Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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

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.

GYPSY MEETING
“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.

MUSICAL COMBO
“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.”
 
FESTIVAL FOLK
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
audiences.
“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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