The Northern Express MiniFest will present some of the best of local music over the course of four Thursday evenings in June in a free concert series to be held at Lay Park in Traverse Citys Old Town.
Were inviting everyone to come down and to hear some great music in the park and celebrate the 20th anniversary of Northern Express Weekly, said George Foster, co-publisher of the free newsweekly. Co-sponsoring the series is the Traverse City Parks & Recreation Commission.
The acoustic-oriented concerts will be held from 7-9 p.m. on Thursdays June 9-30 in Lay Park on Union Street (the tiny park just south of the Union Street dam). The lineup includes Sour Mash (June 9), Soul Patch (June 16), Miriam Pico and David Chown (June 23) and the Fresh Fossils (June 30). Warming up the shows will be the Acoustic Dynamite duo and special guests.
Of note, the public is encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets, as no seating will be provided. Bring a picnic! The stage will be oriented toward the river to avoid disturbing local neighborhoods.
This week Northern Express Weekly celebrates its 20th anniversary in a special edition of the paper to hit stands on May 30. The MiniFest will offer readers a chance to meet some of the staff and enjoy the sounds of bands featured in the paper.
Following is a rundown on whos performing:
June 9 - Sour Mash: This old-time string band offers a foot-stompin, high-fivin, shucks & grins take on bluegrass, cowboy tunes, revamped contemporary songs and originals.
Comprised of band leader Bill Dungjen on guitar/vocals (and many funny comments), Dick Costlow on guitar/vocals, Jonah Powell on fiddle, Mike Dorman on bass, Harry Dorman on banjo and Sandy Blumenfeld on slide guitar, Sour Mash is the house band at the Round Up open mic and radio show held each Thursday at the Hayloft on M-72, west of Traverse City. Members of the band have been performing in one incarnation or another for the past 15 years, always hewing to the sounds of authentic Americana.
June 16 - Soul Patch: With its current line-up formed in 2006, Soul Patch is as versatile as its members: Wink, Mando, Adam T, CB and Marc. Holding a masters in groove, the band cooks up everything from world beat to jazz, reggae, bluegrass, funk, surf, rockabilly, ska, blues and straight up rock n roll.
We never write a set list but are always prepared to feel our audience and bring them something they can move to, says bandleader Christopher Wink Winkelmann. Our shows are constantly taking on a new form that is inspired on the spot by the borderless space between the band and the listeners. We play songs with purpose but are not afraid to improvise.
In short, expect a sweet ride of organic grooves for your mind and feet.
June 23 - Miriam Pico & David Chown: Voted Best Solo Performer by readers of Northern Express in a survey earlier this year, Miriam Pico brings exceptional singing and songwriting skills to the stage, backed by pianist David Chown, a well-known veteran of local stages and a master of jazz and pop.
Miriam has recorded three albums over the course of the past six years, including her 2009 album with David, Sbout Time. A huge hit with audiences, the two have performed throughout the region, most recently as mainstays at Phils on Front.
June 30 - The Fresh Fossils: Regulars at Lil Bo Pub and Grille over the past two years, this dance-friendly band performs a mix of originals and covers, including updated sounds of the 60s and 70s by The Band, Neil Young, The Beatles, and the Yardbirds, to name a few.
Weve grown to a six-piece band with the recent addition of trumpeter/vocalist Michael Nunn, says drummer Doug Moser, so our local fan base has increased since most of our fans are our friends!
Moser is one of the core members of the band along with bassist Dave Wells and guitarist/vocalist/ songwriter Nick Talantis (who formed the rock/folk trio Wheres Norman 10 years ago). The Fossils are rounded out by lead guitarist Dave Poinsett and Roko Jans on vocals/keyboards. Sound man Jan Waling is an integral part of the band. If you like what youre hearing, its all because of Jan, quips Moser.