Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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.

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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