By Kristi Kates
Fox hunting takes a musical twist this week with an organization whose
targets are promising musicians.
Founded by Patrick Schaller, Susan Fawcett, and Clay Ebert, Fox on a
Hill Productions is becoming well-known for their promotion of
primarily Michigan-based musicians, artists, and filmmakers.
Four years in, and theyre still going strong - and celebrating their
fourth anniversary with their annual musical celebration. The event
also celebrates four years worth of helping bring a great range of
local talent to the public eye.
We distribute local music to over 30 retailers in Michigan, Patrick
Schaller says. We have financed dozens of music albums, and have
executive-produced a full-feature documentary called La Curacion.
Clay and I purchased Susans equity last year, and we continue to run
the company with a small staff out of Petoskey, selecting musicians to
work with based on their presence in the Michigan music scene.
So far, Fox on a Hill has primarily worked with musicians from
Earthwork Music, choosing artists for such events as the anniversary
show via, as Schaller puts it, our existing relationships and their
For the anniversary show, set to take place on November 13th, Fox on a
Hill will be featuring Northern Michigan native and improv pianist
Biny Andrews, Kalamazoo roots-rock band Who Hit John?, Lansing duo
Gifts or Creatures (husband/wife folk musicians Brandon and Bethany
Foote), Americana/folk duo Jen Sygit and Sam Corbin, and Grand Haven
singer-songwriter Kali Rea.
Schaller says that Andrews will be a particular highlight of the evening.
Biny will be launching his debut album, produced by Fox on a Hill, at
the event. We are very excited to do a project like Binys, outside
our traditional catalog of contemporary folk music.
Another highlight of the showcase will be the introduction to the
public of yet another venture aimed at showcasing future Fox on a Hill
I own both the restaurant/bar complex where the event will be taking
place (the empty commercial space formerly known as 220 Lake Street
Food and Spirits) and the attached Boyne City Theatre/Opera House, and
I am looking at potentially announcing the setting up of a non-profit
to fundraise the rejuvenation of the historic theater, he says.
It would be fantastic to renovate the theatre/opera house and hold
future Fox on a Hill performances, show films, and other entertainment
events. This theatre could really add a great vibe to the Boyne City
Sobo Arts District.
Fox on a Hills Clay Ebert agrees that more support for local arts is
INDIE, FOLK, OR BOTH?
The state of indie music (here) is ripe with talent but drastically
underfunded, Ebert says. Thankfully, its improving with the advance
of technology. Tax credits for the music industry would also help the
indie labels improve the music scene in Michigan.
Outside of Michigan, the term indie music isnt limited to the
folk/roots scene that is prevalent in Northern Michigan - its
actually more focused on indie rock, pop, electronica, and more edgy,
experimental sounds. But Ebert points out that for Northern
Michiganders, that more acoustic sound is what independent music means
to this particular region.
I think one reason that indie music in Northern Michigan is focused
on roots music more than any other genre is because it is very much a
part of Northern Michigans history, he says. Folk music seems to be
very connected to an energy that is about positive change and
environmental conscientiousness, which is something that new
generations of musicians are identifying with. We are currently
reviewing potential projects and events for Fox on a Hill this winter,
as Fox on a Hill best contributes to the local music scene by helping
artists get indie music into the hands of listeners who may not
otherwise have had the chance to experience it.
Fox on a Hills 4th Anniversary Concert will take place on Saturday,
November 13 from 5 pm to 9 pm (doors open at 4:30 pm) at 220 South
Lake Street in Boyne City. Tickets and more info can be found at