Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


Home · Articles · News · Music · Local CDs
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Local CDs

Kristi Kates - May 24th, 2010
Local CDs
By Kristi Kates
Dean Wiers-Windemuller - Dean Wiers-Windemuller
Complete with rubber-stamped, recycled-paper CD envelope, Dean Wiers-Windemuller’s set includes contributions from James Forrest Hughes on bass, Brian Morrill on drums, and Michael Crittenden on percussion, although the songs are all written by the Grand Rapids singer-songwriter himself.
The whole thing, especially the packaging and notes, is a little too grassroots-earnest at times (“my new CD includes a song I sang at my own wedding!”) - and one might wonder how the folky Wiers-Windemuller ended up as an opening act for American Idol pop-snippet David Archuleta (?) - but the songs are decently structured, and do showcase Wiers-Windemuller’s claims of being influenced by the likes of fellow folksters Ray LaMontagne and Martin Sexton.
Opener “Though I Wish You Were Here” has a catchy, skipping refrain, while the declarative “Girl Our Love Will Last” features more of Wiers-Windemuller’s nicely mellow guitar work and slightly overzealous mid-range vocals, and “Evidence (for Rush)” serves as a direct “message” to radio crank Rush Limbaugh.

Blue Dirt Band - Blue Dirt
Hailing from Traverse City, musicians Tractor Mike (guitar/mandolin/vocals), Jay Slash (bass/vocals), and Stonewall P.J. (percussion and “pots and pans”) make up the Blue Dirt trio, whose full-length CD was recorded by Pat Neimesto and features artwork by Robert Schewe.
Their follow-up to a series of Northern Michigan shows at Black Star Farms, Short’s Brewing Company, and Union Street Station, the album starts off slow with John Hartford’s “Good Ole Days,” which awkwardly drags through the first four and a half minutes. Fortunately, the album revives with track two, a spirited take on The Waybacks’ “Sierra Madre” that sounds like a countrified version of Squirrel Nut Zippers without the big band instruments. Their version of Tom Petty’s “Don’t Fade On Me” is a nifty one, too, with old-timey harmonies and hurried saloon strumming as if a bar stool’s a-gonna fly through that window at any moment. And three Blue Dirt originals round out the disc, among them a somewhat haphazard, half-hearted instrumental that appears, by title alone, to be their signature piece (“Blue Dirt”).

Michael Lee - My Own Man
Singer-songwriter Michael Lee Seiler (who goes by the last name Lee on this release) blends “songs of Boyne” with a hint of Delta blues on his album, a solo escapade away from his work with Synergy and the Claude Fraug Band.
Recorded at Bellaire, Michigan’s Runyan Media, Lee collaborates with Dave Runyan himself on bass and electric guitar, as well as Ben Silva on drums. Spawned in part from his worship service music, and in part from his experiences at songwriters’ retreats, Lee’s tunes and lyrics are quite genuine and heartfelt, if a little overly sentimental. “My Own Man” is pensive and highlighted with a tinkling piano riff, while “Mississippi Blues” is an outsider’s view of the blues scene; and a pair of Boyne-focused songs (“Sweet Boyne” and “In the Boyne”) pay homage to Boyne City and fishing Up North, respectively.
Most of the tracks are anchored by guitar and Lee’s passive vocals - which quite often waver around the note before landing on it - but he manages to infuse most of the songs with personality. He’s kind of like a slightly less-compelling version of Bob Dylan in how he overcomes his vocal limitations with his sincerity; a minstrel for Michigan, if you will.

 
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