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...

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Flat Broke Blues

Kristi Kates - July 26th, 2010
Breaking In the Flat Broke Blues
By Kristi Kates
Originally founded as a duo in Marquette, Michigan in 1991, the band known today as the Flat Broke Blues Band was given its moniker due to the obvious.
“It was a reflection of the financial status of both of the founding members,” says guitarist and vocalist Michael Letts, who should be doing a little better on that score when the band plays Petoskey’s Crooked Tree Arts Center this Friday.
Today, Flat Broke Blues Band is pretty much the opposite, due to the success of their current lineup, which includes Letts as well as Mark Johnson on bass and vocals, Jim Cohen on drums, and Lorrie Hayes on vocals and harmonica, plus founding member Walt Lindala on guitar and vocals.
Initially, several members of the band came and went. “By fall of 2001, our current lineup was assembled, and has worked together ever since,” says Letts
As the name might indicate, the blues are the focus of Flat Broke’s set list. Walt Lindala says the band is comprised of “five passionate fans of the blues who enjoy listening to, playing and writing the blues.”
They’re also a band that’s willing to travel several hundred miles to play a one-night show, which is probably another reason they’ve been so successful.
“We’d rather travel to perform to a venue full of true blues fans than play the same old tired cover songs at the local bar, night after night, for indifferent patrons,” Lindala confirms, “the power, soul, feeling, grit, and emotion of the blues is undeniable, and is what drives us night after night and year after year.”

As they trek through their own quest for blues-related fame, Flat Broke has already shared the stage with several legendary names in the genre, and have also released their own CD of original blues songs.
Worth the Weight is the CD - which Blues Revue Magazine called “... an intriguing blend of the subtle and the swashbuckling...” - and as for those opening act opportunities, they’ve included sets alongside Shemekia Copeland, Louisiana’s Lonnie Brooks, and “Queen of the Blues” Koko Taylor, just to name a few.
“One of my favorites was opening for Magic Slim,” Letts says, “truly a living legend and one of a few of the remaining Chicago bluesmen with direct ties to the original flowering of the genre. Funny story - I had gotten a new stage jacket that year. If you know Slim, his name is kind of an irony - he’s a big guy! He saw the stylish black blazer I was wearing and said, “It’s a good thing you ain’t my size, or you’d be fightin’ me for that jacket!” Slim has a great laugh and sense of humor, and it was an honor to share the bill with him and his band. They were very gracious and friendly.”

And as for Worth the Weight, the band has been performing songs from the new album at their live shows; but they’re not stopping there, with plans already in the works for a new album.
“We are currently planning to record a new CD this summer,” Letts explains, “and we will be debuting some brand new material that we are currently writing for our new CD at our Petoskey show. We are quite happy with the new songs; they are the best we’ve done so far.”
Flat Broke also covers other popular blues and even some R&B artists, although most of their setlist stays focused on the blues tradition.
“We do everything from Chicago, to the West Coast style swing and jump blues, to more funky R&B tunes,” Letts explains, “we have been able to remain popular because we usually have some songs for every fan of traditional American music, and we even throw in some Rolling Stones if the crowd needs to rock. Feel free to dance in the aisles!”

The Flat Broke Blues Band will be performing at Petoskey’s Crooked Tree Arts Center at 8 pm on Friday, July 30. Tickets are $7.50 for CTAC members/$10 for non-members. For more information on the show, visit www.crookedtree.org online; for more info on the band, stop by www.flatbrokebluesband.com.

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