from Rochester and currently attends the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. “It’s going to be pretty moving, so I’m really looking forward to it. A little bit of everything.”
Ohly released his heartfelt six-song self-titled debut EP last October and included an emotionally-charged, introspective package of musical tales focused on relationships, loss and growth.
“There’s a lot of songs about my family on there. I wanted to do more of an acoustic folk sound, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a whole band,” he said. “It was a cool start, and I’m glad some people like it. I’m excited for the next stuff I put out there.”
Ohly penned the EP’s tracks on an acoustic guitar in his Jackson College dorm room and teamed up with producer John Katona to add drums and beats. He’s especially proud of “Home” and “Thursday Night.”
“‘Home’ is probably my favorite because that’s had the most success. I feel like it turned out the way that I pictured it the most,” said Ohly, who’s influenced by his older musical brothers as well as The Head and the Heart, The Avett Brothers, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel.
“‘Thursday Night’ is the other one that I like a lot because it’s probably the most unique, and based off other music blogs I’ve spoken to, they agree with me. That’s actually the producer’s favorite song.”
Ohly is writing new material and getting ready to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also plans to play some local shows with his Hilo-based band and will eventually return to metro Detroit to record his next project.
“I think I’ll have a single out this spring. I really want to make sure that the next EP or album that I release is kind of the way I want it rather than the previous EP, where I had to play the drums and throw a lot of stuff together over a year,” he said. “For the next EP or album, I’d really like to have a band that knows each part, so they can go into the studio and record in a couple of days because we’ve already practiced and played shows previously.”
During the show, each singer-songwriter will take a turn performing their own material, tell stories behind their music, delve into their personal creative process and introduce a new track. “There will be some interesting and funny stories probably, and I think everyone in this lineup likes crowd engagement,” Jewett said. “We’re not looking for the hushed symphony audience.”
This is the third time Jewett has teamed up with Petty and Corbin to host a “Songwriters Round” in metro Detroit since May 2017. In the past, they’ve hosted similar events at 20 Front Street in Lake Orion and Trinity House Theatre in Livonia with Chelsea folk singer-songwriter Annie Capps.
Instead, Clark, Ypsilanti singer-songwriter, will join the trio for Friday’s show to share her burgeoning Americana roots music with the crowd.
“We found that we have a pretty good chemistry, and we are able to follow whatever kind of flow the group has got going. I don’t think anyone is coming with a specific setlist of songs they’re absolutely going to play, maybe a longer list they can pick from, but that’s what I like about songwriter rounds,” Jewett said. “They’re dynamic, you can either follow someone’s lead and go deeper into a topic, or if you feel like the audience has had enough of that, then you can do a quick change-up and play something for contrast.”
Friday Night Live Songwriters Round with Mark Jewett, Amy Petty, Sam Corbin and Rochelle Clark