Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Double Vision: Twice the Musical...
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Double Vision: Twice the Musical Pleasure at the Cherry Festival

Express Staff - June 27th, 2002
If you‘re a veteran of Cherry Festivals past, you know that Traverse City‘s annual cherrypalooza offers not just one but two music festivals throughout the week.
That means several big-ticket, high-profile concerts held outside at Turtle Creek Casino in Williamsburg this year, as well as nightly almost-free concerts at the Open Space by the bay in downtown Traverse City.
Each concert series has its fans, and generally some surprises: last year‘s big concerts featured such offbeat notables as Fuel and Steel Pulse, while the downtown series always manages to unearth an archeological treasure from rock‘s substrata, with past performers including Eric Burdon, Maria Muldaur, Todd Rundgren and Leon Russell.
This year follows that trend with a bit of a twist. The bad news for young concert-goers is that there‘s no edgy act on par with Fuel or Motley Crue‘s Vince Neil this year (as yet, anyway). The good news for older musical sophisticates, however, is that this year will feature the Festival‘s first major jazz concert with George Benson and Natalie Cole.
Downtown‘s archival treasures include performances by blues guitar great Lonnie Brooks to open the Festival, with a wrap-up by Edgar Winter -- two bookends well worth browsing.

Turtle Creek Casino concerts in Williamsburg include the following, with with tickets available at Traverse Bay Entertainment box offices, (877) 271-7980, the National Cherry Festival office at the Open Space on West Bay, and all Ticketmaster locations:
-- Wednesday, July 10, country hits with JoDee Messina and rockabilly star Dwight Yoakam.
-- Thursday, July 11, classic rock with Foreigner and Kansas.
-- Friday, July 12, jazz/pop sounds of Natalie Cole and George Benson.

Open Space concerts in downtown TC are on the lawn at the bandshell. Bring a jacket, blanket or lawn chairs for concerts starting around 9 p.m. or dusk. Entry to the concert area is a $3 commemorative pin which is good for the whole week:
-- Saturday, July 6: night of the blues with The Kinsey Report and Lonnie Brooks.
-- Sunday, July 7: The Motown sounds of The Contours.
-- Monday, July 8: Lip-sync fun for teens .
-- Tuesday, July 9: Country Jam with Mark McGuinn.
-- Wednesday, July 10: 1964 The Tribute performs songs of the early Beatles.
-- Thursday, July 11: Peter Noone of Herman‘s Hermits in an oldies show.
-- Friday, July 12: Starship featuring Mickey Thomas.
-- Saturday, July 13: Blues rocker and jazz man Edgar Winter.

Following is a run-down on who‘s who at both Festival stages, with reports based on info from the All Music Guide and Rollingstone.com:

JoDee Messina
Wednesday, July 10, Turtle Creek Stage
Raised in New England, JoDee Messina moved to Nashville at the age of 19 where her musical skills earned her top awards at local talent shows. Tim McGraw produced her first self-titled album, which was a huge hit in 1996. She‘s since earned accolades as Favorite Country Female Artist from everyone from the American Music Awards to the Academy of Country Music. Messina visits Traverse City fresh from a double-platinum CD and another top Grammy win for her “Bring on the Rain” collaboration with Tim McGraw. Her hits include “Bye, Bye,” “I’m Alright,” “Lessons in Leavin’,” and “Stand Beside Me.”

Dwight Yoakam
Wednesday, July 10, Turtle Creek Stage
Dwight Yoakum‘s recent appearance as the sadistic guy in “Panic Room“ is on the heels of a string of rotten apple film roles that began in the mid-‘90s with “Sling Blade.“ Fortunately, there‘s more humanity in his music, which has added a dash of uncommon sensitivity to rockabilly while managing to steer clear of the slick vanilla stylings of modern country.
Yoakam has always been a bit of an outsider. Born in 1956 in Pikeville, Ky., he grew up in Ohio where he learned to play guitar with a penchant for honky-tonk and traditional country music. Rejected by Nashville in the late ‘70s, he moved to Los Angeles and got involved in the punk rock scene. That edgy influence bore fruit with his 1986 hit debut, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. The album and a string of follow-ups went platinum, prompting Nashville‘s staid country music establishment to loosen up and adopt a grittier sound. Call it the revenge of the hillbillies.

Steve Azar
Wednesday, July 10, Turtle Creek Stage
Mississippi Delta music influenced country artist Steve Azar, who grew up in Greenville, Miss., and began singing and playing guitar as a child. Switching from a pre-med program to a music major in college, he launched a country rock band which logged over 200 shows per year. After seven years on the road, Azar went to Nashville in 1993 in search of a recording contract. There were intervening years of paying dues, but Azar now records for Mercury Nashville and has a hit single, “I Don‘t Have to Be Me (‘Til Monday).

Thursday, July 11, Turtle Creek Stage
When Foreigner played a concert at the Grand Traverse Resort in the mid-‘90s, they dished up nearly two hours of non-stop hits. The band was created in 1976 by British studio guitarist Mick Jones and former King Crimson member Ian MacDonald. American singer Lou Gramm, believe it or not, was discovered singing in a Bad Company cover band. Although the band changed players through the years, breaking up in 1991, one constant which remained was the collaboration between Jones and Gramm. In 1993 they reunited, performing a classic rock show with hits such as “Cold As Ice,“ “Jukebox Heroes,“ “Waiting for A Girl Like You,“ “Urgent,“ “I Want to Know What Love Is“ and many others. While critics have trashed Foreigner for their formulaic songs, it must be said that Jones manages to sound like three guitarists playing (and makes it look easy), while Gramm still has solid platinum pipes that score high notes with fans.

Thursday, July 11, Turtle Creek Stage
There‘s more to Kansas than “Dust in the Wind,“ even if that tune has given given unlikely wings and a 30-year glide to this classic rock band. The band organized in Topeka in 1970, “and quickly rose to national prominence with their prosaic blend of vaguely arty, highly accessible light rock,“ notes Rolling Stone magazine. Kansas had a near-western twist on Electric Light Orchestra‘s use of symphonic sounds, dishing up hits such as “Carry On My Wayward Son,“ “Point of Know Return“ and the ubiquitous radio hit, “Dust...“ The band broke up in ‘82, reformed in ‘86, and today specializes in classic rock shows and festivals.

Natalie Cole
Friday, July 12, Turtle Creek Stage
Natalie Cole is the daughter of Nat King Cole, one of pop music‘s most successful romantic crooners. Born in 1950, she grew up with a love of music and released her first album, Inseparable, in 1975. The soul/R&B disc produced two top-10 hits, “This Will Be“ and “Inseparable,“ launching a career as a perennial hitmaker.
Cole surprised her fans and critics alike with her 1991 album, Unforgettable, which featured remakes of the jazz/pop classics popularized by her father. Her overdubbed recording of the song “Unforgettable“ with her father‘s voice was considered a bit controversial at the time, but has since been duplicated by a number of artists with famous parents, including Arlo Guthrie. The album established a romantic, retro style for Cole, and her concerts emphasize a similar sense of class and cool.

George Benson
Friday, July 12, Turtle Creek Stage
Born in Pittsburgh in 1943, singer/guitarist George Benson began performing in nightclubs before he reached the age of 10. Although he launched a rock group in 1960, his inclination was towards jazz. He launched a jazz band in 1965 and went on to record with numerous greats, including Miles Davis.
Benson hit it big in the mid-‘70s with a number of soft pop/smooth jazz hits including “The Masquerade.“ Quincy Jones produced his best-selling album, Give Me the Night. During the ‘80s, Benson (like guitarist Eric Clapton) seemed more focused on his vocals than his axe. Today, that trend has been reversed, meaning a well-balanced Benson on both guitar and vocals.

The Kinsey Report
Saturday, July 6, Open Space Stage
This family band of bluesmen dates back to the influence of their patriarch, Big Daddy Kinsey. In the mid-‘70s his sons launched a rock trio known as White Lightnin‘. By 1984, however, they had regrouped as The Kinsey Report, collecting influences ranging from bluesman Albert King to reggae giant Bob Marley. Today their sound offers everything from the Chicago blues to reggae, funk, rock and soul.

Lonnie & Ronnie Brooks
Saturday, July 6, Open Space Stage
Born Lee Baker, Jr. in 1933, Lonnie Brooks soaked up the delta blues heritage of his hometown of Dubuisson, La., but went on to master the Chicago blues. His grandfather (a banjo player) taught him how to play, and as a young man in his early 20s he was inspired by B.B. King, T-Bone Walker and other blues greats. He performed throughout Texas for years as Guitar Junior, eventually meeting blues singer Sam Cooke who brought him to Chicago in the 1960s. Since the Windy City already had a Guitar Junior, the newcomer changed his name to Lonnie Brooks. For the next three decades, Brooks developed a solid reputation as a flash blues guitarist even as the genre itself went begging during the hard rock era. His son Ronnie joined the band in 1987, revitalizing a show which has traded licks with the likes of Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King. His latest album is 1996‘s Roadhouse Rules.

The Contours
Sunday, July 7. Open Space Stage
A rocking sound and attitude made The Contours a national favorite on AM radio in the ‘60s with tunes such as “Do You Love Me“ delivered with the punch of Billy Gordon‘s sandpapered voice. The 1962 song was featured in the ‘87 film hit, “Dirty Dancing.“ One of Motown‘s first big acts, The Contours dished up the strut-soul hit “First I Look at the Purse“ in the mid-‘60s, along with “Just a Little Misunderstanding.“ Trivia note: Gordon was replaced by Dennis Edwards who later replaced David Ruffin as head of The Temptations. Also of note, Motown mogul Barry Gordie initially turned The Contours down at their 1959 audition, but after Jackie Wilson put in a good word for the band, they signed a seven-year contract the next day. Expect a tour of Motown classics from the current Contours.

Teen Lip Sync event
Monday, July 8, Open Space Stage
Teens are invited to dress like their favorite pop/rock stars, bring the CD, and act out their stage fantasies.

Mark McGuinn
Tuesday, July 9, Open Space Stage
In country music circles, Mark McGuinn is the hip cat wearing that funny hat (ie. no cowboy lid). He began his career in music as a trumpet player at the insistence of his mother, a formally-trained musician. Early on he played swing jazz and pop. A former pro soccer player from North Carolina, a knee injury sidelined McGuinn‘s athletic career and directed him towards music. Today, he has a number one country hit with “Mrs. Steven Rudy“ on his self-titled debut album. The song is about a man who pines for his unhappily-married neighbor. “It’s a great roll-the-windows-down-and-sing-along-at-the-top-of-your-lungs song,“ states one critic.

1964: The Tribute
Wednesday, July 10, Open Space Stage
An ever-green hit with C-Fest concert-goers, The Tribute serves up The Beatles in their Fab Four days of the early-to-mid ‘60s with material from the “Meet the Beatles,“ “Rubber Soul“ and “Revolver“ albums, delivered in the same round-collared costumes they wore on the Ed Sullivan Show. The music stops at the brink of Sgt. Pepper‘s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles‘ most interesting period, but fans don‘t seem to mind. Definitely a Yoko-free rave-up evening, man.

Peter Noone
Thursday, July 11, Open Space Stage
As frontman for Herman‘s Hermits of Manchester, England, Peter Noone gave The Beatles themselves a run for their money back in the early ‘60s with a string of top-10 hits including “I‘m Telling You Now,“ “Mrs. Brown You‘ve Got a Lovely Daughter,“ “I‘m Henry VIII, I Am.“ Unfortunately, the “band“ was often just a group of studio musicians and their songs suffered from the same sort of tongue-in-cheek shtick which kept The Monkees from being taken seriously. A pity because songs such as “No Milk Today“ and “There‘s a Kind of Hush All Over the World“ had true heft. The band broke up in 1970, but thanks to looks which were compared to that of John F. Kennedy and an excellent voice for pop, Peter Noone carried on with various incarnations of the Hermits, battling the demons of post-pop stardom for the next three decades. Today, his show of oldies hits still has fans flicking their Bicks.

Friday, July 12, Open Space Stage
Remember what the dormouse said? Starship‘s roots go back to 1966 when the seminal psychedelic band Jefferson Airplane and singer Grace Slick blew the lid off America‘s consciousness with such drug-inspired songs as “White Rabbit.“ By 1971, the band had moved into political protest territory, changing its name to Jefferson Starship after releasing an album about journeying to the stars to create a new utopia. When band leader Paul Kantner left the group in 1984, they became simply Starship, with singer Mickey Thomas sharing vocals with Grace Slick. A series of radio-friendly hits ensued, including “Sara,“ “Nothing‘s Gonna Stop Us“ and “We Built This City (On Rock & Roll).“ Thomas takes the helm on this flight.

Edgar Winter
Saturday, July 13, Open Space Stage
The twin brother of blues slide guitar phenomenon Johnny Winter, for years Edgar had the rep of being the more musically versatile of the two with his multi-instrument mastery, most notably on keyboards and sax. Edgar and Johnny grew up in Beaumont, Texas, in the late ‘40s-early ‘50s, where they were heavily influenced by that state‘s raw electric blues sound.
Edgar made his solo debut in 1970 with “Entrance“ and was an immediate hit with his horn-powered White Trash band. In 1972 he launched The Edgar Winter Group and had a monster hit with the synth-laden “Frankenstein“ as well as “Free Ride.“ A collaboration with guitarist Rick Derringer led to “Rock & Roll Hoochie-Coo.“ All three songs are staples on classic rock radio. Edgar has spent the past decade in L.A. writing music scores. His last album was 1996‘s The Real Deal.

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