By Kristi Kates
The sounds of Austin, Texas resonate in Northern Michigan this weekend
with a band that knows how to fiddle around.
Comprised of Brian Beken, Noah Jeffries, and Dennis Ludiker (all who play
guitar, mandolin, and fiddle) and Matt Mefford on bass, Austin-based
alt-folk band MilkDrive first found its feet in Idaho, the homeland of
main songwriter Jeffries, who grew up playing music with his familys
Fast-forward to Jeffries college days, when he put a touring band
together (36 String Swing) while he toured jazz performance at Boise State
University; a subsequent move to Austin found him both a roommate and a
bandmate in Ludiker, and MilkDrive began to froth.
The additional band members were found, MilkDrive began writing songs, and
released their debut album, MilkDrive Live 09, in June of that year, a
fast-paced, dense mix of acoustic strings, diverse rhythms, improv, and
the four bandmates innate (and, incidentally, award-winning, in the folk
music scene) skills.
Their listing of musical influences reads a little schizophrenic, perhaps
- Chris Thile and Punch Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, Jean-Luc Ponty, Beck,
The Mars Volta - but thats probably a big part of why MilkDrive has
formed such an eclectically-interesting sound - each band member brings
something different to the table.
THE DRIVE LIVE
MilkDrive Live 09, the album, reveals a good sneak preview of what the
audience can expect at the bands two upcoming Northern Michigan shows.
Chabota sounds like a less-refined, more roughshod Bela Fleck with a
slight Celtic influence, while Kays Tune is more of a foot-stomper that
would be a perfect fit under one of Blissfests summertime festival dance
tents; perhaps why the Blissfest folks selected MilkDrive for their winter
The Call of the Milkmen echoes the strummed beginning of one of
California modern-rock band PaloAltos songs before quickly devolving into
an alt-folk mood piece; and Random Access recollects the early days of
the Dave Matthews Band, sans vocals and lyrics, of course.
Some of MilkDrives music - as well as their online presence - could use
some sharpening up, as they occasionally fall victim to repetition in
their song arrangements; but overall, their sounds are solid, and either
show is sure to offer an entertaining evening for fans of several genres
of folk music.
Milkdrive will be performing at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey
as part of the Blissfest Winter Concert Series on Saturday, March 5 at 8
p.m.. They will also be performing at InsideOut Gallery in Traverse City
on Sunday, March 6 at 8 p.m.. More info on the band may be found at
Pushpin artist Eric Daigh makes his point in Chicago
Traverse City-based artist Eric Daigh is finding a national stage for his
remarkable push pin work in his first solo exhibition, We Have One
Conversation, at a prestigious art gallery in Chicago.
Daigh earned widespread acclaim in 2009 when he won the ArtPrize in Grand
Rapids. His latest work, consisting of large-scale portraits made
entirely of pushpins, will be exhibited at the Carl Hammer Gallery Feb. 25
April 9. The gallery is located at 740 N. Wells Street, Chicago.
Mayor Richard M. Daley sat for a portrait by Daigh earlier this month.
That piece along with 10 others will be exhibited.
Daigh holds the Guinness Book of World Records Largest Pushpin Mosaic
record, and also his work has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning. From a
distance the works look like low-resolution photos, but upon moving closer
a viewer sees the 27,000 pins needed to complete a six-foot by four-foot
piece. All told, the show in Chicago will contain 209,507 pushpins.
Its been a very illuminating year, says Daigh. I intend to be one of
the artists of my generation that matters, and thats meant growth in
every aspect of my approach.
Check out http://daigh.com for more on Erics art.