Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Expect ?Celticana? from Basement...
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Expect ?Celticana? from Basement Band Duo

Kristi Kates - July 25th, 2011
Expect ‘Celticana’from Basement Band Duo
By Kristi Kates
Billy Brandt is a busy man.
Not only does he play with regionally-popular band Grievous Angel, who
keep the dance floor moving at places like Petoskey’s City Park Grill, but
he’s also had to make room in his den for several Detroit Music Awards,
takes care of various releases through his own record label. Now, he is
also helming a duo, Billy Brandt, Sarana VerLin and the Basement Band,
which will perform several Northern Michigan shows this August.
His work with duet partner VerLin started from what might seem like an
unlikely source for this seasoned performer - the internet.

“I met Sarana VerLin on MySpace,” Brandt explains. “I saw a picture of her
dressed sort of like a gypsy and playing a violin. She looked interesting,
and I wondered how we had not met up in the music scene until then.”
Brandt contacted VerLin, met her in-person, and the pair quickly found
themselves in a jam session.
“I was surprised to find a great harmony singer as well as a unique lead
vocalist,” Brandt enthuses about VerLin. “A prolific songwriter and
sensitive accompanist on her violin.”
Soon after their first meeting, Brandt and VerLin tried writing a song
together - “and the results were instant and effective,” Brandt says.
Now dubbed Billy Brandt and Sarana VerLin and the Basement Band, they’ve
written over two dozen songs together in the past couple of years, and
have defined a new “sound” for themselves.

“Celticana” is what Brandt calls the music he crafts with VerLin, a
combination of influences that blend traditional, familiar Americana music
with folk music hailing from England.
Their self-defined combo has won them many regional awards and the DMAs
(Detroit Music Awards), and have seen them performing everywhere from bars
and nightclubs to educational venues such as the Charlevoix Public Library
(where they’ll be on August 22.)
“Both Sarana and I have won multiple Detroit Music Awards,” Brandt says,
“she won this year for Best Folk CD, and won that same award in 2008; and
we won Best Folk/Duo at the 2010 DMAs.”
Those familiar with the retro stylings of ’60s and ’70s folk music -
whether of the stateside or overseas variety - will likely identify with
Brandt and VerLin’s approaches to translating these sounds to their
“We are able to explore a great variety of music in this group,” Brandt
says, “we both have deep roots in both American and British folk - we can
jump from Towne or Dylan to Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention)-sounding
music. We sing great two-part harmony, and with our full band great
three-part harmony.”
And they most definitely “jam,” Brandt enthuses: “about half of our songs
take off on a jam at the end,” he says, “every one is a good listener.”
Even though they call themselves “Celticana,” Brandt feels that part of
their appeal is that they are tapping in to an older style of music that
communicates well with their fans.
“Audiences are loving the roots revival because it creates a sense of
place, a sense of history,” he says, “it’s simple, beautiful music that is
easy to connect to on an emotional level.”

More info on Billy Brandt and Sarana VerLin may be found at
www.billyandsarana.com; they will be performing live on August 5 at the
City Park Grill in Petoskey, on August 6 at the Dunegrass Festival in
Empire, and on August 20 at the Perry Hotel’s Noggin Room in Petoskey.
Additional dates may be found via their website.
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